I jumped head first into the field of sport and performance psychology.

I was convinced that this is where I belonged. Admittedly, when I arrived to the program, it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. (That isn’t the noteworthy observation, though.)

I began a process of acting and reflecting that has yet to end. Anytime I felt that I had figured something out, I would realize that I had just scratched the surface. I dove into any opportunity with expectations of my performance and expectations of those I was working with, but what I slowly but surely began to realize was that I needed to put much less weight on these expectations.

I needed to stop entering situations ready to demonstrate what I had learned and enter situations prepared to continue to learn. In fact, I would say that the most meaningful learning that has occurred during my time in this program did not take place in the classroom, or from any readings. (Sure, I have learned a whole lot about mental skills, consulting, and sport and performance psychology.) But when I reflect on my most meaningful learning experiences, I realize it has really been this experience as a whole.

I haven’t just learned about sport and performance psychology and mental skills or consulting. I’ve learned about the experience of graduate school. I’ve learned about interacting with different people. I’ve learned about vulnerability. I’ve learned about trust. I’ve learned about time management. I’ve learned about disappointment. I’ve learned about regret. I’ve learned about happiness. I’ve learned about stress. I’ve learned about relationships. I’ve learned about responsibility. I’ve learned about who I thought I was, who I am, and who I want to be.

Whether you are the student or the teacher, the athlete or the consultant, the counselor or the client and so on, consider that some of the most important lessons you will take with you may not be coming from an instructor, textbook, or lecture. The lessons that you will apply throughout the rest of your life may be a much more organic lessons that come from your experiences along the way.

I’ve still got a few more months in this program, and years left to go in this journey, but at this point on my path, I feel compelled to say: Whatever it is that you are pursuing, take your time, and enjoy the journey.

– Tara Hegg –