Hope you're all feeling disciplined for the weekend.
Good luck to all those taking part in events this weekend and it is the Great North Run - so for those of you who are running remember you've done the hard work and now enjoy the atmosphere, the crowds, the run and remember to "Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie, Oi, Oi, Oi" through the tunnel!
We can all admit to having voices in our head and sometimes the voice is loud and sometimes very quiet... but it's still there... This is one of the fundamental parts to explore when working with people to achieve their goals!
Thought this was a great article (follow link below) that popped up on my news feed - All exercise can do so many things to help us - but sometimes we need something more and we should always feel able to ask for it
That voice niggling away in your ear -
stop and listen to it - what might seem small and inconsequential now could end
up driving you to distraction and using up valuable mental energy.
Know where you are
Navigating to where you want to be
means understanding and knowing where you currently are. Write out your plan and mentally bookmark
where you are on it continuously. If you
lose your place you can go back to the last place you knew for definite and
then go from there.
Enjoy the dark
Get comfortable with not having all
the answers. Things do not always go our
way. The ways you have of navigating
where you are may not work so well in the dark.
Relax, let your senses guide you, know that it is always darkest before
the dawn. Enjoy the knowledge and
different view of the world you get in the dark.
You are the only person with you every
second of every day - get happy with that.
Greater self awareness and self management means greater flexibility in
our thinking, feeling and actions in a constantly changing environment. Make decisions that work towards your goal.
Its ok to slow down
Slowing down can make a big
difference. You can see clearly what is
happening around you and gives you some time to recover your energy. This isn't about ambling - stay purposeful
and meaningful in your actions. You are
in charge of how you are in the world.
Its ok to stop!
Relentless pursuit of your goal can be
draining emotionally, mentally and physically on you and others around
you. You will recover if you give
yourself the chance. Acknowledge the
signs that you need to stop, eat, sleep... stop chasing others - you'll catch
them up. Tell yourself the positives of what
you have done so far - ask for help from others if you need it. Have patience and be gentle on yourself. Start up slowly as you feel ready to move on.
Be in the moment
Rather than focusing on the end goal -
break it down into chunks. Focus on what's
in your immediate control, enjoy the moment you are in knowing it is unique and
taking you where you want to go.
Either / Or, or somewhere in between
It's easy to get caught up with the
end goal and see it as either we are on our way to achieving it or not. Take a step back - you're in this for the
long journey. Targets set at the
beginning need to be reviewed as we go - be flexible about changes as they
happen - give yourself the space to make changes and not letting yourself
stress when the targets move - move with them, let them go, create new ones
with the knowledge you have gained so far.
Be a part of where you are
Take stock and fully immerse yourself
in the landscape around you. Experience
it fully through all your senses. This
is not about looking at it from afar but being part of it.
Thinking back to 'Know You' - you know
what might stop you so do something about it at the beginning - have a plan B,
C, D... keep to hand the strategies that work for you . If you've already thought about what might a
problem further down the line then you can come up with ways round it - if it
happens then you're ready to deal with it.
This is your life and it's going to be a long one - which means more
moments to deal with, more choices to make.
What goes up must come down
Prepare for the hard work of going
uphill and remember to enjoy the downhills.
Be mindful of the fact you can get a little out of control the faster
you go downhill and are more likely to trip and fall here than on the up! Be purposeful!
This is your journey, your strategy,
your goal. You set the rules for
you. If it works for you it's right for
you. What works for others is right for
them. Experiment and learn from each
thing you do and develop your strategy from there. Be curious.
Just one of you
You are the only you that's in this
world - your journey is unique to you - remember that.
This means you have to get to the
finish line - not that you have to be the first to the finish line!Achieve your goal; get to the end of this
particular journey.When you've done
that then you can look back at how you achieved it and take new knowledge
forward into the next one!
Today's quote is unashamedly taken from Geraint Thomas's own FB page - this is a man who gives tirelessly to others in his team and he absolutely deserves the accolades and the Gold medal he now has. That puncture in the final few KMs made my heart stop - but he kept his composure and pushed on to the finish!
"Good things come to those that wait; better things come to those that don't give up; and the best things come to those who just believe....#teamwales"
I wrote these tips for a Road Cycling Club who were taking on the challenge of cycling from John O'Groats to Lands End. Recently a friend told me about a 300 mile cycling challenge he was taking on and so I though they might be useful to post here! 1. Before you start each day together or individually visualise the days cycling ahead - what will you:-
- Hear (both inside your head as well as externally i.e. what will you be saying to yourself)
- Feel (again both internally and externally)
and imagine how you will feel when you have accomplished that days cycling.
2. Acknowledge that there will be easy times and tough times. Remember to enjoy the easy parts and knowing that there will be tough times means you can prepare mentally for them and they won't come as a big shock to the system!
3. Be careful of using the word don't. i.e. 'don't stop' - our brain deletes the negative 'don't' and just understands the 'stopping' this is what it tells the body to do and you end up stopping! Give yourself a positive mantra to repeat instead.
4. As cyclists you physically work as a team - make sure you also mentally work as a team. Take it in turns to be navigator, cheerleader, the one who points out the amazing places you're cycling past!
5. Give yourself a pat on the back both mentally and physically at the end of each day - have a reward.
This weekend saw some great results from members of this group - please do share them so we can all cheer each other on - although I will mention Niki who had two days, two races, two 1st's - brilliant unleashing of potential and today's quote is dedicated Niki.
On a personal note my running achievements this weekend at Thunder Run 24 gave me a great boost in confidence for my Autumn training and getting back to the Ultra's next year!
As I'm going to be in a field for the next couple of days taking part in Thunder Run 24 #allin I'm not sure if I'll be able to post on here tomorrow so thought I would bring Saturday Silliness forward a day and as it's the start of the holidays for many, I thought this would be appropriate...
As we get ready for the start of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow I am hoping that just as at London 2012 Olympics we will have commentators, athletes and retired athletes talking about how the mind can effect sports performance and talking about it openly. Coaching and training the mind is not just for when you have an issue it is very much about enhancing performance.
So what can we learn from the beliefs held by elite athletes that we can take into our own sporting, life or business arena.
'I don't own winning, I wanted to win' - Carl Lewis
'Top athletes perceive pressure as a privilege' - Tom Bates
'...pressure so high at that point, all things being equal it's the person who handles that moment and the pressure at that particular time best, that's going to have their best performance' - Michael Johnson
'I'm about to go to battle' - Michael Johnson
'Four years preparation for a few moments of action' - Matthew Syed
'Control the controllables' - Sir Matthew Pinsent
'You can only control how you perform' - Michael Johnson
'Thoughts become things and what we think affects the way we feel and the way we feel ultimately affects the way that we behave and ultimately in the sporting context - performance' - Tom Bates
'Find something that works for you' - Jonathan Edwards
'That minute difference between victory and defeat on the biggest stage of all is often to be found not in skill or effort but in the recesses of the mind' - Matthew Syed
Take a moment to think about a situation or activity you have coming up where you want to be at your best. Pick one of the quotes above and think about your situation as if you hold that thought to be true - what does it tell you now about how you see and feel about the situation - what will you do differently? What will you do the same?
Whether you are an athlete or in business, competing in any arena you needs to have mind and body working together and mental coaching techniques will help you achieve your goals and perform in the most competitive of environments.
The model below I use with athletes so they can see the different areas that coaching can work with - these are as relevant for business as they are for sport. Using this model means we can pick an area to work on, rather than 'everything' - which can feel overwhelming
So which area do you want to concentrate on and what winning mentality will you have today? Annie Live, Laugh,Enjoy
With so much sport on at the moment people are feeling inspired and so I thought a short piece from my book (shameless plug) about how we can get started, whether as a newbie or coming back from injury or time off. So here is an extract from my e-book 'How to get off the Sofa and Start Running'.
Getting your mind in your run
"There are people who have no bodies, only heads. And many athletes have no heads, only bodies. A champion is a man who has trained his body and his mind"
- Coach Sam Dee The Olympian
However much your body might want to go for a run, if your mind isn’t interested it’s unlikely that you will get out the door.
We can be very good at talking ourselves out of doing something and so when you first start running it’s really good to think of some outcomes that you want to achieve.
You can break these down from your long term outcome and then smaller ones in order to keep you on track.
For instance a long term outcome maybe to take part in a race, do a particular time, fit into a particular pair of jeans.
Your short term outcomes can then be to run 3 times a week, to do a certain amount of mileage in a week, or spend a certain amount of time running each week.
Our brains work really well when it knows what we want to achieve and so if you have a good outcome in place this can help on those days it seems more tricky to get out the door!
To create a great outcome think about what you want to achieve and then build up a movie of it in your mind, what can you see happening when you have this outcome, what can you hear and how do you feel. The more detail you can put into this visualisation the more compelling it becomes and the more likely you are to achieve it.
By building this vision at the beginning it can mean that on those odd days when you can’t be bothered you can bring this vision to the fore and it will help you get out the door.
I have a philosophy that on any given day running can be 10% physical and 90% mental. If you are going to spend time training your body to do what you want it to do, surely the same thinking goes for training your brain!
And that’s not just for running…..
If you want to read the whole book which includes a 12 week Sofa to 5K plan you can order through:-
Have you ever considered how you learn? Do you prefer to listen to instructions before trying a new task or do you prefer to go straight into it, learning as you go along?
A couple of years ago I was asked to run a interactive workshop at Bisham Abbey with sports coaches to explore how they could identify the different learning styles of their athletes and therefore be able to coach more effectively.
It is always useful to know where you start your learning cycle from and therefore be able to make sure you do have a fully rounded learning experience. The following is just under 10 minutes of audio with slides which is the condensed version of the full workshop (and obviously no interaction!!)
The learning styles covered here are by Honey and Mumford and if anyone is interested in doing the questionnaire and finding out more about their preferences and how to use the information then please do let me know.
"I'm glad we don't have to play in the shade..."
Bobby Jones, Golf
Taking part in a tournament and told that it was 105 degrees in the shade!
As we get some long hot summer days do look after yourselves in the sun, put on the sun cream, wear a hat and sun glasses and make sure you stay hydrated!
Something many people forget is they do need salt (sodium) in their system so make sure you are getting enough and not diluting it in your system by just drinking water. You can make your own easy sports energy drink with water, full fat squash and a sprinkling of salt!
Following on from out Outcome Thinking which we looked at on May 8th (in case you have forgotten...) This article looks at how we learn from what we do and how being flexible in thought will help us achieve our Outcomes that we have set.
What is Flexibility?
One of the core beliefs in NLP is that
the person with the most flexibility has the most influence in any given
interaction. This belief comes from the
Law of Requisite Variety, which is from systems theory.
What this means is that it is
important to be able to vary your response to possible change and uncertainty
around you, so that you have alternative choices available to you. By knowing your outcome from the start will
mean that you can decide what choices you might need so that you can respond
immediately with a reaction that has been thought through rather than reflexively
and possible chaotically!
Why is it useful
If we understand that what we are
doing (in thought or behaviours) isn't working it is much more useful to
already have thought through more choices so that we can quickly and
effectively change what we are doing in order to reach our outcome. It is said that 'if what you are doing isn't
working do something different - do anything different!' If what you are doing has proved to not be
effective then it does not seem a good use of time and energy to continually
prove this to yourself.
It is useful to think about the
implication that if you come across resistance in another person then it is
probable that there is inflexibility in you in this particular situation. So if you are confronting resistance in
others then look to yourself to see where you are not being flexible.
How to use it
If you are getting stuck in your
communication or when using particular techniques, because they worked before,
then take a step back and look at coming at the issue from another approach. -
Remember if something is not working then do something, anything differently.
We also need flexibility when we are
looking at how we learn and there are two frameworks to keep in mind.
The first model is from the work of
Chris Argyris. He described the concept
of single loop and double loop learning.
With single loop learning we continually attempt to work out a way of
achieving our goal using the same method of thinking and behaviours and without
questioning the goal we are working towards.
With double loop learning an individual or organisation is able, having attempted to achieve a goal on different occasions, to modify the goal in the light of experience or possibly even reject the goal.
The second model you may have seen as a learning ladder looking from moving
between unconscious and conscious competence and incompetence. The version below takes into account mature
reflection and practice throughout the process and is courtesy of Will Taylor,
Chair, Department of Homeopathic Medicine, National College of Natural
Medicine, Portland, Oregon, USA, March 2007
"We revisit conscious
incompetence, making discoveries in the holes in our knowledge and skills,
becoming discouraged, which fuels incentive to proceed (when it does not
defeat). We perpetually learn, inviting ongoing tutelage, mentoring and
self-study (ongoing conscious competence). We continually challenge our 'unconscious
competence' in the face of complacency, areas of ignorance, unconscious errors,
and the changing world and knowledge base: We challenge our unconscious
competence when we recognize that a return to unconscious incompetence would be
inevitable. We do this in part by self-study and use of peer review - such that
mature practice encompasses the entire 'conscious competence' model, rather
than supersedes it as the hierarchical model might suggest."
By understanding these models and how we learn we can raise our ability to be flexible in our
thinking which means we can create and achieve our goals and outcomes.
Happy Birthday to David Weir, wheelchair athlete legend. And so today's quotes are from the man himself!
"If you're having a dark day in training you imagine your rivals pushing you to the limit. I scream at myself to get going then."
"I was meant to have retired by now. But I've changed my mind. I thought I wouldn't have the motivation to keep going. But I'm doing the marathon again next year. I'm going back to training in Richmond Park. It's going to be cold, dark and lonely but you know what? I just want more. I'm far from done." (Dec 2012)
This was me at 37 miles into my 100 mile ultra run. The only point in time I doubted I could do it. By taking some extra time at this checkpoint it allowed me to remembered why I was doing this and the fact that I really wanted to do it!
"To uncover your true potential you must first find our own limits and then you have to have the courage to blow past them."
Picabo Street, Skier
Today's quote is for all those who pushed past their limits over the months of training and then on the day. This weekend saw some amazing performances by people on this page. Representing GB at the European Aquathon Championships in Cologne and those taking part in the Outlaw Half Triathlon.
"When I go out and race, I'm not trying to beat opponents, I'm trying to beat what I have done... to beat myself, basically. People find that hard to believe because we've had such a bias to always strive to win things. If you win something and you haven't put everything into it, you haven't actually achieved anything at all. When you've had to work hard for something and you've got the best you can out of yourself on that given day, that's where you get satisfaction from."
There are those times that we
raise ourexpectationsand then realise we perhaps don’t have
quite the abilityto get our
outcome and we then know what we need to do, learn or work on to achieve that
outcome. Well what happens when it works the other way round?
I was racing the other day when
my brain was telling me what I was capable of and the minutes per mile I 'should' be running. Training had
been going well and I was going to feel happy to keep an even pace throughout
the 10 miles. Well one mile in and I’m
feeling good and check the time and I’m nearly a minute quicker than I was
planning. ‘Oh dear – I’d better slow
down or I’ll never last!’ So slow down I
did, or so I thought and the next mile was a few seconds quicker than the first.
I felt fine and yet over the next 3 miles
I continually told myself to slow down and that I would never last the
distance, and yet I stayed within a couple of seconds of the time I had run the
first mile. I was supposed to be doing
the first half slowly and seeing what I had left for the next couple of miles
before upping the pace for the last couple.
But ability had other
ideas and decided it didn’t care what expectation thought - it was going
to run as it felt – not following a timetable and I decided a change of plan
was needed and I would reverse what I was going to do and run the first half
quicker and then I could slow up in the second half and still hit my expectations…..Ability
had a good giggle at this and continued to run as it felt. At around mile 6
I decided it would be more helpful to stop arguing betweenexpectationandability
– I could put the energy I was using up to much better use!
And so I continued on and enjoyed
the fact that I was running better than I expected and congratulated myself on
an excellent training plan for this year as taking it slowly and building back
up from injury was most definitely working. I crossed the line 10 minutes
quicker than expected.
One Nil to Ability!
A few days later was the first
cross country race of the season and having run all three days from the race
above to this one I was looking to run evenly and easily – and obviously expectation
was putting some limits in - did my legs still feel heavy from the previous
race? Had I recovered enough? Should I have run each day since…...? Luckily for
meability had an ally in that
my friend Becs was running alongside (normally much faster and had done 20
miles the day before in preparation for the New York Marathon) and kept me
going all the way round and I finished again much quicker than I expected
especially for a cross country. So the stamina is there to keep going even on
tired heavy legs and we even had enough for a sprint finish!!
Two Nil to Ability…..
My question now is how often do
we letexpectation talk ability
out of performing and what would we achieve if we gaveability a free reign?