Back coaching

To clarify I am not coaching someone else but rather I am receiving said coaching. I have been working with Kristi Hrivnak from Toronto since the beginning of the year via video calls on the Zoom platform. It has been a great experience made easily accessible with the video calls and one that I want to continue for as long as possible.

During my time off from coaching (whilst I worked a busy few weeks of work) I found myself challenged by old habits, self doubting voices and fear. Despite working too much during this time and feeling like I was slipping mentally I was aware enough to balance my output. This involved taking a week off from marathon training and resting as much as I could when off of work. I used the tools learnt from Kristi to manage my doubt and fear in order to complete three jobs and achieve a satisfying result. Something that I have struggled with for a long time due to perfectionism and unrealistic expectations of myself and my time. In short progress has been made and I am taking this week to celebrate that by not working on my days off!

There are now less occasions when I wonder “what the fuck am I doing?” Particularly now that I am 35 and not an energy filled 25 year old. Those old thoughts of negativity and self doubt are not my own, but baggage I picked up along the way. Now I am working at some simple values that I set earlier in the year in order to focus my thinking and actions. Those being in no particular order:

- Simplicity

- Honesty

- Connection

- Calm

- Acceptance

I arrived at these new values (I already had some tattooed on my chest, which I still own), in an attempt to achieve a level of mental peace that I have been lacking for some time. No matter what was going on at the surface there was a deeper feeling of hollowness, unfulfilled by what I was doing. Not that this was new, it has been around for a long time, but it always hits you in the feels when you feel you’ve escaped it!

I have been fortunate in learning a great deal about the brain (not that I am qualified or an expert) and why it does what it does. This has helped me understand my own mind and to go easier on myself when it is playing “silly buggers”. Instead I am able to focus my energy on accepting feelings and thoughts, giving them time to play out before they are deleted. Then I focus on what I can do rather than catastrophising any self doubt or negative thought.

The test of this has been my recent work when I have been under the pump (my own fault) and have seen the old me creeping back in. The accusatory voice of a perfectionist masochist whispering “you always screw things up” is a headache to say the least. But with a few breaths and a vocal challenge of “show me the proof” soon soughts that bastard out. Once you get into this consistently you find a new level of confidence and energy that you didn’t know you had, but consistency is the key.

Once you realise that most thoughts are frivolous bullshit without supporting evidence, you can smile, say thank you and then let them go. You won’t get rid of these or other thoughts, to think so is a mistake, but you can relax and accept them rather than feed your fears. Shit it takes time I can tell you, but it’s worth the struggle comrades!

For now I will leave it at that and offer up a revolutionary tool for your mind. I have been using it recently in this world of noise and distraction. It is called silence. Just sitting for a few minutes a day (with or without your eyes closed) is like taking a tiny Xanax for your monkey mind. We seem unable nowadays to sit quietly, to be bored, to say or do nothing for a few minutes. Ignore the FOMO and just sit quietly for a couple of minutes. If you can go outside in the fresh air at the same time then even better, that is like taking a little scotch with your Xanax (I don’t recommend this). Anyhow you get the message, be still, be quiet, chill man.

Tom :)