Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Handling" Or "Dealing" With Pressure Not Allowed!

This topic seems to continuously show it's face, whether it's with one of my students or my own day-to-day walk. It's such an important issue, as it always finds it's way into every aspect of our lives. Very often, we tend to overlook the importance pressure plays in our motivations and our attempts to reach our specific goals. I want to address a certain part of this word, and how it's presented to most of us... actually, all of us!

When we meet pressure head-on, we've been taught to "handle" or "deal" with it as well as we can. As I was trying to reach new levels in my athletic career, I was constantly taught that the athlete who "deals with pressure best will always come out ahead." "Whoever handles the pressure, and can play through it, will separate himself from the competition." Watching the Olympics this year, I've heard this advice from the announcers every other sentence... it's driving me crazy.

I now understand they were all wrong, and have mislead our thinking and approach to this powerful word! Let me explain:

We don't "handle" a healthier body, do we? We don't "deal" with eating correctly, and exercising regularly. We love our new body... we embrace and invite the proper foods into our diet, and the endorphin rush that results from exercise.

We don't "handle" a birdie in golf... we hope for, love, and need it."

We don't "deal" with an A on our exams... we yearn for it, study our butts off, expect that grade.

We should be embracing pressure... making it a part of our core belief system, realizing this is the only way we'll truly excel. It shouldn't be a separate entity, but rather a major piece of who we are internally.

So, why are we supposed to handle and deal with pressure? We associate pressure with negativity, and have made adversity and pressure synonymous. We've linked this negativity into our unconscious, creating a monster that very often feels unbeatable. Simply put, pressure is a bad word in our language.

It doesn't have to be... this is my goal.

Instead of thinking of pressure as something to deal with, we should be putting our arms around it, inviting it into our every move. It's because of pressure that we've succeeded. Let me repeat: Pressure is the reason we reach new levels. It isn't something to fear or run away from... and definitely not something we need to handle!

How do we reshape our mindsets, making pressure work for us? 

Redefine the word...

Rather than equating fear with pressure, make it an OPPORTUNITY. It's an opportunity to... (you fill in the blank, depending on your motivations and goals). Finishing that sentence with anything you want is the best, and most powerful part of your new definition. Opportunity doesn't allow fear or hesitation to enter it's world. It's impossible to say, "pressure is an opportunity to..." and still be afraid to fail, or over think the 'what-ifs.' Opportunity is power, which will ultimately lead to the result we desire.

Again, as written in my last post, it is this simple... but sometimes clarity is too clear to see. 

In order for our mindset to shift, and be able to redefine pressure as our best friend, we must practice this every day. Every time we feel pressure, repeat our new definition. Our minds are a muscle... the harder we work them, the faster we'll achieve!

Pressure is an opportunity to...

Monday, February 22, 2010

It's Not As Difficult As We Make It...

90% of everything we do is a habit. 

We create those habits through massive, massive repetition... consciously and unconsciously. If we can create bad habits through such repetition, we can also create new, better habits through the same process.

The challenge is taking the necessary action to repeat the good habits over and over.

In order for anything to manifest, we must first make a conscious decision to want it to happen... this may be one of the most difficult things we do. Making that concrete decision isn't easy, and is what holds many of us back from achieving new and better. We know we "want" something different, but too often, lack the courage to commit to that decision that will create a shift in our mindset.

The biggest mistake I see every day is people trying to "change bad habits." Trying to change the habit actually makes us focus more attention on it, resulting in an even stronger bad habit. We spend so much time on the habit we don't want, we ironically make it more powerful.

Instead, we should concentrate on CREATING NEW habits.

Figure out what we want... repeat over and over.

Sounds simple? It is!

It's so simple, most completely overlook the ease at which these new habits materialize.

Clarity is very often too clear to see.

Friday, February 19, 2010

What's Your Opinion On The Subject?

When I close my eyes, it's clear as day. I can smell, touch, and feel it with every nerve in my body.

When they open, it becomes blurry... 


What do you make of it?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Word Of The Day Is...

With the Winter Olympics upon us, I'm instantly drawn to the many topics and story lines developing every day. The Olympic games are the peak of mental and emotional toughness, and for some athletes, the single moment that will define their careers.

Breaking down the competition to it's simplest form: They're attempting to elevate their performance to it's maximum potential while under maximum pressure.

Elevate: To move or raise to a higher place or position; lift up.

Most Olympic athletes train for years in order to perform for seconds. Some are given the luxury of minutes, but all are attempting to find the mental clarity that will allow them to find the race, skate, run, or jump of a lifetime.

We're all looking (or should be) to "elevate our game" to new heights, often times needing a simple reminder... the honest look in the mirror that convinces us the new levels we seek are there, and that we do deserve to reach that summit. Are we looking at our reflection often enough, asking the proper and powerful questions? Do we ask, "how, when, what will I?" Do we push back when the pain of action tests our convictions, and dares us to quit?

We don't have to be Olympic athletes to understand how valuable daily persistence and discipline can be to our lives. All of us who have decided to commit to a life changing goal are closer to these athletes than we know. Pain, fatigue, doubt... positive action, confidence, and breakthroughs are all part of our routines, and speak to us daily. We've all felt the urge to quit - maybe some of us actually have... but if you're reading this, it means you've stood up, dusted off, and continued your walk.

When you turn on your t.v. and witness the incredible accomplishments of these young kids competing for their country, remember... they're representing you and your daily achievements! You too are elevating. You too are climbing to a higher standard.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Be Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

Anyone familiar with these:

"But I don't want to... I've never done that before."

"I can't... I'm afraid of the unknown."

"What if I face something I'm not prepared for? I hate that feeling."

Mr. Comfortable is a tricky dude. He makes us think we need him in order to become successful, but I've learned (mostly the hard way) the opposite is true. We'll find a deeper, longer lasting success if we learn to invite Uncomfortable into our day.

Uncomfortable makes us think... Uncomfortable creates the need to look for new and innovating ways to accomplish. She can sting, often confuse, but always teaches. The challenge with Uncomfortable is the difficulty we have making a lasting friendship with her. It's too easy to get upset with her, as she constantly puts us in positions we're unfamiliar with. Very often, this unfamiliarity makes us want to make that call back to Comfortable... we have his number memorized.

Comfortable is so supportive, isn't he? He always tells us what we want to hear, and makes us feel good about ourselves no matter what we choose. He never tells us the whole truth though, leaving us feeling a false sense of security. Comfortable wants and NEEDS us to keep coming back, which means he's never going to suggest diving into the unknown... even if it means personal growth and achievement. He's the anti-growth!

Uncomfortable, conversely, will never tell us only what we want to hear. Her goal is to always tell us what we need to hear, knowing this is the only way to reach new levels.

She understands we must learn to be Comfortable with being Uncomfortable!

Becoming Comfortable with Uncomfortable will make us look at growth through clearer lenses, allowing us to see expansion, where others only see downsizing. If Uncomfortable becomes a natural part of our mindset, and is accepted as "normal," think of the possibilities that will automatically arise. How different would our every day become if we invited Uncomfortable to join us in our decision making process? How many more opportunities would come knocking?

The next time Comfortable texts you or leaves a message on your home phone, hit the Erase button, and immediately speed dial Uncomfortable.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Don't Believe In The Power Of Positive Thinking

I was recently talking with a mom who was inquiring about Coach Your Mind, and if I may be able to help her son. Within two minutes, she asked if I taught "the power of positive thinking."

"Absolutely not!" I answered

(dramatic, nervous pause) 

She looked at me as if I was a crazy person. "What?!!" she questioned, almost angrily.

(another nervous pause)

I don't like the term, power of positive thinking... and never mention it to my students. It just feels overplayed and diluted. When people here it, they actually give a look, as if to say...

"Yeah, yeah - I've heard all that positive thinking stuff before. Give me something new!"

I teach the power of Possible Thinking! Possible Thinking is where we step up to new heights, look down at our old lives, and laugh at the past. When we give-in to the Possible, our minds stop looking for ways to fail, and begin searching for bigger, better, new... Possible.

This has been one of my bigger challenges, growing up. My first reaction used to be about why I couldn't, wouldn't, and never will achieve. Through the incredible experience of learning how to create a new mindset for myself, I realized ways of helping others with this challenge as well. Possible Thinking isn't always easy, and doesn't often come naturally... but with practice, will transform our way of living.

Every time we walk head first into an obstacle, or focus on a passion we wish would materialize, let's create a new habit of asking why it will be Possible. New mindsets are like muscles... they can't improve without constant attention. We have to practice daily if we hope to create a unique, exceptional way of thinking... ultimately leading to a more inspiring way of living.

Being positive is an important quality to have... Thinking Possibilities will open us to opportunities we never dreamed were attainable!