The battle you never win

What you resist, persists.

C.G. Jung

There is only one battle that you are guaranteed to lose.

And that battle is the one with yourself.

When you fight against yourself, you lose every single time.

Why would you ever fight against yourself?

Usually this happens when you want to reject feeling a certain way.

Judging our feelings as “good” or “bad” is simply not useful.

When you resist a feeling, this can feel like trying to hold your door closed when someone is pushing against it trying to get in.

Or holding a beachball beneath the surface of the water in a swimming pool.

On the surface it looks calm and collected, but the longer the ball is under the water, the more pressure it builds.

Until it comes forcefully out of the water; unpredictable and out of control.

It is the same with our emotions.

When we resist feeling a certain emotion and judge it, we only give it more power. It is only a matter of time before it turns into something even more powerful and unmanageable.

This might look like feeling nervous before a game. When resisted, those nerves turn into anxiousness, which then can turn into a full on panic attack.

Or when you want to pretend something doesn’t bother you. When it really does. And then you end up blowing up or being extremely dramatic and wondering why this always happens to you.

See the problem?

You start to fear certain emotions. Not wanting to feel them. Rejecting them at all costs.

By pushing the feeling away, you are inviting it to stay. Any energy you use to fight it only increases its power.

When you are willing to feel any emotion, there is no need to resist.

Sweaty hands, tightness in your head, chest and shoulders, a sick, buzzing feeling in your stomach, quick, shallow breathing, and a racing heart beat is nothing you can’t handle.

This is what the experience of nervousness is for many of you.

It isn’t great, but it sure beats a full on panic attack.

When you are willing to feel any emotion, there is nothing you can’t do.

Realizing that all emotions are caused by thoughts we are choosing to focus on changes everything.

Once you can process an emotion all of the way through without resistance, then you are able to choose whatever feeling might be more useful in the moment.

This is only possible once you really learn the skill of allowing your feelings.

This is the work we do in Find Your Edge.

What would you do with more control over feelings?

“I’m so tired.”

Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.

Wayne Dyer

Have you ever been that athlete?

The one who comes to practice and starts off by telling everyone how tired they are?

I hope not. But if so, I’m glad you’re here reading this.

All of you feel tired–mentally, physically, or emotionally–for different reasons.

There is the physical sensation of being tired, and then there is the thought “I’m tired.”

Whatever you focus on, you only create more of.

What happens when a teammates shows up to practice and is “tired?”

They participate, but their effort and energy levels are low.

Less energy and less effort result in less than desirable outcomes.

What about when it’s the 4th quarter?

Same outcome.

Do you really want to be giving less effort and energy when it is needed the most?

I’m not saying you aren’t actually tired, but what good does focusing on it do?

Being tired is part of the human experience.

The thought “I’m tired” is only useful if you are going to take a nap or go to bed.

Any other time, it is totally useless.

Decide to take back your responsibility for how you show up.

Being tired is a choice.

You really can do anything you set your mind to when you are willing to feel any feeling. Including tired.

Focus on what you want to create more of.

You can always work hard and bring your best energy.

Show up and give value to those around you.

Most importantly, show up for yourself.

You will be glad you did.

Overwhelm is optional

Time is relative; its only worth depends upon what we do as it is passing.

Albert Einstein

“I’m too busy.”

“There aren’t enough hours in the day.”

Sometimes we think a version of these thoughts, like “I have so much to do and not enough time.”

The only thing these thoughts ever produce is feeling overwhelmed.

Which then leads to feeling stressed out, rushed, and then more overwhelm.

Think about the last time you felt like you had too much to do and not enough time.

How much “stuff” (assignments, tasks, homework, chores, etc.) does it take before the overwhelm kicks in?

Overwhelm is always laced with a little bit of self pity. Some element of thinking you aren’t able to handle it all.

Notice how often you actually do end up handling it all. How often do you get all the things done?

For many of you, it is most of the time.

You finish your assignments. On time.

So tell me, is feeling overwhelmed necessary?

It pretends to be.

You think that feeling overwhelmed is caused by all of the “things.”

But it is created by your thoughts.

Feeling overwhelmed simply means you have decisions you haven’t made yet.

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

J.R.R. Tolkien

It’s true.

When you start to feel overwhelmed, take a step back and separate the facts from the drama.

What assignments do you want to do (remember how you never have to do anything?) and when are they due?

Next, decide.

Decide when you are going to do the assignment. You get to choose how much time you spend on something.

Remind yourself you have plenty of time. Always 24 hours each day. Never less, never more.

Remember how you always get things done on time.

You can handle it. Everything is as it should be.

Choose to constrain yourself to focusing on one thing at a time.

Very calm, peaceful even.

Can you see how the overwhelm and stress really aren’t necessary or useful?

How you manage your vocabulary around how much time you “have” or “don’t have” makes all the difference.

You get to pick what you do. The more options you have, the better.

Appreciate all the things you get to experience because of all the options available to you.

Everything is for your benefit and growth.

It is all working in your favor.

Let that be your truth.

Overwhelm really is optional.

How to stop being confused

Everything is figureoutable.

Marie Forleo

Do “I don’t know” and “I’m confused” sound familiar?

What about “It’s too hard?”

How often do you find yourself saying these words?

Notice what doubt and confusion create.

When you say that you don’t know what to do or that you are confused, what usually comes next?

It usually provides a subtle sense of relief and a lack of responsibility. This is then followed by expecting someone or something else to tell you how or what to do.

This lack of responsibility then gives away your power. You are no longer in control because something outside of you has to solve for you not knowing or being confused.

There is no upside.

Not knowing and being confused simply prevent you from moving forward and keep you stuck right where you are at. They keep your brain busy, but it is not productive.

The good news is that “I don’t know” and “I’m confused” are both thoughts.

You can decide to never allow those thoughts to stick around.

So, what can you think instead?

It is far more useful to think you are figuring something out or haven’t decided yet, than to say you’re confused or you don’t know.

Be on to your brain.

Dwelling in confusion and not knowing takes away all your power. They leave you waiting for something outside of you to solve your problem.

The only problem you ever have is a thought problem.

You have everything you need within you right now.

Ask yourself better questions. Your brain loves to find answers for you.

Decide you will never allow yourself to be confused or say you don’t know ever again.

What positive thinking is NOT

If you change the belief first, changing the action is easier.

Peter Mcwilliams

As an athlete, most of you believe in the power of positive thinking.

Especially when you are experiencing frustration or disappointment, I hear many of you say that you just need to think more positively.

What does this look like?

Many times it starts with making a mistake. A hitting error. Missing a shot when you’re wide open.

Choosing to think “It’s okay, I’ve got the next one” might work sometimes.

But your brain likes to offer back how it’s NOT okay. How you will probably mess up again. And let your team down. That if you lose, it will be your fault.

Positive thinking is NOT trying to override negative thoughts by ignoring them by thinking it is ok, when you don’t actually believe that making mistakes is ok.

So, what is real positive thinking?

The first step is acknowledging that you are a human, and will always make “mistakes” as long as you are playing sports in a way that challenges you. It is actually a beautiful thing.

The second step is to realize that whatever you focus on you create more of.

Focusing on a mistake by thinking directly about it or by trying to use a thought you don’t believe, will only create more frustration and disappointment.

Whenever you are competing, the best thoughts are no thoughts. No judgement. No opinion. Just noticing and responding. Trusting your training and staying in the present moment.

The zone where you aren’t stuck on the play you missed, or focused on what the score is or the possibility of losing. This is a skill that must be developed.

Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so is he.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

So if you must have thoughts, which you will, focus them to why you are doing what you’re doing.

Questions like, “What can I learn? What did I miss? How can I make this fun? What can I do right now to help my team?”

Thoughts such as, “Nothing has gone wrong. I always figure it out. This is fun. I always give my best effort. My team needs me now. I can make a difference. I am in control.”

How do you know if you are trying to “positive think” your way out of something?

By how you are feeling. How you feel will tell you what you are believing.

If you aren’t actually feeling positive, then you aren’t believing something positive. You are just thinking something that sounds positive, but isn’t. Be on to your brain.

True positive thinking is accepting you are human, and that you have strengths and weaknesses. It is choosing to focus on your strengths more than your weaknesses. To have compassion for yourself.

You are perfectly imperfect my friend. Embrace it and live into your full potential!

Becoming who you are meant to be

Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past, or a pioneer of the future.

Deepak Chopra

You’re at the gym, one knee on the floor, tightening your laces as you get ready for practice.

As you do this, there are a hundred thoughts that could be racing through your mind.

Some useful, some not.

How you choose to direct your mind in this moment before practice, will determine how you show up for yourself and for your team.

You could choose to focus on other people. Your teammates, coaches, opponents.

Do you compare yourself to them? Get distracted by what you think they think about you?

Or do you choose to learn from these people? Possibly even find ways to serve them?

You could choose to focus on yourself.

When you think of yourself, are you hard on yourself? Do you judge yourself for not doing things perfectly enough?

Or do you choose to have compassion for yourself, and intentionally choose what you want to believe about you?

You could choose to focus on the past.

Do you use that one performance as a measuring stick for your best? Forever thinking you “should” be doing better? Do you focus on things you regret?

Or do you use the past as a tool for learning and gaining awareness about yourself?

You could choose to focus on the future.

Are you in a hurry to achieve those goals you have? Do you lose the perspective of the big picture, thinking it will be better there than it is here?

Or do you use the future to practice becoming today who you want to be in the future? As a way of guiding you?

You could choose to focus on the present.

Being in the moment. Noticing how your shoes feel on the hardwood floor. Feeling a sense of calm that only the present moment can bring.

The more aware you are about where your brain hangs out, the more intentional you can be to direct it.

This is the most important work you will ever do.

You get to decide.

Are you ready to Find Your Edge and become who you are meant to be?

How good is good enough?

Doing your best is more important than being the best.

Zig Ziglar

“I didn’t do my best. I know I can do better.”

It sounds so innocent. Like it might be a useful thought to motivate you to improve.

But what it turns into is, “It’s my fault. I let my team down. I didn’t play good enough.”

What does it mean to do your best? Is it ever enough?

The truth is, as humans we can always do better. We have unlimited potential. This is a beautiful thing.

It is also true that our best changes from moment to moment.

That game you had where you scored 30 points? That was your best. What about that time you missed the free throw to win the game? That was also your best. In that moment.

How do we know? Because that is what happened.

Instead of measuring your best based on outcome, and comparing yourself to others or to a standard of your best in your mind, what if our best was determined by how we felt?

What if your best was actually a feeling, not a result or outcome?

Circumstances change. Your environment. Your opponent. Your mindset. Your best when you are 100% healthy is different than your best with an injury. As long as you are alive and a human, you will continue to make “mistakes” and there will be things you can’t control.

Instead of having a “never enough” mentality, what if you believed you always do your best? No matter what.

Of course you do. Believing anything else simply isn’t useful.

3 Reasons why you’re NOT motivated

Our brains are the most efficient, most powerful, most amazing tools on the planet.

People have been trying to recreate the human brain in the form of super computers for decades, and it simply cannot be done.

Your brain is the only one like it in the UNIVERSE. The human brain is one of the few body parts that cannot be transplanted. You are the only person who will ever be able to use the amazing tool that is YOUR BRAIN.

All human brains are motivated in the moment by three things. We call this the Motivational Triad. Let’s take a look at these motivations, and how they are working for or against us.

AVOID PAIN

  • Protects us from danger and keeps us alive.
  • Our brains can’t tell the difference between real danger (life threatening) and discomfort. Pain is pain, and we are always trying to find ways to AVOID it.

SEEK PLEASURE

  • Wants everything to be fun and exciting, and to do what is comfortable.
  • Our brains love false pleasure at least as much as real pleasure, and we can’t get enough.

SAVE ENERGY

  • Helps us make things automatic and be efficient.
  • Our brains want to do what is familiar, known, and easy. It wants to do what we are already good at doing.

All of these motivations are for what feels good in the moment. When we can use this lower (toddler) brain with our higher brain, that is when we become unstoppable.

So WHY aren’t you motivated? Because you think something is too hard, boring, uncomfortable, or will take too much effort.

Want to be more motivated? Ask yourself, “How can I make this simple, easy, and fun?”

Your Goal is not the Goal

That’s right.

Goals are are not merely for the achieving of them, but for who we become in the process.

Who would I have to become to be the person who leads the team? Wins a state title? Gains a college scholarship? Lands the job of their dreams? Starts their own business?

Goals are great for focusing our minds. What you think about consistently creates your reality. We have to intentionally think the same thoughts our future self would think TODAY. How can I be the person I want to be RIGHT NOW? That is, after all, the only way we will ever evolve into the best version of ourselves.

Who you are becoming is always more important than what you are doing, but what you are doing is always determining who you are becoming.

When we truly understand this, we don’t expect immediate results. We know becoming great is a process.

Who are you becoming today?

I’ll be happy when…

How would you finish that sentence?

Maybe when you win that state title? Get that college scholarship? Increase your vertical? Earn a starting spot on the team?

What if being truly happy was available RIGHT NOW?

“Being aware of the present moment simply means you never believe the illusion that the future is going to be better than what is going on right now.

Plan, dream, and organize all you want; just don’t start believing that what you have planned for the future is going ot be any better than your current moment.

You are going to be in this present moment your entire life.

If you are focusing on how good the future (that really doesn’t exist) is going to be, you are just running on the hamseter wheel hoping to get somewhere.

If you are not allowing yourself to be happy right NOW, nothing external in the future is going to change that permanently.”

Mateo Tabatabai The Mind-Made Prison