Shock

An acquaintance of mine has died. I met her through an online business group organized by my business coach. She was my age.

Her death has shocked me. She leaves a family and young children behind. A life taken too soon. My heart goes out to all who loved her. I wish I had met her.

Her death is a reminder. A reminder for me to live.

I don’t feel I do a very good job at living. I’m trapped in fear and not doing what I love full time unfortunately. What’s worse is I’m not sure how to change that fact.

So I sit here thinking of her. She apparently left a sparkle wherever she went. I’m sure she’s sparkling brightly in another realm. I wish her and her family peace.

 

 

Heart break and healing

This blog originally started as a dating blog. It morphed into a relationship blog and is now mostly a blog on my personal life and my adventures in sports psychology.

I haven’t spoken of the relationship I was in, in some shape or form, for eight years in a long time. I’ve kept that part of my life private after exposing some of it here with not so great results.

I’m choosing to talk about it today because it’s been affecting me and has caused my silence here. We are no longer together, nor do we have any contact anymore, however, the night before Valentine’s Day a call from him sent me into a tail spin that lasted for two weeks.

I made the decision back in November that we couldn’t be friends anymore because I wasn’t strong enough not to be affected by him or to slide right back into a relationship and lose myself again as I’ve done time and again over the years.

I grew up in alcoholism and one of the side effects resulted in me being a very good codependent. I’m in recovery now and am learning to be my own person through program.

It’s easy for me to turn myself inside out to please a man. I’m a great chameleon, I’ll be whatever you want or need me to be. I’ll throw myself under the bus to make you happy. Whatever activities I enjoy will slowly disappear and I’ll stop seeing my friends. It’ll be all about you and I to the exclusion of everything else. I’ll look to you to make me happy. Not very healthy is it? Well that was me.

I’m happy to say I’ve changed but it’s still very easy for me to slip into old ways of thinking and behaving. I’ll be in program for the rest of my life as a result. It’s the only way for me to be the best version of myself.

Eight years. Eight. Years.

It’s a long time to be with someone as a partner or friend. We raised his daughter together. Being her step mom is the single best thing I’ve ever done with my life and I’m so very grateful for the opportunity.

I tell a brief version of our story in the rooms of my program when I am asked to speak. It goes something like this. We were both adult children of alcoholics and neither one of us were in program at the time. We both had trust and commitment issues and it was drama all the time. We tried so hard to make it work. I grew up with a mom who stood by my dad no matter what so that’s what I did.

So many people tried to reason with us, including our families, to try and make us see the light but we were stubbornly trying to make something work that just wouldn’t happen.

I was watching a series on Netflix last night. One of the characters said something about a love so intense yet bringing out the worse in each other. I teared up because that was us. Love was never the issue between us, we were.

I thought I had grieved when things ended between us in November. I went around in an unconscious miserable coma for weeks. I’d go to work. Come home, cry, go to bed and start all over the next day. Then all of a sudden the fog lifted and I started feeling moments of happiness and peace.

Then after three months of silence, I got a three minute phone call from him inviting me on a ski trip. As soon as I hung up, I burst into tears and called my sponsor. I cried for three days. The depth of my emotion scared me. I had no idea where all this sadness was coming from. Turns out I wasn’t done grieving.

I turned to old coping mechanisms and became a little hermit. I hid in bed and did what I needed to get by. I did make it out to program meetings but I was a shell of my former self. It took time but I’m happy to say I’m back.

I’ve come to realize an eight year relationship isn’t something I’m going to get over quickly. It’s going to take time to heal and that’s alright. Program has taught me I am right where I need to be. Dating other men in the interim isn’t the solution either. It’s a good codependent idea but not a very viable one. Besides which, until I’ve sorted myself out, what good am I to anyone else?

So I sit here with a smile on my face, knowing I’m doing better emotionally and that lightness always comes after darkness.

 

 

F.E.A.R.

I’ve spoken on this topic on this blog before.

This blog post has been percolating in my mind for some time and today I came face to face with a very sad human fear response.

I have my blood taken on a regular basis for health reasons. Today as I was chatting with the person behind the counter at the clinic a mother and young daughter came in. The daughter was crying. It was their second attempt today to get her blood taken.

I immediately went into coach mode, explained what I did and told the mom that I had tools that could help. They were ushered quickly into the room were blood samples are taken. I asked the mom to tell her daughter to take deep breaths. She said if she needed my help she’d come get me and left it at that.

I chatted some more with the person behind the desk and finally went into the treatment room because a colleague came to get her. They were having problems with the girl.

I again went into coaching mode and got down in front of the girl who was very upset and crying sitting on her grandfather in the chair to give blood. I explained what I did and introduced myself. I normalized the situation by explaining that it was okay for her to be afraid.

I got her to calm down somewhat by closing her eyes and breathing. Big deep belly breaths through her nose with her hand on her belly. Then I asked her to go to her happy place in her mind.

It turned out it was Dairy Queen which was awesome. I asked her what her favorite flavor of ice cream was. She said chocolate, “good choice” I said. I asked her to think about going there with the people she loved in her family. She was almost there, she lifted up her sleeve and as the technician got ready she went back into her head and panicked.

Poor kid. No amount of cajoling, rationalizing or threatening from staff or her mom would help.

One of the staff suggested I go ahead and get my blood taken and the girl could watch. I asked her what her biggest fear was. Was it the needle? The blood? I encouraged her and told her she was almost there when I had coached her. She couldn’t give me an answer.

I said I didn’t like needles either and was in often to get my blood taken and looked away.

We tried using music and a phone to distract her, she would have none of it.

Poor peanut. She had bad stomach cramping and was getting a battery of blood tests done to determine what was going on. The technician asked if the pain of her cramps was bad. The girl replied in the affirmative and the technician tried to explain that it would be like a pin prick and she would feel very little in comparison.

I felt sorry for the family. They would have to try again and it would get worse in the girl’s mind.

I did what I could, but unfortunately I was not able to get her to calm down enough to have her blood taken. A lot of mental training is required to get to that chair, there is just so much that can be done in a crisis. The poor mom had no idea as this was the first time they were getting her blood taken.

I spelled fear intentionally in the title. I have spoken about the acronyms here before. False evidence appearing real or face everything and rise. I wish I had more time with the girl to get her through this experience.

There is nothing I can do now to help but send that family love and light.

Take care sweet Laurie.

 

 

 

 

Accidents are indeed, no accident

The Universe has checked me twice in the span of a month. Two separate incidents have resulted in injury.

The first happened over a month ago when my rented hot water heater gave up the ghost. The plumbers arrived unexpectedly, I was hustling to get dressed and put my glasses on and missed the top step of the stairs and hit the landing hard.

I still can’t sit without pain. A little research online has told me it’s no longer a bruise at this point but a fracture. I’m looking at a two to three month recovery period. Sometimes ignorance and denial are truly bliss.

The second incident happened on my very first run on my first day skiing this season. I wasn’t solid on my edges, went over a pitch and found myself in the backseat. A 360 degree turn on snow ensued while still attached to skis. It is to be noted here that I skied for six hours after this happened with no pain. Got to love adrenaline right?

My knee is not happy with me. I decided to test it further, went skiing a week later despite pain and am now dealing with the fallout of that less than wise decision.

So here I sit, literally in pain, pondering the messages the Universe is trying to get through my obviously thick skull.

As a firm believer in the law of attraction, I went to my trusty Louise Hay book You Can Heal Your Life and did some research. It was a humbling moment let me tell you.

In Hay’s words:”Accidents are no accident. Like everything else in our lives, we create them. It’s not that we necessarily say, “I want to have an accident,” but we do have the mental thought patterns that can attract an accident to us.”

“Accidents are expressions of anger. They indicate built up frustration resulting from not feeling the freedom to speak up for one’s self. Accidents also indicate rebellion against authority. We get so mad we want to hit people, instead, we get hit.”

“When we are angry at ourselves, when we feel guilty, when we feel the need for punishment, an accident is a marvelous way of taking care of that.”

“It seems as though an accident is not our fault, that we are helpless victims of a quirk of fate. An accident allows us to turn to others for sympathy and attention. We get our wounds bathed and attended to. We often get bed rest and we get pain.”

“Where this pain occurs in the body gives us a clue as to which area of life we feel guilty about. The degree of physical damage lets us know how severely we felt we needed to be punished and how long the sentence should be.”

Well that’s a lot to swallow isn’t it?

As I thought back to what I was thinking before I fell when the plumbers arrived, I realized I was angry that the gas company hadn’t given me a heads up as to when they would arrive. The buttocks represent power or in this case, a loss of power. A fracture represents rebelling against authority. Makes perfect sense now doesn’t it?

The knees represent bending and pride, ego and stubbornness. According to Hay: “Often when moving forward, we are fearful of bending, and we become inflexible. This stiffens the joints. We want to move forward, but we do not want to change our ways. This is why knees take so long to heal; our ego is involved. The knees take a long time because we get our pride and our self-righteousness involved.”

“The next time you have a knee problem, ask yourself where you are being self-righteous, where you are refusing to bend. Drop the stubbornness and let go. Life is flow, life is movement; and to be comfortable, we must be flexible and move with it. A willow tree bends and sways and flows with the wind and is always graceful and at ease with life.”

I love that metaphor of the willow tree, funnily enough it’s always been my favorite tree.

Again looking back to my first run of my first day skiing, I was rushing to get to the hill. I was supposed to be meeting a friend and wanted to get there for first tracks because that’s when the best skiing happens on freshly groomed runs.

I was frustrated because I made a stop at the garage on my way up to the hill to get my car checked. That proved to be a waste of time. I was already running late so my stop compounded things. I texted my friend and because signal at the hill is dubious at the best of times and let’s face it, we are busy skiing, there was no response.

The result? Frustration at not getting the outcome I wanted. I certainly was refusing to bend and flow with life wasn’t I? I wanted things on my terms. What happens? Poof! The Universe checks me.

I sit here with a smile on my face because it all makes perfect sense now. I’m not looking forward to the recovery time of both injuries and I’m crawling out of my skin not being able to ski and be in my happy place but I get it. I am right where I am meant to be, whether I like it or not.

It’s a good thing Louise Hay gives affirmations for all these happenings. I can focus on those and move myself forward one breath and one ice pack at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silence

Silence.

How does silence sit with you? Are you comfortable with it or in need of noise?

I use silence in my sports psychology practice intentionally. Silence tells me a lot.

It is said that non verbal communication accounts for 80% of communication between people. Watching people’s body language is therefore rich in information. Does the person fidget or do they stay still? Is their body language open or closed? Do their eyes wander or stay fixed on mine? What eye patterns are happening? All this information is feedback for me and helps me get a clearer picture of my client.

A lot of the work I do is done remotely. I then have to pay attention and really listen well. What words are they using? Are they visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners? Is their language pattern a positive or negative one? All this information gives me feedback to do my job well.

Silence.

On a personal level, I have become comfortable with silence. I never used to be.

I always had music going, singing and engaged in whatever task I was doing. Even in college I used classical music as a backdrop to help me focus while doing homework.

I processed emotions through music, I still do. I will listen to a song on repeat, over and over and sing till whatever is in me has worked itself out. Music is my therapy in a lot of ways.

Yesterday I had planned to participate in a day of silence at my yoga studio, however, the Universe had other plans for me in the form of unexpected car repairs this week. Instead, I spent a day of silence inside my home. I didn’t do yoga or meditate all day but I did practice a lot of much needed self care.

The energy in the universe right now is calling us to go inside and reflect. To be still, present to ourselves and align with Source and our core. A lot of past emotions are bubbling up to the surface. They require our attention and loving care. Processing of them needs to happen to release them and allow wisdom to come in and guide us.

So yesterday I sat with my emotions swirling around me. In the past, I would have done anything to avoid them, afraid of their intensity and of getting lost in them. For years growing up I was given the message that it wasn’t ok to feel. You can imagine what that looked like when the damn finally burst.

It took many more years for me to come to terms with being a big feeler. I’m a sensitive. I sense energy and have become somewhat adept at managing my own. When I’m not doing well, tired or run down I become a bubble girl. Safely enclosed in my own little orb. I won’t put myself in situations where I have to deal with the outside world and I carefully curate what I allow in.

That’s exactly where I was yesterday. I sat with myself and allowed whatever memory and its attached emotion to come. It’s not easy let me tell you. I went for a long walk in the woods and processed some more. At times the emotion brought me to my knees. I honored whatever feelings came up, allowed myself to process them and release them. It was good for my soul. I came back feeling better than when I went in.

I skied with a friend last night. Night skiing is not my thing. It’s dark and cold. For someone who has a hard time warming up it’s not pleasant but because my motto for this year is just do it, I went anyway.

Skiing has always been one of my happy places. I’ve processed a lot on the hill throughout my life. Last night was no exception. I live alone, tend to over think things and rattle around in my big brain. Being around someone safe whose company I enjoy was just what I needed last night. Thank you.

Silence.

I’m now going to practice what I preach and sit on my mat.

 

 

 

 

 

My words for 2017

It’s a brand new sparkly year. Every year I pick a word to live my year by thus setting an intention. This year was no exception, as I reflected on the past year, three little words popped into my head.

Just do it.

Props to Nike for coming up with such a great branding motto. These words came into my life in mid June last year.

2016 has been one hell of a year from a personal perspective. I believe through the toughest challenges, there is always growth. If I look for the silver linings, I see tremendous personal growth. A shedding of a skin of sorts and a stepping into power. A shiny new me.

For many years, this former high performance athlete who used to fly down hills clad in nothing but a lycra suit at speeds most cars travel on highways was fearless.

As life went on, fear or as I like to call it, false evidence appearing real or if you prefer face everything and rise started creeping in. Now healthy fear is a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, it keeps us safe, however, I’m talking about the itty bitty shitty committee taking over and ruling my life.

For someone who does positive psychology my head is not a safe neighborhood to walk alone in at times. It is said that we teach what we most need to learn. That’s proven to be accurate time and time again. I’ll be speaking with a client and this nugget of wisdom will pop out of my mouth and it’ll resonate with me as something I need to apply to my own life.

I’ll laugh and thank the Universe for the gift.

Just do it.

What does that mean for me?

It means to hustle in my business. To consistently take steps to move the needle forward. It means playing a bigger game. To pick up where I left off writing the book I have in me. It means allowing my light to shine consistently. To stay present and not hide. To live the dream that chose me.

I am a sports psychology coach who works with amateur athletes to build confidence for life through sport. It’s an incredible gift and honor to walk the path with my clients. I’m grateful that this dream chose me.  I intend to honor the gift and the light that I bring to this world.

In the words of Prince Ea: “You cannot go back and make a brand new beginning but you can start now and make a brand new ending.”

Bring on 2017. It’s going to be amazing.

 

 

 

From darkness to light

It’s the end of the year, winter solstice has passed. We are moving from darkness to light.

This period of time for me is always a reflective one.

As I look back on this year in my life I see a lot of ups and downs. Challenges, lessons learned and success too. So it is on this journey of life.

My challenges this year on a personal level were great. Through them I grew by leaps and bounds. I did the work I needed to do on me and continue to do so. The silver lining is growth. I may not always see it but I can tell in the way I approach situations and respond differently.

I’ve learned that feelings are just that: feelings. I don’t have to lose myself in them. I can feel the feeling and let it go. I’m learning to honor myself and where I’m at. I’m going to be alright no matter what happens. I’ve got this. I trust myself.

As someone who grew up in a high functioning and performing family I’m learning to be comfortable with where I’m at because I know I am right where I am meant to be. It can be challenging at times but the gap between where I am and what I want needs to be manageable. Baby steps.

I’m learning to be mindful of the committee in my head. I teach positive psychology and when I take a moment to notice what’s going on in there it can be alarming at times. I go back to breath. I breathe and slow things down. Breath is connected to thought, thought is connected to feeling and feeling is connected to action. Awareness, acceptance and action. That’s the key to positive change for me.

What you focus on expands. I’m reminding myself that I need to make sure I am focusing on the positive. Life is easier then. Thoughts become things, choose the good ones.

I’m learning to be mindful and to stay in the present. How often am I in the past or flying forward into the future? A lot. Present. Moment by moment, breath by breath. Live and let live. Enjoy this life. Live it fully. Soak in its juices. Be.

I tend to be fairly serious by nature. A thinker. Learning to lighten up, laugh and have fun and surround myself with positive people helps. A lot.

I’m learning to go with the flow. That’s a big one. Control has been a big part of my family of origin. Planning, taking action and moving forward. I know how to do that. Going with the flow is whole other kettle of fish. Again it comes back to breathing, relaxing and trusting that I am right where I need to be even though I may think otherwise.

Thanks for the fruitful year Universe. It’s been challenging at times, however, the growth has been extraordinary. There are many blessings to be grateful for.

I’m reflecting on what my word for 2017 will be. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does a Christmas craft market have to do with sports psychology?

So what does a Christmas craft show have to do with sports psychology exactly?

I love watching human behavior. I was at a Christmas craft show this week. Being a social creature, I interacted with a lot of the vendors. What was interesting was watching different vendors interact with the public.

There were those who were gregarious and welcoming. Others who were quieter and more self-effacing.

Furniture has a huge impact on social interactions. Think about it. If  someone is sitting behind a counter, there is an automatic barrier between that person and potential customers. I saw all kinds of interactions while at the craft show and one thing is for sure, it’s really important to engage with your customers.

If you are selling anything other than food, which seems to produce easy sales once you have samples. How else are you going to engage that potential customer?

I noticed the crowd effect happen many times. At any booth where there were lots of people, sales were brisk. Why? Because people are social animals. If a booth is busy, people are curious as to what is being sold and want in on the action.

I had a positive sales experience with a booth whose owner was one of the most outgoing and chatty people at the show. Some would say pushy. But you know what? He was selling. He rarely stopped talking about his products and I was charmed by his gregariousness. The result: brisk sales.

I went to another booth and the owner was demure, self-effacing and not very present. She was a paper artist. I was interested in some of her pieces and asked whether she had a promotion if I was to buy more than one piece. She seemed taken aback by the question and quickly said no. My response? I walked away. She lost a sale.

As an artist myself and someone who often has to educate and persuade clients of the value of my services, I would not let a client walk away.

It’s really that simple: do you want to sell? Then let’s make a deal.

As humans we connect and buy from people we like, know and trust. As a vendor at a craft show, you don’t have very long to engage with a customer and make a sale. You have to capitalize on every opportunity to interact with people, to establish rapport and to educate them on your product. It really is that simple.

I had a great time at the craft show, as a matter of fact, I went back a second day for more.

How does this relate to sports psychology?

Simple. It’s about mindset. As an athlete do you have growth mindset or a fixed mindset? Are you open to learning, engaging and being successful? Are you willing to build on success?

Sales and athletic performances are not so different are they?

 

 

Fear of failure

This topic is a big one for me.

Fear of failure can easily rule me. It prevents me from beginning and finishing projects. It’s a great tool for self-sabotage. It can keep me stuck. It has many times.

Are fear of failure and perfectionism the same thing? I’m not sure but I do believe they are on the same spectrum.

They can be different responses to the same internal struggle.The worst thing about fear of failure is that it keeps us from trying.From chasing dreams and taking risks.From being vulnerable. From living. It shrinks the world we live in to a comfortable, predictable, fearful experience.

My business coach always says to take imperfect action. Done is better than perfect. Words of wisdom.

I think it all comes down to baby steps. It’s hard to break the bonds of the fear of failure but I believe in action. Keep going even when you don’t want to. Action helps get us unstuck. It keeps us moving forward.

Babe Ruth once said: “never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” It’s a powerful metaphor for life. Fear of failure will keep you from experiencing life to the fullest. Don’t let it.

 

 

 

Suffering

Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements sit in front of me.

The second agreement is not to take anything personally.

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say or do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. Finally, when you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

I have been suffering. Tremendously.

What do you do when a parent, a loved one, someone you’re supposed to trust volleys words at you that hurt and cause pain? How do you recover from something like that?

I am not thick skinned. I am a sensitive. A big empath with a big heart.

Right now my heart is hurting. I know the suffering is self-induced but I can’t get the words out of my head.

Today I was listening to a documentary. The final words of the piece hit me like a giant wave. It was about being a good person despite bad circumstances. It was about forgiveness and hope.

It was all I could to hold myself while the tears came. Wave after wave of pain, crashing through me. I cried like a dam broke. There is this fear that comes with that level of emotion: “What if I won’t be able to stop?”

Counselors in the past have assured me that I’ll come through it. That my body will allow what is necessary to come up and out.

I’m still emoting.

I started a meditation class a week ago. I walked out of the class knowing there was no way I could come back. At least not right now. The teacher spoke of suffering, of Buddhist principles of non attachment. It was too much. I felt worse. I just could not handle that level of truth in this moment.

I am working one of the toughest steps of my program right now. I am writing on resentments. I get physically ill sometimes from the writing. My levels of frustration, perfection and rejection at the words I am writing come out full bore and manifest in my body. I get headaches that develop into migraines. Nausea and feeling like I’m going to throw up.

I know it’s better out than in but it’s like a Pandora’s Box. All these things that I’ve kept hidden are coming out and I’m shocked at how emotional I get despite so much time passing since the events happened.

I pray for the courage and the strength to pick up the pen and write every day. To see the words appear on paper, to get them out of my head and heart and to allow them to occupy space on a blank page.

One of my readings today spoke about the presumption of being good enough, worthy enough and lovable enough. That I am exactly the right kind of person, in the right place, at the right time.

I never grew up with that message. In fact, it was just the opposite.

It’s up to me to learn it, to voice it and live it.

 

 

 

 

Recovery

Where to begin?

This is the most honest, soul bearing post I have yet to write.

My parents have come and gone on their annual visit. For most, this is likely a happy event. Not so much for me.

You see I grew up in alcoholism.

In a high functioning family, very driven and accomplished. From the outside everything looked good. On the inside, not so much.

I knew from a very young age that something was very wrong.

I won’t go into details here but suffice it to say that it’s a miracle I’m still here. What I have been through and then later in life, done to myself is horrific, painful and sad.

I’m a grateful member of Al-Anon. It’s a 12 step program for families and friends of alcoholics. I’ll be in recovery for the rest of my life because I know how dangerous it is to stray away from the fold, my program and my sponsor.

I had a slip this winter. I went back to old coping mechanisms and come spring realized the power of my self-destruction. I rarely do things in half measures. It’s a hallmark of this dis-ease.

I’m picking up the pieces now yet again.

I thought when I had walked through the doors of Al-Anon three years ago that I had hit rock bottom. Little did I know that I would be hitting several more rock bottoms. The fellowship and my program saw me through all these moments.

I’m there once again. I’m slowly coming out of it.

I’m heading off to a treatment program for codependency and family of origin issues. I’ve been in therapy in some shape or form for a large part of my life and from a very young age.

I believe in the healing power of therapy and especially group therapy. There’s something magical that happens when strangers come together and listen to each other’s stories and pain. There’s validation that I’m not crazy. That I’m simply a spiritual being living a human existence. As we all are.

There’s a letting go. A normalization happens. Secrets come out. Monsters fade away. Light is shed on the most painful topics of this very human existence we all share.

There is laughter and tears. Joy and pain. Exhilaration and suffering.

This is a great big gift and a reminder to place the focus on me and my healing.

I’d like to say that the visit I had with my parents was a good one. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. There were a lot of good parts, however, there were some truly awful pieces that have left me gutted and gasping for air.

The level of denial, manipulation, control and abuse in my family is staggering.

I feel like a martian because I’m the only one in recovery.

I have yet to find the gratitude that others in the fellowship have for the disease of alcoholism because all I can see is what it’s taken from my family and my life.

I hate the disease. I’ve been ripped open again by it and I despise it. I hate the toll it’s taken on my parents, my brother and our estranged family.

My friends see courage and strength when they look at me. Right now I’m a mess as I type these words. All I can do is breathe.

All I can do is go back to basics and practice self-care. Sleep has been elusive again and I know that doesn’t help whatsoever. It makes things so much worse.

I’m trying really hard not to isolate and hide. I’m bumping up my meetings, making sure I get exercise, eat well and get out. I connect with my sponsors and touch stones and I am working the snot out of my program right now.

It’s all I can do until this heaviness lifts and lightness comes back.

I was reminded in readings today to act as if, to stick to a routine until it becomes more comfortable and normal again. Whatever normal is.

It’s huge to share this piece of me so publicly. This dis-ease has impacted every facet of my life and my business.

It is my greatest hope that as I progress through the step work that things somehow become easier. That there are less roller coaster rides, huge highs and devastating lows. Less darkness and much, much more light.

In sharing this story, I hope to impact others’ lives in some small way.

I hesitate to push the publish button.

Please be kind.

Thank you.

 

 

Grounding

How do you stay grounded when everything is swirling around you?

Lately it feels as though my life has been upended.

Everything I know has shifted. It’s a time of huge transformation in all facets of my life.

Of letting go of the old and having faith that what is coming will be amazing. It so will. I can feel it.

Where is the safest spot in a tornado? At its very center, that is where the calm lies.

It takes courage, strength and faith to believe that I will come through this completely transformed. I KNOW I will.

It’s MY time. To live the life I have always wanted. To be of service to as many as I can through my gifts in sports psychology.

No more hiding. No more playing small. No more dimming my light. NO MORE.

I have a vision. I have peeps who love me, keep me grounded and cheer me on. I have faith in a force greater than me that will manifest all my heart’s desires. I believe.

I have manifested plenty in my life. The power of intention is huge. Where your breath goes, your focus goes. What you focus on expands. Make it intentional, amazing and big.

I am so mindful of my word lately. Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements have come back into my life at the right time.

The first agreement is to be impeccable with your Word. “Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.”

I have been challenged by that agreement repeatedly lately about the words I say to myself. The itty bitty shitty committee is fierce lately. Shut up ego. Enough.

When this happens, I return to breath and breathe. Deep belly breaths and as many as it takes to come back to center and to me.

My return to a stronger yoga practice helps, meditation helps, walks help. Returning to breath in the midst of a tornado helps. Repeating to myself I am safe, I am love and I am peace.

It’s a challenge to stay grounded amidst whirling dervishes and transformation. Self-care is key.

Step by step, moment to moment and breath to breath.

Breathe. All will be well.

 

 

 

Rest

Rest.

I’ve written of rest here before.

A client has come back to work with me. Her results are just not there.

This ski racer does well in training but can’t pull it together on race day. The good news story is this is a common occurrence.

As I spoke to her, the true story came out. I attract clients who often mirror what is going on in my own life or past life.

Turns out this kid is tired.

Her story is very similar to mine. Lots of pressure to succeed and a ticking time bomb.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever spoken of my story here. Well here it is:

I grew up in the Gatineau hills near a ski resort. My dad was a ski instructor, so my mum would bring the kids to the hill to spend time together as a family.

My mum taught us how to ski. I remember falling over so many times with her on the t bar. Getting my tongue stuck on the chairlift going up the hill. So many happy memories.

Once we were big enough, my dad took over. I was enrolled in the Nancy Greene program and started racing. I was a sociable kid stopping to say hi to people who were cheering me on.

I have spoken of my father and his influence on my ski racing career on this blog before. I was coached by my dad. He was the technical delegate at most of my races as I got older. He was the force behind me. Analyzing results and coaching me into the space I needed to deliver top performances.

Dad would tell me to back off and finish my second run when I had a commanding lead. I was a consistent podium finisher with my talent, drive and his support.

My father worked for the public service and passed up promotions so he could move us to Quebec City to access better coaching and a bigger pool.

The first year I arrived, I was on fire. I had finished in the top three in my region and had won a conditioning camp and a ski camp because of my results. After those camps, I headed to another ski camp with my new team.

I had the best coach of my life that year. Thank you Michel Paquette for your unwavering support and understanding. Things started to shift for me that year. I asked my coach to tell my parents not to watch my training runs. The pressure was building.

I used to race and beat Melanie Turgeon who went on to make the National Ski team. That was the talent I had. I worked tirelessly. We built a start gate in the back yard so I could practice my starts because I was still in the gate when I kicked back and the timer started.

I would come home after school, put my ski gear on and practice my starts in the dark back light from the light coming from the house. Driven? Yes. Determined? Yes. Hungry? Yes.

I did very well that year, podium finishing again. Then I shifted age categories and ended up with a punitive coach I could not relate to.

Things began to unravel quickly. Negative reinforcement was used by my parents to get me to work out. The sport that was my whole life began to shift.

It unraveled further when one day in economics class I burst into tears. I was a pressure cooker. Fortunately, my school had a psychologist but she wasn’t me. There were two options: to keep racing or to quit.

I chose to quit. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I packed up my trophies and medals on the shelf my father had built and stored them in the basement.

I do what I do today because of that story. Ski racing was my life. It was my passion but it became too much for one kid to handle.

Now I help amateur athletes like the ski racer I mentioned because I don’t want them to go through the pain, heartache and suffering I did.

My ski racer is at this choice point. All the resources money can buy. She is US Ski Team material the day she decides she wants it.

Coaches have said she is done. Her coach is very emotional and puts pressure on her. Her mom is advocating for her. It is HER talent.

She’s tired and needs a break from skiing while staying strong this summer with a conditioning plan.

I’ll be her vault, her safe space, a person to talk to who fully understands what she is going through.

I’ve got you kid.

It is YOUR talent. What you choose to do with it is up to you. Either way, I will support you.

 

 

Pain

Pain.

How does it manifest in your body?

A long time client had a bad fall ski racing. Here is her list of injuries: dislocated shoulder, fractured humerus, pulled ligament off the bone. Sprained medial collateral ligament and a bad bone contusion.

Thankfully there will be no surgery. In two weeks, once the swelling diminishes, she’ll start physiotherapy.

I’ll be with her every step of the way.

We are working on healing imagery together, visualizing herself healthy and whole.

Your body speaks your mind. It’ll make you pay attention if you’re not. The good news is you can also heal your life.

Pay attention to what your body is saying to you. There are reasons behind everything. Louise Hay has done ground breaking work in this area. I highly recommend checking her out.

No one is immune to imbalances. Take care of yourselves. Listen to your bodies. Pay attention. Love yourself into the parts that need compassion. Your body will shift and so will you.

 

 

Gratitude

I woke up feeling grateful Easter Sunday.

Despite having a cold, I’m still healthy.

I have a roof over my head, running water, food. The basics are covered.

I looked a little deeper and realized my heart was full.

I had done sports psychology sessions with ski clubs again this winter and continued on with my private clients.

I also worked at the ski hill doing something I love. I met some great people at the shop and I had fun. Being a social animal I enjoy interacting with customers and am good at it. I became shop mom to the kids working at the shop, plying them with muffins and other baked goods.

It’s a rare occurrence for me to find work I truly enjoy outside of sports psychology but I was in my happy place at the hill with all the skiing I could manage. A blessing.

As I looked out the window at the blue sky and the sun shining, I had this profound sense of contentment and peace. Life is good.

Even though my beloved ski season is drawing to a close in a few short weeks and I have to seek employment elsewhere, I’m happy with a job well done. Truly.

A former client has just come back to work with me which makes my heart sing.

Spring is unfolding and with it the promise of growth, renewal and change.

I’m looking forward to seeing what comes.

Happy Easter with your loved ones.

 

 

 

 

Rest

Rest.

An important factor in any athlete’s life.

One of my clients was disagnosed with mono earlier this winter. His family is very A type, no rest for the weary. He’s still playing tennis and wondering why he’s not getting better.

There is no remedy for mono except rest. I know, I’ve been there.

I sometimes wonder what it’s going to take for this athlete to slow down because the Universe sure is giving him a message.

Unfortunately there is very little I can do when it comes to situations like this. I can speak to the athlete and his parents but ultimately the decision to stop is up to them.

This client has played through injury and now this.

Rest is part an athlete’s life. It’s just as important as training.

Please make it a priority before it forces you to.

 

Coaches

Coaches.

They have such a huge impact on athletes don’t they?

The impact can be positive or negative.

For the most part I come across good coaches but every once in a while I scratch my head in equal parts wonder and horror.

One of my clients had a guest coach run practice lately. I’ve been working on confidence with this client for months. In one session this coach ripped her to shreds. Seriously.

I couldn’t believe it. I had to question the validity and accuracy of the coach’s comments. To remind my client of her strengths and tools. She came around eventually.

It’s hopefully a blip now but it had a negative impact on her.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, there’s a great coach from one of the ski racing clubs I’m working with this winter. His kids love him, he’s well respected in both the coaching community and with parents. His athletes benefit by his presence and guidance. All good things.

I have my own coaching story.

My family moved to access better coaching when I was ski racing. I went from having the best coach of my career to the very worst coach ever at what was a crucial point in my path. He was punitive, negative and I could not relate to him whatsoever. He was partially responsible for my decision to end my ski racing career. I often wonder what would have happened had I kept my great coach.

Coaches matter. Good coaching matters.

I always tell athletes to make sure they ask for what they need from their coaches. Coaches want to see their charges do well. For the most part, they care. They are not, however, mind readers so make sure to communicate what you need from your coach.

A heartfelt thanks to all the coaches who had a part in shaping my ski racing and had a positive impact on my life.

 

Presence

Presence.

Presence is my word for 2016.

Presence means showing up fully as much as possible. Not hiding from my light.

Marianne Wilkinson’s words float through my head:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves: who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

As we let our own light shine, we give people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence liberates others.”

I am often challenged by letting my light shine consistently. Doing so is my intention for the New Year.

No more hiding, sabotaging or allowing fear to run my life. I know fear will show up but I won’t allow it to dictate my actions. To sabotage my success.

I want to be fully present in 2016. To take strong action in my sports psychology business and in turn help more kids be more confident in sport and life.

To a more fully present 2016.

What’s your intention? What do you want to manifest? Dream and make it happen.

 

 

Breathing

It’s the end of the year. A time to reflect on all that has come to pass, find the lessons and set intentions for the new year.

What are your intentions? What do you want to manifest this year?

Take a moment to reflect. To be grateful and to dream.

In looking over the past year I can say that loss has featured prominently. I had to say goodbye to my beloved cat of many years. I had to say goodbye to a new love before anything could really come of it.

I’m still bruised and hurting from that last one.

That’s where breathing comes in.

When a song plays and stops me in my tracks and the tears come all I can do is breathe. When a memory surfaces and causes tears to flow all I can do again is breathe. When life gets to be too much and I can’t seem to take another step all I can do is breathe.

Breath. It slows everything down doesn’t it? It brings us back to ourselves. It grounds us and keeps us here in the present.

I have a lot to be grateful for in the past year. In the coming days I will sit with all this and set my intentions for 2016.

I urge you to do the same. What does the new year hold for you?

Set your intentions and watch them come to life.

May the new year bring you the desires of your heart.

 

 

 

 

Shinrin-yoku

In the next few posts I’ll be exploring some cultural concepts that are new to me and I’m guessing most of you.

Shinrin-Yoku is a Japanese term that means “forest bathing”.

The idea being that spending time in the forest and natural areas is good preventative medicine since it lowers stress.

Having grown up in the Gatineau Hills, I can sincerely say I’m a huge fan of shinrin-yoku. The forest is the place I go to get grounded and centered and come back to myself.

I’ve healed many a sad, broken heart in the forest.

I guess I can be called a tree hugger. Nothing grounds me quite like hugging a tree.

If you haven’t done it before, give it a try. You’ll feel the difference instantly.

Get out and enjoy some shinrin-yoku, your heart will thank you for it.

 

 

 

Wabi sabi

Wabi sabi is the Japanese idea of embracing the imperfect, of celebrating the worn, the cracked, the patinaed, both as a decorative concept and a spiritual one – it’s an acceptance of the toll that life takes on us all.

We are all wabi sabi aren’t we? No one is perfect. There is no such thing.

If we can learn to love ourselves as we are, for all our chips and cracks, patinas, and crooked lines. To embrace ourselves just the way we are and cherish the differences instead of trying to make them disappear.

Let’s try and embrace wabi sabi over this holiday season which can at times be a bit crazy. Understand that life happens while you’re making other plans and enjoy what happens instead.

Wabi sabi is a work in progress for me. It’ll come.

Merry Christmas everyone. Wishing you happiness, peace and wabi sabi.

 

 

 

 

Resurfacing

It’s been two months since I’ve written.

I don’t know about you but I’ve felt my absence on this platform. Two months is a long time to go missing and be absent. In sharing where I’ve been, I hope my honesty helps others.

Ever since college I’ve gone through periods of highs and lows. The highs are awesome and super productive. The lows are terrible and wracked with anxiety and fear.

That’s where I’ve been, going through yet another low. They tend not to last as long as the highs and somehow I manage to pull myself out.

It’s funny because I’ve recently taken on a new client. She’s an amazing kid but she is plagued with confidence and anxiety. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

That’s how the Universe shows up for me. This time it’s planted a client in front of me that reminds me of me. I get the incredible gift of helping her and for that I am truly grateful.

Because in helping her I am helping myself.

In listening to her describe her anxiety it sounds like my story. I too feel like something is wrong and like whatever it is won’t ever go away. Like her, I feel it most often while I’m lying in bed.

That’s where I share my tools with her and hopefully remember them when the anxiety I feel hits me.

I remember to breathe. Big, deep belly breaths. As many of them as I can manage. I’ll often use a YouTube meditation to help ease the anxiety and take my mind off things. I’ll try and go to my happy place.

Another secret revealed. Just because I do sports psychology and teach positive living tools doesn’t mean I have it all figured out and am immune to life’s challenges.

I have my share of them, the important thing is to come out on the other side as quickly as possible with my resiliency intact.

It’s my greatest hope for you too.

Gratitude

Thanksgiving is almost here. It’s my favorite holiday because to me it’s about being grateful.

I am giving thanks for all the blessings in my life:

The freedom and opportunity of the country I live in.

The beauty of nature that surrounds me.

The love and support of my family and friends.

The safety and comfort of my home.

The fresh, nutritious food I eat.

The comfort and love of my darling cat Tabby.

The work I do with athletes, helping them find confidence in life through sport.

The wonderful art I create.

The list is endless.

What are you grateful for?

I do a gratitude practice every night. I list all the things I am grateful for every day.

I also have a gratitude jar on my kitchen table where I put notes of things I am grateful for.

Going to gratitude when life seems too much or things get hard reminds me of just how much I do have to be grateful for. What you focus on expands. Choose wisely, choose gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Words, words, words

Have you ever paid attention to your language?

The words that come out of your mouth? They are a direct reflection of your state of mind.

When I work with clients I notice the patterns of language. Is the chatter negative or positive?

If it’s negative, I often ask would you speak to your best friend the way you talk to yourself?

The answer universally is a soft no of realization.

Awareness, acceptance, action. It’s a three step process to change isn’t it?

Speak with integrity. I often hear the words killing me used all over the place. Really? Is it really killing you? Or I hate this or that. Hmm how about softening your approach?

Everything is energy. The words we speak to ourselves, to others, all of it matters.

Dr Masaru Emoto studied the effect of thoughts on water. Look him up, his work is amazing and life changing.

Essentially, love, prayer, and meditation can change the crystals of water, however, the reverse is also true.

What does that mean for us?

As humans we are composed of 70% water.

Ultimately it means that what we think creates our reality, not just emotionally but physically. Period.

Chose your thoughts wisely, speak with integrity. Set positive intentions and watch your world change.

The itty bitty shitty committee

Ah the itty bitty shitty committee. You know the one I’m talking about, the negative voice in your head, the one that stems from ego that fills you with fear, negativity and anger. That voice can quickly gather a committee and become thunderous can’t it?

I was riding along the pathways a few weeks ago. I stopped in a gorgeous spot, near rapids. There was a man with a dog who was thinking about crossing in the shallow, fast running water.

He was sitting on the fence about the whole affair. I gently coaxed him to cross. The decision was his. His dog was more than happy to go in. He had the best footwear. If he got wet he’d have a refreshing walk home on a hot day.

Just as he started walking into the water another couple appeared. The man became this guy’s itty bitty shitty committee. I’m sure he was trying to be helpful, as there is a positive intention behind every action, however, he was the voice of fear.

He went through every possible bad outcome the man could encounter. He brought up the fact that his cell phone was in his pocket and on and on he went. At one point I actually told him to shut it.

There we were, the good angel and the bad demon on the shore while this man battled it out with running water, slippery rock surfaces and his dog.

What do you think he decided to do?

Take a guess.

He decided not to cross. If looks could kill, the bad demon would have been instantly blown away by yours truly.

Instead, I said to the man well maybe next time you’ll have the courage to cross without an audience.

What does that voice tell you? What real estate do you let it occupy in your headspace? How does it influence you on the daily?

Lately I’ve allowed that voice to take up way too much space in my head. No more. Oh I know it’ll still be there on the sidelines waiting to jump in, however, I will let all the good rush in. I choose to focus on the positive. Because there is plenty.

I have a good life. I am loved. Surrounded by amazing friends. A passion for sports psychology and a desire to help as many as I can in this one life. Live Natalie says the voice. Live fully. Don’t hide because you’re hurting. You’ll be ok. You are safe.

That’s the voice I choose. What about you?

Love

Five weeks ago I met a man who changed my life.

We fell in love on the spot, the stuff movies are made of, even though I didn’t know it at the time.

I wasn’t looking for once, I was dating someone else. He was also in a relationship.

You can’t explain attraction can you? We were magnets for each other.

As much as I tried to understand, to resist and deny, my heart shifted.

After six years of trying to make a relationship work, this just was. We were tied from the day we met.

He doesn’t live in the same city as I do and so for four and a half weeks I didn’t see him. I can’t begin to explain or describe the ache I felt.

We texted and spoke daily for a while. Then he asked for silence as he couldn’t be in two relationships at once.

All the while, being the eternal optimist that I am, I banked on the best outcome.

The best outcome has come to pass. He is going to go do the work he needs to do on himself. To learn to like, accept and love himself. Whatever we were is over.

I am a change agent, It’s what I do. I shift people. I shifted him.

What I didn’t expect is for him to shift me.

Thank you for loving me. For helping me see that love is possible. For cracking open my heart and bringing in light.

My heart is shattered. I am gutted. I’ve forgotten what pain like this feels like.

Even in this thick blanket of fog that surrounds me and pain so deep I don’t know what do when the waves hit but allow it, I know something is being worked out in me. Healing is happening on a grand scale.

I will come out on the other side of this with insights and lessons learned like I always do.

Be well love. Thank you.

Moments

Life is all about moments isn’t it?

Like most, I grew up fortunate in a lot of ways and lacking in others.

I was raised in the Gatineau hills with access to a lake and a ski hill. I became a fish and someone who flies down hills at speeds most people drive. It was an idyllic life on the surface, complete with a golden retriever named Blondie.

We all have stories don’t we? Every single one of us. How do yours define you?

This blog has evolved over time. From a place where I regaled friends and readers with my funny dating adventures to a blog about a relationship I was in for six years to a more professional platform where I speak of my passion for sports psychology and helping amateur athletes succeed.

The posts are all stories. Stories of my life. I’ve shared the ones I wanted to share and kept to myself the ones I don’t.

I do positive psychology for a reason. The tools I teach are what I most need to learn. In sharing them with others, facilitating their growth and seeing their success I get to give back. I get to help young athletes succeed not just in sport but in life.

I’m all about moments. No one has ever been able to hold on to a single one.

In life there are no do overs, no rewinds and no playbacks.

All we have is this moment, and the next if we’re lucky.

What do you want to do with your moments?

I’ve spent far too much time hiding. Hiding from my greatness, from the gifts I have, thinking I wasn’t good enough. A fraud for teaching these tools when I sometimes felt like I couldn’t take another step in my own life.

It took the sudden and unexpected death of a best friend to remind me that life is for living. What was I waiting for? I was done being afraid and doing everything else but my calling. Thank you James for your celestial kick in the ass.

It’s been almost five years since he left this plane. Since then I’ve helped many kids get greater joy out of doing what they love in sport and in life. It is my raison d’être. The reason I was put on this earth.

From now on my promise and commitment to myself is that there will be no more hiding. My light will be shining bright.

I have an accountability partner, who happens to also be a cherished friend. Together we are committed to making our businesses grow. To keeping ourselves in this space where good things happen because we will work our asses off to make them happen and the Universe will deliver tenfold.

I’m looking forward to what the future brings, moment by moment. Are you?

Light shining

I am a dream seeker and a rebel. I’ve never fit a mold and if there was one, it was broken a very long time ago.

I care deeply about myself, my life and those who matter to me but mostly I am about making a difference in this one amazing life.

I wasn’t born to play small, and while life has tried to knock me down more times than I can count. I’ve picked myself up, dusted myself off and moved on.

I strive to live my life with the guts to be myself unapologetically.

Having guts means that I’m willing to risk and to go after what I love.

I stay up late and wake up early chasing dreams and making them happen.

I often find myself alone because of my choices, however, I know there are a whole lot of us out there striving to break free from the mold to be well-behaved women to be loved. I know because I’ve met them and can count them as mentors and dear friends.

I can’t follow the rules for the life of me. When given the choice, I will always follow the most difficult road because that’s where I learn the most.

I have to take care of myself. Who else is going to do it for me? I am the master of keeping my shit together even when it seems I can’t take another step.

I tuck myself into bed each night. It’s not because I don’t want a lover with me but because I know that unless it’s the real thing, solitude is so much sweeter than putting on an act.

I refuse to conform no matter how many times people shake their heads.

Why can’t I be like everyone else? Why can’t I stay in an unhappy relationship? Why can’t I stay with a secure job? Why can’t I suck it up because I’m an adult? Because that is what adults are supposed to do, isn’t it?

No. Hells to the no. I was born differently. Where others see stability, I see stifling.

I won’t give up on the desires of my heart.

I may seem to be wandering aimlessly sometimes, it’s all part of the plan. I may drive you crazy at times, and scare the shit out of you but life would be boring any other way.

Marianne Williamson said it best didn’t she?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I’ve lived this quote. I’ve inspired others to live this quote. I will continue on this path because it is the only way I know.

I get scared shitless sometimes. We all do. It is the measure of who we are to have the courage to continue. To believe in our dreams. To believe in our path. To awaken. I truly believe we are spiritual beings living a human existence.

Don’t you?

Shift happens

Last night, on a patio by the water under a blanket of stars, I helped a friend shift.

My new friend believed that finding love was over for her.

She’s an amazing woman. Beautiful, smart, strong and sensitive. She’s raised two wonderful children on her own and thrown herself into a successful career.

In her fifties, having found love and having had her heart broken recently, she doesn’t want to get hurt again.

What a gift that love was. Now she knows there’s a possibility.

I helped move her through her limiting beliefs, into her emotions and her tears.

My friend is worthy of love. She will be alright and safe no matter what happens, however, nothing can happen if she doesn’t allow it to.

The image that came to mind was that a of a walled fortress with a drawbridge. Open the drawbridge I said. What’s the worse that can possibly happen?

She’s been dating but it’s been a series of misses. No kidding.

Healing happened last night. Shift happened.

I believe in the law of attraction. When you’re in a good space you will attract good things. Just as the reverse is also true.

My friend broke part of the shield that keeps her safe last night. I can’t wait to see what comes from it.

Being who she is, she’ll move through the rest of her process on her own.

I’m happy I was able to help her. To love her through her pain and know that she’ll come through it all transformed.

What a gift.

Injury

Injury.

It’s heart shattering for athletes isn’t it?

Having been through a severed achilles that sidelined me for the better part of a year, I know exactly how it feels.

I was speaking to one of my clients the other day who was playing through injury. He’s a tennis player and has a rotator cuff injury from overuse.

He’s had to cut back on playing significantly, however, he is playing in a tournament this weekend.

My question was: “Why are you still playing?”

He had done a camp the week before and played 35 hours of tennis. 35 HOURS with an injured rotator cuff. Um hello?

This is a kid who pushes himself to the extremes.

He told me a story where he had sprained not just one but both ankles on the court and refused to get off even though he was injured. An official begged him to get off, saying he’d happily refund him his money.

I was laughing so hard as he told me this story because I could just picture it.

We had a conversation around managing himself. About strategies to deal with the pain when it does come when he’s on the court in a match. To stop. To listen to his body. To give it the time it needs to heal.

I taught him how to do healing imagery to help his shoulder.

I reminded him of his breath, his court rituals and that he’s got this.

Sometimes that’s all you need isn’t it?

Someone to hear you, give you some strategies if needed and to believe in you.

How do you handle injury?

Inspiration

Today I went skiing on the most beautiful of bluebird days with full on hero snow in effect.

Skiing solo, I always strike up conversations with people in the chairlift. It’s interesting, you never know what you’ll learn and it’s better than sitting in silence.

Well today I met someone who inspired me. She started skiing this season and readily avows that skiing is her life. I love it. I couldn’t get enough of her enthusiasm and sheer joy to be skiing. It was so beautiful.

She’s in her forties and decided to start skiing this past winter. She’s progressed from a plow to parallel and seems determined to push her limits. I was really impressed with her.

It’s refreshing to meet someone like minded who blurts out “skiing is my life!”

It boggles my mind when I meet someone so passionate. I mean how often does something like this happen?

It reinforces my passion for the sport I’ve been practicing for almost 40 years now and spurs me on.

I love how life works. The people who are put in your path to remind you just how fortunate you really are.

Amen sister!

Performance anxiety

Performance anxiety is a beast my clients present with often.

They have no problem showing up with their A game in practice but when it comes time to make it count on race day they fall flat.

It’s fair to say they psych themselves out.

I was giving a session on the weekend and one of the coaches told me about one of the racers going through major performance anxiety last year. The poor kid couldn’t eat for days before a race and was a mess. Needless to say he couldn’t pull it together on race day.

He’s made quite the turnaround this season and is on the podium at just about every race.

Some mental preparation can help when performance anxiety strikes.

Here are three mental strategies to help you get back to your A game:

Breathing. Sounds odd because it’s something we naturally do without thinking about it. The difference is now I want you to think about it. Practice belly breaths. Send your breath past your lungs to your belly. Feel your belly go out when you inhale and come in when you exhale. Try and extend the breath for as long as you can. Play with it and see where it takes you. Guaranteed you will feel more calm and relaxed because of it.

Imagery. I’ve spoken about it here before. It’s such a powerful tool and it has such an impact on performance. Seeing yourself going through the motions of your athletic performance has far reaching benefits. The ski coaches I work with have taken to timing their ski racers to see how long it takes them to run the course through their minds. They are trying to get them to be mindful of time. You want your imagery in this instance to take as much time as it would to run the course.

Feelings. Think about how you want to feel when you’re engaged in your best performances. If you’re a ski racer I’m willing to bet fast is one of them. Once you’ve identified some feelings integrate them into your imagery. Really feel the feeling with every fiber of your being as you’re engaged in your imagery. Run your imagery with how you want to feel and see where it takes you.

Use these tools. Practice them and with time they will become second nature.

These tools are just as useful in sport as they are in life. Whether it be at school or on the job. A little positive imagery before a test or presentation can go a long way to a better outcome.

Self-imposed prisons

What’s a self imposed prison?

Einsten said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them.”

That says something doesn’t it?

A self imposed prison to me means misery and being stuck. We are often our own worst enemies aren’t we?

What are our self imposed prisons? Fear, loneliness, a comfort zone?

One of mine is fear. Every time one of my client’s parents wants to talk to me my head goes there. It sounds a little like this: “That’s it, they are going to let me go.” With absolutely no evidence to the contrary, that’s where my mind goes.

I’ve been told fear stands for false evidence appearing real. Seems pretty accurate in this instance doesn’t it?

What would I do if I wasn’t afraid? What would be possible?

It’s food for thought.

One less heartbeat

Two weeks ago I said goodbye to my companion of 13 years, my beloved sweet cat Minou.

My heart hasn’t been the same since. I’ve never known a pain like this, it’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before. The ache is still there.

My house feels lonely and empty without him. Life won’t ever be the same.

Minou was the best thing that ever happened to me. He taught me how to care and love for a being. He gave me unconditional love in return. He was a constant in my life when so many things weren’t.

He was a rescue. I always say we rescued each other.

He was a beautiful grey manx with green eyes.

Up until the very end he was a fighter.

He was in and out of the vet’s office a few times since the fall. His kidneys were failing. He lost a lot of weight and deteriorated rapidly in the end, losing his mobility.

It was sad to see him this way, a shadow of his former self.

I rushed him to emergency on the day before I was to put him to sleep. He was trembling and crying out in pain. It was heart breaking.

He was passing as I arrived at the animal hospital. I was told he had but a few moments left. So I held him in my arms crying and saying goodbye.

He shocked everyone by coming back to life. I like to think Minou felt he hadn’t given his mom a proper goodbye. I held him in my arms for hours before I made the decision to let him go.

A friend came to keep me company. I regaled her with stories of Minou’s adventures while he sat purring contentedly in my lap.

I guess he wasn’t ready to go because the vet had to change his catheter and then administer twice the dose of the injection to stop his heart. Again an unusual occurrence.

By then all of us were crying. I was telling Minou it was ok to let go and that I’d be ok. Even though my heart was breaking and the last thing I wanted was to let him go.

He passed peacefully in my arms. The love of my life.

The weeks since have been difficult. There’s been a lot of sorrow.

I miss Minou terribly and wish I could have had more time with him.

I imagine him up there creating havoc, chasing squirrels and lying in the sunshine, happy and healthy.

Thank you Minou for being such a good friend. You’ve left your paw prints all over my heart.

Living

Are you living?

There is a dream inside of you. Kept hidden from the world. You’ve made excuses for it. Delayed it.

You’ve listened to people telling you to be realistic. Deep down in your heart, you know you’re not living to your potential and life is something you’re just getting on with.

Do you know where the wealthiest place in the world is? The graveyard. It’s the place where inventions were never invented. Businesses never erected. Songs never sung. Books never written. Ideas never nurtured. People never realized. Because they were scared to take a risk.

You’re not in the graveyard yet.

We get one life. Every passing moment we will not get back again.

There is no rewind button on life.

The present moment is so precious. We have to be here, be in it. Make the most of it. Live our dreams because they are possible.

Helen Keller was once asked what on earth would be worse than being born blind? Her answer: “It would be so much worse to be born with sight and have no vision.”

Do you. Be you. Be here now.

Your dreams are possible. Live your life. Step into your greatness.

The average person dies at 25 and is buried at 75.

Do not go where the path may lead but go where there is no path and leave a trail.

Compassion

Compassion.

What does it mean to you?

Lately I’ve been challenged by finding compassion. Compassion for myself, my cat and those around me.

I grew up on a ski hill. Call it nature and nurture I turned into a ski racer. A decent one at that. Along the way I developed something called perfection.

Ski racing is a sport where hundreths of a second make the difference. Where I constantly sought to improve my strength, technique and tactics. It’s a sport where your mettle is tested.

I flew down hills faster than most people drive, constantly seeking speed and a winning line. I was a consistent podium finisher. Always pushing myself to be stronger, faster and smoother.

I lived for speed and for flying down courses with gates coming at you as fast as possible. Always seeking to shave time and to win.

Ski racing was my life and my job. I had teammates, some I liked, others I tolerated. On race day all that fell away. It was time. Time to put all the training I’d done along with mental preparation and make it happen.

Sometimes it did. Sometimes it didn’t. Always I learned. I watched my competition’s lines. I ran the course in my mind and in my body countless times. When the starter counted down I was like a tiger, ready to fly. To lay it all down and give it my all.

That drive is still in me. The passion too. I constantly seek to learn, to better myself and to be the best me I can be.

Sometimes compassion is lost in the process. This hardness appears. The itty bitty shitty committee activates. Sometimes I can pull myself out, sometimes I can’t. I call it the swamp. That icky place where fear, anxiety, sadness and negativity lie.

I coach my clients on how to pull themselves out of that space. To reach for a branch. To grasp at something positive to draw themselves out.

I tell my clients there is no such thing as perfection. It’s something we create to punish ourselves. To keep ourselves stuck. It’s a terrible weight to carry.

I teach them there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. I ask them to highlight what went well and what was challenging. Then I ask them to draw lessons they can take with them the next time they are faced with an experience.

In the end, I am teaching them compassion. Compassion for being human. We are spiritual beings living a human existence. I fundamentally believe that.

My clients give me the opportunity to reflect on the words that come out of my mouth. The chance to apply those lessons to my own life. They give me just as much as I hopefully give them.

I love what I do. I value the trust parents and my clients put in me. It is the greatest gift to be able to work with young humans who never cease to amaze me. It’s my juice.

Heart full.

Believe in yourself

Believe in yourself.

What does that mean to you?

I was on the phone with a client yesterday whose number one roadblock is herself. She works hard, wants to fix her technical and tactical aspects all while getting caught up in her big brain.

I’ve been working with her for three years now. We have tried a number of approaches together. She’s taken the tools I’ve given her and run with them. She has these moments of brilliance, like last season where she won her first race, and is on a high then crashes.

Consistent, solid performances are the nirvana of every athlete.

It’s what I want for all my clients.

How do you get there?

By building foundational pieces. By working just as hard on your mental aspect as you do on your physical, technical and tactical aspects. Repetition. 300 repetitions forms a habit.

By using the tools I teach and figuring out which ones work best for you in your mental recipe. By focusing on how you want to feel in your best performances. Feelings drive actions and great results.

I attract clients who teach me what I most need to learn. There is no such thing as coincidences. I learn as I teach them. I get as much, if not more, out of my conversations with the athletes I work with.

I too need to get out of my own way. I need to believe in the gift and value that I bring to these athletes and the power that lies in spreading this knowledge out to the Universe. The ripple effect is huge.

The tools I teach are as good for sport as they are for life.

Believe in yourself. It changes everything.

Gratitude

Gratitude. How does it show up in your life?

I had planned on writing a post on gratitude this week, it seems especially timely after the events here in Ottawa.

A city has been changed in a single day. A loss of innocence has occurred. My heart goes out to the families of both Cpl Nathan Cirillo and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. Two people died tragically Wednesday in our peaceful city. Things will never be the same.

On the weekend, I was at a conference at the National Arts Center, steps away from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I had remarked to a friend how wonderful it was to see the military honor our dead by having sentries stand guard at the monument. As a former officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, I felt it a lovely gesture.

I was in an all day business planning session ten minutes away when shots were fired Wednesday, ironically our original location was to be blocks away from Parliament in the lockdown zone.

Shock. Horror. Anger. Sadness. I experienced all of these feelings when I learned of events.

Gratitude. I’m grateful to bystanders who stepped in to come to the aid of Cpl Nathan Cirilio. He was surrounded by people before he died. To emergency responders who run to and not away from danger to keep us safe. I’m grateful to the members of the Canadian Armed Forces who put their lives on the line daily abroad so we can enjoy our freedom here in Canada.

Gratitude. For the simple things. For friends and family reaching out to make sure I was safe. For my home, in a country where events like these are the exception and not the norm. For this beautiful city, our nation’s capital, and the strength of its people.

Courage

Courage. What does it mean to you?

I’ve been told lately that I’m courageous. I take risks by opening up, being honest and expressing my feelings.

It takes courage to change. Courage to walk a path that requires surrender, faith, and work, with the hope that I’ll shift. That life will unfold differently for me.

I’ve often had the courage to change. I’m curious about the world and people. I enjoy personal development and growth. I believe in the best in people and in change. I also know you have to be ready and willing.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of profound change recently and along with it, grief. I’m grieving many endings and have faith acceptance will come in its own time. If there’s one thing I know, my will won’t make it happen faster and I cannot control when the process is complete. It’s a journey and I trust things will fall into place and all will be well.

When the emotions come, I allow them to surface and release them. I don’t stuff them, overanalyze them or deny them. They are part of the process. Tears are healing.

I was crying uncontrollably the other day. A dam had burst and with it the floodgates opened. I allowed myself to cry, to feel and to let go.

Not knowing what to do with myself after a while, I decided to go for a hike. To use my body to process my emotions, release them and reconnect to my self through nature.

The hike was intense. Up an escarpment. At the beginning of the trail I jogged down the steps and up the hill and quickly found myself out of breath. I came to a first set of falls. I took a moment to stop, take a picture and catch my breath.

I continued along the path and was soon stepping from rock to rock. My heart pumping and my lungs acting like a bellows. I took breaks admiring the beauty around me.

I arrived at the first lookout and kept going to the second lookout. I could see far over the fields to the river and beyond. The view was breathtakingly beautiful.

As I continued I came to the stream that fed the falls, I was able to stop for a drink. I pushed on and climbed some more. More rocky steps and signage indicating I was less than halfway.

Still I climbed until I felt I had achieved what I came to do. Due to time limitations I turned back. The descent even sweeter than the climb. Taking the time to get a drink of water, to take pictures and breathe in the beauty surrounding me.

At the end of the trail I felt triumphant. I had the courage to take on a really hard climb. I did not try to make it all the way to the top, instead I enjoyed my journey. Rested, drank and appreciated the beauty around me.

Very much like a metaphor for life isn’t it?

Trust

Again it’s been a long while since I’ve written. Forgive me dear readers, life events in the past few months have taken precedence.

I was in the treetops on the weekend with a friend. An aerial park with ziplines and obstacles. I did not think twice about engaging in this activity. The first one in our group to go. I took on the cold metal bars of the high ladder, ready for whatever came my way.

The course was new to me. The first obstacle was a breeze with very little thought. The second, a set of moving wooden swings, where the goal is to cross by putting one foot onto the next swing suspended in midair with two lifelines between you and the ground.

I moved through the swinging obstacle swiftly. Midway through my brain caught up to me, with it came fear, doubt and if I had let it: paralysis. Thoughts came flying through my head: “This is scary and not so fun anymore.” “Can I do this?” “Am I going to be stuck here?”

As I moved on the committee engaged. You know the one. I have spoken of it here before. The itty bitty shitty committee. Thoughts popped up like: “OK that was not fun.” “Are there going to be more like that one?” “What if I freeze up and burst into tears and can’t move forward? What am I going to do then?” I had the perfect storm brewing.

Fortunately I chose my company well. My friend is tough, confident and more than capable of figuring things out. She’s also not prone to flights of emotion like I am. Half a dozen obstacles in I turned to her and said: “Why am I rushing through this like my life depends on it?” Her practical reply: “You didn’t have to go first.” Gee thanks, that’s helpful.

We had just finished a zipline and were on the ground. Ziplines are fun. I just have to make sure I remember to put my brake hand behind the pulley and not in front of it. Ouch.

The entire course took between two and three hours. We caught up to the group in front of us. All of a sudden the pace slowed. I started kibbitzing with the lovely woman in front of me and her daughter. I shared that my field is sports psychology and suddenly I realized the course was my mental training ground.

Trust does not come easily to me. I have been through significant life changes in the past few months. There have been many endings and losses to process. I am bruised, sore and still grieving on many levels.

I realized I was not doing a very good job of trusting myself or my equipment. We often teach what we most need to learn don’t we?

I pulled out my mental toolkit and started using some of the tools I impart to my athletes. I sang. A wonderful distraction method when something is not familiar to you. First in my head and then out loud. Why out loud you ask? Not because I have wonderful singing abilities but because I hold my breath.

I have spoken about breathing as a tool here before. Suddenly everything slows down. Breath connected to thought, connected to feeling and finally, to action.

I’d like to say things got easier as we went along. The reverse occurred. Fatigue set in. I don’t know about you, but I do not hang from my arms every day. Midway through my arms felt like jello with the shakes to go with. I also made the mistake of not eating properly before I left, energy dropped as a result and cold set in.

Luckily I was well surrounded. I had an excellent guide on the ground. He climbed up an obstacle and made things easier as I struggled across. The following zipline I started going backward because I did not have enough forward momentum. As I’m hanging off the obstacle, my arms screaming in protest, holding on, I am yelling for my treetop mate ahead of me. Thankfully she comes back and grabs me while I unceremoniously drag my caboose up onto the platform. Not fun.

Every now and again I’d stop and look around me. Here I was in the forest, surrounded by color, the smell of fall tickling my nose and the sun playing hide and seek with the clouds. I would look down and think to myself: “I would much rather be hiking right now.”

I tried to make the most of the outing. I’m sore and bruised in the strangest places today but grateful for the experience. I was able to trust myself enough to make it through while enjoying the company of those around me and the feeling of flying through the air surrounded by beauty.

My mentor

Well Father’s Day has come and gone. A day to celebrate dads. A very special day for me because I get to acknowledge and thank my mentor.

Growing up in ski racing, my dad was my coach. It’s a unique relationship to be coached by your father. Not always an easy one either.

Other than coaching, my father was heavily involved in my ski racing career. He was often a technical delegate at my races and helped out in any way he could. Ski racing is definitely a commitment for the whole family so both my parents were involved.

I remember my dad always being there. Inspecting the course with me, being present at the start and going over strategy with me. Being at the bottom when I finished. Going through calculations and numbers to figure splits and point differentials. Always cheering me on, always believing in me.

I had a successful ski racing career and I know it’s in no small part thanks to my dad. There is no way I could have gone as far as I did without his support and dedication. Racing was our way of life.

So on this Father’s Day here’s to you dad. Thanks for coaching me, supporting me and always believing in me. Your love, guidance and faith have helped me become the person I am today.

I love you dad.

Letting go

I have a client who is being challenged by letting go.

His itty bitty shitty committee is brutal.

He gets angry when his performance doesn’t go his way and lets his emotions get the better of him. Things quickly snowball and go downhill from there.

He’s been using the tools I gave him such as breathing, imagery and focusing on how he wants to feel and perform. He’s making progress.

Frustrated, he asked me: “How do I let go?”

My answer was: “You just do.”

I sound like Yoda don’t I?

I know it’s harder than it sounds. I believe we get something out of hanging on to thoughts or feelings and behaviors that no longer serve us.

To make room for the new you have to get rid of what no longer works.

What are you willing to let go?

Weigh in. I look forward to hearing from you.

Fear

Fear.

What does fear feel like to you?

Is it a numb feeling that spreads through you? Do your hairs stick up on end? Is it a feeling in your gut?

I’ve been dealing with fear for a month now.

Those who know me know my life has changed dramatically from a year ago. The changes are still happening. The latest being the sale of my home.

It’s a complicated story. One I won’t get into here. Suffice it to say my home for the past 16 years has been sold. I have to move.

A loss. One I have to grieve.

A necessary moving on I know though one I do not relish.

Fear has kept me stuck, hiding, paralyzed with anxiety to take the necessary steps to move forward.

I’m feeling better now. My fear has ebbed. I need to move forward.

What are your fears? How do you deal with them?

Faith

How does faith show up in your life?

A few weeks ago I received a phone call about another contract job opportunity. It was on my day off and I was literally in blissville.

I spent the day in Almonte shopping, kibitzing and being inspired by these incredible female entrepreneurs who own businesses down Mill street. I was recharging my batteries and filling my soul with creativity, beauty and nature.

Little did I know the Universe was looking out for me yet again.

I came back to the office the next day and found out an internal resource was going to be working with my team on a part-time basis providing the support I do. I immediately launched into research mode to find out what the scoop was.

I started panicking and went into “I’m going to be let go” mode. I focused on the tasks I had but this feeling of unease swept over me. I spoke to my boss about the new resource and asked how it was going to work out. He did not have an answer for me. I pledged my full cooperation, focused on teamwork and said I needed help which was true.

From the very beginning of this contract I had been feeling out of my depth and doubted myself after an absence from the field of five years. I knew I was capable of figuring out how to go about getting tasks done, however, my experience and skills were somewhat limited with regards to the scope of the position.

When I received this news, my confidence took a nosedive because nothing is ever certain in contract work. You can be let go at a moment’s notice. I started emoting and feeling sad.

I touched base with the person who had called me about the opportunity the day after I received the call to get a little more clarification, to set up a meeting and go for coffee. I wanted to nurture the relationship.

I’m glad I did. The very day I was told my services would no longer be needed I was hired by that same person.

I love how the Universe works. Some may call it serendipity. I truly believe there is a bigger plan at hand. I believe in the law of attraction. When you are in a positive space you attract incredible opportunities and energy.

I am constantly being reminded not to be concerned about the hows, to focus on my dreams and the path it is I want. To me that is the essence of faith. Trusting things will all work out for the best and in the meantime, all is well.

Thanks again Universe for showing me the way. I have faith.

New year, new shift

Well it’s again been a while since I’ve written.

My absence can be explained, in part, by the fact I went back to work. In true Natalie fashion, I went big and did not go home. The Universe blessed me with two wonderful job opportunities within days of each other. I enjoyed both so I went from working in my business from home to working six days a week.

Whoah! Big adjustment.

I love retail. Sales has got to be the toughest job but so rewarding because you get to make people happy. I was fortunate enough to find a job with Twiss and Weber, a fantastic local duo who design and create their own line. They are cutting edge and showcase a lot of local Canadian made designers. Their motto is “Take command of your own style.” They do it with flair. I believe in their dream and am honored to be a part of their team. Their style can be characterized by what would Joan Jett wear to a job interview?

The other job is in communications for a huge financial management transformation project. A complex, multi-year, billion dollar initiative to transform the way the government of Canada conducts its business by bringing value to Canadians and better informed decisions benefitting everyone.

Wonderful opportunities.

I went full speed ahead for two months and hit the wall in December. I had a wisdom tooth removed, hopefully I did not lose wisdom with it. All kidding aside, I realized how much I had on my plate when I stopped. I started clearing, bit by bit I removed items and the Universe helped. My retail boss gave me a seasonal break to focus on my contract and skiing after I missed the busiest Saturday of the year right before Christmas.

Part of my new shift is to honor my commitments. It was my partner who helped me see that being alone on a sales floor after surgery was probably not a good idea and a liability. Shortly thereafter I was removed from the schedule. I panicked. Oh no! I’m being let go. The itty bitty shitty committee took over once again. Instead of walking away with my tail between my legs I went to see my boss and asked what was going on. I think I asked her at least three times if I was being fired. This has happened in the past you see.

Prior to these events I found out on Friday the 13th I wasn’t going to get renewed in January due to lack of funding. Old Natalie would have again slinked away. I fought. Hard.

I went to the top of the food chain and plead my case. They needed to capitalize on their investment and I was just starting to get my legs under me. Meanwhile I leveraged every other contact I had within the organization. I busted my butt to be renewed. A first for me in any governement contract I’ve ever done. Ever.

So here I sit. I’ve shifted. In both my professional life and my personal one but that’s a topic for next time.

How about you? Have you experienced shifts lately? What were the outcomes? I’d love to hear from you so weigh in the comments below.

All my best to a healthy, peaceful and successful year ahead. Keep shifting!

Journaling

I remember when I was first asked to journal. It was in an undergraduate sports psychology class. I had to journal daily for the whole semester and hand in my journal at the end. It was a great exercise.

Journaling is something I ask many of my clients to do. Journaling brings self-awareness, especially in the middle of difficulty.

Some of the basic elements I ask my clients to include in their entries is a rating from 1 to 5 on their day. I also ask them to identify highlights, challenges and the lessons learned of their day.

They can write as little or as much as they want in their entries.

Have you ever journaled? What were the results?

Pre competition plan

Another tool I use with athletes is pre competition planning. Do you show up on race day with a plan or hoping everything falls into place?

Good luck if you said the latter because you are definitely leaving things to chance.

Pre competition planning covers everything you do before a race. How many times will you run imagery? Will you talk to people or will you listen to music? How many times will you inspect the course? These are all elements that fall into a pre competition plan.

A pre competition plan can be as detailed as you like. You can describe what you’ll have for breakfast, how many runs you’ll take, your warm-up. Describe what it is you need to put in place in order to achieve great results come race day.

We are creatures of habit whether we like it or not. We like our coffee a certain way, we take the same route to work every day. Now think about how you’d feel if you ran out of creamer for your coffee one morning and there was a detour to your route. Would this bother you and put you off?

That’s why pre competition plans are so important. They ensure we have a routine we can rely on. Athletes, by their very nature, are superstitious. They like to have the same thing for breakfast, they wear a lucky shirt or socks on race day, they listen to the same song that gave them a win in their last race. The list goes on.

Include all those details in your pre competition plan. Knowing you have a plan in place is reassuring. It ensures consistency and results.

Try it and let me know what you think.

Goal setting

Goal setting is another tool I do with all the clients I work with. It’s a worthy cerebral exercise.

I ask my clients to come up with 4 sets of goals. The first is a dream goal. What would you do if you could do anything?

Long term goal. What do you want to accomplish by the end of your season?

Mid term goal. What do you want to have accomplished mid way through your season?

Finally a short term goal. What do you want to accomplish within a short time period?

So if I’m working with a ski racer for example, a short term goal will be to finish in the top 5 in their first few races. A mid term goal would be to consistently podium in their races. A long term goal would be to make it to nationals by the end of the season. A dream goal would be to make the national ski team.

So go ahead and set some goals and see what comes from the experience. Whether you’re an athlete or not, it is a worthy exercise.

You now have direction for your efforts, and you get to push the needle accordingly.

Let me know what you come up with.