Thursday, October 28, 2010

Your Story: "Search Within"

Every time I check my inbox, I'm floored at the stories waiting for me. We'll continue posting them as long as my email keeps beeping at me. Send Your Story to, and help someone look at themselves in a way they never have before. Make them believe IT IS possible... they can break through their personal barriers.

This next story comes from someone I've known for over ten years. The mindset and confidence change she's made has been nothing short of miraculous. Specifically, the last two years have been amazing to witness, as I've seen her take on challenges she'd never dream of in the past. She's confident, and walks with this "knowingness" that she CAN... and WILL. 

She holds a special place in my heart. I'm so proud of her... more than she'll ever know!



I certainly don’t think I'm an expert, and am not sure I have a whole lot of “correct” advice, but I've been lucky enough to have learned a few lessons. 

With that said, here’s my story:

So many of us walk through life not really knowing where we want to go. I know for sure I'm in that very position right now. I’m not so sure I know what’s right for me. It feels like there are so many days that I'm just not good enough. I’m not smart enough, I'm not tall enough, I'm not fast enough; I'm just less. Then one day, I just decided to stop hating myself, and really just appreciate the person I have become.

I play tennis. I’m a tennis player. To me, those two sentences are completely different. How? In high school, I played tennis. I was never amazing. I was good for the level we were playing - I just played tennis. Now, I'm a tennis player! I can walk into a tournament and not expect myself to lose right away. I can win. I also lose, obviously. But I'm now able to learn things from those losses. I tell Dayne what I need help with or what I noticed, and we WORK ON IT. We worked on my serve for endless days of the summer. I hated it so much. Now, I can serve... really serve. 

I did what I had to in order to get better at this sport. In that alone, I have grown so much. I have realized that maybe I will never be the best, but I certainly am so much better than I thought I could be. I just believed- something so simple, yet we tend not to do.

I’ve gotten pretty used to being the girl that guys aren’t interested in. For a long time that really took a toll on my self-esteem. Now though, I know I'm pretty.  When we pass on the street tomorrow, you might not feel like the need to stop and look my way, but that’s okay with me. I think I'm pretty. And that’s all that matters. Here’s a secret: I don’t always think that. Who does? Really though, as long as you fake it for a while, it’ll become habit. Soon enough I'm going to feel beautiful and I guarantee you, I'll become a bit more beautiful.

The point is, I'm not so sure that there’s a whole lot I can say to inspire you. I know for a fact that life without love or confidence is a miserable one. SO search within. Find what makes you YOU, and start loving it. Embrace the person that you are. And find something you really enjoy. Life has a funny way of taking you exactly where you’re supposed to end up. Don’t be afraid to try that water aerobics class, skydiving adventure, or bowling league. Maybe that’s what you’re supposed to do, but you’ve been too scared. That lesson goes with everything in life.

You really can do anything you set your mind to. You just have to have the right tools. The right tool is YOU. YOU have to be committed.

It's taken a lot of courage to send this to Dayne… so this is for all of you. I’m taking a risk. Take a risk with me! Do something you wouldn’t necessarily do, and prove to yourself how brave you really are! 

Good luck!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Your Story: "Enough - No More!"

I can't tell you enough, how impressed I am with the stories that keep coming in. They've been inspirational, thought provoking, and a couple have been emotional and painful. 

Email me with yours at  I'll post everyone I receive. 

Our next story comes from LauraLynn... a fighter her entire life!

I was a scrawny kid - frail almost.  I came from  tough background, but this isn't a story of child abuse. This is a story about saying, "ENOUGH - NO MORE!"

Puberty was when I started to gain weight.  Not much - I was active.  Track, volleyball, basketball, swim team, tennis - I was always participating in a sport. But the eating habits were there.  Binging (purging was never my style - the really twisted part of my brain wished it was).  I would eat healthy foods, but rarely in healthy quantities. My junior year in high school, I started making frosting.  And eating it.  And hiding it.  How my mother didn't notice - the powdered sugar was always replaced as was vanilla, butter, and milk.  One of these days, I'll be brave enough to ask my mom why she didn't say anything - why she didn't intervene.  

Then came college - even less supervision.  All you could eat cafeteria food, working at a pizza joint, but walking/running everywhere.  I gained more weight - but still "just" overweight and not obese.  But the habits were forming.  The compulsions were there.

The next decade, the eating continued but the moving decreased.  I met a man - and married him.  He wasn't active and our every move included food.  Lots and lots of food!  Then came back to back pregnancies, more sitting around, a desk job, and emotional abuse. I reached, and maintained 300 or so lbs.  I worked long hours, was the best mom I knew how to be, and occassionally tried to lose weight. After every attempt, I gave up.  It was overwhelming, and I had zero support (the emotional abuse at home was staggering - he couldn't bear the idea of me losing weight). 

10 years ago, someone mentioned gastric bypass to me.  I was desperate - like so many other people seeking weight loss surgery - it was truly a last ditch effort.  I had tried everything else.  I had sleep apnea that was making my life a living hell - I thought I was going crazy (sleep deprivation caused me to lose my memory - I would literally forget where to pick my children up from!!).  My life was hell! My health had gotten to the point where carrying the laundry up the one flight of stairs was daunting. I had two young children to not only take care of, but I longed to play with them. I was trapped - inside my obesity. 

I researched, and was approved for gastric bypass - RNY.  I talked to the surgeon and we compromised.  I didn't want a full gastric bypass - I was concerned about long term health, nutrient deficiency, and mal-absorbtion. So he agreed to bypass less intestines and leave my stomach a little larger than normal.  November 2001, I had the surgery.  By August of 2002, I was down 130 pounds...  and living again.  Running daily, working out, playing with my kids.  I seperated and divorced my husband, became a single mom and moved into my mom's basement. I felt like a cloud had been lifted.  At 185 pounds, I had plastic surgery - a tummy tuck to remove all the excess skin that was distorting my midsection.

February of 2003, I met my now husband.  Active, loving, caring - everything my first husband wasn't.  We froliced - I stayed active - continued to eat a healthy diet in moderation.  But in my comfort of being 2+ years out from surgery, my old habits started coming out of hibernation.  You see, weightloss surgery doesn't work on the brain, where my eating habits were lying dormant.  I was comfotable at 180 or so pounds, rocking size 12 pants, and most of the people in my life only knew me at this size.  I got complacent. Some of the weight came back.  At first, I wasn't concerned - it was only 10 pounds. Then 10 more.  Then 20 more. I panicked. I quickly threw myself into exercise - started with 5k's, then 10k's and one of my friends talked me into trying a triathlon. I was simultaneously eating in moderation while I trained for these events.   

Not being a person to take things slowly, I also signed up for a half marathon!! 
Me, formerly 300 pounds, 40 year old mom, and still chubby at 200 pounds... 13.1 miles. I did it!  November of 2008 I ran, and walked a little, 13.1 miles.  But in my eagerness to do this, I got injured - and then laid off.  So, no health insurance meant no treatment, or even diagnosis.  I took a year off, and put back on the weight I'd worked so hard to take off, plus 10 more. I eventually found a job, health insurance, and physical therapy. I was ready to give weight loss a shot again. 

I finally took some time for introspection - and looking back at everything I'd tried.  I had always tackeled the symptoms - the weight.  I was always focused on losing weight.  What I wasn't looking at were the habits - the compulsions.  I also started looking online for other people going through the same things.  And I discovered blogging.  The final turning point for me was a hypnotherapy session with a friend.  She walked me through some pretty deep stuff - how I looked at food - how I looked at myself.  On Jan 1, 2010 - I started over again.  I began blogging the process - mostly just so that I would have my own record of what I tried and the results.  I also wanted to be able to 'see' my words - the pour them out of my head and onto the screen.  To SEE them - to see if they even made sense. What I didn't count on was the side effects of blogging.  The comroderie - the accountibilty - the friendships - the community.  All aspects I'd never used before in weight loss.  I won't say it's The Solution - but it was part of My Solution. 

Over the last 10 months, I have blogged my journey - my struggles and my successes.  I've found kindred souls online.  I've found people who inspire me daily, find myself using everyone as my own personal group therapy. 

I've begun working out again, and in my usual style, I dove right in the deep end.  Running a half marathon again - this time in under 3 hours!  Several multi-sport events (Swim/run and a sprint triathalon).  Mid summer, I hit a physical speed bump with a pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage.  But this time was different.  I hit the weight loss wall - like so many times before.  This time, I was determined NOT to lose my momentum.  I climbed that wall and kept on going.  I dind't gain weight - I maintained.  

My goals are a little different.  I do have a goal weight - of course I do.  But more than that, I have goals around how I eat and how I think about food. I'm dealing with the disease, not just the symptoms.  I plan on beating this.  I'm down 48 pounds in 10 months, I'm spending the winter continuing to deal with my eating disorder, and simultaneously training for a huge event.  I plan on racing in a half ironman in summer of 2011.  Nothing in little steps for me.

I'm continuing to blog - to stay accountible - to followers, to myself - not in that order.  I can honestly say that there are times that blogging is what keeps me on track. I'm honest to a fault...  because I deserve that. 

My journey isn't over.  I still have 42 pounds to my "goal" weight - and then a lifetime of maintaining. I'm on the right track, I'm dealing with my demons, and I'm facing them head on. 

All, while sharing it with the world.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Your Story: "Stand Out, Be Different"

It's been amazing how many stories I've read these last couple of weeks. What's Your Story? Inspirational? Motivational? Brutal? Are you still struggling to figure it out? We'd love to hear about your path... past, current, or future.

Email me at

This next story is raw and real. It came to me anonymously, and is emotional and painful. By the end, something changed. Something was revealed to him/her, simply by putting it down in words.


I've been reading Coach Your Mind for a year now, but have never replied to any of your posts - until now. I'm a freshman in college, receiving a full athletic scholarship to a school pretty far away from home. I have been the best in my sport for the last three years, and have gotten used to a lot of attention for my abilities. 


I'm a freshman. A lonely, away from home freshman trying to prove my worth. I may be trying too hard to prove how good I am, because I now suck! Where did all my talent go? Where is all my success? I read a post you wrote about 1%, and it got me thinking: I've never had the 1% mindset. I've never even thought about being 1%, to be honest. I've only been taught to be better than everyone (whatever the hell that means). My physical game is great, but I'm obviously missing something in between my ears. Could this be the 1% mindset? Am I willing to sacrifice what it takes to become this 1%? 

Everyone I asked (including my private coach) told me that drinking is normal in college, and won't hurt me much. I'm beginning to believe that it doesn't HAVE to be normal, and it DOES hurt me - a lot. I'm starting to think that if I stopped drinking, especially if everyone else didn't, I'd instantly become the 1% you speak of. At the very least, I'd get much closer to reaching that level. By definition, if I'm doing what the majority is not, I'm 1%. Correct?

I want to turn pro after college, but the decisions I've made so far are going to keep me from that goal! I think until now, I've wanted everyone to like me. I haven't wanted people to think I'm better than them, but maybe I just have to "not care" about what they think anymore. Professional athletics is my goal, my dream, and my passion. If I keep caring about what they say and think, I won't make it. This is going to be really hard, isn't it? To separate myself from the rest of the average dudes, it may be lonely, won't it?

No one on my team understands the importance of total commitment and dedication, which makes it so much harder for me to want to stand out. It's too easy to be just like everyone else. Actually, being different then the rest makes me feel stupid and abnormal. They're going to make fun of me if I don't drink or party as much as them. I know, I know: I shouldn't care about what they think. I want, so badly, to be great but I don't think I understood what it really takes. 

It hit me like a ton of bricks today that in order for me to be a professional athlete, I must make a decision to be different. Wow, that statement is totally opposite of everything I've been taught to date. I've always been told to follow the great ones, because they obviously know what works. In the last few months, it's obvious they don't all know what works best. If they did, my team wouldn't drink and do the stupid things they do that kills their game. Even the best player on the team is an idiot, but I'm realizing that he could be a professional right now if he dedicated to be different - to be that 1%.

As I'm writing my story to you, I'm changing. Seriously, Dayne. I started this 20 minutes ago, wanting to whine and complain about how bad I'm playing, but now that I'm almost finished, I want to rededicate myself to my sport. I want to blow everyone away with my new attitude and willingness to stand out and be different. I can't believe how writing this down and asking questions changed my thinking, not only about my current place, but my future too. 

Thank you for what you do. This "my story" thing has helped me more than you know. I'll get back to you and let you know how I'm doing. Until then, different is my goal!


Future professional athlete

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Your Stories Keep Coming... "Can't Vs. Won't"

Thank you to all of those who've sent me Your Stories. To say I'm impressed with what I've read would be a total understatement. It's been truly inspirational to read about the struggles, battles, fighting disease, and how you've found a way to climb back. The strength you've shown, and continue showing, needs to be read by others.

Again, I don't have an 'end date' for this feature, so to those who want to add their stories, email me at No matter how long it takes, I'll be posting every one I receive. 

Our next story comes from Loretta. Her journey has taken her through many ups and downs, but she continues to take massive action, one foot at a time. Keep steppin, Loretta!

She writes:

Can't VS Won't

We live in such a "soundbite" age. We want instant answers. Fast and easy solutions. The "magic pill", or the "guaranteed formula for success".

While I don't believe such a critter exists, I DO believe there are fundamentals that apply to all of us. No matter what kind of goal we are aiming for, I believe the battle is won or lost between the ears.

Just recently I was trying to come up with a nutshell version of what has helped me the most, in order to encourage someone who was struggling. 

Bottomline, it had to do with the Mental part of my journey... and here is what I told her:

It was a POWERFUL help to me the day I chose to NEVER ever again say "I can't".

Instead, I admitted that the truth was usually: "I won't".

That was hard to swallow, but it gave me back my POWER TO CHOOSE.

I believe that is the system God designed, where we have this marvelous thing called Choice. Once we realize it's not a matter of "can't", but rather a matter of "won't", we are empowered again. We are NOT victims of the old "I can't" mentality. 

I, and I alone, am responsible for my choices and the consequences they bring. And that is GOOD news. 

Because if I made some less than stellar choices in the past, then I can NOW made better ones. I have the power to improve my life. I am not a leaf floating on the wind. I am flying under my own power, with the ability to steer.

Do I control all around me?? Absolutely not.
Do I control my RESPONSE to all around me?? Absolutely YES!!

Adopting this philosophy was life-changing for me. I refuse to sit around and whine  "oh poor me". We ALL have stuff in our life we wish was different. I'm not talking about things beyond my control.

But for those things that ARE within my ability to choose, I want to make good choices, knowing that TODAY I am sowing the seeds of my TOMORROW.

This isn't a bunch of fancy schmancy psycho-babble. It's real and practical... where-the-rubber-meets-the-road kind of stuff.

The journey I started out on was one to regain my health. I have lost about 135 pounds now, and am slightly over half way to my goal. It's downhill from here, baby!

But along the way, I discovered it is not about numbers. It is about living my authentic life.

It is about living. About going after our dreams. About living NOW, even while I am still on this journey.

Am I perfect at all this?? Can you hear me laughing at that thought??!! No, I am still learning.

But let me just say this: I am so thankful to have learned about the Power of Choice. I will never again be a "victim". I can choose my attitude!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Your Story #1... Way Beyond Her Years!

Ok, here we go... my first of many posts featuring you and Your Story. The response has been amazing, so instead of posting one or two per month, I'm going to share a new story every couple of days. I'm not going to put an end date on this feature, so as long as they keep coming, I'll keep posting. Spread the word!

The passion and inspiration I've read in these stories have been incredible... so much so, that I've been forever changed.  If you'd like to Share Your Story, please email me at It can be a personal life-changer or something you witnessed from a distance, altering your life in some way.

The first personal story comes from a girl WAY beyond her years:


I am a 17 year old girl, struggling with obstacles and learning to laugh in the face of fear! 

My life is all about golf. I am planning, not only on playing, but dominating on the LPGA tour in a few years. This life is anything but easy and sometimes when things get tough, I wonder if it's really worth all of the struggles and tears. That's when I remind myself WHY i'm on this journey in the first place. 

Golf is a talent that was given to me by God above, and I believe that I was put here on this earth to show people who He is through golf - call it my destiny if you will. One of the greatest motivations that keeps me going is knowing that God wouldn't put things on my path that He knew I couldn't handle. When things get tough, I know that tomorrow the sun will shine again, and i'll be out there practicing even harder.

I am a perfectionist! I always used to look at the negative side of things rather than the positive. With the help of Coach Dayne I'm learning to make that mental switch, and let me tell you, it is the hardest thing that I've ever done in my life. Just when i think i've broken down a wall, another one pops up again! It's frustrating as heck! All i can do is keep punching and never give up. Golf is a sport unlike any other. It's completely individual and you control the outcome of the shot at hand. That can be a bit scary. Learning how to only focus on what I want instead of what I don't, is something that I am currently working on turning into a habit.

Along with golf challenges I've also faced health obstacles. I have been sick for almost 2 years with something that is still a bit of a mystery. It makes me so tired and weak, I sometimes wonder if I can even get out of bed in the morning. I still find the courage to pick myself up and force myself to carry on and practice for hours. It's definitely not an easy thing to do, but I try my best to stay positive and keep on working on reaching for my life on the LPGA.

There are so many people in my life who help to keep me going. My wonderful coaches, parents, family and friends. Without them, none of this would be possible. 

I am 17. I am a golfer. I am a teenager. I am fearless. I am unstoppable. I am 1%.

I know there are plenty more obstacles to come in my life. I look forward to the challenge of punching them in the face and moving forward. 

This isn't the end of my story, it's just the beginning...Watch out world, I'm coming!

-Mareon Smit
Future LPGA dominator

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tell Us Your Story

I want to invite you to share your story. I want to feature you, your path to today, and goals for tomorrow. Through you, I want to give others a look into their potential.

What changed you, how did it make a difference, and what made it possible, etc? It can be a personal experience or one you witnessed from a distance, forever shaping your life.

Very often, we think we're stuck in a hole that's impossible to climb out of, yet when we see someone find their way out, it frequently inspires us to try.

Help that person who thinks he can't be helped. Share that piece of your life that will influence a total stranger to look for the possible in her future.

You can stay anonymous or give as much detail about yourself as you wish.  Every couple of days, I'll post another story... for as long as I continue to receive them.

Email me at

I look forward to reading and sharing.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Such A Simple, Little Question

Why not? 

These two words can change our lives... but we first must take the time to look inside the question.

Why not take that risk?

Why not quit the job we hate so much?

Why not start the career we've talked about since we were in high school?

Why not stop smoking?

Why not lose weight?

Why not practice more?

Why not?

The ironic part of this simple question is we already know the answer. If we know the solution, why not take action and move forward? Won't the answer to this question change our current situation? Why do we allow the answer to sit by itself in the dark, while we continue to live in the dark?

Such a simple, little question.

What's your answer?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Feet Are For Steppin'

"You don't have to see the whole staircase... just take the first step."

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

"... and keep steppin!"


Monday, October 4, 2010

Backup Plan, "Just In Case" (YUCK!)

I want to revisit a topic I wrote about in the past. I've been asked my opinion on the subject so often lately, I thought I'd reopen the debate.

Should we have a backup plan... 
"just in case?"

My opinion: NO! I absolutely believe backup plans hurt our progress, and don't allow us to fully reach our potential. When we have backup plans, we know in the back of our minds, "I have a safety net to fall into just in case I don't reach my goal..." which ironically leads to not reaching our goals. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Many parents ask about college, and whether or not this is a backup plan. College, in my opinion, isn't a net at 18 years old, but could be at 20. What if, for example, I've been offered a once in a lifetime career opportunity during my junior year in college. Should I take the job or stay in school and graduate, receiving my degree (for future safety)? 

How about those who are passionate about pursuing a dream job, but have been told to make sure they have something to fall back on... "just in case?" If we have the mindset of protecting ourselves from potential failure, we're going to fail. We're predetermining our outcome, simply by thinking about "just in case." We're unconsciously and unknowingly building a ceiling of possibility... meaning, we're limiting our potential by allowing a safety net to catch us if we fall. When we allow IF to enter our plan, it will dominate our actions. 

The backup plan is a survival instinct. We try to protect ourselves from the inevitable pain that failure brings. Ironically, it's this protection that makes us fall. When we "protect," we bring fear into the picture. When we fear, we hesitate. When we hesitate, we miss opportunity. When we miss opportunity, we fall short. 

Without the backup plan, we gain a sense of "passionate desperation" and intense focus. It's this focus that allows the necessary concentration to create the blueprint of success. We no longer feel the need to protect from failure, which takes the fear completely out of our path. Without fear, we gain the ability to act with 100% passion and love for our goal. How can we possibly go wrong with that equation? Even if we don't attain, at least we acted fearlessly.

Long story short: Backup plans = fear of failure. Fear destroys all potential. Therefore, no backup plans.

Counterintuitive, yes... so what!