Arrowing Your Goals

“I make a lot of arrows, okay?”

That was me, talking to my hubby about how things were going to be different now. How I was going to start taking action…well actually start completing the action I take.

I had just gotten all situated on the couch. One dog next to me and the other “buckling me in” across my lap because that’s just how we sit on the couch. I was bummed because my computer didn’t just start up when I touched the laptop mouse pad. I assumed it was a low battery. Ugh. Gotta get up and get a cord. And we were all situated.

Then I remembered–I’m working on changing!

What does that have to do with my computer? I had actually turned it off (like really shut it down) when I left the office the other day. Game changer!

You may not be impressed, but this is usually a detail that I cannot be bothered with. I mean, why? Just close the lid.

Besides, I may want to open it back up in a few minutes and lord knows I don’t want to close any tabs. Feels too permanent. Yes, it seems I have some issues.

Anyhoo, something inside me on Friday said, “It’s time to step up.” And that’s where I started. With shutting down my computer. 🙂

I’ve been taking mini-steps for awhile, but as a quote I see often on social media says, “You won’t see a big change until you change what you do each day” or something like that. I’ve also been thinking a lot about the saying “Don’t break a promise to yourself.” I see it on Pinterest a lot lately. And I do that. A lot. Not Pinterest, but breaking promises to me.

So it began. With actually shutting down my computer on a Friday evening.

On Saturday, I cleaned out my closet.

Today, I’m actually completing the tasks in my planner. Let’s face it, up until today my planner has been mostly aspirational. Very well-intentioned, but not usually folllowed through.

This is where the arrows come in.

When a task doesn’t get done on the scheduled day, no worries. I just simply draw an arrow indicating it will be done on the next day.

No problem, right? I’m pretty chill about scheduling. It’s cool. I’ll get to it tomorrow.

Then tomorrow rolls around and I find myself “arrowing” again.

After a week of arrowing, a task usually just gets dropped off the planner. I mean it starts to look a little pathetic, so obviously I should just face reality and quit the task completely.

Now you’re starting to see the problem.

I don’t do this with the “must do’s.” Well sometimes, but if there’s a specific deadline I don’t have the luxury. For example, I’m giving a test in one of my college classes this week and I don’t have the option to arrow past Wednesday. [Full disclosure: Write test was on the list last Thursday, but has been arrowed a couple of times.]

But for the tasks that seem optional (but are definitely not if I want to continue to grow my business), I arrow.

But I arrow no longer!

Day 1: Computer Shut Down

Day 2: Closet Cleanout

Day 3: Cross Off Previously Arrowed Tasks

Day 4: Look Out, World!

Can you relate? Have you been arrowing your goals? Let’s chat about it in a free Mini Session!

How’s Your Pivot Game?

Sometimes you’re in the thick of it. And you’re gonna need to pivot.

Maybe you’ve made a commitment and you’re wishing you hadn’t.

Maybe you’re on a team that isn’t a good fit for you.

Maybe you have a boss who doesn’t value the leadership style you prefer.

Maybe you’re involved in an organization that seems to be crushing your soul and taking all of your free time.

Whatever the situation, you’re in the thick of it. Trying to honor your commitment and maintain healthy well-being. It can be difficult.

When I’m in the thick of it, I do a lot of work to pump myself up and get in the right mindset. The other day I was doing just that. I was feeling empowered. Ready to take on the world. Listening to an Audible book that spoke to me. I even let out the occasional “hell yeah”  and an “I am relentless” as drove down the road behind a little red pickup who was cruising along checking out the crops.

I carried this badass, I’ve got this attitude throughout the day until…

I got the email.

Day derailed.

You know the type of email. The one that makes you say, Can you even believe that? Was that necessary? Seriously, who does that?! I cannot with this. How am I supposed to carry on my day now? I’m just going to sit here.

So I’m mad at the world. Unable to function. The email sender wins. Because now I’m done. I must eat all of the things and do all of the social media scrolling and mentally argue with the sender of the email. Obviously, I can’t be counted on to be productive now.

And I’m only hours from my “hell yeah” and “I am relentless” morning.

I know I’ve gotta get back there, but how?

Ever been there?

We think we’ve got this whole mindset thing down until…

Until a coach says something critical to you about your performance that day.

Until you have a disagreement at school.

Until your organization schedules a last minute meeting.

Until you get injured at practice.

This is when our mindset matters most, right? When stuff happens.

We know from brain research that when we’re in these situations, a tiny ball of cells is in charge. The size of a peanut. This “peanut brain” runs things for approximately 90 seconds. After that, we can disconnect from the loop.

Ever ruminate? Think/replay the same thoughts over and over? That’s the peanut brain stuck in a negative loop.

We have to step in and break the circuit. Our brains prefer to keep the loop going because it’s easy BUT it makes us miserable. And in my case, has me headed to Taco Bell while mentally drafting an angry (yet clever) social media status.

So what do we do instead? How do we disconnect from the negative thought loop?

Feel the feeling. Go ahead and be mad for a couple of minutes. Skipping this step leads to more trouble down the line. But don’t stay stuck here.

Gather yourself. Often with a breath and a refocus routine. Something that cues you to take action.

Realize you have a choice. You don’t have to (and often shouldn’t) like or condone what has happened, but you do have to make a choice.

Pivot. You have to pivot. The game has changed. A defender meeting you in the lane doesn’t mean you’re done. Lost. Game over. You pivot and go around. You can pivot in your mind too. Pivot and move to a new neural circuit. To a new thought loop.

Make the choice. Pivot. Take the power back.

Hell yeah. You are relentless. So am I.

Let’s work on our pivot game together. Sign up for a free mini session!

Become the Person Who

Sometimes you have to take the risk, make the leap, and become the person who can make it happen.

Become the person who breaks the record, gives the speech, tries out for the elite team, rents the window office. 🙂

Sometimes we have to say yes and then figure it out. Sometimes that’s the only way. If not, we get stuck or (more accurately) we convince ourselves that we’re stuck.

I’d train for the race, but…

I’d give the speech, but…

I’d sign the lease for the office, but…

I’d try out for the elite team, but…

We think from our past. We tell ourselves that when we’re ready we’ll do the things.

But maybe that’s how you get ready.

Maybe you should get the office, so you have no choice but to become the person who attracts a lot of clients. Sign up for the try out, so you have no choice but to train.

Because when you start thinking “oh that might not work out” you’re coming from a place of scarcity. And that makes us press.

When we’re pressing in sport, we tighten up. We get tunnel vision. We can’t see the court.

We then pair that with a negative, narrow, internal focus, which essentially means negative self-talk.

I can’t. That won’t work. I’ll never make it happen. You get the picture.

Scarcity stops. It puts up mental roadblocks.

Abundance mobilizes.

We gotta think abundance. A there’s more where that came from, it’ll work out, I can make this happen mindset.

So sign up for the race. Rent the office. Say yes to the speech. Try out for the elite team.

Become the person who makes it happen. Become the person who finds a way.

Notice the shift when you come from abundance? You stop the contemplating.

You stop the “Oh, I don’t know.”

You stop the “I’m so confused.”

You stop the “I have no idea where to begin.”

You stop the indecision.

And you decide.

Once you decide, you can spend your energy taking steps forward and figuring out the path as you go instead of staying stuck and wondering over and over if you’re going even going to take the path.

Seriously, we spend so much time and energy doing this. We could have been there already if we had just started!

“A year ago you’ll wish you had started today.” ~lots of people on the internet

And really the whole “I don’t know” thing is usually just an excuse for us not to do anything. Guilty. Been there.

Of course you’ll feel some discomfort when you set out. That’s okay. That’s human.

We all feel uncomfortable. Might as well be uncomfortable working towards something amazing.

If your goal is big enough that you need to become the person who can achieve it (and honestly, it should be that big, because that’s the point of goals!), let’s talk about stepping up your game. 

Wondering if we follow this philosophy at Sterling Sport Mindset? Well I’m happy to say I’m enjoying our window office view as I type this. 🙂

My Super Dramatic Brain

My brain is super dramatic. I bet your brain is too. Sometimes over really small things. Like many of you, I’m really doing the work lately. Not just the work of building a business, but the work of being mindful of my own thoughts and actions, while I help athletes and sport parents do the same.

To be real here, I’m pumped about this adventure, but I’m learning that building a business is not for the faint of heart.  It’s much like going for a big athletic goal.

So many unknowns. So much learning, training, fixing. I’ll spend hours watching webinars and tutorials just to learn how to do one little thing for my website.

Will I ever figure this out? Do I need to pay for a course on how to do this? Well, I’ve already invested several hours, surely I’ve almost got it. But maybe I don’t! Maybe I should have never started a business.

So many thoughts, all while I’m trying to figure out how to get the website plugin to work!

Now is a great time to note that I do all my own stunts at this point in my business. Website design, photo taking/editing, graphics, content creation, writing copy, all the things. Many wise entrepreneurs have said that it’s good to know how to do all the things, but to hire it out as soon as you can. Soon, my friends!

But for now, hooray for learning, right?

I can often look back with a sense of accomplishment and badassery when I learn a new skill, but not until I work through the what-the-heck-am-I-doing overwhelm moments.

It’s not just the tech stuff, but the networking events. Oh the networking events. I love to meet new people and hear about what they do. Seriously, I really love that. I get super pumped for people, their jobs, and their success.  But walking up to strangers in an effort to make connections can be awkward and takes a lot of mental energy. It’s like you’re constantly the new kid on the team.

Note: I recently joined a new gym and it’s super similar. All of the people are amazing, but I still feel a little bit like a lost (and lacking any cardio capacity) puppy right now.

Anyhoo, all of this new stuff is a lot for my brain. Sport psych & counseling/coaching, I’ve got that. But the tech, the marketing, the networking, it’s all new for this academic.

You’ve been there, right? You decide to go for a goal. You really want it and deep down you believe you can do it. But all of the work, time, and figuring stuff out can sometimes make us hesitate and question if we’ve got what it takes.

Our brains like routine and safety. And that’s the opposite of our lives when we’re working on a big, hairy goal.

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m doing the work. And I know many of you are too. We have goals that we’re working on or thinking about working on.

That’s why I’m  sharing.

I love a good success story, but I also love to hear from people who are in the thick of it. I thought you might too.

So doing the work. What does that even mean?!

In this case it means paying attention to our mindset. Looking at the thoughts–feelings–action–results sequence. In doing this, I’ve found that my brain is super, duper dramatic right now.

Yes, the “duper” was necessary.

Here are three examples from a single 24-hour period.

Scenario 1: I forgot my vitamins for my overnight stay at my sister’s. I realized on the way there that I would be sans vitamins for my workout class the next day. This is how my brain took it.

“There is no way I’ll be able to work out. I mean I don’t have my vitamins! Of course I can’t work out. That’s it. I’m so not going to that workout. No one would judge me, because working out without vitamins is just not wise. Probably even dangerous.”

Seriously, that’s where my head went. Over vitamins.

Scenario 2: Trying to add a new feature to my website. I got a warning message from WordPress that it could crash my site, then I got a message from the plugin saying not to worry about any WordPress messages that say it may crash your site. I boldly (or foolishly) attempted to go ahead and edit the code. As I hit “update” and waited with a sinking feeling in my stomach,  I got the dreaded “something went wrong” message on my screen.

Cue, brain.

“Well, that’s it. My business had a nice little run. (It’s pretty new FYI.) I learned a lot, but it’s over now. Gonna have to call my husband and tell him the business is no more. All of it, gone with the website. He’ll understand. I mean, how does one keep going through this? They just don’t.”

All of that dialogue occurred in the few seconds before I discovered my website was miraculously still up and running. (Alas, the plugin didn’t work though).

Scenario 3:  I live quite a distance from my office and I was scheduled for an early morning networking event before work, so (as mentioned above) I had stayed at my sister’s house the night before. As I woke up, even before I opened my eyes, I could feel that my muscles were sore from my first week back in the gym. Before I could move to test whether or not my sore muscles would even slightly impact my day, my brain started in.

“Well I guess we’ll just call it a day (at 6AM). I’ll probably just head home. Seriously, Linda, it’s been a long week. Lot’s of trying. Your muscles are sore for goodness sake! No one can expect you to carry on with your day like this! It’s settled. You did your best, but now’s not the time to be a hero.”

Damn. Cancel my entire day?! That is SUPER dramatic for a few sore muscles.

I worked through each of the situations, but oddly, that third scenario required the most work. I did it though, partly due to the inspirational song that came on the radio as I was contemplating whether to take the exit towards home or the office.

One does not simply sing along to The Climb and then cancel her entire day. Thanks, Miley. I owe you one.

So what did the work look like?

Well, we know that thoughts cause feelings and we get to choose our thoughts, so I went through the thoughts–feelings–action–results sequence.

My thoughts of this-is-too hard/too much were causing me to feel overwhelmed, which without a change, would have resulted in the action of me going home & opting out of my day. The result would be zero progress in my business or fitness goals.

Plus bonus thoughts of overwhelm later. You know when you beat yourself up over your previous thoughts/actions? Ugh. It’s a cycle for sure.

BUT instead of sticking with the original thoughts, I looked at the sequence and decided what I wanted to see in the results section and went from there.

I placed “progress toward goals” into the results part of the sequence and chose the thought I’d need to make that happen.

Oddly enough, in this case it was “I gotta be strong, just keep pushing on.” You know “there’s always gonna be another mountain” 🙂 Again, thanks, Miley.

These thoughts caused the feelings of confidence & motivation. Which led to the action of participating in my day…mostly.*  The result (as expected) was progress toward my goals because my day consisted of completing the workout & finishing projects in my business.

Recap:

Thought: I gotta be strong. Just keep pushing on.

Feelings: Confidence. Motivation

Action: Went to the gym and to work.

Result: Progress toward my goals.

You’re probably wondering, “What’s this mostly* all about?”

*Well…I went to my workout and to work, but the early morning networking breakfast just didn’t make the cut. I mean really, live to fight another day. 🙂

Do you have goals that require a mindset shift? Ready to do some thought work of your own? You know I’m with you! Let’s chat.