Using mindfulness to perform your best

I’ve had a surprising amount of feedback from athletes who attended my talk at RaceMania yesterday and from other attendees both after the talk, and via email today.  Most of that feedback was focused on my discussion of mindfulness and the very positive impact that practice has on, well, everything!  That said, one of my responses really provided a good reminder on how to apply mindfulness in sport or life to improve mental, and physical performance.  I felt that point could really help any athlete, and it breaks a long string of "writers block" here on the Tri-Hard blog!:

Here’s a slide from the mindfulness part of my talk at RaceMania yesterday:

 In that picture, it looks like my buddy Pete is falling into the bowls of earth J… But, the reality, is that he’s laying down in a tube you ride through on a trail in Sedona AZ.  He and his wife thought it would be funny and “staged” the pic!  Amazing how that info changes the perspective of the image isn’t it…  

 Mindfulness is not just for monks meditating on a misty mountain.  It doesn’t need to be complex at all.  And implementing it can be a huge positive boom to our experience as athletes, but more so, as people.

 Here’s the simple trick.

 Recognize the sticky point you are experiencing.

Acknowledge it is happening – without assigning it value.  Just acknowledge it’s there – not bad or good.

Get curious about what you can do – what’s possible now?

Move on.

 So, say last week you were having a bad patch.  It happens.  But those emotions hit you and at some point, you recognize those emotions.  At that point, you can contract down into further negativity (“this is frustrating, why do I do this – it’s to hard… I’m never going to enjoy this…”) or, you can choose to expand into possibility. (“this is frustrating… yep, it is.  You know what though, there’s no reason it should always be any given way.  I wonder what I can do now?”)  See the difference there? 

For example:

Recognize the sticky point: “Man, this feels so hard, this is messed up, what the he**…”

Recognize it: “it’s a challenge, but…”

Get curious: “Wait a minute, why should this feel easy?  Lets think about this for a second.”

Whats possible: “what if I just go with it?  What if I just focus on what I can do well right now?”

Move on: “Lets try that for 10 phone poles…”

This week, if you feel resistance, a sticky point, when you are training – as soon as you recognize it, acknowledge it is there, get curious, expand your thinking to look at what’s possible and move on.

 That doesn’t make something hard easy.

 It’s absolutely NOT pretending something isn’t happening.

 It’s just keeping the context in place and choosing what to do with it.  Choose wisely, because your perception is literally what takes your reality from a situation, and turns it into an experience.

The cool thing, is that you can practice any time you feel a sticky point.  Crazy driver cuts you off in traffic – perfect.  Long lines at the store – great.  Suddenly, everything is a chance to grow, a positive.

Have a super day!