Archive for commitment

From Olivia: Why Self-Shaming May Be Hurting Your Performance

Pursuit Functional Well-being coach, Olivia Syptak

Now that we’re more than half way through the racing season in North America, I’m seeing tons lots of updates via Facebook, email and the Team Pursuit forums highlighting early and mid-season race experiences. There are the thrills of testing fitness built over the long cold winter and spring, the excitement of crossing the first finish lines of 2015, and more often than not, a personal, self-inflicted public shaming.

That’s right. Shaming. You know what I’m talking about. It tends to show up as something like this:

“It wasn’t the time that I was looking for….” or

“I really blew my run…” or “For all the training I did I should be faster on the bike.”

Every time I read or hear statements like this in someone’s race recap I wonder, what constructive and positive purpose is this serving? I also wonder how much more joy and even how much better we might perform if we could be more supportive of ourselves.

For all that we do as athletes, the long training days, time away from family and friends, the strength training, the soreness, the mental and physical fatigue we carry from week to week, not to mention the sheer logistical puzzle of juggling our athletic lives with our work and family commitments, we need to be supportive and acknowledging of ourselves. Disparaging and judgmental comments detract from that.

Think what statements like the above could be cultivating within your mind and body. What you might be hearing yourself say, over and over, could actually be “I’m not good enough,” “I don’t have what it takes,” or worse, “people are going to judge me anyway, so I better put the judgement on myself first.” Yikes! It would be hard to get up in the morning with that going on, much less rock your best race!

You know that saying that if you want to be loved by others you have to love yourself first? What would your training and racing experience be like if you could apply that idea here?

Try making some simple changes in how you think and talk about the work you put in and your performances. Consider replacing thoughts like “I’m not ready for this race,” or “that run is going to suck” with “I deserve to have a great time out there on course and to enjoy testing my fitness.” Look at opportunities to replace insecurities with confidence in your abilities and will. Rather than thinking things like, “I’m nowhere near as fast as I want to be” opt for something like “I’ve trained thoroughly and with focus to the best of my abilities and I will race to my fullest potential today.”

After races, consider how you might document and share your experience in ways that don’t contain a judgement about yourself. Even if you had a not so great race, simply affirming “I can learn a lot from how the day went” rather than, “it wasn’t the time I wanted” stays focused on your continued development as an athlete instead of creating a judgement about yourself

How you think and talk about your training and racing for yourself and in conversation with others can shape what you experience in the future. This is not dissimilar from how you would deliver praise to a child, student, or employee. Focusing on the behavior and the way you have prepared and on your experience of the event could be much more supportive toward your improvement and continued love of sport.

Adopting a mindset and shifting how you evaluate, think about and talk about yourself as an athlete that is honest, non-judgmental, is not minimizing of the effort you put in could be could just be your performance (and enjoyment!) advantage.

~Olivia

From Olivia: Stop. Rebuild. Reclaim.

Pursuit Functional Well-being coach, Olivia Syptak

Pursuit Athletic Performance Functional Well-Being coach, Olivia Syptak

It has been quite a long while since I’ve posted here. A few months of significant overscheduling of work, the holidays, more overscheduling, on-going rehab from surgery a year ago, work related research, and hours of business development work. It completely took me away. It not only took me away from this inspired Team Pursuit world, in reality, it took me away from my “baseline standard” of living.

All that busy-ness, could have been observed (by me or by others) as discipline, dedication, or drive. It could have been labeled as sacrifice for building my dream. What I came to realize was that, in addition to making me really tired, this pattern of living was actually depleting me. It became obvious that by making the choices I was making I was draining myself of perspective and creativity. It was actually life and energy denying rather than life affirming. I was closing myself off from possibility, isolating myself from community, limiting my opportunity to recharge and maintain not only my strength by feeding my needs for connection, support, and collaboration, but also the needs of others. Bottom line:  I was diminishing my potential for fulfillment and success.

In Team Pursuit parlance, I was moving poorly and piling more and more on top of an unstable foundation. More “miles” was not going to make me perform better. Something had to stop.

So, just like what Team Pursuit athletes do when they commit to rebuilding from the ground up, I looked honestly and critically at what needed to change. I looked squarely at that compulsion from outside forces that said, “if you slow down people are going to think you’re not committed.” It was clear that a period of getting back to the fundamentals of effective and efficient “movement” in my life was essential to rebuilding my strength and stability, and to restoring my potential for optimal performance and happiness.

I cut back on the areas of my work that were sapping huge chunks of my time and energy. I reconnected with my friends and family. I recommitted to overcoming the post-hip surgery complications. I got back into my creative energy building space in the kitchen. I got outside. I spent time re-connecting with my vision for success in business, sport, and live at large. All of this was analogous to a break from running piles of miles on a broken body, and a time to rebuild foundational patterns of movement.

So now I’ve emerged! I like to think of this as my figurative “return to running.” In addition to feeling energized, and strong of heart, mind and spirit, I am “moving” so well now that even though I’m again fully busy I am doing so with a new level of consciousness and connection with how easily things can get out of whack if I don’t remain vigilant and committed to my “core.” I can now add “miles” or load knowing that I’m better able to absorb what I throw in. Work is rocking again, my body is running again, my connections are reforming. I am what might be described as “getting’ my groove back!”

We are all susceptible to this kind of thing. The allure of working harder, doing more, and driving ourselves further can get the best of any of us in any aspect of our lives, especially triathlon. But if we’re aware and notice when added stress—physical, mental, emotional—becomes counterproductive, even detrimental to our goals we have the option to stop. We can stop that trajectory, renew our strength and stability, and reclaim our future success.

Who’s with me?!

~Olivia

From Olivia: How Will You Commit Yourself This Year?

Pursuit Functional Well-being coach, Olivia Syptak

Pursuit Athletic Performance Functional Well-Being coach, Olivia Syptak

As the start of the new year draws ever closer bringing with it the promise of achieving the goals we’ve set and for living according to the vision we’ve created, it becomes more important that we commit fully to those goals and that vision.

What I’m talking about here, is the agreement you make with yourself to make everything that you think, feel, do, or say, support not undermine your vision and your goals.

During Team Pursuit Reset camp in early November we talked about how committing fully to your goals is really about being completely engaged in the endeavor of reaching your goals. It’s being “all in” even in ways that you might not have previously considered to be important.

So if you’ve completed your visioning and goal setting for the coming year, the turn of the calendar year is a great time to set those intentions for what you will do, who you will be, and how you will think and feel as you navigate through your year in pursuit of those goals.

 You may know of an athlete who has a particular time goal in a race who consistently cuts all of her planned training rides short. Or you may know that athlete who plans an “A” race for the year and then decides to jump into all manner of other races leading up to the “A” race, diverting his or her focus and wearing out their body for what the race he or she says is really important. There might also be that athlete in your life who has said they want to dial back training and racing for the year so they can be more available for family, yet they continue to prioritize evening runs with training partners over helping the kids with homework and who at family and social gatherings still only talks about training and racing.

These examples may or may not resonate with anything that you’ve seen or experienced in your life, but they do show where actions, thought processes, and the way the athlete “shows up” can be incongruent with our defined goals. These examples are great illustrations of where disconnects exist between a defined goal and where some degree of commitment to those goals is lacking. As long as the dissimilar actions, decisions, and conversation persist the likelihood of athletes like these achieving their goals will be compromised.

Now let me clarify one thing. The commitment I’m talking about here is not meant to suggest that there is no place for making plans and consciously deciding to diverge from them in a manner that is responsive to your vision. Corrections and adjustments on the path are often necessary to keep us appropriately focused on and moving toward the goals we set and to ensuring that we’re reinforcing our vision. Frankly, as circumstances change as we learn and grow along the way refinement of our vision often makes adjustments to the plan and how we’re approaching the achievement necessary. The commitment in this case is to being open to course corrections and being able to assess them according to those values, what you most want and where you want to be ultimately.

So while it is important to have a clear vision of what you want as aligned with what you most value and to set goals that are truly aligned with that vision, committing to thinking, doing, talking, and feeling in ways that reinforce those values and vision is essential.

What will you commit to this year? How will you be “all in?” What does commitment and full engagement look, sound, and feel like for you? How will you keep track of how you’re doing and recommit when needed?

Happy New Year to one and all!

~Olivia