Categories
Leadership overcoming challenges

Can introverts in sports be great leaders?

Look around at any sport team and you’ll notice a player that stands out

There will be a player that is leading

And although not each leader has the same personality, they have something in common that makes them great leadership material

There are three qualities great leaders posses and I want to share those with you now

  • A drive to improve
  • A desire to make their team mates better
  • An ability to step up when it matters
  • An ability to communicate effectively
  • A high level of awareness

Leading is a role not suited to everyone, and some even go as far as to avoid stepping into the leadership spotlight but those that embrace the role do so with the purpose to be responsible for when things go wrong and to share the wealth when things go right

I used to be really shy and the thought of leading sent shivers down my spine. There were others that were louder than I, some better skilled than I and some that were more suited than I, but in those days, I did a couple of things really well…listen and observe.

Perhaps my introverted self allowed me to become a master of listening and observing, just as the stereotypical introvert would, but that ‘training’ served me well because at some point I would step into that leadership role.

I was self critical because I believed, through observation and listening, to be a great leader you had to be the best, you had to be loud and you had to give orders and there was something that didn’t sit right with me, so as the reluctant leader, I forged a way forward in my own way.

Listening and observing came naturally to me so all I had to figure out was how to transfer those skills into leadership skills.

So I asked questions. I asked players what they thought needed to change and what was working well. I’d read books on leadership and the mind and taken some courses and when I learned introverts can be leaders and leadership qualities do include listening and observing, I felt a sense of comfort.

The true secret to leading is to understand each individual on your team and learn what makes them tick and what motivates them to succeed and that involves asking questions and listening, then simply helping them understand what they need to do differently for them to thrive

I don’t believe you have to shout and criticise to get results

I don’t believe belittling someone is a way of motivation

I don’t believe the leader should take credit for all great results

Leading in sports is fun yet challenging and is a role that can be filled by an introvert that listens and observes so if you are the kind of person that likes the idea of leading but doesn’t have the confidence because you’re not loud or the best, think again!

You may just be the leader your team needs!

Do you know someone who wants to be a great leader?

Are you someone who wants to learn how to lead?

I’ve recently launched a new website called Purposeful Thinking which can be found by clicking here and If you want to chat about leadership, book a call

Categories
#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

Categories
Leadership

Leadership in today’s sporting world

Fast Fast Fast!

People wanted things to happen fast! In this crazy world we live in, there was an expectation of getting things done almost immediately after an idea had formed and often these decisions lack a certain level of purpose.

Yet in this time of lockdown, there seems to be a change in attitude where we’ve been handed the gift of time and with time, we can afford to reflect and really consider the choices available to us.

Leadership has shifted and with that in mind I’d like to share some insights for the leader of today to consider.

Having A Reason To Change

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

When you’re losing, you’ve not got leadership right.

When you’re frustrated and anxious, you haven’t got leadership right.

When your team isn’t performing as well as you imagined, you haven’t got leadership right.

But here’s the thing…not every leader will admit things need to change.

Not every leader will hold their hands up and say, ‘you know what, this style isn’t working and I have to learn to do things differently.’

They tend to accept their fate which is usually someone else coming in to replace them.

My question is this – Have you got a reason to change?

Have you got what it takes to be adaptable and flexible to the reality that surrounds you?

Change Can Be Uncomfortable

Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

To change, involves thinking and acting differently and that invites uncomfortable thoughts and actions but there is something very powerful I want you to understand.

Just as a player has to push themselves and experience discomfort to improve, you as a leader must experience discomfort to improve.

Discomfort isn’t negative!

Discomfort when there is a purpose behind it, allows the person to experience lightbulb moments and insights that can quickly remove anxiety and frustrations through shifting perspectives and learning new concepts whilst removing limiting and mistaken beliefs.

Are you able to have an open mind to learning new perspectives?

Taking The Right Action

Once you’ve opened your mind to new perspectives and removed limiting and mistaken beliefs, it’s time to think about taking action.

Action comes in the form of many different guises, one being using different body language, tone and words with people. 55% of communication is visual (your body language) 38% of communication is your voice (tone, inflection, etc) 7% is verbal (your words).

People are very observant and it’s through observation they judge your behaviours and attempt to align your words and tone with your body language and when there’s a sense of misalignment, a sense of incongruence fills their minds as your disingenuous actions leave them feeling uncertain about your leadership.

You can lose trust from uttering a simple few words, then acting in a way that contradicts your words and although this act is so simple, it can be damaging to your team, your production and reputation.

SUCCESS

As a leader you want to align your words and tone with your body language and guide your team to success but very few leaders know the real meaning of success so allow me to suggest this concept.

Many believe success is winning games, trophies and titles, having big houses, lots of money and a beautiful partner.

Many believe winning equates to success.

Yet there is an element of success that’s missing.

Fulfilment!

How many people do you know that have a great salary, have won on some level, yet they seem down and unsatisfied? How many ‘successful’ people do you know that struggle with life and suffer from mental health issues?

The second element of success is fulfilment and without it, winning is just an empty outcome of the hard work you put in.

You must strive towards fulfilling your life through knowing what really matters to you when the glitz and glory are over because right now, you’re sitting pretty but at some point it will all end and as I found out today from reading articles about football managers losing their jobs, it can end in the blink of an eye.

The value of fulfilment becomes obvious and necessary when you leave the game, when things are going wrong and when others stop believing in you.

I’d like to invite you to download a manual that can provide you with insights and new perspectives to help you understand what you can focus on changing to start winning.


Categories
Become who you want to be

Stop struggling as a professional athlete with this free download

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

  1. Have an open mind to learning
  2. Have a reason for wanting to improve
  3. 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.

Live with Purpose

Mike

Categories
Leadership

Are You A Leader In Football Experiencing A Crisis?

What Is A Crisis?

A crisis can lead you to a dark place

The term crisis can be defined as

“A crucial or decisive point or situation, especially a difficult or unstable situation involving an impending change”

When we put this into the context of sports leadership, the term ‘Crisis’ will relate to a situation unique to that person. Let’s consider three situations:-

Where losing four games in a row could be considered a crisis for one club, another club may view this as part of the long term plan and is perfectly in line with expectations.

Being heavily in debt after a signing failed to live up to expectations may be a crisis to one person, whereas another may consider it just part of the game.

And if you’re a CEO or Director, the lack of wins leading to a relegation battle could be considered a crisis, whereas someone else may see this as a blessing in disguise.

I understand many people in crisis will either try to figure it out themselves, or their behaviour will change and perhaps become erratic as they turn to drink, gambling, or something else, as their minds struggle to deal with the crisis and deflect responsibility through these actions.

In some cases they will hit rock bottom before putting one hand on the ladder and slowly climbing up, but when it comes to getting through a crisis, there is no rule to say you have to hit rock bottom before you can decide to start moving upwards.

False Sense Of Reality

Reality through distorted lenses

Many people believe the root of a crisis is an act, event or what someone said.

For example, a poor business deal, a player getting injured or another team beating you against the odds.

This is where confusion starts because things happen out of your control yet you use energy and time trying to justify why this happened, and it isn’t fair.

There’s a powerful reality I need to share with you because I know deep down you care.

I know deep down you care about your team, the staff, the fans and of course yourself.

I’ve seen in the media and in articles the physical and mental pain caused when people are in crisis, unable to find a way forward and I don’t want that to happen to you.

You might be asking why I give a damn.

I have my reasons, some personal to me that I’m not willing to share, but I do want you to know, you are not the first and you won’t be the last to experience crisis.

The reality I need to you to understand is this…

Your Way Forward

The real root of the crisis isn’t what happened or what was said, but your PERCEPTION of the issue, not the issue itself.

Whether you are in crisis or not all depends on your perspectives and expectations.

I’m going to throw something out there for you to consider..

A crisis in leadership is only a crisis if you allow yourself to perceive it to be a crisis.

With a crisis comes stress.

Stress is only an emotion, just the same as hapiness, sadness and contentment and these emotions are all brought on by your perception of a situation.

Caring Enough To Move Forward

Find a balance right for you

If you care about the club, the staff, the fans and yourself, there is hope for you to move out of the crisis quickly and regain balance, and even if you have lost that passion for the game, there are still options for you to consider. You just haven’t explored them all yet.

But if you’re just in in for the money, then that’s a different conversation altogether.

Do you know a leader in football that seems to be struggling?

Do you know a leader in football who’s behaviour has been erratic?

I urge you to forward them this article and allow them to see there are options to consider.

If you like this article and would like to access more of my content please subscribe below and be notified when I write.

Categories
esports What is a Specialist Mental Performance Coach?

What Is A Specialist Mental Performance Coach?

The Power Of Your Mind

Your Mind Drives You

Your mind is what drives you

Your mind decides whether you succeed or fail, yet many athletes don’t understand this, and it’s my job to help educate and support you to not only understand your mind, but how to think differently for improved results.

Why Am I A Specialist?

Why am I A specialist?

I’m a specialist in my field – mental performance coach for athletes around the world and please allow me to elaborate and share my experience with you

  • Voted by coaches as the best player in England on the England U19 basketball team aged 17
  • Voted by coaches as one of the top 20 players (All-Star selection) in the second tier of British basketball (At only 5′ 7″ I had to take a different approach to the game to succeed)
  • NLP Master Practitioner
  • Through a research project involving filming 200 players and analysing 1000 clips, I co-wrote an academic paper and developed the world’s first emotional intelligence program for football (soccer) and basketball players.
  • Mindfulness Practitioner
  • Training and development consultant for a National company
  • Assistant Professional coach for The Manchester Giants
  • Helped athletes in football, golf and basketball to improve performance quickly
  • Mental Health advocate
  • Degree in Sports Development
  • Voluntary Director of a National League Basketball Team

Does All That Really Matter?

Who Cares What I’ve Achieved?

In all my time of working, not one of my clients asked me to prove my experience or to see my qualifications.

Many people really don’t care what I’ve achieved, because all they care about is what I can do for them, so you can put aside my experiences and qualifications and know, you are at the centre of my support.

I don’t use jargon because I want to understand you and I want you to understand me. When we understand each other, great things will happen.

Move Forward Quickly

Move forward quickly

It’s your mind and your thoughts, that I’m interested in. The more I know, the more I can help and the more open and honest you are with me, the quicker we can move you from crisis to thriving.

There are two factors that are influencing you right now and keeping you from moving forward

  • Your perception of your reality
  • Your expectations of self and others

Your perception of your reality isn’t aligned with your expectations and it’s this misalignment that leads you to a crisis point.

But don’t worry. You will soon understand how to move on from the crisis point and begin to thrive and improve your opportunities.

Take Action

Take Action

When someone is experiencing crisis, one of two things can happen.

  • They won’t take action and the feelings of anxiety, fear, guilt etc will grow and manifest, leading the person down a dark path as they hope things will get better.
  • They will take action and see the light, not at the end of the tunnel, but closer. Those feelings of anxiety and fear will quickly dissipate, replaced with a new inner-strength and courage and talking of courage. Reaching out for help is courageous, not a sign of weakness, as many others will try to make you believe.

CLICK HERE TO BE COURAGEOUS!

Categories
motivation

Learn To Motivate Yourself Like Michael Jordan

The Last Dance is the docuseries currently showing on Netflix which gives new insights into the final NBA season of the Chicago Bulls Championship winning team.

The team that some dubbed The Beatles” was one of the most, if not, the most dominant team in sports history at the time, and watching the behind the scenes footage is spellbinding!

Titled The Last Dance, coined, because everyone knew this was the last time this current group of players would be together due to management decisions, which you get to learn more about in the programmes.

But it was the conversations and sound bites around Michael Jordan’s mindset that had me transfixed and the way in which he motives himself to play better is extraordinary, but possible to learn and I wanted to share this idea so you, the athlete can give it a go and see how it affects your performance.

During lockdown, you can at least, practice training your mind to think along these lines.

Jordan was known for his competitive nature and two stories stand out for me.

A player for Washington, LeBradford Smith had a great game scoring 37 points against Jordan while Jordan had an off game.

The story goes that Smith said something to MJ (no spoilers) that motivated him for the next game between the two teams the next night. Watch episode 8 to find out what happened.

In another story, a friend of Jordan, a coach from an opposing team, didn’t acknowledge Jordan in a restaurant, an act Jordan took offence to. Jordan had a word with himself and then went out to demolish the team his friend coached.

There are different ways in which you can motivate yourself and the uniqueness of Jordan was to instil an emotion so strong, he would do whatever it takes to perform at a higher level than the opponent.

He needed a reason to go out and kick their butt!

So he would create a reason using anything from newspaper articles to a look or comment to light his fire.

So let’s get down to the psychology of this mindset.

I am not MJ’s mind so I don’t know exactly what he thinks, but I can apply theory to help you create the same mindset.

Your thoughts are made up of movies or pictures, words and sounds and from these thoughts, you create an emotion.

So let’s reverse engineer this and start with an emotion asking ourselves, what emotion do you need to create to improve your play against your opponent?

Hatred, revenge, a sense to prove them wrong. A sense to prove to yourself you can beat them?

In MJ’s cause, he talks about revenge being used as a motivator and it’s this motivation that allows him to keep challenging himself to improve and stay on top of his game and be better than his competitors.

The other question is can you bring yourself to think negatively about an opponent?

Of course you can and you can do it no matter level you play at!

You can do it now. Think of an opponent that’s got the better of you in the past, and attach a sense of revenge to that thought.

Now you think about their weaknesses. What can you exploit? What can you take advantage of?

You now start to create a new vision, a new thought which you continue to think about that allows your mind to adjust and when you get the opportunity, you play with that emotion attached to the game.

Improving your performance is much more than improving your physical and technical ability and this exercise gives you an idea of how quickly you can improve your performance just by changing your thoughts.


Mike is a Master Mental Performance Specialist helping athletes all around the world to improve their performance quickly. Subscribe below to be notified of new blogs.

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Uncategorized

Sports Psychology – Imagery and Visualisation

Unfortunately Android doesn’t support WordPress Embeds from Youtube so please click here to watch the video

While professional and amateur sports are shut down, these times are ideal to practice working on your mental performance because let’s be honest, how often, compared with your physical and technical performance, do you work on your mental performance?

I thought so!

Here’s a good reason to practice…

We are driven by our thoughts. Our thoughts lead to our behaviours.

A thought is made up of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic communication, meaning what you see, hear, say and feel affect your behaviour or performance in your sports.

“I can’t do it”

“They are better than me”

“The ref didn’t call that!”

The above are all negative examples of self talk.

How do you think you’re going to play when you think of these?

“I’m going to analyse them and figure out their weakness”

“I notice when they are off the ball, they get distracted. I can exploit that”

“I know when I hustle, I’m more likely to gain an advantage”

These are Specific positive examples of self talk as opposed to “C’mon!” and “Let’s do this!”

These are more likely to lead to a positive outcome.

Combining these audiable examples with visions or images of you playing well, will impact on your performance either positively.

What outcome would you rather have?

I messaged a footballer client a couple of days ago with the suggestion to practice visualisation and imagery as in the past he was overly critical of himself.

He tried it but there was conflict because when he tried to use imagery and visualisation he subconsciously introduced negative self-talk.

I suggested he work on creating positive self-talk by using submodalities to create a new ‘recipe’

Simply replacing the negative words and phrases with positive ones and when he is able to over-ride the negative self-talk easily, he can then introduce imagery and visualisation.

Are you overly-critical of your performance? Do you hold onto negativity for too long?

Contact me for a consultation by clicking here

Please like and share this to your network as you never know who can benefit from knowing these strategies.

Mike

Categories
Uncategorized

Pressure! Learn to make the right decision using this little trick

Those moments of pressure can engulf an athlete and no matter how much physical training they did, if the mind isn’t trained to deal with pressure moments, they are likely to make a mistake.

Learn this simple trick now to allow your mind to make the right decision

When you’ve watched the video, please subscribe for weekly videos and hit the notification button.

Stay safe

Mike

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Uncategorized

What I did, driving 6 hours to Dorset

On Saturday I drove 6 hours, from Manchester to Dorset to meet up with a special bunch of people.

I met these people in 2012 at The London Olympics in our roles as Games Maker Volunteers for the basketball events.

Our love for the game and passion for taking part in a once in a lifetime opportunity drew us all together and every year for the last 8 years we have nominated a host who organises a basketball game against a local team, a night out and accommodation and it’s only fair each volunteer gets to host, hence the reason for travelling to Dorset.

There’s another Games Maker that lives in the same town as me, and used to play on the same team so it made sense to share a car for this long trip and with a long trip comes topics of conversation.

I turned the topic to my brand name, The Mental Performance Guy and from a marketing perspective, it didn’t really send the right message to potential clients.

So I ummed and Ahhed about it with my friend, considering options and new names, and decided Elite Sports Minds 23 would be more attractive to potential clients.

Why?

Let’s break this down…

Elite as in the highest level

Sports as in, it’s sports people I want to attract

Minds as in, it’s the mind of the elite sports person I am an expert in helping

23….? My favourite basketball player was and still is Michael Jordan. He wore….you guessed it 23. Arguably the best player in the game, he had amazing individual talent yet he only started to win when he changed his mindset and accepted a new perspective.

So Elite Sports Minds 23 is a reflection of the area of expertise I deliver with a personal touch.

So what do I do?

The mind of an elite sports person is challenged in many ways including facing adversity, change of environment, training, competing, results….

I help athletes, not only understand there are always choices and new perspectives to consider when they need to overcome adversity or improve performance quickly, but I take them on a journey of self-exploration and understanding so they become resilient and able to make the right choices at the right time.

Now I’m changing my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts to reflect this change.

You can find me at

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/elitesportsminds23/

Twitter https://twitter.com/Mikenichols1973

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/elitesportsminds23/

Hope to see you there.

Mike