It’s been 3 weeks since my Adelaide Crow’s family won the inaugural AFLW Premiership. The weekend was an exhausting, emotional roller coaster of nerves, adrenaline, exhilaration, relief, gratification and pride. It was incredible to share the success of the day with our closest loved ones whom without their support we would not have achieved our goals. We celebrated in style at the Club Champions dinner on the Wednesday night and with fans at the SANFLW grand final the following weekend. After all the emotion injected into training and playing for such a momentous occasion and to achieve success it was easy to expect a massive low would follow. That is the number one question I have been asked since that weekend, “are you down from your high yet?”. The answer is yes but also no. The whole experience seemed so surreal that I wasn’t actually sure if I was ever floating on a cloud to begin with. I was in too much disbelief that I could be living such an extraordinary existence.
During the week I heard Mack Horton describe his experience about winning a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics and his humble and realistic response resonated with me. When asked if he had soaked it in he voiced that he didn’t think the moment would be fully comprehended until after his career had concluded. He actually didn’t want to allow it to sink in as he felt the emotional magnitude of the moment could possibly limit his ability to repeat or strive forward. I feel similar when I think about all the AFLW has achieved this season. There is so much room for growth of current players paired with the enormous amount of talent coming up through young age groups, I know this competition and it’s athletes will only get better. I have enjoyed my celebrations with my team mates and the special bond we will forever hold, but as true athletes we are never satisfied with just once off success.
The AFLW as a semi-professional league is a unique scenario in which many of the players have careers outside of football and essentially no ‘off season’ as they head back to amateur clubs to help support grass roots development of the game. Some predicted we would experience great lulls in our life from coming off such highs but in reality I think it is quite the opposite. The free time that is given to these athletes is now being directed to their life outside of football. For me personally, once I gave myself a week to recover from the roller coaster I was filled with an invigorating feeling of motivation, drive and focus to progress in my other passions. I have had time to reflect and set new goals, to hone in on what I truly love and create plans for personal and professional development. Of course the players won’t be sitting on the couch either. Many are back into training and will likely be guided by state programs or their clubs on how to come back to ‘pre season’ stronger and fitter than ever.
The secret to rebounding after you have spent an extended period of time striving to meet a goal and actually achieving it is to refocus your energies. Give yourself time to enjoy the feelings associated with success but never stop providing yourself opportunities to learn, grow and improve. Life is full of big moments that we can often feel lost or directionless after an extended period of time with one focus such as finishing high school, university or landing a dream job. You have put all this energy in, you’ve achieved your goals…now what? If you have found yourself in a low after reaching a goal here are my tips to move forward:
- Enjoy the moment and reflect. Use this opportunity to rest and rejuvenate. No doubt you have been focusing a lot of energy into achieving your goal so take some time to relax. It’s important enjoy the feeling of success and reflect on what processes you used to get there, that way you can use similar strategies next time.
- Catch up with all the people you’ve missed seeing. Part of reaching a goal is sacrifice, and often we run out of time to see people we love. Use your new found freedom to spend quality time with friends and family you have not seen in a while. Social connection is an essential part of mental health and balance.
- Catch up on all the jobs you have neglected. These are often jobs to do with clutter that we place less importance or urgency on but can affect our energy when they build up. Think cleaning or rearranging your room, car or desk.
- Use the time to find out exactly what you love to do and what you’re passionate about. This knowledge will help you to create your ‘purpose’ and provide insight into what exactly brings you joy so you can better prioritise your time in the future.
- Refocus and set new goals. Once you have rejuvenated, decluttered and found some direction it’s time to set new goals. These can be big or small goals just something to keep you ticking along. Remember there are always small ways you can improve your life and those changes don’t always have to be life altering.
I used the above steps to help rejig my creative juices and motivation as I head into the rest of the year. Remember to take time to enjoy your big milestones but don’t let the moment overwhelm you as it is only one of many chapters you will experience. I am excited to continue to develop as an athlete, in my professional life and personally as I continue to plod along through 2017. It’s only mid April after all, so much more of the year left tick off goals and find new adventures.
Peace, Love and Food,