I think that it’s time to dig deeper into the psychology of life and how it can relate to polocrosse. The concepts I’m about to teach will hopefully make you think more about yourself and ultimately make you a better player. Why do you play polocrosse? What drives you? These are important questions to consider along your journey. But before we get to the answers for that, let’s start with first a concept. There is a fundamental difference between achievement and fulfillment. Achievement is the ability to produce a result from nothing. Fulfillment is finding happiness in whatever life brings. “It’s the power to understand, appreciate and enjoy our lives at the deepest level,” as stated by Tony Robbins. I credit this concept of achievement versus fulfillment to Robbins, a world class author and speaker who gets to the deepest levels of human understanding and helps millions of people worldwide. I’ll be summarizing and paraphrasing his ideas.

Achievement without fulfillment is meaningless. For instance, money can buy you many things but not happiness. You can build the largest of businesses while ruining your relationship to your family. True success comes from finding the balance of achievement and fulfillment. Have you ever thought about this closely with regards to being a champion? Have you ever achieved something great but weren’t fulfilled? You’re standing there at the awards ceremony in front of hundreds of people, but your joy is short-lived and you feel empty. I’ve most certainly been there. I’ve achieved many goals, but that doesn’t mean I’ve always been fulfilled.

Now let’s get back to “WHY?” Robbins also explains the idea that there are six basic needs that drive human behavior. These six needs drive all of us:

1. Certainty/Comfort
Humans have a need to feel secure. They need to feel in control. This comes from our million-year-old genetic code that’s wired for survival. There’s also a need not only to avoid pain and stress, but also to create pleasure and comfort.

2. Uncertainty/Variety
The basic concept here is that you like surprises if they end up being the things you want. Variety is the spice of life. The surprises you don’t want are called problems. To grow muscle, for instance, you need resistance. You need challenges in life as well.

3. Significance
This is the need to feel special, unique, needed and important.

4. Love and Connection
This is a big one. It’s what we want and all need most. We need to feel connected to others through intimacy or friendship for example.

5. Growth
If you’re not growing, you’re dying. We want to feel that we have something of value to offer the world. Much happiness comes from growth.

6. Contribution
Everyone has the basic need to give. You feel better when you do. If you ever get good news, the first thing you do is share it, right?

Let’s relate this to my polocrosse experience. Playing polocrosse has always given me significance. Being an integral part of a team and leading them to victory built my ego for sure. I’ve felt important in this sport. I played at the highest level here in the US for 15 years straight. I connected with a lot of people. I made a lot of friends along the way and played polocrosse with family. In 2012, I decided to take a break from polocrosse. This came as a surprise to a lot of people. For so long, I’d been striving for the next level.  The need for growth was driving me. In my college years, I played for the Lone Star club and we were a dominant force.  After college, I moved to North Carolina and joined a young Carolina club. I quickly took on a leadership and coaching role.  Throughout my upper level polocrosse years, I’d been a US Team member and travelled to three straight World Cups with several US tours in between. Being a big fish in a little pond here wasn’t fulfilling my need for growth. I had to travel internationally to improve my game.  It took me a while to acclimate to the speed and level of polocrosse in other countries where competition was abundant. In 2012, I decided that I couldn’t maintain that level of growth because going overseas so often was irresponsible for me and my present situation financially. I also couldn’t leave my other commitments for as long and often to keep taking trips.

Contribution was another big need being fulfilled for me in the sport of polocrosse. I quickly became a coach at a young age. As a better player, I became a certified umpire and at age eighteen, I was an APA Board member. I was giving back to the sport that had given me so much. I even wrote a book in 2003. I coached for almost a decade at the Carolina Club and I travelled around trying to grow the sport as best I could. For the final three years I played, I hosted youth camps at my farm and even made a formal business called Polorosse Made Simple, LLC. I tried hard to make weekends into money making opportunities and felt I had enough value to charge money for coaching. I wanted the sport to grow. I was soliciting pony clubs to host me and several did, but it just wasn’t happening enough for me to grow my business. The current numbers of players here weren’t enough to sustain me and I wasn’t getting enough new players hooked. My sense of contribution was dwindling. I knew that I’d made an impact on a lot of players, but I didn’t feel it like I had in previous years. Had I done a better job of soliciting new coaching opportunities and had I gotten busier with my business, maybe I’d still be doing it today.

In the end, I had to take a break from polocrosse because of several things I’ve mentioned. My priorities had shifted away from polocrosse and towards other things. That decision was right for me at the time, but it wasn’t necessarily received well in the polocrosse community; a sense that I’d abandoned everyone. Champion truly is a tell all book! I open myself up here to help you take a closer look at ways to improve your game. Is it for the right reasons? Are you being fulfilled or are you always just going for the next achievement without a strong why? Do you feel stagnant? If so, maybe Tony Robbins concepts can help you understand why. Everything you do is a result of a desire to fulfill your needs. Write down your why right now. Take that time, it’ll be worth it!