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  • Writer's pictureJeff Ruser

Do Good Work

I have always been keenly interested in what people know, where they have been, where they learned and developed, and how I can integrate someone else’s expertise and knowledge in to my own growing knowledge bank. For one, I believe to my core that once a person (in any field) who thinks that they ‘know it all’ or that they have ‘made it’ is at the threshold of decline. We all will always have more to learn. Period. In my pursuit to continue improving and growing as a sport psychology consultant, I hope to help athletes achieve heights they may not have dared believe they could.

There is a recent theme in the lessons that I have learned from professionals within the field who I respect a great deal. The lesson: Do good work and the rest will take care of itself. It may seem a bit simplistic at first, but the more I contemplate it, the more I begin to realize just how powerful it truly is. Now, I have always done my best and continually worked to improve and do good work. This has not been convicting advice. Rather, it has eliminated some of the anxiety that comes along with growing my professional capacities and the thoughts of being a full-time practitioner in the future. It’s easy to be consumed by all of the small questions of: Where will I practice? What certifications will I have? Where will the demand for sport psychology consultation be the greatest? Will there be too few sport psychologists? Will there be an abundance? Pause. With this lesson, these things start to melt away. If I focus my energy on always doing good work, these smaller questions take care of themselves. On a personal level, this has brought me more peace in the journey and allowed to zoom in on continual practice and growth.

So, how does this relate to the athletes and performers? Well, performance is a lot like life and vice versa. Athletes: Do good work. What does that mean? Shift your attention to your practice, your own development, your growth, and continual improvement. It’s easy to get caught up watching film of an opponent. It’s easy to see someone else’s highlights and start to compare yourself to them. It’s easy to think that you may not be making enough progress compared to a rival. (Even worse, it’s easy to think that you might be making more progress and then become complacent.) But, when attention is shifted back to the self and how we can become the best versions of ourselves, things become simpler. Not-so-coincidently, we know from research and practice that when we focus on the process to get better, continually improve, and push the cusp of what is possible within ourselves - we get better.

So, what does this look like practically? Practice needs to be focused, attacking specific goals, and based on larger goals of what you need to accomplish in order to reach your fullest potential. Practices need to be distraction free. That will mean that you put your phone away for a couple of hours, ignore the workouts and content being posted on social media by your opponents and focus on you. Doing good work means becoming obsessed with the process of getting better, not the results that you want to achieve. The feeling of knowing that you had a great workout and practice session should be almost as exciting as a big win during the season. And although there are a million more things to be said about doing good work as an athlete, the biggest one that stands out is this: Train in a way that you can look back and confidently say that you gave your everything to preparation. Even 1% left in the tank is too much.

I’m not a betting man, but if I was… I would bet that if you focus your time and energy on doing good work, you will see results come to fruition, worries of the competition melt away, and the confusion on how to gain an edge disappear. Do good work. It’s simple. Addition by subtraction.

This week, this month, and this year… let’s all do ourselves a favor and focus on this: “Do Good Work.”

Side note: Although this blog endeavor slid a bit lower on my list of priorities in the last year or so, it is still a project I plan to keep up. Check back regularly and add your email to the website to see the latest updates!

Thanks for reading!



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