Fix Your Mindset in Time for the Holidays

A big part of Performance Mindset Training is applying mental toughness skills to tangible obstacles like productivity at work or staying focused in school, but true mental toughness goes deeper than that. It requires a sense of gratitude and awareness in order to live the best life possible. This is most critical during the holidays… a time for love, compassion, and joy.

This is the time of year that’s meant to bring out the best in ourselves to serve others in our community. It’s also the time of year that triggers us most into feeling stressed, anxious, annoyed, and overwhelmed. This is the definition of the Default Mindset.

In the same way that physical success takes physical preparation, living in a state of Growth Mindset requires mental and emotional preparation. Mental skills, like any other skill, need to be developed and cultivated over time.  Practice these strategies to Fix Your Mindset daily:

1.)    Be Here Now – how often is what’s happening right now, in this very moment, the cause of your stress? How much more often is it that our anxious mindset creates future problems to worry about or past experiences to ruminate on? Notice 3 tangible things in your sightline, say what they are in your head while taking 3 deep breaths. Now that you’ve arrived where you are in this moment you can…

2.)    Gift Yourself Some Time

In the present moment you can start to realize how rushed we are when giving other people our time. In this way is it really what we have to do or the way we’re thinking about doing it that causes us stress? Give yourself some of your time so that you can think clearly and rationally in order to best…

3.)    Serve Others

As you’ve tuned into this moment and this present version of you, where can you make the greatest impact? How can you shift away from wanting and receiving to shift towards giving and creating? Take the answer to this question and use it to…

4.) Be the Best Version of You During the Holidays

Notice any mental resistance you have towards slowing down. Our thoughts often tell us that we need to be doing more in order to be good enough, but that’s not true. It’s just a bad habit that we’ve learned over time and the only way to break an old habit is to build a new one.

So give yourself a break when you’re stressed this holiday season. Start back at step 1 to build and create the best version of you and to Fix Your Mindset.

The Secret to Success

People ask me all the time, “What’s the secret?! How did you achieve success at such a high level?!” The answer….? There is no secret!

              The secret isn’t what to do. Most people watching a sporting event can see what the athlete needs to do. For example, in skating if you want to win races you have to know how to pass, lead, and defend. That’s obvious.

              Think of the last time you watched your favorite football team. Maybe your team was having a bad day and you screamed angrily at the tv, “You have to catch the ball!!!” Then the person you’re watching with chimes in and says, “the quarterback needs to learn how to throw!” These things are painfully obvious which is why they’re not the secret. 

              The secret isn’t how to do it. Coaches dedicate their lives to helping people understand the skills and develop the strength necessary to carry-out a specific task. The world’s best coaches can even modify their coaching language to teach based on each individual athlete’s learning style.

              Think of the unbelievable amount of information available to us at school, online, and from others. Think of the words of wisdom spoken to you by the greater influencers in your life. If the secret was knowledge we’d be knee deep in success by now.

              The secret is simple, but not easy… it’s actually DOING IT. It’s developing the mental skills to bring focus, resilience, confidence, and purpose to your work. It’s remembering what changes to make, how to make them, and taking action even when you’re overwhelmed, stressed, or tired. All of these skills can be developed through Mindset Training.

Of course, there’s a genetic factor that can hurt or help an individual in their quest. Luck, preparation, and resources also make a heavy impact. But think of the last time you saw an athlete, teammate, or friend put their heart on their sleeve and give their absolute, all out effort in an attempt to DO something. At that point you don’t have to come in first in order to win the race. You’ve won simply by having the courage to do what most people don’t.

              I’ll close with one of my favorite quotes… The Man in the Arena by Theodore Roosevelt.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”                         

                                                                                                     -Theodore Roosevelt

Obnoxious Positivity

If you have a goal and you’re willing to work for it then you know what it feels like when nothing goes right, no matter how hard you try. This is the point where Default Mindset comes in and tries to convince you to quit. Instead, use a mindset strategy called Obnoxious Positivity.

This is not to be confused with positive psychology or positive self-talk and should not be used interchangeably with these strategies. Obnoxious Positivity works best when saved for extreme moments like when:

-          Coach (or teacher/boss/parent) gives you a task that feels impossible to achieve

-          You’re at your wit’s end and you legitimately feel like quitting

-          No matter how hard you try you’re stuck taking one step forward, two steps back

If you’ve worked with me in person before you know that I tend to say one of two things… One, that the distinction between good and great is not what to do, but how to do it. And two, getting better happens on purpose, not by accident.

If you’re in a place where you need some Obnoxious Positivity then chances are that you already know what you need to do. It’s a matter of how are you going to do it?!

Write down 3 action items to get you started. It’s not important that you know where to start. It’s only important that you start somewhere and learn as you go.

Now, add some intention! Don’t go through the motions thinking you’ll get better. Work with the intention of getting better every rep, of every set, in order to achieve your goals someday. One of my favorite quotes is from an old teammate and 2014 Olympian, Kyle Carr. When watching a group of his teammates go through the motions on a workout he yelled, “Don’t just jump. Jump like you mean it!”

And add Obnoxious Positivity on the days you feel like you just want to quit. It won’t make your situation any easier, but it will give you the extra boost you need to do what it takes.

Examples include:

-          Personal mantras - When the voice in your head keeps saying that you can’t, fight back by saying (and feeling), ‘I can do anything. I will overcome this. I trust my ability to work hard and I will do whatever it takes’.

-          Visualization – Imagine what success looks, feels, and sounds like. During my hardest workouts I would motivate myself by visualizing what it would feel like to stand on top of the podium, to see my flag raised up, and to hear my national anthem.

-          Keep it Fun – Pushing through fatigue, doubt, and frustration isn’t fun. Make it fun by finding ways to laugh! Listen to your favorite comedian, watch a funny video, or think of an inside joke with a friend. This feels goofy, but doing what it takes means you have to finish doing the work no matter how hard it is. Feeling goofy is a fair trade when the other option is letting your Default Mindset convince you to give up early.  

Life After Speedskating (And Other Hard Transitions)

Summer is over and fall is here. Our sleeves get longer as the days get shorter, but what about the transitions we’re not ready for like a new job, a new team, or a new school? How can we make a positive impact despite our fear of failure?

About 9 months ago I retired from the only sport/lifestyle I’ve ever known, Short Track Speedskating. For decades I planned my days around workouts, personal bests, and the never-ending pursuit of perfection. This passion and persistence pushed me towards great things, but what now? Enter, a really tough transition!

This week I’m taking a look back at some of the strategies that helped me succeed through my toughest transitions as an athlete. I’ll be taking my own advice to heart and hoping that these examples will resonate with and help you too!

The 85% Rule

Just like a changing pace or strategy in the middle of a race, change in life tends to speed up our thoughts. Sometimes operating at 100% is necessary, but if we stay there too long we start making mistakes. Mistakes lead to annoyance, stress, frustration, and eventually, burn-out.

Instead, try operating at 85% of your top speed. 85% is enough to be effective while also maintaining awareness of how to avoid mistakes and/or respond to them properly. At 85% you can easily speed up when it’s time to work and slow down when it’s time to relax. Who doesn’t need more of that?!

Control the Controllable

A natural reaction to change is to get back in control by planning for every variable. However, it’s not possible to control every variable very often. The stress and anxiety become even worse when the wheels fall off of our well calculated plan.

Instead, ask yourself, ‘what are the things I can control today?’ ‘What are the things I can influence?’ ‘What are the things that I cannot control?” Prioritize your time, energy, and resources on what you can control or influence. Let the rest go.

Impacting Others

A tough transition can feel like you’re in over your head. In this state of sink or swim our judgement is clouded. Our response to emotional triggers often leaves us responding in ways that don’t align with our core values.

Instead, start your day by journaling the answer to this question: ‘How can I build and create the best environment possible while also serving others?’ Whether you’re in over your head or not, the response to this question will leave you feeling better.

Procrastination

As the care-free days of summer come to an end our to-do lists get longer and our schedules become more rigid. This leads to a common symptom of the default mindset, procrastination.

In Mindset Coaching the words used to describe procrastination are “mental resistance”. That’s because there’s no tangible reason for procrastination. It happens in our minds as we resist doing something that needs to be done.

It may be a project, a tough conversation, or starting a new habit. Whatever it is, we mentally resist it until the consequences of not doing the task become greater than the annoyance of doing it.

When we look at procrastination in this way it’s easy to see why the tasks we procrastinate feel boring, annoying, and pointless. We put them off because we expect them to feel boring, annoying, and pointless! But there’s a different way to look at it….

When training with the US Speedskating National Team in Salt Lake City there were several workouts that I dreaded every week. I would spend extra time stretching or chatting with support staff to avoid the on-start of these brutal workouts only to find that once I got started the workout wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was the build-up in my mind that had caused my dread.

What tasks are you dreading, and therefore procrastinating, the most? Are the tasks really that bad? Or is it the reaction in your brain that makes them feel that way? Fight this feeling by bringing purpose to your work.

For example, skating sets of 20, 30, and 50 laps all summer long is boring, monotonous, and seemingly pointless; but training endurance in order to prepare for maximal performance in the 1500m was full of purpose. Challenging myself to skate more efficiently as fatigue set in kept the work engaging. And pushing myself to race my teammates on the last few laps of every set kept the work exciting.  

How can you bring purpose to your work today in order to avoid mental resistance and keep your work purposeful, engaging, and exciting?

Responding to Pressure and Frustration

We all feel pressure to perform at work/school, accomplish our goals, and to exceed the expectations of others. Pressure is uncomfortable and as human beings we tend to avoid feelings of discomfort at all costs. This leaves us feeling comfortable, but not always prepared to perform in stressful situations.

Then when it’s time to perform the pressure feels 10x greater because we never stressed our preparation. We feel worse because in an effort to be comfortable and confident we forgot to practice managing pressure and frustration.

A simple strategy to avoid this issue is to turn your preparation into a competition or a game. Do this by creating a fun challenge and keeping score each week as a way of tracking improvement.

As an athlete I would make challenges daily like, ‘I’m going to practice sitting lower by increasing the number of reps I can do with a full range of motion every week’. Now I’m not doing reps mindlessly because coach said so. I’m doing reps with the added challenge of increasing quality and quantity each week.

If there was a week when I failed to improve (which was inevitable) I was met with the opportunity to practice performing under pressure as well as bouncing back from the frustration that often comes with falling short of a goal.

Sometimes you’re physically incapable of achieving a goal on a certain day. Sometimes an external stimulus that’s outside of our control gets in the way and derails our plan for the day. Even though this isn’t our fault, it’s still our responsibility to manage ourselves effectively.

During my comeback I had countless days when my body couldn’t achieve my physical goals due to back pain. This wasn’t fun or challenging. It was incredibly frustrating! So, I would change the rules of my game. Instead of trying to improve quality/quantity of reps I would challenge myself to be a positive influence for my teammates. I would make a game out of encouraging others.

The challenge was to keep frustration from getting the better of me. The game was increasing the amount of positive impact I could have on others. Using this strategy, I’m an athlete that lifts up my teammates even when I’m having a bad day. Instead of an athlete that cracks under pressure/frustration and brings negativity to the team around me.

What kind of teammate would you prefer having? What kind of athlete do you want to be? How can you turn your preparation into a competition or a game in order to perform under pressure?

Focus

Every day I watch athletes’ minds wander while I’m giving instruction. Hard working, motivated athletes who just can’t stay focused. My knee jerk reaction is to get angry, to take their mind wandering personally.

Then I remember the amount of distraction that these athletes have in their daily lives… social media, advertising, tv, and internet. Of course, they can’t focus! At what point in their lives have they been taught how?!

Next, I remember that everyone struggles to focus (at least sometimes) and that these athletes have just presented me with the perfect opportunity to teach a mental skill in the middle of a hard workout.

How to STAY focused. How to keep the mind concentrated on one thing. This is simple, but not easy.

Learning to concentrate on one thing for an extended period of time is a mental skill that must be developed like any physical skill. Try listening to your favorite song while keeping your mind focused on just one piece of the music. It could be the beat, the melody, or the words. Count how many times you lose focus of this one thing in a period of just a few minutes.

Now, imagine trying to do that as a 16-year-old learning something new. The reason why an athletes’ mind would wander is starting to make sense…

So instead of getting mad at your athletes (or yourself) for not being able to stay focused, use this as a teaching moment to define what focus is. The ability to concentrate on one thing for an extended period of time. Challenge them to stay focused on just one thing at a time throughout the training session.

Using this Mindset strategy, you’ve prepared the athlete to learn the physical skill and taught them how to develop a mental skill at the same time.

Fix Your Mindset Partners with Miller SWC

Miller SWC is excited to announce a new provider, two-time Olympic Medalist, Katherine Adamek!

Since retiring from Short Track Speed Skating after the 2018 Olympic Trials, Katherine has started her Performance Mindset Consulting business, Fix Your Mindset. Katherine partners with Vision Pursue to provide a 10-week training program as well as ongoing consultation and development of Performance Mindset.

Schedule a Free 15 minute Mindset Consultation!

“I’m excited to work with clients at Miller Sports and Wellness to help them change their perception of pain and manage the emotions that go along with chronic injury. I dealt with chronic pain and injury for many years as an athlete. It wasn’t until I took the steps necessary to change my mindset that I noticed a significant improvement in my ability to deal with setbacks and pain.”

Check out Katherine’s blog to find out “Why Mindset Training is Right For YOU

Why Mindset Training is Right For YOU

Lots of people are confused about Mindset Training. What is it...? And why is right for you?

Mindset is how your automatic brain experiences the world. This is called Default Mindset.

Humans have 30,000-40,000 automatic thoughts per day. These are not thoughts that we choose and they may not even be helpful. Random thoughts pop into our heads all day long with or without permission. These are called Auto-Thoughts.

Auto-Thoughts lead to what is called the Default Mindset. Examples of the Default Mindset include: trouble focusing, a hard time falling asleep, low energy, low emotional resilience, and a tough time committing to healthy habits. The opposite of the Default Mindset is called Performance Mindset.

Performance Mindset the state of mind that allows us to feel focused, energized, motivated, alive, and engaged.

Performance Mindset Training is a 10-week curriculum designed to help you Fix Your Mindset. Users report aa 35% reduction in stress, a 26% reduction in boredom and monotony, and a 99% increase in the amount of time spent feeling good without escape activities. 

Please CONTACT ME for more information about Mindset Training, what the curriculum entails, and how it can help you master your process as you work to achieve your goals. 

The NFL’s Mindfulness Movement Is Spreading by Robert Mays

Pete Carroll isn’t the only football decision-maker obsessed with sport psychology anymore. The Falcons, Colts, and 49ers have all also embraced mindfulness training—and their experiences could impact the culture-building dynamic of a league long resistant to change.