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Identity to Expression

I identified as a Basketball player. In frustration at not playing as much as I'd imagined or performing at my best, coaches would say not to take it personally. At that time of my development, it did not make sense, it wasn't clear to me to be able to receive that lesson nor was I adept yet to catch it regardless of how it was delivered. What do you mean not to take it personally? I'd think and, even ask, but to no avail of a solution oriented in a way I could comprehend. I put in hours after hours of practice on the court. I knew it was something I wanted to play professionally, and someone is telling me not to take it personally…that hurt and it was such a blanket statement with no practical application as to how not to. Rather than play victim and blame it on others, I am confident to know I too was not ready to understand, I was not ready to receive that message. One reason could have been that I listen(ed) not to what people said, but how they behaved. I heard "not to take it personal" but saw personal reactions to game situations, referee blunders, or other daily circumstances, so to a developing young adult it must not have been important.

Woah, that was a limited understanding. The coaches were accurate in a teaching and so was I in listening and observing. What I needed to learn was how to listen to the beyond the implied message, the ability to filter a message delivered to me regardless of any teacher's actions, and to follow it with asking myself about it. In addition, I needed to learn to practice improving the mental court, not just hours of physical practice.

It took a couple wake up calls to realize I had a voice to choose . It got so loud I had to listen. I began observing and journaling about my own life, my own personality, meditating and releasing limited habits and unwarranted beliefs and behaviors, and questioning what drew me to the game. I discovered that I loved the process of training, improving my performance, learning about nutrition and exercise, mindset, meditation, and mindfulness i.e. areas beyond the court that would improve performance on the court. I interviewed people I looked up to, people I was influenced by, that I felt were living what they teach or at least in the process of it. I studied and earned a holistic nutrition certification focusing on feeding the mind, body, and soul. I studied how the mind works and what an abundance mindset was vs a scarcity mindset was. I created a Lifebook where I stated my beliefs, defined a vision, declared my purpose, and wrote strategies for 12 areas of my life. I studied and practiced different ways of thinking about problems. I learned that less effort is actually required to be in the flow. I explored inner space. I went on a meditation retreat and transcended fears. I documented and documented and shared a few. I fell in love with the effort of process as I had with the game.

Yet when the thought of the game or playing the game arose, it triggered a freeze response. The game of which I identified began to look like a board game. How could I have been so attached? The real meaning of life and approach to living I had began learning and implementing was so much deeper and fulfilling, not to mention graceful and rewarding. There was effort but it wasn't the strenuous struggle that previously was there. The struggle was in changing the familiar ways of thinking, feeling, and acting. It opened up creative and effective ways of performing in several areas of life.

Around a year later, basketball arose to my awareness, but I felt it was a distraction, a familiar habit tying me to the past disguised as an invitation to coach a team. Nevertheless, I went inwards and listened, and ultimately accepted.

I coached how I wish I would have been coached. During the first practices, we defined a purpose and designed a vision of the end of the season, including the sights, sounds, and emotions. The kids had not won a game in a few years but, with a slight giggle that meant yea right answered, "let's go undefeated." I did not doubt them, I listened to the players and wrote it down. We practiced skills and implemented mindfulness techniques, focused on the moment, played as a team, and, most importantly, I stepped back and empowered them during game time. Similar to when I was playing, I recognized hesitancy in some players, a fear of getting pulled out of the game. My intention was to make sure each of them was comfortable just playing free of the fear of failure. We finished the season with role clarity, teamwork, joy, individual and collective confidence and only 1 loss (of which led to greater performance).

I taught a few lessons I had learned. Now, in a new perspective this game was new. It was not my life, yet it was an expression, a language. Basketball was no longer a board game per se, but a stage performance, a way to express life lessons and to tell a story.

The season ended and I focused on health coaching and building a coaching business to continue teaching these holistic ways to life, principles of life that truly benefit all lives, including ways to embrace fear and manage and transcend stress.

I was faced with the challenge of clarifying an audience, who I can best serve. Observing and piecing together the culmination of challenges I overcame, the challenges I can observe in young students and athletes, the people I have experience helping, and the passion and interests I want to focus on. At this moment, that is mindset. It all starts with the mind and is complimented with and supported by nutrition, fitness, meditation, visualization, and other innovative ways to promote optimal performance physically, mentally/emotionally, and spiritually.

I have been around parents of high school or college kids who want their student-athlete to be healthy and successful in school, sports, and readiness for the next level. And I have experienced and observed being the student-athlete wanting to perform at the level he knows he is capable of, but just can't seem to reach it.

You can blame your coach, teammates, school district, parents, or whatever, but you know that's not getting you anywhere. What else is there? I'll show you.

Let's be a team. I'll pass you the ball. A good pass is one that is caught. My commitment to you to deliver these messages specific to you so that you can receive them. You'll learn to catch not only the good passes, but the ones delivered less effectively. Regardless of the circumstances, you will learn to be empowered.

Stay tuned for a questionnaire as I'd like to see your biggest concerns and questions, so I can channel the information learned and skills cultivated in a easy-to -catch way.

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