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#mental health Inner Voice Tips

If you suffer from negative self talk maybe this free book will inspire you

Over the last few months I’ve painstakingly and methodically wrote down my training, expertise, research and stories around negative self talk and need to share with anyone who’s struggled with negative self talk. The book is called:

Shut up! 7 simple steps to master your negative self-talk, remove anxiety symptoms, stop beating yourself up, then take back power, and build good habits.

My book is published and is available on Amazon, click the link below to get a free copy!

This is exciting!

Feel free to send it to friends and family who will also benefit from a free download. This free download is only available between 7.00AM Wednesday 4th August and Monday 9th August 6.59am (GMT)

Here’s the first link to download the book for free

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shut-Negative-Self-Talk-Symptoms-Yourself-ebook/dp/B09BMHG3NS/

Dowloading it affects the amazon algorithm and puts the book on front of more people who would benefit from reading it.

Once you’ve read it, please leave a review as they also help with gaining more exposure and putting it in front of those people who would really benefit from it

Any problems with the download please comment and I’ll respond.

Take care

Mike

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#mental health Become who you want to be mindset overcoming challenges

Why did the professional basketball player look at his wrist?

The Reality

Jamell Anderson knew his reality and knew something wasn’t right but he wasn’t sure what it was or what to do about it. Accepting the reality is the first step towards finding success.

Some athletes choose not to do anything and try to work through the struggles. But sometimes they never find the solution. Jamell reached out to me and this journey to understand his ‘why’ began

Opening up and honesty

When you’re truthful to yourself without the fear of being judged or criticised, solutions come quickly because the mask is removed. Hiding behind the mask serves no purpose other to continue to deflect away from the struggles.

Jamell opened up and I learned so much from this humble young man but at the same time he was learning about himself.

The Options

There are always options but sometimes those options are hidden from view, or a limiting or mistaken belief is stopping you from seeing those options.

We explored many different ways to move forward, trying new things until we found the way that worked for him

Every athlete has their own journey

When helping an athlete there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Each athlete has their own past and values, and the secret is to uncover what these are, amongst other things, and allow the athlete to understand what works for them.

Jamell and I uncovered a lot until he found a way that worked for him

The solution

The goal for Jamell was to discover how to remove the mental challenges then replace these challenges with solutions. We explored his values, reframed his thinking until he felt connected to what needed to be done.

In the clip, Jamell looks at his wrist as a reminder. Over the 6 weeks in which we talked for about an hour each time, looking at his wrist was the culmination of the conversations, insights and discoveries. He had found his purpose and way of playing that worked for him that improved his performance and wellbeing

I was so proud of this young man, firstly for taking control of his situation, and secondly for taking action

Jamell’s thoughts on the coaching

What was it that led to you connecting with Mike?

I’ve known Mike over the years as someone who has always tried to help when he can, I believe that I needed his advice and knowledge to push me in the right direction at a point in my life when I was ready to make a change for the better.

Had you tried using other methods to help you in the past and what were they?

I’ve tried sports psychologists, I’ve read over 15 self improvement books, I’m constantly trying to understand my mind and the minds of those who are successful, but the biggest lesson I’ve learnt from working with Mike is that my biggest asset is myself and I can tap into that without any special tactics or interventions when I let go of the habits and social constructs I’ve alienged my self with.

What reservations, if any did you have around the coaching? Be honest.

I don’t have any reservations really, I believe he does a great job of communicating bit also at balancing listening with talking to me. Sometimes I just need an ear to speak to and vent my thoughts out loud.

What 3 factors about the coaching delivery style stood out for you

The simplistic nature of the conversation, not using fancy words or over complicated explanations.

His calm nature when speaking made me feel at ease even when before the call I was quite stressed.

His availability, it’s something that goes underappreciated but with my ever changing schedule around training Vs personal life it was great to be able to be so flexible with timings.

The coaching is aimed at improving performance and wellbeing. How did the coaching affect your performance and wellbeing?

My performance was always something that I judged by stats, now I judged it by my mental state. If I’m Inna good mental state it doesn’t matter how i play because my experience will be what I want it to be regardless of the stats. My well being is 100% better because each day I’m just being myself and there’s no bugger comfort in a world filled with false high expectations and fakery.

If you were to recommend Mike to other professional athletes, what would you tell them to expect?

To find their true self by removing the unnecessary baggage the world around them has added to their backs.


If you know a professional athlete or you are a professional athlete who knows something isn’t right but not sure what to do about it or who to turn to, I’m inviting you to talk and I guarantee I will help you find the answers and solutions you need.

You can call me on +447946279135

Mike

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#mental health Inner Voice mindset overcoming challenges

Pro athlete improves wellbeing by 100%

What was it that led to you connecting with Mike? 

I’ve known Mike over the years as someone who has always tried to help when he can, I believe that I needed his advice and knowledge to push me in the right direction at a point in my life when I was ready to make a change for the better. 

Had you tried using other methods to help you in the past and what were they? 
I’ve tried sports psychologists, I’ve read over 15 self improvement books, I’m constantly trying to understand my mind and the minds of those who are successful, but the biggest lesson I’ve learnt from working with Mike is that my biggest asset is myself and I can tap into that without any special tactics or interventions when I let go of the habits and social constructs I’ve alienged my self with. 


What reservations, if any did you have around the coaching? Be honest. 
I don’t have any reservations really, I believe he does a great job of communicating bit also at balancing listening with talking to me. Sometimes I just need an ear to speak to and vent my thoughts out loud. 

What 3 factors about the coaching delivery style stood out for you
1) The simplistic nature of the conversation, not using fancy words or over complicated explanations. 
2) His calm nature when speaking made me feel at ease even when before the call I was quite stressed. 
3) His availability, it’s something that goes under appreciated but with my ever changing schedule around training Vs personal life it was great to be able to be so flexible with timings. 

The coaching is aimed at improving performance and wellbeing.  How did the coaching affect your performance and wellbeing? 
My performance was always something that I judged by stats, now I judged it by my mental state. If I’m in a good mental state it doesn’t matter how i play because my experience will be what I want it to be regardless of the stats. My well being is 100% better because each day I’m just being myself and there’s no bugger comfort in a world filled with false high expectations and fakery. 


If you were to recommend Mike to other professional athletes, what would you tell them to expect?
To find their true self by removing the unnecessary baggage the world around them has added to their backs.

Do you know a professional athlete who would benefit from this coaching?

Drop Mike a message and start a conversation

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#mental health Leadership mindset overcoming challenges

The Secret To Getting The Best Out Of A Player

There’s a secret that few organisations understand, because either their focus is on other things they feel demand more attention or they have yet to understand the value and power of this secret.

I’ve been using this secret for over ten years with outstanding results yet when I presented the idea to other organisations, they either ignored them, believed things should be done as they have always been done or had their eyes on other methods to get the best out of a player.

Let me share the secret with you because whether you believe it or not, or whether you have other methods to help a player, at least I have done my bit in passing it on.  With the idea simply sitting in my head, who benefits from that?

There’s a powerful lesson I learned many years ago which forms a huge part of this secret and it’s at this point I have to tell you, you won’t suddenly start winning once you know this secret, but the player will learn to be the best they can be and it’s also important to know, and I’m sure you do, there are various levels of ability and no two players are the same, yet this secret allows any player of any ability to be the best they can be.

Many organisations get the formula wrong.  They go for the best players, and when they struggle, they simply replace them.  I understand why organisations do this, but there is so much more to winning than getting the best players together and crossing your fingers.  Even when you have the best players together, you’re not guaranteed to win but start to use this secret and you’ll feel and see the results.

Our performance is driven by our emotions.  Our emotions are driven by our thoughts, therefore our thoughts drive our performance.

No that wasn’t the secret, but it is an inight. The insight isn’t to simply know this, but to learn the details that exist in the thoughts, break them down, and remove any challenge or internal barrier that stops the player from being their best.

I’m trained in identifying these details and breaking them down and recognising the real challenge and barriers that exist.  I’m also trained in breaking down those barriers and challenges, and creating new ways of thinking with purpose for improved results.

As a leader in an esports organisation, perhaps you’re a former player that naturally progressed into a leadership role, do you believe you know what it takes to get the best out of a player based on what you’ve read?

It’s OK if you don’t.  You’ve spent your life gaming without really thinking about why you think and do what you do.  There is no shame in not knowing how to get the best out of a player but there is shame in not doing anything about it.  There is shame in not consulting or taking advice from someone who knows.  Your players and yourself deserve to know how to be your best because when you’re not at your best, all those around you will suffer.

The secret to getting the best out of a person isn’t to force them to try harder, train more hours, push them to their limits.  The secret is to actively listen and teach them how to think with purpose.

Thanks for listening and remember to Take action, Reflect, Adjust and repeat 

Play with purpose

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#mental health Become who you want to be esports mindset motivation overcoming challenges

Your past does not define whom you can become!

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 

Play with purpose

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#mental health Become who you want to be Inner Voice Leadership motivation overcoming challenges

Is It Time To Introduce Emotional Intelligence Into Sports Coaching?

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 

Play with purpose

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#mental health mindset overcoming challenges Tips

Are you setting unrealistic expectations?

An expectation is something you expect to achieve, a goal or something to aspire to which in the competitive world of sports, plays a huge part in performance yet in my experience of working with players at high levels there is a common denominator that limits the growth and potential of players.

Unrealistic expectations set by others.

When someone else sets your expectations or the player hears the expectations from others so often they begin to believe them, the only outcome can be failure and it was this situation I found myself hearing from a current client.

This player had played at the highest level, representing his country yet inside he felt he was failing because he wasn’t able to live up to the expectation of others.

The unrealistic expectations he’s heard forever, left him questioning his ability and performance at the end of each game and this had gone on for many years.

He sees himself as a failure in some ways even though he’s doing well in some areas.

We talked and we were able to reframe his thinking and his understanding of expectations and the value of setting his own expectations because when you set your own expectations and achieve them, there is a greater sense of accomplishment and success than when others set you unrealistic expectations.

This reframing of his mindset frees him from the sense of failure of not living up the the unrealistic expectations which does two things:

Allows him to play more freely and with purpose

Heightens his well being

Many players are suffering due to unrealistic expectations placed on them, yet they tolerate them because they think being a professional sports player involves tolerating the hard times because that’s what it takes to win.

Bullshit!

Coaches get it wrong when they set players unrealistic expectations, because they are simply setting them up to fail which can lead to some players dropping out of the game, losing motivation and in some instances worse, and who wins in these situations.

If you’re a coach, I urge you to talk to your players about expectations and the value in allowing them to set their own.

If you’re a player then I urge you to learn to set your own expectations and shut out the noise that others place on you.

Thanks for reading and remember to Take action, Reflect, Adjust and repeat 

Play with purpose

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#mental health mindset overcoming challenges

Limiting and Mistaken Beliefs – The Truth!

Before covid hit in January 2020 which seems so long ago now, a football player and I connected because he was at a cross roads. 

He was playing in the lower leagues and was thinking about giving it all up.  Here’s what he said:-

“My frustrations are the management staff not explaining why i’m not playing, bad man management, not making individuals more confident or not giving advice on how we can improve and generally not saying a word to a player but only a few key players.

A thought that distracts me every now and then thinking “am i wasting my time here”? Being a player that moved back to the UK just for this opportunity.”

He was down and wanted to make a decision. 

Although he loved the game of football he felt he wasn’t valued or understood by the manager which left him feeling uncertain and unsure about the value he brought to his team but also in his self worth. 

Football was his passion and because his self worth was low, he felt part of his identity was missing, leaving him confused. 

I know from playing and coaching experience what the relationship between a player and coach should be.  It should be one of openness, integrity and mutual respect where both can bring some value to the relationship. 

But some coaches aren’t aware of this and some players aren’t aware of this either which means when there’s something wrong, there’s a tendency to skip over the issue and hope things work out. 

But this player was ready to give up and our conversation was the last resort. 

From listening to him in depth, I explained in depth the relationship between player and manager and told him, through nobody’s fault, there was simply a gap in communication filled with assumptions from both sides. The player assumes one thing and the manager assumes something else and when you assume, there’s a good chance you’re wrong. 

When you assume you make an ASSume out of assUme and assuME.

So I came up with a simple sentence for him to ask his manager. 

The purpose of this sentence was to remove his limiting beliefs around what was possible and to remove his mistaken belief that the coach didn’t see him of any value, and help the player gain clarity but also allow the coach to understand his perspective.

Before I tell you the sentence, let me tell you what happened.

After a couple of false starts due to nerves getting the better of him, he managed to speak with the manager which released his frustrations quickly.  He felt energised and his self-worth improved almost immediately.  The coach’s perspective changed and a new line of communication was opened.

The love for the game was restored!

Sometimes we can hold in our thoughts through fear of being rejected or criticised and when we do that, the anxiety just grows and grows until the only solution we see is to get out of there.

But when you learn you have a choice and you can take back control quickly, things, like they did with this football player, can turn around quickly.

The sentence he used was

“What I can do differently to help the team?”

If you found some value in this post, I invite you to comment and subscribe for my weekly blogs, released every Friday at 10.00am GMT

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#mental health esports mindset

Esports – Not just bright lights and amazing content

Burnout at 23!!!

https://esportscontinental.com/uzi-officially-retires-from-league-of-legends/

China’s most famous e-sports player, Jian Zihao, has officially retired from gaming aged 23, citing ill-health reported the BBC in June 2020 (See the full article here)

He had been a professional gamer since 2012, playing League of Legends under the name of “Uzi”.

THE IMPACT

“As a result of staying up late for years, a fatty diet and being under insurmountable stress, last year I found out that I was type-2 diabetic.”

He went on to say that he had changed his work schedule, exercised and “taken medicine”, but that his situation had not changed.

“My mental state is not as good as it was before,” he said.

This is very telling of his lifestyle and the pitfalls of being a pro gamer.

THE GROWTH

https://fnatic.com

In my 8 months of being involved in Esports as a coach, I’ve come to realise gaming as a profession is relatively new, yet esports is growing at a considerable rate. The (former) CEO of Fnatic, Sam Matthews one of the leading Esports organisations with its headquarters in the UK, has this to say about growth.

“While the esports model has always had the keys to success with a continued rise in prominence with a larger global audience, the pandemic accelerated the awareness of the phenomenon. The pandemic highlighted the importance of digital streaming platforms and traditional broadcasters followed suit, reproducing the successful esports model. With broadcasters on board, we anticipate seeing the line of distinction between traditional sports, entertainment and esports continue to blur.” (Read the full article in Forbes here)

THE DILEMMA

Balance

With growth at such a fast pace, the pressures and expectations to succeed suddenly become a lot more real and here’s the dilemma. Young adults who dominate the demographic of gamers need to be resilient and understand there is more to winning than practicing up to 14 hours a day.

They have to consider downtime, diet, physical activity, spending time with family and friends and creating a schedule that allows the person to thrive and find a balance

When the person thrives, the professional gamer thrives

Uzi, the example above, didn’t know or understand the value and importance of finding that balance and personally I believe he can make a comeback with a few mental adjustments and changes to his lifestyle.

The question is does he want to get involved again?

THE POTENTIAL CHALLENGES

If you follow traditional sports like football (soccer) basketball and cricket for example, you can google many examples of players struggling under the pressure, suffering from anxiety and falling out of the game they once loved.

Do we want the same to happen to the young esports players? Let me remind you of the words of Sam Matthews “we anticipate seeing the line of distinction between traditional sports, entertainment and esports continue to blur.” Already we know the lines are already blurred from a mental wellbeing perspective.

For 7 years as a mental performance coach, I’ve coached footballers and basketball players and spoken to many former players about their issues and anxieties including how they were treated by their managers, their agents and others who wanted to exploit the players only for their own financial gain and I’d like to think a governing body to support the wellbeing of esports athletes is at least being considered. If not, I’m ready to lead on creating that project.

THE BRILLIANCE OF ESPORTS

League Of Legends Final 2019

If I were to join a team or even start a team, I’d place the wellbeing of the player at the centre of the organisation because I know if the players aren’t thriving the organisation will fail. Yes I’m aware there will be others waiting in the wings, but is that the message I’d want to send? If you can’t handle the pressure we will simply replace you? Definitely not!

Technology, content, apparel, hardware, software, events etc all play a huge part in the promotion and delivery of esports which is brilliant but sometimes, lost beneath all this excitement, social media presence, bright lights and amazing content is the fact that the players and indeed content creators need to understand how to navigate this world without experiencing burnout, anxiety or pressures because when they do, the love and passion for what they do will fade and losing a passion through burnout can be devastating. Just ask Uzi

If you’ve found this blog interesting, misinformed or intriguing, please let me know and comment. I’m open to feedback, questions and celebrations.

Live with purpose

Mike

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#mental health

Mental Health and the NBA

A few days ago, All Star player for the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George opened up about his struggles with mental health

The NBA playoffs are currently taking place in Orlando inside “The Bubble’ creating a sense of isolation away from family and friends and that sense of normality we have all learned to appreciate just a little bit more

In the extract below from an article published in SB Nation.com on August 26th, we get to understand more about his situation.

The Article

Paul George has spent the last week being the biggest punchline in the NBA. The Los Angeles Clippers forward was struggling immensely through the first four games of his team’s series with the Dallas Mavericks, becoming the first player since 1960 to shoot under 25 percent from the field in three straight playoff games. 

The jokes started to fly at George’s expense. The internet didn’t forget that he nicknamed himself “Playoff P” a few years back. The criticism was clearly getting to George. He posted corny memes to his Instagram account and disabled the comments. He said his knack wasn’t to score the ball. While the criticism over his play felt partially deserved as the series became tied at 2-2 on Luka Doncic’s immaculate buzzer-beater, some of it was starting to get ugly and personal. 

The Clippers needed George to be the best version of himself in Game 5 on Tuesday night, and George delivered. He finished the night with 35 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the field as Los Angeles skated to an impressive 154-111 victory. This was the player the Clippers were waiting for

After the game, George opened up on his struggles and how life in the bubble was impacting him. “The bubble got the best of me,” George said. “I was in a dark place.”

George continued to elaborate on how he was feeling post-game, talking about how the constant feedback loop was affecting his mental health while he couldn’t escape to the outside world in the bubble. 

“I under estimated mental health, honestly. I had anxiety. A little bit of depression. Just being locked in here …. I checked out.”

It wasn’t until he spoke with a professional, that he was able to move away from the darkness

George mentioned conversations he had with the team’s psychiatrist that played a role in his “energy” and “spirit” changing.

What this means for other pro athletes

When you read or hear about a professional athlete open up about their struggles, another professional athlete can draw inspiration and confidence knowing that opening up and talking is an option to consider and because the outcome was productive and positive, the athlete can see the positive effects of opening up

Other athletes opening up

Paul George wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last athlete to face mental health issues. Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan are two other NBA players that have experienced issues and there are countless footballers (soccer players) that have also struggled with mental health)

What next?

If you know of an athlete or you are an athlete struggling to deal with the pressures and experiences professional sports bestow upon you, the message is clear – SPEAK TO A PROFESSIONAL.

Not only do you remove those negative feelings and emotions, but your performance increases almost immediately.