Sunday, March 2, 2008

Standing in the Shadows of a Champion by Helen Bassham

This is an important message from Helen Bassham on working as a team (husband & wife) to achieve your goals. This was posted in a past issue of MENTALCOACH

What do you do when your spouse is trying to achieve a big goal? Sometimes it is so hard to know exactly what to do. If you have a spouse that is trying to achieve something as big as the Olympic Gold Medal then you are in a very difficult spot. Lanny had this very goal and he was going to do all that he could do in order to make it happen. I could help or hinder him in his quest for the gold medal.

What was I to do? I decided that since it was a big burning desire for him and he had been preparing for this for many years I would support him in this effort. What does that mean? I thought that it meant to do all the things that any wife should do. But in fact it is much more than that. Being supportive is a great part of it. Many people think that if their spouse is working on their goal while they are busy working or doing something they want to do then that is enough. And sometimes it is but many times it takes time away from home and many extra hours working on their goal and this causes many problems. You better know what your spouse’s goal is and how much time and money it will take to accomplish that goal. Sometimes the time is more important than the money. If you are taking so much time away from the family then the family is going to do things without you and sooner or later there will be conflict. I have seen too many families broken up because they did not sit down and work out the details in advance.

I knew that Lanny would be able to train during the day because that was part of his job at the Marksmanship Training Unit. But I also knew that the trips were coming and many of them would be for several weeks at a time. Also Lanny would only be at the Unit for no more than three years. Not much time to achieve an Olympic Gold Medal. He originally thought that he had one shot and that would be 1972. So I was able to wrap myself around the idea that by the end of 1972 he would go on to other things and the goal would be accomplished. Of course that didn’t happened but it put a time limit on the goal that we both could see and work for.

After the Olympics in 1972 when Lanny came home with his Silver Medal he ask me if I would support him for the next four years so he could train and go for the Olympics again. I wish I could tell you that I jumped up and down with joy over the thought of four more years of hard work but I was not sure that I would be able to endure those four years. But after some thought and a lot of talking I decided to support him for four more years.

His time was up at the Marksmanship Training Unit and he was reassigned to an ambulance company as the company commander. I thought the unit was hard with all the trips, but boy was I surprised at all the mess that went on in the ambulance company. He would get calls during the night and many nights he had to be at the company. One night he was there and by the grace of God he just happened to walk out of his office and down the hall when a young solider came in and shot the back of Lanny’s chair off with a shotgun. If you think things are bad they just might get worse. Lanny was lucky. I was sure glad when he was reassigned back to the Marksmanship Unit.

He was sent to Ft Sam Houston in San Antonio for six months for career course. So we moved to Ft. Sam and had a very normal life for those six months except for Lanny. He would spend many hours in the middle of the night going to a range to practice. He spent many hours at night dry firing so his muscles would remember what to do. He was also spending time learning about the mental game. Whatever it would take to achieve his goal he would work on it. I think he also knew that asking for four more years after 1976 would not be as easy to get a yes from me.

Sometimes you need to thank the ones that support you and tell them how much you appreciate them. Lanny told me a lot that I helped him in so many ways and he still does it today.

I hope you have much success and happiness in your endeavor to achieve that goal you have set for yourself. Life is not easy but it worth the effort to achieve.

This is the sequel to that article that was included in our newsletter in October of 2005: Last month we had an article from Helen Bassham on her experiences as the spouse of a serious competitor. Here are some bullet points for you and your spouse on how to manage goals as a couple.

For the Competitor:

Always include your spouse - lay out a plan together on how you will achieve your goals - you may follow our goal setting system outlined in the book.

Together figure out a timeline of how long it will take to achieve your goals - this may have to be re-negotiated later.

Where ever you are be all there - if you are competing keep the home struggles out of your head - if you are home be engaged in whatever is going on that day. Make time for your family

Make your spouse feel special and know they are appreciated for supporting your goal - find a way to thank them often and keep the communication going - remember there may be a payback period after the goal is realized

For the Spouse:

Remember what the timeline is agreed upon and do your best to not complain about the competition, practice, etc leading up to that end competition where the goal will be realized

Stay Positive: Nobody enjoys time away from their spouse and it may be very stressful to be left with the kids and issues at home but try your best to keep the negative feelings and thoughts to yourself as much as possible while your spouse is on the road or competing.

Support: The day before he/she leaves and the day they return home should be amazing days - often times it's women who struggle with their husbands leaving for work or competitions, be as positive and uplifting about the time away as you can be. This is the time to be the most supportive.

Do your best to help make the goal a reality, do not be the reason they did not follow through. Afterall, part of why you love your spouse is probably their desire to win!

This is information coming from a women who spent years watching her husband live his dream and having to sit on the sidelines. This is what worked for them and after 40 years of marriage they are still going strong.

Even today Lanny is thanking Helen for all of his successes in his sport and for being his support system during those years. He bought her the "Furniture" we all know about and he dedicated his book "With Winning in Mind" to her. What you may not know is that 5 years ago he also wrote her a song for their anniversary. Another way to thank her for all the years she has put up with the madness of being Lanny's wife!

Our Limited Elite and Individual Application students are encouraged to bring their spouses to their training and it really has helped their growth for those who have been able to bring their wives/husbands to the seminar.

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