Who you are today is a culmination of experiences and perspectives and most of the time, how you are is OK. You do OK. But when it comes to professional sports, being OK isn’t good enough. You have to be excellent or at least be striving for excellence but reaching that level takes determination, guts and smart work, but what happens to your focus when something negative happens in your life. Perhaps a death, an injury, a fall out with a family member or even succumbing to pressure and stress.
Many athletes over the years have spoken about their struggles, Frank Bruno, Kevin Love, Michael Phelps, just to name 3 but a quick google search will bring you up a list even longer with no surprise.
So what can you do? What can you do to move away from the struggles quickly and get yourself back on track.
Let me share this story with you
For many many years, a man had taken the same path to work. He saw the same people, saw the same shops and felt the same way. He was familiar with this routine and familiarity gave him a sense of comfort and this comfort gave him happiness. He had no reason to change his route, he had no reason to walk faster, yet one day something changed but he didn’t know what. His thoughts began to niggle at him.
This niggle grew into an itch and after several days, his happiness has turned into anxiety. Instead of smiling at the people he walked past, he was on edge and avoided eye contact and had thoughts of changing something but he didn’t know what or how. He was so familiar with his journey that thinking about changing it, only brought on a fear, so he tolerated and tolerated until one day he decided not to get up.
Sometimes when we feel the need for change, we fear what might happen if we did change, and the sense of familiarity pulls us back from growing and we continue to tolerate, even when you know something needs to change.
But these past events do not define who we can become. Past events do not have to hold you down and stop you from achieving by doing and thinking differently.
You always have a choice to move away from negativity and choose to walk a new path and doing it is as simple as changing the direction in which you walk, who you talk with and recognising when you want change. You have to hold yourself accountable. You have to make new decisions because it’s very unlikely someone else will recongnise you want to change and help you.
So if you feel something needs to change, create that change for yourself!
Thanks for listening and remember to Take action, Reflect, Adjust and repeat
The effects of bullying can linger for a long time, depending on the strength of the emotion attached to the words or behaviours associated with the bullying and even through elite athletes can be perceived to be resilient, they are also human and experience emotions just as regular people do, yet the impact can be felt on a much deeper level due to the situation of being a professional athlete.
There are some perceptions that believe the elite athlete must be able to overcome bullying behaviours, and ‘man up’ because to be the best you must demonstrate a hard shell and an almost invincible like exterior, and not to show weakness. Isn’t that right?
Of course it isn’t!
Maybe the bullies don’t know they are demonstrating bullying behaviours or maybe they are trying to instil resilience in their teammates. Who knows, but one thing is for sure, there should be no place in professional sports for bullying and if a bullying culture does exist, maybe it’s time to create change?
How do you create change?
Firstly when someone is feeling bullied, it’s imperative they have an outlet to air their thoughts but who do they turn to?
They can’t turn to their manager, because as one former premier league footballer told me, it was the manager that was the bully! This player, who will remain unnamed, told me the coach used the phrase ‘grow some balls!’ This incident happened a good few years ago and I’d like to think in the time between then and now, there’s been some new coaching techniques being taught to up and coming managers that focus on learning about emotional intelligence and how to recognise when to use it. But what is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively,empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. Emotional intelligence helps you build stronger relationships, succeed in sports, and achieve your career and personal goals. It can also help you to connect with your feelings, turn intention into action, and make informed decisions about what matters most to you.
The aim of professional sports, to me, is simple – from the athlete perspective, be the best you can be, or from a coach/manager perspective, create an environment in which you and your team can be the best they can be.
By learning about emotional intelligence, being the best you can be, will come a lot faster and easier than compared with someone who uses their raw personality and technical ability to coach or play yet this important factor of coaching and playing is rarely touched upon in coaching programmes.
I understand there’s a gap in the coaching market which is why I offer confidential, discreet coaching for those professional athletes wanting to be their best but are unable to open up to anyone else.
I understand elite athletes are human and experience feelings and emotions but there is often a conflict between the emotions and what’s expected of them, which can leave some athletes confused and anxious and unable to shake the fear.
I make my services available to athletes so they can thrive.
You deserve to thrive!
Thanks for reading and remember to Take action, Reflect, Adjust and repeat
When things go wrong you hear things like, time is a great healer, it will work itself out or you’ll get through it and although there is a tiny bit of truth in these words, they land more on hope rather than a determination to create change. I’ve never understood why you would want to place your hope into things changing because hope relies on external factors falling into place to create change. Its almost like you’re placing your fate in the hands of an unknown entity and crossing your fingers for the best.
To create real change for you, you have to take control and learn how to think with purpose. You wouldn’t see a fire in your garden and hope it would go out. You would take action. You wouldn’t look at your fuel gauge in your car and hope it would fill itself up. You would take action. You wouldn’t break your ankle and hope it would heal. You’d take action. So why would you hope things get better for you without taking action?
Purposeful action is you taking action to create change for yourself. To improve.
Your inner voice drives your performance and knowing what to say and when will give you leverage like you wouldn’t believe.
Many people fail to recognise their inner strength, almost like they are ashamed of what they could accomplish if they only thought differently. Connecting with your inner strength relies on looking inwards and judging yourself in a positive manner and for some, the act of placing positivity onto themselves can feel awkward or egotistical, but these people are wrong.
Accepting your inner strength takes courage and an acceptance and acknowledgement that the person inside deserves to be heard to help you become the best you can be.
You owe it to yourself to learn how to think with purpose to achieve the results you truly desire.
Thanks for reading and remember to Take action, Reflect, Adjust and repeat
If you don’t think losing sucks then perhaps you’re not as competitive as you thought you were and your mind just isn’t primed for success?
That feeling of losing hits you when you when the clock has run out, the race ends and the result hasn’t gone in your favour.
What was the point!
What a f@cking disappointment!
How did that happen!
That moment of realisation can hit you hard but let me tell you this secret…
That moment of realisation is just one moment in time and is a small piece in the bigger picture
That moment of realisation provides you with valuable feedback
That moment of realisation is a learning experience
You weren’t the first and you won’t be the last to lose and what you do immediately afterwards will affect your future performances which leads me to ask the question – do you want to continue to improve?
One of the first thoughts you should get used to is accepting you lost. Accept on this occasion the chips didn’t fall in your favour, yet you leverage that pain and frustration and use that energy to analyse, break down and practice smarter ready for next time.
Some say you shouldn’t accept losing because losing makes you weak!
Bullsh@t! When you tell yourself not to accept losing, you are only setting unrealistic expectations and setting unrealistic expectations only leads to constant frustration and pressure
Losing is always an option!
The other question I want to ask you is – Did you do everything you could with the information you had to do your best?
Questions to help you grow
Common questions to ask yourself include:
Did I get enough sleep?
Was anything distracting me (phone, other person, a challenging life event)?
Was I relying too much on my reputation?
Was my training purposeful and smart?
When you ask yourself these questions and find the truth, there is one other question you must ask which is – What can I do differently next time?
Being part of this academy allows you to explore your thoughts, ideas and concerns in a safe place without the fear of being criticised or judged. The academy invites you to engage and ask questions and share your frustrations so solutions can be found fast.
Your mind is much more powerful than you give it credit for and as the academy shares more insights with you, you’ll see the bigger picture forming and with that in mind, ask yourself one final question and let me know the answer – What do you do when you lose and what can you do differently?
If it was, everyone would be playing at a much higher level, everyone would be thriving in life and leaders would be inspiring their teams and productivity would be high. But not everyone makes change easily. People create barriers, excuses and reasons, limiting the ability to change.
The first question that springs to mind is ‘why’ and it’s the answers that tell the story. But before we get into that we need to dig a little deeper.
Before we ask the obvious question ‘why’, we must delve into your psyche and find out if you have a desire or need to change because without that desire, change won’t happen.
The mere thought of change can instil a sense of fear and uncertainty. The fear of the unknown is greater than the desire to change and until the desire to change becomes greater than the fear of the unknown, you’re going to continue with your life as it is.
So the question becomes
“How do I overcome that fear?”
Beliefs And Values
Throughout your life, you’ve experienced many things and through these experiences you’ve created beliefs and values and it’s these beliefs and values you hold today.
For example how you treat others, how you train, what you eat but most importantly how you make decisions.
There are some people that know how to create change quickly and get what they want. They just know what it takes and they thrive. Perhaps you can think of one of those people now?
These people have something in common and it’s this I want to teach you, so you can create that change you desire.
Remember earlier when we asked why everyone isn’t creating change to improve.
Those beliefs and values you created are holding them back. When a belief or value holds you back we have a name for them. These are called limiting or mistaken beliefs.
Your Comfort Zone
Creating change also involves being uncomfortable. You are where you are because your values and beliefs give you comfort. They form part of who you are and being you is comforting. To get different results you have to learn to be “comfortable being uncomfortable“, to step out of your comfort zone so to speak.
Many people perceive coming out of their comfort zone as this huge, scary monster, where emotions will run wild and the world come crashing down leaving a huge chasm of emptiness and pain.
In reality, coming out of your comfort zone is simply thinking differently, experiencing different emotions and acting differently and only lasts a few moments.
Would you be willing to experience a few moments of discomfort to remove yourself from the discomfort you’ve been experiencing for some time?
The Pro Basketball Player’s Story
I remember a professional basketball player writing in his weekly column in a newspaper and in this particular column he wrote about his frustrations in his form. He was known as a scorer and had played for England but he couldn’t get out of his slump and was averaging about 5 points a game. He was stuck and didn’t know what to do.
We connected and spoke for about 45 minutes and all the time we spoke I was listening to his words, asking specific questions with the aim to discover what his limiting or mistaken belief was that was holding him back.
We uncovered the problem and once we did that we began to reframe his thoughts to create a new belief.
On a side note, the relationship between player and coach should be one of respect and trust and mutual understanding because to win and be successful, you need respect, trust and mutual understanding.
Although these three ingredients existed, a simple miscommunication created a mistaken belief and from this belief the player began to behave in a way that supported this belief because he respected, trusted and understood what his coach wanted.
This coach wasn’t trained to explore the ‘why’ and in general many coach programs don’t have these strategies in place which, in my opinion isn’t right. As a coach in any sport, and one of your players is struggling, surely you’d want to know why and how to help, so they can begin to perform well and the team will get more wins? Or is it easier and quicker to bring in an expert?
If there are any coach educators reading this, I’d be happy to discuss ways to integrate these concepts into your program.
We broke down his mistaken belief and reframe his thoughts, creating a new belief, leading him to explode for 20 points, hitting 100% from the field. He kindly wrote in his column and I invite you to read for yourself here the impact it had on his game and to this day, working and helping an England player remove his mistaken belief allowing him to play like he knew he could play, is one of my proudest moments.
The Four Steps To Take
He was able to overcome his fear through understanding and accepting 3 principles.
He had a desire to change
He had an open mind to learning new concepts and perspectives
He was willing to put them into action
He was willing to be uncomfortable for a few moments and create different emotions that allowed him to create change in his performance
He was able to think, feel and act differently.
“It’s the thought of change that will drive you forward or hold you back. Taking action is the simple part”
You can remove the fear of change by giving yourself permission to learn and accept these three principles and be uncomfortable for just a few moments.
let’s recap and list the 4 steps you need to take to create change
Have a need or desire to change (Use the exercise below)
Have an open mind to learning new concepts and perspectives
Accept you’ll come out of your comfort zone but understand that discomfort only lasts a few moments compared with the length of time you’ve been experiencing discomfort or frustration
Put these new concepts and principles into action
Have you had enough of your current situation and want change?
If you feel there’s still doubts but you realise you’re ready to make change, and would like to find out if what I offer can help, get in touch and let’s make things happen.
Do you know someone that’s struggling? Please share this as it could help.
“Life is a competition not with others, but with ourselves. We should seek each day to live stronger, better, truer lives; each day to master some weakness of yesterday; each day to repair a mistake; each day to surpass ourselves.”
David B. Haight
Knowledge Is Power
They say knowledge is power and they would be right because without knowledge, how do you compare, contrast and reflect on your journey and I’d like to be frank with you.
If you’re not winning, if you’re not number one, then why are you competing?
It’s not a trick question but a question that puts the power in your hands because when you fully understand why you’re competing as a professional athlete, you can really focus on achieving your goals and let go of some unrealistic expectations others may be putting on you.
Not every professional athlete will make it to number one in the world because to reach the pinnacle takes a dedication that requires sacrifice, some luck, some thinking outside the box, the physical and technical prowess and a mindset so determined, nothing gets in the way.
You’re Not Number One!
So let’s assume you aren’t striving to be number one but you are striving for something else; something that drives you enough to continue to invest your time and effort into making a career out of being a professional athlete.
So let’s explore what this question means to you
WHY AM I COMPETING IF NOT TO BE NUMBER ONE?
Motivation comes in different shapes and sizes and I want you to focus on you. Your needs, your desires without comparing yourself to anyone else.
This is your journey, this is your life and this is your choice. It’s perfectly OK not to strive to be number one, but I feel there is an unwritten rule that if you’re an athlete you have to say you are striving to be number one because anything else can be seemed a failure and this expectation can weigh heavily on the shoulders of many, so let’s attempt to remove that burden now.
It’s OK not to want to strive to be number one, but it is ok to be the best you can be.
Let’s look at a few reasons for you to compete:-
Why Do You Compete?
You can’t think of anything worse than having an office job
You’ve spent all your youth playing and competing and that’s all you know
You want to be earning a lot of money
You want the fame
You want the big house
You want to be able to provide financial stability for you and your family
You have a bigger vision of what your role as an athlete can provide to the wider audience and those less fortunate than you
You want to prove someone wrong
You want to prove someone right
You want to be famous
When you compete you feel alive and able to express yourself
You fell into becoming a professional athlete and liked it…
As you can see there are many reasons for you to compete and this list isn’t a comprehensive list by any means but it gives you an idea of why you compete and for what purpose.
The Power Of Knowing Why You Compete
Now you have an idea of why you compete, you can begin to focus your time and dedication towards that goal with gusto and passion really driving your performance forward with purpose and dedication.
That powerful understanding frees you from the expectations others place on you, the media, the fans, some who say they have your best interest at heart and perhaps now is the perfect time to let others know why you are competing, so they and you are on the same page and both are striving towards the same thing.
For example, an agent may want you to go for the deal that pays the most money, yet you may have another opportunity in mind where you can feel settled and respected as a player that may not be the deal that pays the most money. By having a conversation about what drives you forward, you will find a deal that’s right for you.
Being in control of your destiny, to some degree, can be great for your mental health and life off the field of play and knowing why you compete creates a solid foundation on which you can build something unique and special for you.
Why I Compete
In my quest to be the most sought after mental performance coach, I’ve had to make some sacrifices and bold moves and come to some realisations about marketing and promotions that I’m working on and come to realise that becoming the most sought after coach, is a personal achievement to me, without comparing myself to other coaches out there.
There are three things I strive to achieve:-
Do what I enjoy doing
Be financially, spiritually, mentally and emotionally rewarded for what I enjoy doing
I work best in one to one situations because I really get to connect with my clients and understand their perspectives, how they perceive reality and understand the shifts in mindset needed to help them get to where they want to be.
My clients benefit from one to one as it gives them a sense of comfort and acknowledgement that they are at the centre of everything we do and that in itself, frees up the mind in such powerful ways that the new knowledge they are introduced to can be absorbed quickly.
This new knowledge is the power they are seeking.
Are you a professional athlete wanting things to change?
You need a way to move from where you are now, to where you want to be and if you don’t have clarity or a system to help you get there, you’ll continue to struggle and be frustrated with yourself, with others and your situation.
But what’s the point in staying where you are?
You’ve realised you’re not in a place of value so why not start making that change now?
Many people who are stuck, fail to move anywhere because they are fearful of change.
They create scenarios around “What if”
What if i get treated differently?
What if they take the piss?
What if I’m not good enough?
What if i can’t do it?
What if I fail?
Not only have I moved away from feeling stuck, I understand you are unique and you are the only one who has lived your life and created the beliefs and values you experience.
But people who feel stuck, take comfort in having a system they can follow which is why I created the NEAT system.
I want you to have this system for FREE to give you insights on how you can become unstuck and begin to move forward.
But before you download the document you need to meet three criteria
Have an open mind to learning
Have a reason for wanting to improve
Have the ability to take action with support
There are too many people suffering because there are fearful so please, allow yourself to remove that fear and begin to make positive changes.
One winters day, in a secluded village, an old lady looked out of the window. Through the blizzard, she could just make out a shape in the distance. She strained her eyes and smiled. Yes. It was still there, a little blurred but it was there.
She took one more sip of her warm beverage, took her sheepskin coat off the peg along with her scarf and wrapped up warm, knowing she had to keep the cold out.
she slowly put on her hat and was ready.
Hearing the wind blowing around the wooden hut, she stopped for a moment.
Then she ventured out into the cold.
A few minutes later, she returned.
Happy and content, she sat down in front of the crackling fire and smiled.
Doubt is just a fleeting thought.
But it is often our immediate actions that prevent us from achieving and getting what we want.
Any time you have doubt, remind yourself that without that thought, you won’t be human and to be human is to connect with our fears.
Our fears are there to be conquered.
Our fears are there to be overcome!
What is it you want to overcome and what are you going to do about it?