“I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” – William Ernest Henley

Psychology, the study of the mind and behavior, is all around the natural world. We have professions that study plants in their natural habitat and how they interact and change with other plants and climates that surround them. We have professions that study animals in their natural habitat and how they interact with other animals around them. We have professions that study cities and how they thrive and fall. We even have professions who study people and understand how they interact, cope, and excel when compared to others.

Sport psychology and performance psychology (often used interchangeably) consume our daily life, though we don’t always recognize it. The simple step of taking a deep breath to re-center and calm our confused mind and body is a one of the most basic principles of sport psychology. Reflecting on positive situations that happened throughout our day or planning out a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (SMART) are also some simple, yet widely used tools in sport psychology. But I believe there is a tactic that is more simplified and should be utilized more in any situation: Trust your training

“Trust your training” is a concept that I have found is often overlooked and under-utilized. As I begin to venture out into the working world, struggling to find a job, I continue to go back to the phrase, “Trust your training.”

Why? Because, I can do any job if I think about all the little bits of training that I’ve encountered throughout my life – even if it was not job specific.

An example: I worked for a park department for five summers. On paper, it is a completely incomparable to being a sport psychology consultant. Despite this, it led me to where I am today. This training taught me how to work with others, problem solve, and become an efficient employee — all skills that were critical throughout my time earning an advanced degree in sport and performance psychology.

Another example: Learning to drive. My depth perception has always been terrible and — low and behold — it did not get better in a moving vehicle. Though I knew the dimensions of my vehicle and how to operate it, I struggled on my turns especially when another car was around. Even after almost 10 years of driving, I still fear the possibility of hitting another vehicle because I worry that my training hasn’t been enough. I hope this won’t happen anytime soon — knock on wood — but I know that as long as I continue to practice those same skills I learned way back when, I can stay accident free. Although sport psychology isn’t as risky, I have to trust that my training will keep me providing good work for clients. 

A recent example: Last summer,  I was overseas in South Africa working with 300 students, ages 5-17. My experience with working one-on-one with children had been slim, but I knew through previous interactions with people, I needed to connect. My striving to connect with these kids who were so different to me went worlds with them. Though we could not speak the same language, laughter is universal, so we chose to smile, laugh, dance, and play sports. This mode of connection is an ingrained principle of mine that has helped me build relationships. Reflecting back on this experience that happened less than a year ago, I realize I may not have impacted any of those students the way I had originally envisioned, but I know that our lives have been forever changed, simply because I was able to form a relationship with somebody so different than myself.

And now, here I am, preparing to graduate. During my program, I gained hundreds of hours training to be an effective consultant. I should feel prepared for the job force, but I know the reality and the reality says that many of us will not get a chance unless 1) we have a connection or 2) we get lucky. In either instance, I must rely on trust. Trusting what I have learned, practiced, and dedicated time to will eventually lead me to the road I want to travel on. But, until that day shines its light on me, I will continue to trust in my years of training: teamwork, problem solving, responsibility, dedication, planning, and above all, a positive mindset.

So, whether you are graduating high school and moving onto college, transitioning from college into the working world, changing career paths, or even expanding your family from a spouse to a child, trust in the years of training you have had (even if it doesn’t look the way you thought it should) because you are “the master of [your fate],” and you are the “captain of [your] soul”.

– Kailee Feldman –