Olympic dreams driven by Affirmations

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I am motivated by the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.  Yes, the Olympics teaches us so many things about human behavior, motivation, and discipline.  I am amazed by the tales of athletes thrills and agony. Every two years I realize that I learn more about myself and life as I watch the Olympic dramas for two weeks; night after night.

First, the thrill of victory is ever present in the snowboarding this year.  Red Gerard is only 18 and from Cleveland, OH, not Colorado.  This young man won the gold medal in snowboard slopestyle.  He looked so grateful as he hugged his coaches and teammates before he started his run.  When he finished he hugged another teammate while waiting to hear his score.  When he finally heard that he was in first place his family went crazy with celebration.  Chloe Kim, another young Olympian was the favorite and she has the soul of a champion.  She knew that she did not have to do anything to win at the beginning of her last run.  She already had the gold medal, but she would not settle for just “OK”.  Chloe took a deep breath and relaxed.  She seemed like she was having the time of her life.  She spun and jumped and slid to the highest score so far, even beating her gold medal score of her other runs.  She was not satisfied with her score; she knew that she could do better.  She did much better.  The judges were amazed as was the entire audience.

Now about the agony of defeat. Shaun White, the 31-year-old veteran, already had 2 Olympic gold medals, but not from the last two games.  At the 2014 games in Sochi, Shaun got 4th place.  He was devastated because he was (of course) favored to win the gold again.  As I watched a documentary about him, I was surprised by his recent change of character.  He used to be a brash young man who became rich and famous after the first games.  He is the father of snowboarding.  He constantly bragged about his house in Malibu and showed off his riches.  Of course, the documentary did not touch on the alleged sexual harassment charge, it focused on his defeat.  Not only was he defeated in the Sochi games but months earlier he landed on his face during a competition.  It is his job to fly 12 feet into the air but this time he landed on concrete ice; he got a face full of stitches.  He seemed to be at his low point in life.  However, he commented that he was grateful that he lost and was injured.  He stated that he learned so much and it made him want to win more.  He said that he did not train harder physically; he changed his mindset.  He had been beaten for the first time. He was humble, quieter, and more thoughtful.  Mr. White seemed more mature after his devastating experience.  Now, of course, if you or I got 4th place in the Olympics we would not call this a devastating experience but for a two-time previous gold medal winner and expected favorite – this was not expected.  As reported this experience of being at his lowest low changed his life.  Now, this agony of defeat story does have a very happy ending.  After a bit of drama, Shaun White won the gold in 2018.  Not only did he win, he earned it.  He may have settled for the Silver Medal but he gave his very best not to be defeated by a 17-year-old Phenom from Japan.

My favorite Olympic story is about self-doubt.  Mikaela Shiffrin, a favorite to win at least two skiing events, shared a story about her anxiety on the slopes.  She would get very nervous before her ski runs and vomit at the top of the hill.  She went to see a coach to learn more about her anxiety.  She realized that she wanted to be the BEST skier in the world and realized how much that meant to her.  She was afraid of not being the best.  The coach taught her affirmations.  This is interesting because when I teach I tell my classes that being positive and having a good attitude is a learned skill.  My favorite phrase is “Now, let me teach you the most powerful words in the English language.”  Those words are “I am”.  If you put those two words in front the words you desire; an affirmation is created.  For example, “I am powerful”, “I am good”, “I am confident in my abilities to _____.”  Mikaela’s coach taught her those same words.  I heard her state her affirmations on TV last night.  “I am good”, “I am confident” “I want it.”  This skier even has the words “I AM” written in Sharpie on her green ski gloves.  It gives me hope and motivation to continue my affirmations and tapping exercises.

I experience self-doubt and end up procrastinating to not produce the results that I know I can produce. Most people I know have told me they self-sabotage at times.  Most of this is not planned.  I do not want to slow down my success consciously.  I am not even aware of why I procrastinate, delay or not do a task that I know will lead to my success.  But, I am aware that I do this behavior.  As they say, “awareness is the first step” (to behavior change I assume).  I will continue to repeat my affirmations, my mantra, and tapping exercises in the hopes that my behavior will change and I will reach my goals successfully.

Each year I am amazed by the Olympics, the athletes amazing skills, and their heartfelt stories.  This year I was happy that Mikaela Shiffrin shared her story with NBC and the media.  I hope that more people start saying affirmations to feel less self-doubt.  I hope that more people realize they have so much potential and strive to be their best.  I hope that more people overcome their demons and other obstacles.  I hope we all reach our dreams.

Lori blog#

 

#emotionalintelligence #affirmations #self-awareness #IAM

 

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Better not Bitter

forgiveRecently, I was teaching a class on emotional intelligence (EQ) and one of the participants asked if forgiveness was a part of EQ.  I thought about the answer but, as an experienced facilitator, I did not give an answer.  I instead asked, “What do you think?”  This started a long conversation about forgiveness and how intelligent it is to forgive and not to hold a grudge against another person.

After thinking about this conversation for a few days, I decided to reflect on, and conduct some research on the concept of forgiveness.  As always, I try to find a definition of the term or concept that I am teaching or trying to understand.  After checking out a few definitions, I resonated with this one by the Mayo Clinic Staff.  “Forgiveness involves a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge.”  Next, my mind jumped to the opposite of forgiveness – resentment and revenge – holding a grudge.  All people are different when it comes to their tolerance of forgiving and letting go (please refer to the song).  I’ve always been one of the lucky ones that can “let it go” better than most.  If I am upset and feeling unforgiving one day; I usually wake up the next morning feeling better and I have forgiven.  However, I have many people in my family who do not have this gift.  In fact, they have the opposite “gift”; the gift of grudge holding.

Imagine that you are a marine.  You are trained to fight and defend your country.  You go to war to fight the enemy.  Next, you hear that your younger sister, a nurse, has decided to heal the enemy.  You, the marine, decide not to talk to your sister ever again.  This choice she made was unforgiveable.  She could have healed the person who killed your “brothers”.  He did not talk to his sister for over thirty years.  This indeed is a very difficult situation and I have heard of much worse.  This marine is my father.  I never met my aunt as an adult.  I had no memory of her.  When I was in my mid 30s I had a child and my aunt sent me a card.  I had heard the story of her choice, of my dad’s choice.  My dad never spoke about my aunt.  She was not a part of his family any longer.   Who is hurt by unforgiveness?  I’m sure my aunt was hurt.  She never met ¼ of her family.  But, I am sure my father was hurt as well and our family was wounded and damaged.

My class discussed the wounds, the damage, and the bitterness.  One of the women in the class said to forgive you would feel better not bitter.  Next, we talked about better not bitter being the next “catch phrase”. Then we looked it up online and discovered that there were many books with that title and some religious sermons.  We told stories about people we knew who chose to be bitter and not better such as the story about my father.  Jane, told a story about her sister, Frieda, who never had any friends because no one could live up to her expectations.  If her new friend let her down she would not forgive her and excommunicated her (off the island!) as my dad did to his sister.  The only ironic part about this story is that the new friend never knew that Frieda was holding this grudge.  The friend would play with someone else on the playground and not think twice about Frieda.  Meanwhile, Frieda was fuming and festering with thoughts of resentment and revenge.  Frieda was getting more bitter by the moment.  Soon, Frieda had no friends not only because no one could live up to her high expectations, but because she was always grumpy and bitter.  This cycle continued until Frieda went to college and got a roommate who didn’t let her get away with the silent treatment.  This roomie, Kristi, wanted Frieda to go out dancing with everyone else on the dorm floor.  Finally, Frieda couldn’t resist having fun in college.  She was “cured” of her bitterness because she made a choice to change.  As soon as Frieda made that choice, she felt better and had a happier life.

We can forgive even after many years of holding a grudge.  My father finally did see his sister again before she died.  I think that helped heal the family and his life.

Coming full circle, back to the question about forgiveness being part of emotional intelligence.  It is not a factor or one of the dimensions.  However, forgiveness as we have seen through these stories is part of our interpersonal relationships; which is one of the factors in EQ.  When we forgive, our interpersonal relationships are healthier and happier.  So, if you hold resentment and often think about revenge over something that has happened with a friend, make that choice to forgive.  Choose better, not bitter.

#betternotbitter   #forgiveness   #emotionalintelligence

Lori blog

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