Fear again

I’ve written on this topic many times here.

I was chatting with a new client this weekend and fear came up yet again.

It wasn’t till after the call was done and I had time to think, that I realized how applicable to my own life the words I imparted to her were.

This young client had an exceptional ski racing season two years ago. Last winter she felt the pressure of her own expectations take over and became focused on results instead of trusting herself to ski the way she can.

That’s a big statement coming from a 14 year old.

Great insight isn’t it? She did well in training but come race day she couldn’t seem to put things together. The good news is this is a common challenge and the tools I gave her will help her tremendously this winter.

Her being scared came up at least three times during our conversation. She wasn’t comfortable with speed and going fast. Gates coming at her rapidly in slalom unnerved her as did laying down solid slalom runs.

We talked about fear. She expressed how irrational it was to be afraid of gates coming at her face. I normalized her experience and said all humans have that natural reaction and that her confidence will come with mileage in the gates. Exposure to gates coming at your face is the only way she’s going to move through this fear.

Speed and going fast is a fear that presents itself naturally. I freaking loved speed but I’m sure my first few runs on those big fast skis were unsettling. Again, I normalized things for her and encouraged her to use her body as a tool to combat her fear. Instead of getting in the back seat and being hesitant, to charge and throw her body forward.

Our bodies can alter our feelings. Taking an athletic stance and what I like to call a hero pose of hands on hips, breathing and really feeling that confidence flow are so empowering. It’s another tool I gave her to use, one I think will have a big impact on her.

We talked about the importance of positive thinking. It’s impossible to be all rainbows, puppy dogs and unicorns all the time but instead being aware of your mindset. What are you saying to yourself?

When I do group workshops I poll the kids about their mindset. Is it 50-50 positive and negative, 70% positive, 30% negative or the reverse? It’s fascinating to see where kids lie in the spectrum and it gives me an indication of where they need to focus.

The first step in shifting mindset is awareness of what you’re actually saying to yourself. Questioning the veracity of your perception and then shifting it towards a more positive outcome.

When a negative mindset pattern has been operating for a while, it’ll take a tremendous amount of attention, energy and work to affect change. Like I tell my clients, it’s taken you a while to walk into the woods, it’ll take a while for you to walk out. Patience and gentleness are key.

What struck me afterwards was how this call applies to my own life.

I just recently started a new job and I love it. I get to write and help people with my words. I feel part of a family in the team I work with.

You’d think I’d be happy right? I was, briefly. Then self-protective, survival mechanisms took over and I drove myself into a state of anxiety so bad I could barely breathe. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Is that productive thinking? Hell no.

Did I go there? Me? Someone who teaches positive psychology for a living? Yup.

Fortunately my people are close by. It only takes a phone call or a text and I’ve got someone telling me what I need to hear and bringing me back to the here and now. Reminding me to breathe, to slow my thoughts down and to question the veracity of what I’m feeling.

Feelings are not facts my friends.

I love what I do. I’m good at it and I’ve had messages from the people I work with of just that, yet I don’t trust myself to shine.

In times like these, it helps me to look at things from another perspective. What would I say to one of my clients if they were feeling this way?

I’d remind them to breathe. I’d tell them they are safe and okay. I’d ask them to list the things they like about themselves and focus on their strengths. I’d ask them to draw the lessons they needed from their past experiences and not let their past dictate their present.

Those are exactly the words I’ve been saying to myself when that four letter word called fear crawls into my brain space.

Fear means false evidence appearing real or face everything and rise.

It goes to show how powerful our minds are. It’s so important to guard our mindsets. They create the world we live in.

 

 

 

 

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Parents and their role in supporting their athletes

Last night I had the opportunity to speak to a group of parents whose kids ski race.

They had a half hour to ask me questions on sports psychology. I found the questions that came up to be good ones so I’m sharing the highlights here.

Athletes your parents love you. They want to see you do well and are concerned about the best way of doing just that. I had question after question on the subject.

How do I best support my kid? How do I help my kid recover from a not so great performance? How do I help my kid deal with their emotions? How do I help my kid prepare for race day? And on it went.

From my perspective, it was really nice to see.

I felt a lot of pressure from my parents, it would have been nice to have better communication with them. Had that been present, my demise might have been mitigated.

My answers to their questions were about being present. Helping their kid re frame their results. Letting their kids come to them and how best to support them.

I spent some time educating them on some of the tools I teach to the athletes I work with.

I spoke at length about the importance and value of the mental game. If sports programs gave as much weight and importance to the mental aspects as they did the physical and technical ones, things would change for the better.

Athletes would be better equipped to deal with wins, setbacks, and injury. They would come back stronger and faster after an injury. They would be able to quickly recover from a less than desired performance. They’d handle their emotions better and not get swept up in the roller coaster of moods. They would cope with life better.

I love what I do. Helping parents be better supports for their athletes is just part of the work I do. It brings me great joy to see the kind of interaction I saw last night.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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!

Inspiration

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to be on vacation in Lake George, NY to catch a triathlon and half Ironman.

Inspiring doesn’t begin to describe how it felt watching participants coming out of the water.

I stayed around to watch the last swimmer come out of the water for the half ironman, talk about not giving up. She made it under the cutoff time and couldn’t have been happier.

I’m not sure I would have had her resilience.

Watching participants cross the finish line was awesome. All of this has inspired me to join the local triathlon club here. We’ll see what comes of it all.

I’m starting with a running clinic tomorrow. I was intimidated at first as I haven’t been able to run since my injury but anyone can run 5 minutes right?