Most baseball enthusiasts look forward all winter for the beginning of Spring Training. It’s the time when new players compete for teams and positions and returning players practice and hone their skills prior to the season opener. There are exhibition games to work out the kinks and roster and it is a good warm-up before the regular season begins.
In life, we technically do not get a warm-up period. Every day is the regular season. But today I would like to use the concept of Spring Training as a way to reboot some areas in our life. To work on skills that will benefit and help us succeed. To practice ways to throw off the negative and embrace the positive. I want us to have an Emotional Spring Training. Let’s get started.
#1. Train Your Heart To Forgive – It doesn’t take long in this world to learn we all make mistakes. As humans we make wrong decisions, hurt the feelings of others or act recklessly. Most of the time it is not intentional, but it happens nonetheless. In one of life’s great ironies, we all WANT forgiveness for our transgressions, but we fight and hesitate to GIVE it to others. I have no doubt that you have been hurt and wronged. Sometimes it is by someone we love, and other times it is an enemy of our life trying to cause distress. Either way, the only way to move forward is to forgive. I can’t promise that an apology will be given or a request for forgiveness made. If it does happen, and you believe it sincere, this step is certainly easier. There are situations though where you must extend forgiveness even when not asked. This takes place in your heart and the other person may never even know. This is done to keep the lining of your heart soft and porous for all the other beautiful moments and people who will walk in. We cannot become bitter and hard with resentment lodged in our hearts, and we must fight against the desire for revenge. Each situation is different, and I don’t have time to explore every scenario, I am simply suggesting that valuable time and emotional energy is exhausted every day by those who refuse to forgive and start a mission of retribution. It almost always fails and is never satisfying. We must find the strength to let go of the hurt.
I would like to make one other point here. Forgiveness does not mean you have to forget or even let the person back into your life. As I mentioned, there are countless ways someone can hurt and betray you. The correct decision, at times, is to walk away from a situation or a person. Repeated offenses, intentional disrespect, abuse; any of these situations is in your best interest to cut ties. No one should be allowed access to your life that is destructive, but you must still forgive them. For YOUR emotional health and happiness.
#2. Train Your Mind To Focus – Life today is so busy and scattered. We all run at full speed in several different directions. We have work, family, responsibilities, passions, goals. Each one is constantly vying for time and energy from you. If we are not careful, we will burn out and be of little or no good to any. It is important to be able to prioritize and focus. In real time, this means learning to say ‘no’. The key to doing this wisely is knowing yourself. If you become overwhelmed, it may be time for a Focus Intervention. I have to do this from time to time. Sit down (with pen and paper if it would help) and write down everything you need/want to accomplish. You can do it on a daily/weekly basis. You can even jot down long-term dreams. Then you need to prioritize and rid yourself of empty distractions. Regardless of intentions, there are only 24 hours in a day. You cannot please everyone or meet every need. There may even be things on the list that you have to cross off (or delay) that YOU really want. The purpose of this exercise is to determine the things that need focus. And by focus, I mean your full attention and best efforts. You will be amazed at the relief when you have a plan and know where to steer your energies. This is not an easy task, but trust me, it will work. As you focus on the important things, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and learn time management skills. The real goal here is to be able to walk in peace and contentment of your accomplishments while maintaining a healthy focus on YOU.
#3. Train Your Soul To Have Faith – There is less talk about faith (in my opinion) in this day and age than any other. We have become such a ‘realistic’ society. It’s about what we have, what we can gain, the tangible manifestations of our efforts. We lose so much hope by only measuring our worth or charting our success by what can be held in our hands. The world is unsteady and the future unknown. What we have today can be lost. Without faith (and hope) we live in a constant state of fear and stress. I see more and more people becoming ‘control freaks’; believing they have power over the outcome. Yes, we contribute to our ongoing success and failures, but some things are completely out of our control. It is during these times that we need faith. Faith in God’s plan, love and mercy. Faith that we can handle what comes our way. Faith in the beauty of simple things. Faith in ourselves. Believing there is a higher purpose and deeper meaning to our existence here frees us from selfish, pointless pursuits.
My Hopefuls, today is a great day to start your Spring Training. Pick the areas that need a little coaching and discipline and get to work! It is easy to fall into complacency and routine. Let’s shake up our life’s roster to make room for a new playbook. We owe it to ourselves to give it our best shot every day. Take that grand swing at life and aim for the home run. I’m here on the sidelines cheering you on!
Hope With Abandon