Tuesday, 16 February 2021

I Am

It’s possible to be powerful and yet small. Consider these 2 small words: I am. How are these words powerful? Because what comes after “I am” reflects your belief system, controls your decisions, and ultimately shapes your life.

If you can say, “I am powerful”, such that you are capable of achieving your goals, you will make choices and behave in ways to support that line of thinking. 

However, if you say, “I am weak” or “I am worthless”, this reflects your beliefs about yourself and negatively affects your motivation to behave in productive ways to change that belief system.

Choose your words carefully as they can make or break you.

If negative thoughts and/or words about yourself come to mind, bring out the proverbial eraser and replace it with something positive. Can’t find the positive? It’s a skill that can be learned and, if need be, feel free to reach out to a professional like myself to help you develop or fine tune that skill.

For example, add the word “yet”, i.e., “I can’t find anything positive about my life” to “I can’t find anything positive about my life yet.”. It’s a small change but it gives one hope that the circumstances can change. “Yet” is another small but powerful word.

Here’s another example: “I am my own worst enemy”. The replacement can be “it’s time I learn to be my best friend.” How? When was the last time you said a kind word to yourself? Can’t find anything kind to say? How would people who genuinely care about you describe you? This is a start in a positive direction.

Humans are not made to be perfect. 

Nelson Mandela once said, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

Speak powerfully about yourself. Say the words as if they were true. Breathe the words into your heart and soul.

If you believe you’re great, you will attempt great things. When you affirm, “I am strong”, you will evoke that within yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Remember that words shape you in a powerful way.

Every day I want you to look in the mirror and speak positive “I am’s” to yourself but also take that next step and believe those words as they envelop your body and mind and cast out the negative ones.

Don’t let this power go to waste. You can write your affirmations and turn them into your own personal mantras.

You have a choice. You have options. You can speak into being what you want.

Say to yourself, “I am anything and everything I wanted”.

Be persistent. Change the “I can’ts” to “I cans”.

You can overcome anything. Mind over matter they say. If you believe and see it in your mind, you will make choices in that regard.

Thoughts are powerful. Thoughts lead to actions. Over time, actions become habits and habits lead to long lasting results.

If you want to learn how to be your own best friend, start with the thought “I am my own best advocate”, and continue on with statements such as, “I am confident”, “I am persistent”, “I am a survivor”, “I am the underdog they won’t see coming”, “I am an inspiration”, “I am resilient”, “I am a learner of life’s lessons”, I am proud of who I am as I am strong”. These are only a few examples but you can certainly expand on these.

Be powerful and transition into an “I am” state.

Now it’s time to take your place in the world of “I am” possibilities. 

Own it!

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

The Power of Why?

By Lesley Timbol

What makes you get up in the morning? I’m not talking about your alarm. What drives you? What motivates you?

Why is it important you know your why? It’s because if you want a life of happiness, fulfillment and success, you must find your purpose, aka your why.

Without knowing your purpose, you won’t know what drives you, what keeps you going in the tough times, what inspires you to improve.

When life throws you a curveball, when you’re met with an unexpected and intimidating obstacle, when nothing seems to be going “right”, when support can’t be found, when you make mistakes, when you feel overwhelmed, then what?

Your why will give you strength even when you feel like you don’t have the strength to get up anymore. Your why will give you the push and courage to do what’s uncomfortable.

Your why will help you face your fears and unknowns.

As an athlete, what makes you different from your competitors? What sets you apart from them? Why are you so important?

Your why helps define who you are and gives you a sense of your purpose in this stage of your life.

Somebody is waiting for you to mess up, to give up, to fail. Your why is your mental weapon against the “haters”, the “trolls”. Your why will help you fight when the doubters think you’re “out for the count”. Remember your reason, your why so it can drive you.

You don’t have to be an athlete to have a purpose. Is your purpose your family? Is it to prove someone wrong? Is it to prove yourself right? Is it to inspire others in similar situations?

Write down your purpose. Carry it with you. Say it out loud. Breathe that message into your body. Commit to yourself that you will live out your purpose with zero excuses.

What if you fall? What if you make a mistake and get off track? The true mistake is staying off track. What did you learn from that experience? That’s a lesson learned. Now dust yourself off and get back on track.

So the next time life challenges you, what are you going to do? Are you going to give up? Or will you make the moves to be successful?

Avoid looking back but rather remember where you came from and then focus on where and what you aspire to be. Recall your why.

If you don’t have a why yet, find something now that drives you. Something that no matter what happens, this why part of you doesn’t change. The drive doesn’t change. Your purpose doesn’t change. 

Your purpose is something that lights a fire in you. It’s something you can be passionate about.

Some things in life you can’t change; you just have to live with it. But if you do have a choice, allow your purpose to help you make the right choice.

Thursday, 15 October 2020

How to be your best friends in sports

 By Dr. Patrick Cohn at Peak Performance Sports, LLC.

Do you beat yourself up after competitions and only focus on your mistakes? Self criticism hurts an athlete but the effect of criticism is doubled when it comes from within the athlete’s mind.

Being self-critical is the quickest way to shatter confidence. Many times, athletes describe themselves as being their own biggest critic.

This mindset is viewed by some in a positive light meaning that this type of athlete pushes to be perfect and nothing less is sufficient. However self-criticism never pushes an athlete towards excellence.

Self-criticism post competition sends the message that you are not good enough and, no matter what you accomplish, that is not good enough either. 

A lot of athletes destroy their confidence between competitions by being too judgemental. When they don’t perform up to their expectations, they tend to beat themselves up.

Rather than focussing on your mistakes, don’t take it home with you. Leave the competition on the stage/field/rink and transition. If you’re thinking about it all night, you’re taking that performance too personally. Give yourself 30-60 minutes tops to assess your performance and then move on.

Secondly, have a post game/show routine where you start to behave a bit differently after the competition. How? First step is to focus on what you did well. For instance, ask yourself what are two things you feel you did well? It’s important to focus on the positive first. 

Step 2 is NOT focussing on your mistakes but rather learn and grow from your performance. It’s vitally important to keep your confidence from competition to competition and not destroy it afterwards. Try to do an honest, objective assessment of your performance. Use that information as a launch pad to know what you need to focus on in your next practice/prep. It’s about growing and getting better and then taking that to practice and applying that. Assess your performance in a way so that you can apply those lessons learned in future practices and competitions. That becomes an objective to improve that specific skill.

 If you need guidance on how to become your own best friend in sports, please contact me at (416) 805-6155 or email me at lesley@timbol.ca so I can help you transition, determine the lessons learned and strategise for optimal performance.

Friday, 2 October 2020

Prepare for the Unexpected

By Lesley Timbol (Adapted from Dr. Patrick Cohn at Peak Performance Sports, LLC.)

You’re told to capitalize on your strengths and work on your weaknesses. What if you don’t know about a weakness until it happens? What if that happens during a competition? How do you prepare for that? How do you react when the unexpected happens?

Does adversity put a damper on achieving your athletic goals or does it motivate you to find another way to keep momentum moving forward?

Not expecting speed bumps, roadblocks and obstacles is unrealistic. You shouldn't go through the season expecting the worst, but you need to be mentally flexible to handle the adversity when it unexpectedly pops up.

A popular saying is "expect the unexpected" but it is more important to be prepared for the unexpected.

As long as you’re an athlete, you will face adversity. Gymnasts will fall in major competitions, softball and baseball players will suffer injuries, soccer goalies will give up last minute goals, hockey players will be caught out of position, bodybuilders will sabotage their diet or get injured.

Being prepared to act when the unexpected happens takes resilience, confidence, and mental toughness. How can you prepare for the unexpected?

Regardless of your sport, how do you react when things don’t go as planned? Can you recover quickly? Do you regroup or do you dwell on what is going “wrong”?

Like many things, recovering or regrouping is a skill that needs to be practised. Rather than “hoping for the best” and that everything goes optimally from every angle, accept this is a rarity. In other words, expect shit will happen. You don’t know what shit that will be but expect it. 

And then you adapt. Like a chameleon changing to fit into his environment, be open to adapt to whatever changes have presented themselves. Accept there will be times you will struggle but be aware that the struggle isn’t the issue, it’s how quickly you recover from the struggle that’s important.

Do you have confidence in your preparation for your competition or game? Do a quick mental recap of what you did to prepare for this moment. Now how are you going to strike back? What are you going to do right now to regain control of the situation?

With practice, you can develop some “go to” actions to deal with unexpected adversities. Start by mentally formulating some hypothetical situations. Ask yourself how mentally tough athletes would respond in such challenging situations. What does that look like and how can you practise that skill? Quite often, these skills are applicable to a variety of situations which will enable you to move forward towards your athletic objective regardless of the obstacle.

If you need guidance on how to develop mental toughness and mental preparedness, please contact me at (416) 805-6155 or email me at lesley@timbol.ca so I can help provide you with the boost needed to meet and overcome the unexpected.

Monday, 21 September 2020

Unleash the Beast

Enough is enough. It’s time. In fact, it’s way past time. Bodybuilders are foaming at the mouth to compete. Some of us have been in prep since the beginning of the year. And what a year it’s been with shows being cancelled or postponed to a later date and/or different location.

And for those bodybuilders who decided to compete next year and use this year to put on size, work on weaker areas, rehab, etc. good! You have a plan so stick to it!

Regardless of your decision, it’s time. Like a lion waiting in the long grass about to pounce on its prey, bodybuilders worldwide are training with a vengeance. Covid prevented many of us from training the way we’re used to but as gyms open up and athletes have invested in home gym equipment, it’s time to unleash the beast!

Perhaps many of us took training for granted but no more. Every training session is an opportunity. Avoid focusing on the gains you’ve missed as gyms were shut down or how behind you are. 

Get your head back in the game. Focus on the now. Right here; right now. Before you even begin your physical training, engage in your mental training to block everything else out. Focus on the body part(s) you’re about to train. Focus on every rep, every set. If you get temporarily distracted, picture a stop sign and focus on what you should be doing right now.

The beast is hungry. Are you going to feed it? The beast wants iron. The beast wants healthy and proper macros. The beast wants repair and sleep. The beast is circling its prey. Do you have a strategy of attack?

With a glint and stare in your eyes, furrowing of your brow, snarl of your lip, tensing of your crouched body ready to spring, take what is yours!

It’s time.

Unleash the beast!


Monday, 7 September 2020

Do you know how to do this?

Change. Many people talk about changing. Why? Because they want a different result. But change isn’t easy. You have to think about it. You have to plan what you’re going to do differently. The word change is associated with work and sometimes we’re just lazy.

Do you know how to pivot? The word ‘pivot’ seems to sound less ominous. Pivoting indicates a slight movement in a different direction whereas change sounds like significant movement. In short, pivot takes less effort.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting a different result. Yet getting a different result doesn’t have to involve big changes but rather small pivots in a different direction.

Maybe your life is good but are you settling? Could it be better? Sometimes people are afraid to pivot because they’re comfortable with where they’re at. It works for them to some degree. They’re even aware of the pitfalls but that seems okay rather than the unknown of what will happen if they do something differently.

Maybe there are areas in your life you’d like to improve upon but don’t know how. There are a few approaches to address the ‘how’, i.e., trial and error, google search, talk to others who have gone through it, and seek professional guidance and support.

Yet even if we want to change something, we still resist it even though we know it could help us. Why? Because any type of change, even a small pivot, takes effort. Somehow we want life to magically make our circumstances better when in reality it’s up to us to make different choices to get better results.

The next challenge is even if we commit to making the effort to change, we don’t know where to start. Remember to pivot and start small. For instance, if you haven’t worked out since Covid and have been emotionally eating, you can pivot by taking a short walk. If your gym has opened up, you can pack your gym bag and plan when you’re going to go.

The fear shouldn’t be trying to pivot; the fear should be what will happen if you don’t pivot? Nothing changes and that can be scary.

If you need assistance on how to pivot, please contact me at (416) 805-6155 or email me at lesley@timbol.ca so I can help you make changes in the right direction.

Friday, 28 August 2020

Do You Worry About What Others Think?

Many athletes worry too much about what others think of them. These athletes worry that their teammates, coaches, parents, family, sponsors, social media followers, and/or friends might think badly of them. We call this social approval.

If you think this way, you want to be admired, accepted, respected, or liked by other people. Part of this is just human nature, but it can turn into a confidence killer for many athletes.

Athletes who worry about what others think engage in a process called false “mind reading.” Mind reading is when you make invalid assumptions about what others might think of you.

When you think others think you are not performing well, this can hurt your confidence. You end up becoming distracted that can result in making mistakes or atleast sub par performance.

Do you try to read the minds of your competitors or coaches? Or take to heart the responses of your social media followers responding to your posts? 

Focusing too much on what you think others think. That’s called mind reading. You don’t know for sure but you believe what you think as if it were true.

The truth is you don’t know what they’re actually thinking unless they say something to you. There’s a difference between guessing and actually knowing.

What does guessing what people are thinking do to your confidence? If you assume someone, e.g., coaches, audience, judges think you’re not doing well, it affects your performance, i.e., ability to pose, execute a move, etc.

Who are you mind reading about? What are you mind reading about? What are the false assumptions or the narrative you’re making up in your head that’s creating havoc for you?

Worrying what others think becomes a distraction, confidence killer, and a source of pressure when you do mind reading.

If you catch yourself worrying what others think, what do you do?  Step 1 is awareness. When you become aware you’re mind reading, cut it off. Picture a stop sign. Step 2 is recognizing what you’re doing and refocus on doing what is more important, i.e., the next pose/transition/action.

If you need guidance on how to handle worrying about what others think, please contact me at (416) 805-6155 or email me at lesley@timbol.ca so I can help you refocus so you appear not to miss a beat on show/game day.