Adaptation

with Erica Gavel

Over the last 5 years, I’ve got to do some pretty cool stuff. Travel the world, compete internationally, and study an area I am most passionate about- physiology and adaptation. Overall, I am “living the dream”.

With that being said, up until 2012, I was scared to dream, I didn’t have a lot of confidence, and I put limits on myself. I told myself I would never be good enough to make Team Canada, I would never be smart enough to get accepted into grad school, and I was content with living a very mundane life. I was okay with and accepted being average.

If there’s anything I will always be grateful for, it’s Sept 19, 2012, the day I wrecked my knee. On this day, my original plans got changed and I had to adjust to something I had no control over. Essentially, I had to start from the beginning in every aspect of my life. I had a 10 year plan, that was focused around basketball.

After a few months of being down in the dumps, I really embraced the “beginners mindset” and decided I had the power to take control and guide the direction of my life. My mentality changed to, I’m not good right now, but I can and will get better. To thrive and embrace the “process”, is one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me. I wanted to learn and was ok with working hard to do so. My favorite part about academia and high performance is- it’s limitless. You can always improve, learn, and grow. The main thing I’ve realized is that your perception dictates the trajectory in how you respond. To be honest, I probably set my goals way too high. I strive for world class in every aspect of my life, and fail repeatedly. But I’m ok with it, because I’m moving forward.

Back to adaptation…. It’s one of the coolest things, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Stress and uncomfortable situations= growth. Therefore, if you’re the smartest person in the room, get a different room. If you’re not improving in the weight room, manipulate something. If you feel like you’re on autopilot, read a book. If you have low energy levels, hang around positive people. When I really want to do something, my psychologist and I come up with a “gold medal performance or profile”, then develop a pathway in how we’re going to make it happen. It’s a step by step approach that’s quite simple actually, we chase check marks.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a process…. But, if you approach it one day at a time and embrace being uncomfortable, you’ll accomplish things you never thought were possible…. I’m not there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.

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