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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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?

 

 

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?

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.

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?

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.