Competition

Illustrations by Paul Davis, London, UK

Smile

by Tsvetan Sokolov

Happiness plays a very important role in my experience as a volleyball player. Certainly it helps you to have more enthusiasm in everything you do and, especially in my personal case, I feel very lucky because I managed to transform my passion into my job. This aspect gives me the incentive to carry out my tasks with great serenity. To be happy while competing in a volleyball match is a special condition, also for the final result of the competition you are involved in. I can perform better when I’m happy because I put my heart into playing volleyball and in the meanwhile I enjoy what I’m doing. However, despite happiness being a key element, it is not so deciding. In an athletic career like mine, I think that the feeling of happiness offers me more tranquility and my personal approach to training and matches is always with a smile, because it’s the only way I know to do my job. Actually I can’t  say it for sure because I’m the kind of player who does his job smiling and for sure this is made possible by the support of the fans. To me their help is absolutely a happiness producer because you have the responsibility to satisfy them.

[W trentinovolley.it

Focus

by Davis Moss

I’m blessed because I can do for a living what I love the most. When I was a kid growing up in Chicago I was involved in every kind of sport. Only later my approach became more serious, especially at competitions, but at the end of the day I’m happy because I do what I love every day. When you are happy and you have fun everything comes easy and at the end of the day you have no regrets. In my work every athlete is different because not everybody is playing with a smile on his face. In basketball some guys maybe play better when they’re mad at someone or at something. There’s no rule. Sometimes being angry makes you focus more, sometimes it makes you try even too hard to a point you’re not helping your team. It’s important to use whatever you are feeling, or what your humor is, to stay focused. As for me, I feel confident because I’m prepared for everything because the coach gave me all the information necessary to face my opponent, making sure I did all I had to do in order to be ready to play up to my best capabilities. It’s not necessarily happiness, it’s being aware you are ready to go.

[W olimpiamilano.com]

Consistency

by Natalie Segal

I believe that to be a successful and winning big mountain skier, you need to love what you are doing and, in order to love it, at some point the “job” has to make you happy and fulfilled. Happiness in general helps people, especially athletes, to have a much more positive outlook on life. But happiness is not a necessary factor for performing well in my sport. Passion, focus and preparation are, for me, much more important. Nonetheless, being happy or content following my performance is essential as that is what pushes me to continue to strive to be the best athlete I can be. I believe it is possible to get high performance standards at work without the “happiness factor” but I don’t believe that these standards are consistent or sustainable. The idea of “happiness” in your work is closely linked to the feeling of success, enjoyment and fulfilment. As a competitive athlete, happiness is very often derived from achieving goals and good results.

[W nataliesegal.com]

Concentration

by Arianna Fontana

If you are not happy doing what you are doing, it’s very difficult to get up in the morning and go to training sessions. Often happiness depends on the context in which you are conducting your career. In this aspect I feel very lucky: everyone around me, from trainers to members of staff and my team, are a great support for me in competition. With happiness as an ally I can concentrate better on my objectives and not suffer with tension at competitions. You are not afraid of failure because you know that you are doing your best and you also know that all the people who are working with you are doing the same. In my experience, as the short track season is very long and hard, both mentally and physically, an athlete needs to create a team that helps him to get in the right mood to face competition. For me, what makes me really happy is feeling my family’s support and getting rewarded for the efforts made, like winning at an important challenge.

[W ariannafontana.com]

Published in the hard-copy of Work Style Magazine, Spring 2014