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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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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?

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.

Self-talk

I’m off to a run clinic shortly. Let me share something with you, I do not run. I am by no means a runner. My body is that of a ski racer, big legs and hips, not conducive to running whatsoever.

But I’m out there, determined and so inspired from the triathlon and half ironman I saw in Lake George. I became a member of the local triathlon club when I got back and signed up for this start smart running clinic. So far it’s been great.

So why do I bring up self-talk? Well last week I shared a tip with my group before we took off on our run. I’ll be doing the same today. A woman approached me during the run and spoke about the negative self-talk she had going on in her head.

I like to call it the itty bitty shitty committee. You know the one. The voice that says: “you can’t do this” or ” you suck” or worse, a combination of both.

So how do you go about changing that voice in your head to a more positive one? The first step is awareness. Spend some time observing what the dialogue is like in your head. The next step is challenging the voice and flipping it. The outcome is to have a positive vibe and voice going on.

So instead of “I can’t do this” say to yourself “why don’t I give this a shot and see how it goes.”

Give it a shot and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you.

A change is in the air

It’s been 5 months since I last wrote.  A lot has happened since.  My partner and I took the next step and bought a home together.

Anyone who knows us knows we’ve had our challenges.  By the summer, I had been living with him for almost a year and a half.  The house was the next step.

Prior to meeting my partner I had been single or dating for 5 years. I got used to living alone.  Moving in with someone is big.  I remember when I moved in all I had was a bag.  I was always ready to go.  Over time I started bringing more and more of me over. In fact, when we moved I was surprised how much I had brought over.

I have commitment issues. I did contract work prior to starting my business for a reason.  There was an end in sight and I could leave at any time.  I did the same in relationships before I met my partner. In the first year of our relationship we both had one foot out the door.  There was no commitment and a lot of drama.

It wasn’t until we got back together for what seemed like the nth time and I moved in that things started to shift.  I started putting down roots.  Sure I still had one foot out the door, my toiletry bag was always packed. When we fought we both threatened to leave.  Scared, protecting, knowing the old ways were not working for us.  In fact, they only made things worse. 

We worked on ourselves individually and came together to do some counseling. We came up with some common values after identifying our own.  I learned that respect was important.  Communication and compromise had to follow.  It was no longer going to be my way or the highway.

We were in a really good space in the spring.  Having come off the high of yet another great ski season and a busy first quarter in my business.  I knew my parents were waiting for me to get my ducks in a row and wanted to sell the house.  Preferably to me.

That’s when the storm hit. 3 months of fighting and struggle ensued.  What should have been a happy time became a nightmare instead. All the issues I thought I had resolved came to the surface.  Fear was a major driver.  Is this the man I want to buy a house with? How am I going to manage financially while in startup as a home owner? It was time to grow up.

We almost didn’t make it. I shake my head when I think back to how much I tested my partner’s resolve.  I threw everything I had at him.  I guess I was pushing him to see whether he’d stay.

The reason I do positive psychology is obvious.  I teach what I most need to learn.  Sometimes I can’t see the forest through the trees yet I can show up for my clients.  To teach, support and guide them in their lives through sport. 

So here we are.  Homeowners. We’ve been in the house 3 weeks and went away on vacation.  Now we are back.  Putting down roots, making this house our home.  It’s a new step forward.