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Elite sportsmen, elite artists and anxiety Elite sportsmen, elite artists and anxiety
by Joseph Gatt
2021-11-20 09:56:17
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Anxiety is part of the sport. First off, being an elite artist or sportsman is a privilege that usually comes with years of hard work and training.

Definition: there are lots of sportsmen or artists playing any sport or dabbling with any art. Elite means you get lots of visibility, usually because you play the sport or the art really, really well. Either because you collect a long series of titles and championships, or because your art work has huge impact.

spr00001_400Being part of the elite is of course not a lifelong title, and you have to keep your elite status for about a decade or two before you can become a so-called “legend” and that's when you're in the history books.

Problem with being an elite sportsman or artist: you have four full-time jobs!

Which ones?

-You have to perform and win titles. Or perform and create and keep making that huge impact. First full-time job: you have to train at your sport or create your art.

-Full-time job number 2: self-promotion. You have to invite the audience to attend your performances in sports or in the art.

-Full-time job number 3: the promotion of your sport or art. If you're an elite soccer player, you're going to have to promote the sport. That means attending a lot of events promoting soccer.

-Full-time job number 4: Economic and social endorsements. You have to endorse the good causes, or you have to endorse consumer products. That means attending lots of events as well.

So here's some advice you could use to keep your anxiety levels in check.

-Training. That should be your main focus. The other full-time jobs should fit into your off-training and off-the-job schedule.

That means you need a good manager who knows that your priority is training. And a manager who knows how to fit in the promotional activities without those promotional activities impeding your training. Example: you don't want to promote a car brand until 2 AM when you're supposed to be training at 7 AM or when you're supposed to be playing the next day at 3 PM.

So, you need a good manager who will fight for your rights to prioritize competition or performances. Not an easy task, considering some sponsors can be selfish and not care that the athlete or artist has an important gig the next day.

-Self-promotion: I'd say use what I call the “David Beckham” method. Lots of pictures, no text. Anything you say could play against you unfortunately; unless you're 100% sure you're saying it right.

So, you want to keep the interviews simple. And avoid too much text on social media.

-Promoting the sport: that means teamwork and collaboration. That's when you're going to be hanging out with colleagues or competitors. Be nice, be kind, and keep in mind that you're promoting the sport, not the individuals. That is, if player A, B, C are in the promotional event, you're also promoting players W, X, Y, Z.

-Social and economic endorsements: if possible, avoid politics, completely. Stay out of electoral politics.

You want to endorse causes you believe in, otherwise your sponsors are going to point out that you're not radiating like you should when promoting the cause.

And, more importantly, you should love your job. An athlete should love training and competing. An artist should love creating, recording and performing. If you feel like you're doing the wrong job, you need to remind yourself that if you've reached elite status, that's because you're the very best at what you're doing. So you know the sport or art better than anyone else.

That should reduce anxiety. Hope it does.


   
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