Gareth Fox

Gareth Fox: Consider self-actualisation

“Put your house in order, for your death is near.”
2 Kings 20:1

THUS  spoke Isaiah the prophet, son of Amos, to Hezekiah who was mortally sick. The words came as a warning to the man, to tidy his affairs, for he would soon depart the earth. Today I use the first part of the sentence as an idiom, to give a much more positive message. Put your house in order and prosper.

No, I’m not talking about your actual house – although there are plenty of arguments to suggest that a clean home does make for a less stressed way of living – I’m talking about you. Put you – yourself – in order and watch your performance prosper.


Over the course of 2020, I worked with a number of inter-county and club players (both male and female) with the goal of improving their performance. I looked at each case individually, splitting their issues into one of three categories and took the necessary action in order to get the required results.

The categories: peak performance, repetitive sports performance problems, injury recovery. The results were effective, and all clients bar none recorded improved performance.

However, there was a distinct difference between those who improved dramatically, and those just a little.

Those whose performance soared were all working towards, or had their houses in order.

There is an undeniable link between feeling good in multiple areas of your life and positive performance. The better you are across the board, the better you are in your creative/sporting field. The worse you are, the worse you perform (look at Tiger Woods’s performance through his personal crisis).

It is a somewhat overlooked reality, it receives very little temporal or monetary investment. Yet, I’d go as far as saying that holistic self-actualisation should be our greatest, most important pursuit. It should be at the forefront of our daily actions. It should be our drive in life.

So what do I mean by ‘holistic self-actualisation’? I mean, reaching your full potential in every area of your life.

 There is more to you, hopefully, than just your sport – so make that whole better. Athletes tend to be imbalanced when it comes to how well they navigate their lives.

Huge portions of time are given to training, huge amounts of energy and discipline to nutrition, but other areas are neglected not only in the amount of time they receive, but also in how much they are understood.

How many of us intentionally work on our emotions – not only dealing with those which arrive, but cultivating new, positive ones on a daily basis? And yet, being emotionally sound has major benefits to our performance. Your happiness matters, in more ways than what you might think.

How many of us know, without hesitation, what values we stand for and practice on a daily basis?

Knowing who you are and what you are all about, on a deep level – in every area of your life – is the most noble, moral thing anyone can do. Yet, for most of us, we are silent witnesses to our own lives.

We watch as things happen to us. We succumb to cause and effect, when what we really should be striving for is causing an effect. Once you understand who you are, you will begin to act consistently with what you believe. So what makes you, you? What are the areas of your life that you should be improving?

Of course, everyone is different, nonetheless there are certain areas of our lives that we can all look at. Health and fitness, intellectual life, emotional life, character,  relationships, family life, social life, career, financial life, spiritual life, quality of life, life vision; if you want to improve your performance on the field of play, put your house in order here.

A client of mine recently said that she didn’t know if she was coming or going – with regards county training. I said to her that she was well and truly doing neither.

 That she was staying put. And that it was the perfect time to put her house in order.
Since then we have been working on a program that allows her to actively play a role in the short-term and long-term outcomes of her life.

Knowing who she wants to be as a partner, as a daughter, in work, emotionally, allows her to ultimately control her thoughts, her decisions, her behaviours and her destiny in each one of these areas. And this  new, empowered her allows her to train better and when the season reopens, will inevitably improve her performance on the field.

If you want to get better at your sport, you shouldn’t just focus on your sport. You should be looking to improve in every single area of your life.

For more information concerning the aforementioned self-actualisation program

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