Two weeks from now I will be celebrating my graduation from the Master’s of Sport and Performance Psychology program at one’s Denver’s Top 25 Restaurants – Linger, Bittersweet, or Root Down. I can already imagine what it will feel like to commemorate this achievement with family. In addition, I can also envision the final words of wisdom that will be offered to our class of twenty-two bright-eyed, passion-filled graduates who are ready to change the world through performance psychology.

In considering what advice I might offer if given ever given the opportunity to give a commencement address, my words would echo the thoughts of Jessica Hagy, contributor to Forbes.com, when she discussed several factors that can contribute to the demise of our hopes and dreams; she calls these the “enemies of greatness and happiness.” Such adversaries include the following: doing the things because you can but not committing to the best thing, absence of an “image of potential,” maintaining the status quo in your field and/or service delivery, staying in the comfort zone, failing to renew passion and purpose, and trying to please everyone else. Knowledge of these six factors could be considered preventative measures for preserving one’s dreams and future expectations as well as an insurance policy for achieving goals.

While Hagy’s visual representation of why ambitions are inhibited is both creative and clever, these are realities we must confront given the statistics on how many times the average person will change careers within their lifetime. However, studies have found that success in a career is directly related to the amount of planning and preparation prior to and throughout a particular path. I can reflect back to deliberate selection of the sport and performance psychology field and a long-term vision for how such a vocation fits within the context of other life objectives. And in addition to the diploma I will receive, I will take with me a carefully crafted business plan describing service delivery, methods for creating enduring change in my clients, and a strategy for long-term business and professional growth. The business plan and anticipating obstacles gives me clear eyes for the future; success in academics and consulting, and fulfilling my identity have lead to a full heart… so I can’t lose!

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