Growth Mindset and Flow State

Growth mindset doesn't get enough credit in the discussion on optimal performance - in sport, business, or life.

While many people know it's benefits to learning and healthy development, far fewer people know how critical it is to accessing flow state - or being in "the zone" - which matters in business as much as it does in sport.

People with a growth mindset more frequently set "mastery goals" (centered on learning and development) instead of "performance goals" (centered on competence). And mastery goals are linked to more flow experiences.

One explanation for this could be that people with a growth mindset set mastery goals that are more challenging - that truly push their potential (because they're not worried about proving their competence or failing). And challenge is necessary to accessing flow state.

Additionally, growth mindset helps us to interpret performance situations as a challenge instead of a threat. This singular shift in our thinking sets of a cascade of physiological...

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Motivation after Covid

emotions motivation Nov 15, 2022

Things to consider…


Covid forced many people to re-evaluate their priorities and their identity.


Many who used to tie their identity to work (and worked like their worth depended on it) felt like that was ripped from them - they were forced to connect other parts of their identity and other activities to sustain them.


Many of have found their priorities and perspective has genuinely shifted - work no longer feels as important as it once did.


Others may be afraid to go all-in because they're afraid to have it stolen a second time - a coping response to the initial trauma.


Are these the only possible reasons you're seeing lower than normal motivation? No.


But these are a few unique and timely factors I encourage leaders to add to their usual list because the pandemic is still impacting student-athletes and people everywhere.


Psychologists are encouraging people to think of the COVID pandemic as collective trauma. One of the...

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Work on Self

For all relationships...and for leaders in particular.

Leaders in sport
Leaders in business
Leaders in communities
Leaders in families

Too often we look at those around us and think or say, "I just wish I could help them...[fill in the blank]."

There are lots of things we can do and strategies we can use to help those we lead.

And one of the most powerful of those strategies, supported by spiritual teachers and scientists alike, is to work inward first and often.

#leadership #ramdass #authenticleadership #lookinward #psychology #mindset #businesscoaching #quote #thursdaythoughts

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Emotion Suppression

Uncategorized Jun 23, 2021

Regulation = expression + suppression (and so much more).

Regulation often becomes synonymous with suppression. But regulation also includes expression.

According to @MarcBrackett, emotional regulation includes "monitoring, tempering, and modifying our emotional reactions in helpful ways in order to reach our personal and professional goals. This doesn't mean ignoring inconvenient emotions - rather, it's learning to accept and deal with them. People with this skill employ strategies to manage their own emotions and help others with theirs."

So what's so bad about suppressing our emotions?

Research shows…

--Individuals who suppress emotion also suppresses their immune system.

I'll note here that while feelings and emotions are not responsible for health conditions, the prolonged suppression of them creates the tension required for disease to thrive.

--Emotion suppression doesn't change (and may actually increase) the intensity with which we experience negative emotion.


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Emotional Intelligence

Partially born out of a search for an alternative intelligence as researchers became increasingly frustrated that IQ tests didn't explain important life outcomes, EI initially surfaced in the 1990s and then became more popular in the 2000s with Dr. Daniel Goleman's book.

Now, is "EI" the end-all, be-all of thriving, high-performance, and excellent leadership? No.

The research shows there are some situations or roles where EI matters a lot, and some where it matters less (and may even be detrimental). And the research also shows there are a host of other factors, including IQ, that play a role.

In the area where I work - the human dimension - in sports, business, leadership, and teams…emotions and emotional intelligence matter.

So what is EI?
"The ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions." -Marc Brackett

Too easy, right?

Challenge yourself to consider these questions:


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Why Emotions Matter

"They ensure our survival. They make us smarter. If we didn't need them, they wouldn't exist." -Marc Brackett, "Permission to Feel."

Emotions influence

  • Our attention and memory which determine our ability to learn.
  • Whether we rely on our gut instinct or carefully weigh facts when making important decisions.
  • Every aspect of the social relationships that are the most important element of our lives.
  • The choices we make and the way our body functions that influence our health - from poor diet, excessive drinking, and inactivity to blood pressure, and healing time.
  • Our ability to be creative in the ways that advance society and humanity through innovation and our ability to be creative in the ways that build resilience, like finding a way to get through hard times.

This is the tiniest snippet of the decades of research that clearly demonstrate the importance of emotion in our lives.


Sharing this with you, and you with others, is my effort to get people to give a damn about...

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Emotional Strength

Too often, "emotional" and "strength" are seen as opposites.


There is an evolutionary component to this belief. We are instinctually wary of those who seem unpredictable - it feels threatening and dangerous. So if our inability to self-regulate makes us unpredictable to others, then we have a problem.


The bigger problem, though, is we have also come to believe that emotional suppression is the solution. The solution to appearing predictable. The solution to appearing strong.


It's not. Suppressing emotion makes us weaker - both mentally and physically.


I'll be adding content on emotional strength. I hope it challenges some of your beliefs about emotions and strength - and I hope you take the time to reconcile and work with those beliefs…changing them if necessary. I hope this series motivates you to assess your personal emotional strength. And I hope this series provides you with a few tangible strategies to adjust as needed.


Because the...

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Learning Forward

I have learned and grown immensely as a person and a professional over the last 10+ years of training, coaching, and consulting in the field of human performance. A few key lessons from the last 10 years are driving some major changes in the way I approach my work.

The lessons:
Training resilience, mental performance, and leadership skills to individuals is POWERFUL...And not sufficient.

Leaders have an exponential impact on the resilience, performance, and well-being of their people/team...And leaders don't always know how to help (and sometimes do more harm than good)

Mental skills and concepts need to be consistently reinforced to have the biggest impact...And I can't always be the one to reinforce them

These lessons are driving some changes in the way I train, coach, and consult:

I now focus on making training accessible
...By moving a bulk of individual training to a digital platform

I now focus on making change sustainable
...By empowering and supporting sport coaches and leaders...

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"Pinterest Positivity" doesn't work

Do you know what I mean when I say "Pinterest positivity"?

It is the term I use to describe the advice that says envisioning yourself living your dreams will increase your motivation.

Yes, imagery and visualization are very powerful uses of your mind. Setting high, hard goals and having a clear vision for your life are critical to optimizing performance and life. But when it comes to motivation (actually mobilizing energy toward a goal), seeing yourself living your dreams (already having accomplished them) can actually backfire and reduce motivation.

Extensive research by Gabriele Oettingen and others has shown that only envisioning the goals you want to achieve can trick your body in to a state of relaxation. Seeing yourself having completed the task makes your body think you've already done it. (Yes, your mind is that powerful).

According to the applied research, the best way to use your vision as motivation is to pair the image or goal with the obstacles that stand in your way....

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The critical science of motivation

If you've felt your motivation dwindle over the course of the pandemic (or really any time), this science can help us figure out why and what to do about it.


As humans, we have some basic needs. You know this. If I asked you what our physical human needs are, you'd probably say things like food, water, sleep, movement, etc. We need those needs to be met before we can thrive.


Turns out, we also have some psychological needs that need to be met in order for us to thrive:

  • Autonomy (sense of control),
  • Competence (need for growth and mastery)
  • Relatedness (need for human connection).


When these 3 basic psychological needs are met, our natural motivation flows. We are happier, healthier, more engaged, and perform better.


In 2020 in particular, we all lost a large sense of control over our lives - literal restrictions on what we can/can't do are only the start of it. We also feel loss of control when things are just UNKNOWN or constantly changing.



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