There are many questions athletes ask when they ponder the possibility of working with a Mental Skills Coach. Sometimes, many questions can be answered by simply unpacking some of the most common myths. In a past blog, I deconstructed one myth.
Today I'm deconstructing Myth #2.
Myth 2: If I work with a Mental Skills Coach it must mean that I am psychologically weak.
The truth is, engaging in mental skill work is more about mastery, leading to increased strength and skill. In other words, we are weakened because we lack skills. Most athletes are not weak people simply because skills are lacking. Over the last 20 years, I have learned that mastery is a long process and as one honors the struggle of mastery they see consistent growth and progress.
However, where our skills are inadequate to the challenge, then weakness is revealed.
In the world of sports when a weakness is revealed, then we become vulnerable. It is this vulnerability that leaves us lacking in getting where we want to go....
I first thought of this concept when I was on the pool deck of a club swimming team working with individuals as they, one by one, jumped out of the pool for a short mental-skills coaching session. (for 2 hours I rarely have a break because of the interest these amazing athletes have in mental skills development)
Many want to know how they can strengthen their levels of confidence, reduce anxiety, mentally prepare for their races, or move on from a discouraging race.
However, the most often asked question is, “Shaun how do I stay motivated?”
This is an understandable question because most of these athletes train and compete year round. Fatigue, questions about what is being missed out on, and sacrifice lurk under the surface and grow intensely during times of disappointment and discouragement.
Because of the sheer numbers of athletes asking this question I was forced to dig deep and figure out how to respond responsibly to this important question.
What follows is my...
There isn’t a day in my coaching practice where a question about confidence doesn’t come up.
Confidence is often seen as the CORE DEFICIT when performance is sub par.
I have never heard an athlete say, “Shaun, I am playing really poorly but my confidence is in tact.”
This leads me to think that many understand confidence to be only present when one is playing well and absent when performance is sub par. Therefore, when performance drops confidence drops with it.
Confidence must be understood differently for it to be of great value.
So, what is a better way to think of confidence?
Watch my Building Unshakable Confidence Coaching Video for greater understanding!
To begin I offer this definition of confidence:
Confidence is the belief that one generates concerning their ability to be successful in their arena of performance.
I want to emphasis that for confidence to be present it must be generated from within the individual. Nobody, no matter how well meaning,...
We ask ourselves questions all the time. Most of these questions start with the word WHAT.
“What should I wear today?”
“What should I say when asked a question?”
“What should I eat?”
We also ask ourselves, “WHAT IF?”
This often leads us to a series of memories that plant us right in the past regretting something we did leading to feelings of inadequacy or shame. I find that the questions that we ask ourselves inevitably shape our perception, perspective and framework for experiencing life.
Questions aim our thinking, awareness and focus.
This morning, while doing my daily journaling, I decided to RIFT off of the the question “WHAT IF?” However, the substance of my “what if” was much different.
Here are some examples:
What if my fears are unfounded?
What if 10 seconds of courage in a relationship could transform it forever?
What if my beliefs about myself are mistaken?
What if my assumptions are unfounded?
I think most of us would agree that increasing strength is a good thing. Athletes invest countless hours training for the purpose of increasing their strength. They do this because the rigors and challenges about to come REQUIRE ENHANCED STRENGTH to succeed. Without adequate strength they will be overwhelmed and out matched by the demands of the sport.
ATHLETES THAT TRAIN INADEQUATELY ARE ILL PREPARED FOR THE DEMANDS OF COMPETITION.
Physical strength is trained by utilizing resistance. I have never heard of an athlete that goes to the gym to train with AIR. Resistance is a CRITICAL element of strength building. However, if the resistance is not moved with correct form then INJURY can occur which has the exact opposite effect on the body. What initially was intended for BENEFIT has now become HURTFUL simply because of the use of IMPROPER FORM. The RESISTANCE is not the problem. The FORM is the variable that allows for injury.
Through the thousands of conversations and observations I...
Who of us would not want a deep, bold and stable confidence?
Unfortunately, to many people the thought of possessing this type of confidence left long ago. It could be that a significant relationship with a coach, teacher, parent or friend sabotaged that dream. As a result we often tolerate, make excuses and position our lives to insure that we protect ourselves from a sense of failure or discouragement in order to never deal with our utter and complete lack of confidence.
For these reasons this is the day I invite you to engage in the CONFIDENCE CHALLENGE!
Simply stated I want to challenge you to PURSUE a more powerful and sustainable confidence.
For over 18 years I have been coaching thousands of athletes and without question when I ask, “What is the one thing you want to work on?” the response 90 percent of the time is “More CONFIDENCE!”
WHY ARE SO MANY OF US LACKING CONFIDENCE?
Because so many of us are TRADING COMFORT for CONFIDENCE.
It seems that...
Discovering purpose can be very challenging. This might be because we have a pre-determined idea of what it means to have a purpose by generating an image of a hero like Martin Luther King, Gandhi or someone we have come to admire because of the mark they have made on the world and our lives. These people certainly lived with a purpose that drove them to commit their lives to their message.
For the sake of this article I would like to suggest that we can create many multiple applications of purpose. It doesn’t have to be an all-encompassing, immersive, commitment-rich passion we invest our entire lives in (although it could). What I am referring to is living each day and moment with an intention to BE PURPOSEFUL.
In other words, FULL OF PURPOSE.
This can be anything from meeting the challenges of our day believing that we will grow strength, resilience and a deep sense of confidence by doing so, or intentionally engaging in our routine tasks and responsibilities with a purpose...
Have you ever backed down from an opportunity because you were afraid?
Have you ever felt your heart race while doing something that evoked incredible fear?
Have you ever wished you could have more COURAGE?
Maybe you have organized your entire life in a manner that guards you from facing your fears?
If you can relate to any of these statements I have some GREAT NEWS FOR YOU!
YOU CAN OVERCOME the debilitating nature of FEAR.
I am not saying you should overcome ALL FEAR. Some fear is based on the awareness of danger. Feeling afraid in the face of real danger is normal, natural and helpful. In this case learning to calm oneself is valuable.
For the remainder of this blog I want to focus on HOW TO OVERCOME DEBILITATING FEAR. This is the type of fear that inhibits us from LIVING all out in FULL EXPRESSION of our best self. There are three basic fears that I believe we all need to wage war against on a regular basis.
First, is the fear of what others will think. Second, is the fear of...