The antidote to a performance-based identity is what we call a purpose-based identity. Purpose-based athletes are those who find purpose in the process and not in the end result. They are grateful for each day, they are thankful that they are able to train, and they value their relationships because they realize that is what has allowed them to get to where they are today.
They see beyond the accomplishments, the medals, and the numbers, and put a lot of stock into the people and the processes that have enabled them to reach their milestones. When tough times come their way, they are able to adapt and withstand the pressure because they have a strong foundation to stand on.
This stands in stark contrast to the performance-based athlete, for whom an injury becomes a major disruption. Their identity is so wrapped up in their ability to perform that they may not be able to cope very well if anything goes even slightly awry.
The disparity is easy to see, but when you’re in it, it might not be so easy to recognize. Given the same variables, the same odds, and the same results, the purpose-based athlete is able to bounce back faster. Even if they are not selected for the team, they will be able to withstand the disappointment because their happiness is not so completely wrapped up in their performance.
What defines you? Is it your results, fame, your relationships?