Thursday, 7 July 2016

What's stopping you?

It never ceases to amaze me how many people agree that understanding how they think and giving themselves greater choices in their thinking, behaviours and actions is a great thing to do and yet very few actually do anything about it.

There is a lot of 'shelf-help' out there where people think that by reading about how they can do or be better, faster, more creative, etc, means they don't actually have to put in any time actually 'doing' it will 'just happen', (the first line in my book ‘How to Thrive through Transition actually says ‘This is a book that wants you to be interactive’)

Being in the lucky position to work with both people in sport and business I see many similarities in the mindset of those I work with.

It can take a while for some to believe that I use the same tools and techniques in both areas to create achievements and growth and it's all about adapting them to your own specific circumstances.  Being able to analyse events and performance in order to give you the EDGE going forward is a hugely important skill.

So what stops people taking the next step and developing their own mindset to build and grow their sports performance or business.

Here are three reasons why I think people stop themselves working on mindset development...

·         Isn't that the weird stuff... who knows what you're going to ask me to do... and what if I'm doing something no-one else is... won't that look weird...

Mindset development is about practical, useful, techniques that you learn with your coach and adapt for yourself, nothing weird in that.  Also whether you are in business or sport, being different from your rivals is actually a good thing and gives you the mindset edge.

·         Don't need to do it - my thinking has got me this far... there's nothing wrong with me... it's all 'shelf-help' and no use to anyone...

Understanding how your thinking got you where you are and how it might also get you stuck going forward is a really useful thing to know.  Understanding yourself and your thinking and identifying in others how they think so that you can develop further and out think your sports opponents or business rivals

·         I can't be bothered... I don't have the time...

Mindset development will deliver results if you apply yourself.  It's fine if you don't want to; just don't expect to be the leaders in your industry or the driving force in your sport.  We can always make time for the things we believe to be important and mindset development is important and a few minutes a day is all that you need.  If you can't be bothered to be motivated about what you want to achieve, why should anyone else around you be interested...

Developing You is the most important thing you can do to fully achieve your aims and goals, having the EDGE over your rivals and being able to analyse and understand why and what to do next will keep you ahead of the game.

Contact me to find out more on

Friday, 29 April 2016

Print version of How to Thrive through Transition now available!

Good news - my book 'How to Thrive through Transition' is now available as print on demand through Amazon, as well as still being an e-book on Amazon and at The Endless Bookcase! Amazon - How to Thrive through Transition


Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Translating your learning

Being able to take what you have learnt from one area of your life and translate it into another area is a really useful way of gaining understanding of how you think and what you are capable of!

This is what I have learnt from Ultra running and how I translate it into my business and personal life!

1. Deal with the small stuff!
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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Know You
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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. Be organised
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.

11. 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!

12. Whose rules?
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.

13. Just one of you
You are the only you that's in this world - your journey is unique to you - remember that.

14. Finish first

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!

Saturday, 26 March 2016

*Special Promotion* - free copy of my book 'How to Thrive through Transition'

*Special Promotion*

As promised to celebrate my return to running after 2 months out with injury.

Book and confirm the 4 session package between 26th March - 8th April 2016 and receive a free signed copy of my book 'How to Thrive through Transition'.

The sessions can be used at any time during 2016 to fit in with your goals!

Thursday, 10 March 2016

F.E.A.R. - False Evidence Appearing Real

“I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”
Mark Twain

I’ve had a few conversations over the last couple of weeks as people are coming out of winter training and are building up for their spring marathons and starting to worry about the long training runs that are planned.

I have to remind them that they are not doing that run today, that run is in the future.  We tend to focus on what’s going to happen and link it to where we are now and not where we will be then.  I find it helpful to get people to actually think back to where they were when they started and how far they have come.  Some are new runners, looking to do distances they’ve not done before, some are experienced athletes looking to run a new personal best.

It doesn’t matter which you are, the fear of not delivering what you are working for is the same.  If we start worrying about what we ‘may not’ do then this is the image, the movie that we are giving our brain to work on.  The brain is not interested in negatives and so thinks this is what you want and will do all it can to deliver it!  

What we need to do is visualise our success, make that the movie that we play to ourselves.  Keep that future movie with you during training, let it put a smile on your face when you’re looking at the next part of your training plan.  Then let yourself just think about the next training session, what do you want from that?  How do you want to feel?  What do you want to be saying to yourself to make sure it’s a positive experience?

Friends of mine took part in a 17 mile coastal run last weekend, in hail, high winds, having to scramble over parts of the route… not what you might think as a perfect training run… BUT as tough as it was it was a perfect mind training run.  The next run is unlikely to be that hard and however hard it gets pulling on these memories, how they worked together, knowing that they did it is what will make the difference – the mind can override the physical – can override the F.E.A.R.

If you want to get the most out of your training, you need to get your mind in it.  If you want to know more then you only have to ask!

“The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.” Arthur C Clarke

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Small steps = Huge gains

Yesterday for the first time in 5 weeks I was able to stretch my broken arm out enough to turn the tap on the kitchen sink to fill the kettle… This may seem like a small thing to some, but to me it signifies a huge gain in the use of my arm, muscle control and a big pat on the back for staying patient and giving my arm the chance to heal in the time it needs.  I’ve started physio on the arm, walking and static bike at 5 weeks rather than the 8 I was originally told (although the physio did say most people with this type of break are about 85 years old – so the healing process is going to be quicker, before anyone thinks I’m trying to do too much too soon!)

Anyway, my small but significant victory of turning a tap on got me thinking back to marginal gains and how I work with people to help them find their own in order to give them ‘The EDGE’.

Whether you stand on a start line, go onto a field of play or walk onto a court, you want your opposition to know that you are in your best state mentally and physically and that you have ‘The EDGE’ over them.

Listen to any sports person these days and they do now talk about Positive Mental Attitude, about the psychological factors now involved.  Small steps for huge gains - these are opportunities to make changes, small but significant when added together.  The same applies to how we think, what we think and how we feel.

This is not always about turning negative thinking into neutral or positive thinking.  The hardest part of delivering as an athlete is when you have reached the top – staying there, keeping your focus when you have achieved what you set out to do, continuing to achieve, overcoming injury to comeback stronger.  All this while the rest are chasing to catch up and overtake you. 

This is what having ‘The EDGE’ is all about.  Staying at the top is not just about staying physically fit but also being mentally fit.

So if you want to be able to say ‘I have the EDGE’ then contact me to find out more.

Monday, 22 February 2016

The wanderingly focused mind

 "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat
'I don't much care where -' said Alice
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go' said the Cat
'- so long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice added as an explanation.
'Oh you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if you only walk long enough."

Lewis Carroll - Alice in Wonderland

A wandering mind is a wonderful and creative place and we all need time in our day to let it do just that.  We also need to know how to bring it back and focus on the task in hand. 

Just like going out and taking exercise for no other reason than to be out is a very freeing experience, knowing how to deliver a specific training session for a specific reason is also just as important. 

If you are not worried about reaching a particular destination then wander, but if you have a particular goal to aim for then a mixture of the two mind sets will keep you on track.  A wandering mind will let you see other opportunities around you, too much focus and you can miss them, too little focus and you’ll have no idea which way you’re going!

To find out more about having a wandering and focused mind then contact me on

Thursday, 11 February 2016

The Art of doing nothing!

One of the lines in my book ‘How to Thrive through Transition’ is ‘Inaction is a decision and choice.’  This comes from my belief that letting circumstances happen around you, not making decisions because they seem too hard and therefore someone else makes them for you and then you complain that you have no control – is actually the choice you make when you decide not to make a choice – we can’t always change what is happening around us, but we can make a choice about what we do and feel in any given moment.

That’s one type of ‘doing nothing’ the other is the enforced ‘doing nothing’ – due to the fact that a broken arm means I’m not allowed to exercise, currently not even go out for walks!  So how does a physical ‘doing nothing’ effect my mind.

To start with I was making plans for setting up my turbo bike to do gentle peddling indoors just to keep my legs moving, and also going out for walks.  This has been set back at least a week by the Doctor, my arm is doing well but my expectations of how quickly a break heals was based on hope rather than fact (Unfortunately there are no Madam Pomfrey’s local to me!) 

As always I am asking myself questions, checking in with how well I’m thinking.  I’m still coaching on line and coached at the running club on Tuesday.  What I have noticed is that because my body is working hard to heal the break, that my thinking tires more quickly and so having more rest breaks from work during the day, keeps my mind working at a high level.  Also just before lunch seems the optimal time to take on any difficult or tricky tasks, which mean they are done well and more efficiently than doing them first thing or the end of the day (and perhaps having to repeat them later – not a good use of time!)

So although I’m ‘doing nothing’ in a physical sense, I have been given an opportunity to find another level of my understanding of me, that when I am back out training I can use to my advantage.  Understanding when to push, when to pull back, when to let go and when to blast it to the end!  It’s what we call an AFLO moment… (Another F***ing Learning Opportunity)

If you’d like to know more about how you can use your downtime to give you more quality in your training and competing then give me a call.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

A break from the norm...

As many of you know I like to make use of all life experiences to test out the mental skills and strategies theories and how they work in reality. 

10 days ago I broke my arm, not something I would recommend! But it has given me the opportunity to test out how strong the mind body connection is and how positive thought can help heal us.  Now having never broken a bone before I can only go on what is happening now.

First off, rather than getting down about the fact I’ve had to cancel 3 runs/races I had planned in March and my first 100 mile sportive in May is looking decidedly dodgy, I decided that I would use the next 8 weeks to work on healing as quickly as possible to become stronger physically and mentally. 

Using visualisation to think about the bones reconnecting and making a strong connection, blood flowing into the area to help heal the break.  Also focusing on how I can stay fit during these weeks so that I can start training as soon as I can (without coming back too quickly!). So currently no running, swimming or cycling… but I have a plan as soon as the Doctor says I’m allowed to start gentle activity.  By using a turbo trainer at home I can keep my legs moving and by doing walks I can get outside and clear the cobwebs physically and mentally.  Building back up slowly.  This will also mean making sure the rich oxygenated blood will be flowing round into the muscles of my arm and continuing to help the healing process.

Is it working? Well Tuesday morning, a week after the break, I was at the fracture clinic and everything has aligned well, my arm aches but has no pain.  Another week and another x-ray will confirm all is on track.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to ask the Doctor any questions as he seemed unable to say hello, tell me his name or talk to me apart from to say come back next week.  I’m going to assume he was at the end of a long shift and needed coffee (at least he didn’t tell me to look it up on the internet!)

Another week of positive thinking and immobilisation and hopefully a conversation next week will give more answers.  I am currently changing my training plans to still be able to complete my 64 mile run in August.

If you want to know more about how you can positively think through an unexpected injury or setback and be able to recover well mentally then contact me.

Friday, 29 January 2016

The world of 'should'

I did my first race for my new club on Sunday - a 10 miler.  Despite knowing that I missed a lot of training last year, not having properly raced since the summer and putting on unnecessary weight, there was still a part of my brain that said I ‘should’ still be able to run close to my previous pace…  Luckily for me, I kicked that part of my brain into touch and thought, ‘it doesn’t matter where I think I should be, what matters in where I am’ and that was 20 minutes down overall over 10 miles!

Using statements with the words, can’t, can, should, must, ought, necessary etc. causes us to limit our thinking and therefore our choices and our behaviours.

If I had said ‘I should run this race at close to my previous pace’ and therefore was way off, does that mean I shouldn’t have finished?  Should I have pulled up after a couple of miles knowing I wasn’t going to be close?  Surely better to finish (without causing injury) and face the reality of where I am and therefore target my training on knowledge and reality than beat myself up about not being where I should be…

How we speak to ourselves is important throughout training and competing.  I will get back to my previous pace and with a mix of running, cycling and swimming will probably end up fitter than I was before and I will be keeping a check on what statements and language I use on myself.

If you want to know more about how language effects our thoughts and feelings, then contact me.


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Who's thought was that?

‘If we’re always guided by other people’s thoughts, what’s the point of having our own.’ 
Oscar Wilde

It’s great to have others opinions, especially when we are trying to make a decision, but we need to remember that they are just that, other people’s opinions based on their own view of the world and what they believe to be true.

It can be the same with sport, people think what works for them is the only way, whether it is about nutrition, recovery, training, resting or competing.  It can be tough sometimes to make sure you are hearing your own voice and finding out what works for you.  And it changes… so what works at one point in your training/competing/life, may no longer work later on due to a change in your fitness levels, dealing with an injury or your mindset has changed.

How aware are you of your mental skills?  Whether you are training or competing, in a team or on your own, the voices in your head are just that, yours.

Discussing Johanna Konta’s mental skills, after her win against Venus Williams in the Australian Open, her former coach Justin Sherring said she had been working with a mental skills coach.  As he said ‘On your own, [if] can’t work things out under extreme pressure, you’re going to struggle.’

If you want to react well under pressure and make it work for you then contact me to find out more about mental skills training.