How To get In The Zone In Athletics


How To Get In The Zone In Athletics


The ZONE, Flow, Peak Performance….

Ahhhh. It’s a magical, zen like place where everything goes right, we can’t miss, time stands still, and most importantly, in that moment- we are IN THE MOMENT.

I’ve been in a zone twice in my entire life that I can accurately remember.  T   W   I   C   E ! ! !

1) The first was while living in Philadelphia getting my Masters degree and needing to get a run in late at night. It was 9:30 PM and I ran like Forrest Gump. It felt like there was no ground underneath me, I was moving that fast. It was just 5 miles, but it actually brought me to tears about how good it felt. 

2) A second instance was when I first shot 2 under par for 9-holes. I simply could do no wrong. It was bliss. Although these two instances shed no light to me on how to get in the zone in athletics. More research was needed. 


Then, I was in that place again recently. Only 15 years later….

It was an easy 6-mile training run, but my legs were sore and tired. However, immediately when I began on the trail, it started to pour down rain. I LOVE running in the rain (until my shoes get too heavy). 

This rain fell just like in the movie The Notebook, although, there was no Rachel McAdams present. 

I’m not sure what took place except, this rain cleansed my soul and I was energized, refreshed, and in the moment….

It was wonderful! I was in a zone… for a moment.

My mind often gets in it’s own way because I started thinking “wow, I feel so awesome” I can’t wait to write about this. And that action of thinking about thinking slowly brought me out of that trance like state and while my run was still great, I was no longer immersed and in flow.


How To Get In The Zone in Athletics 


A difficulty is that it is such a transient space, a fleeting moment. It is nirvana, paradise, a utopia in our own mind. It is such much more than just performing well or enjoying it. It transcends

Hopefully, we’ve all been there. Maybe it was a passive experience, like at a concert, a movie, or anytime when we lost track of anything else. 

But, the greatest part is when we are the one’s doing an activity. 

Any creative endeavor can lead itself to being in a zone, Musicians, artists, actors, writers and athletes are all creatives that can get to this place because they are immersed into their own world. These activities BEG us to be here and present. 

However, the recipe for how to get in the zone in athletics is simple

You have to have high skill and a high challenge. If any of these are off, then it won’t happen. You’ll either get anxious or bored.  But, the mental part of a zone experience is that we need to stay in the moment. 


8 Simple Ways To Stay In The Moment 


One huge hinderance…

Sadly, since I’ve been in that place 2 1/2 times, I can certainly share what prevents us from how to get into a zone in athletics. 

Each of our chosen activities and challenge brings forth a host of distractions. There is no greater obstacle in which we all succumb to the dreadful EXPECTATIONS. 

Today’s expectations turn into tomorrow’s resentments. 

Unfortunately, we already have a preconceived idea about how our performance is supposed to go and that alone is enough to keep us from the moment. 

  • An expectation about a time we are supposed to achieve.

  • An expectation about our score. 

  • A comparison with other people performing. 

  • Thinking about what others think about us. 

  • A mistake or mess-up.

  • Any thoughts about results or outcome.

  • High stress level or being anxious about the unknown heading into a performance.

A costly drawback is simply any expectation that we have about ourselves or situation. It causes us to get stuck inside of our own head and not fully immersed into our activity. 

A harder attempt on how to get in the zone in athletics will often result in a futile search for the holy grail.

It will leave you frustrated, confused, and dumbfounded.

A simpler approach is staying in an actual moment and practicing it. We play like we train! Although it’s a magical place to be, a far tougher challenge is being able to gut, grind and find a way to comeback when we do not have it that day. 

That’s true mental toughness

Or just wait for it to rain and allow it to wash away any expectations. 

 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 

How To get In The Zone In Athletics

 

 

 


The Three Types Of An Active Listener


If I’m uncomfortable or interviewing someone, I’ll employ this motto- Listen and learn rather than talk and tell.

One of my podcast guests, Dave Meltzer eloquently calls it to be more interestED than interestING

Curiosity is a super power.

He predicts curiosity and creativity will be the great separator amongst people because of the information that we already have at our fingertips. Creativity and curiosity…

Dave Meltzer was worth 100 million dollars and was living it up. He had access to everything and was living in excess. 

But, he had a hinge moment.

He lost it all.

And like many of us, his worst moment ended up becoming his best! He chalked it up to a major dummy tax where he was with the wrong people, making the wrong decisions, and being in the wrong situations.

People, places, and things…

His interview on my podcast- 15 minutes of mental toughness was full of knowledge, wisdom, and epic sound bites. But, one of the best parts was his take on the three types of an active listener in society.


1. The Interrupter

This is the person who can’t help themselves. They are actively listening to when to interrupt! 

They just interrupt you from the story to either one up you, or interrupt the anecdote and interject what they did or what you should do. I listen to some podcast hosts who love to hear themselves speak so much that they continually interrupt to interject. It’s annoying…

These also seem to be the classic, “you know what you need to do” people. They are the one’s who always know what’s best for you…

When we are the interrupter, it’s impossible to be an active listener. As a remedy, we simply need to allow the speaker space to navigate and finish.


2. The Waiter-

Waiters in restaurants take your order, and frankly I love the one’s who memorize their tables. They also never sell their guests food either when delivering. They know where it’s going and don’t yell out     “Okay, who had the clams casino?” 

However, the waiter in real life are much more dangerous and strategic than the interrupter. They are also more polite.

But, these are the one’s who are simply waiting to speak and “tell you what’s best for you.” 


3. The Learner-

These are the individuals who practice listen and learn rather talk and tell.

These people are seeking the light, love and lessons out of everything and everyone. What keeps us from this state of being is our ego. When I struggle with listening, I’m wanting so bad to get it and share my experience.

My ego wants to shine.

Being able to put it aside and focus on being an active listener is the challenge. 

active listener


 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 

at big picture


Get At Big Picture Goals By Simply Doing This One Thing


During a marathon, there are ups & downs. I do not think life is like a marathon however, I believe it’s much more arduous and resembles a 100-mile trail run. 

Completing marathons used to be my goal, but now, they are just training runs. The limits we set on how great we can be, how much money we can make, or how many people we can impact are truly inside of the limits we place upon ourselves. Once we reach a summit in our lives, there becomes another to reach. 

The marathon of 26.2 miles is indeed still a great accomplishment. I had a coach call me up recently because their colleague had signed up for the 26.2 mile race, yet the furthest she ran up to that point was 10 miles. And the race was in three days!!

They called the correct person!! Because even though, I don’t recommend it, I have finished a 1/2 ironman with no bike and less than 10 days of training. 

My advice after listening to her passion and “why” behind this endeavor was simple…. It’s the ONE THING we need to do when striving for audacious achievements.

Keep the picture small. We get at big picture goals by keeping it small. 

Too often, it’s the big picture thinking and goals, and aspirations that actually get in our way… The picture becomes way too big.

We start to think about where we currently are and where we want to be, and that the gap almost instantaneously seems much larger and longer. When we come to terms with how far we must go, then a defeatist mindset can easily creep in. 

It is a difficult mindset to get away from because of the years of echoes etched inside our mind. “Keep the big picture in mind”  blah, blah, blah. 

It’s natural to focus on the result, the product, and the outcome. The issue with that thinking is it takes us immediately away from the process and the task at hand! 

Getting at big picture goals is only achieved by keeping the picture small. 

My advice to this marathon warrior was this: JUST THIS MILE.

Focus only on this mile, and when your mind drifts to how much further you have to go, hit the rest button and refocus.  I also have to remember this on the daily and especially during my own races

The reality is that mile 14 or 15 may indeed be awful and suck. There’s no denying that. 

But, just because mile 14 or 15 is poor, DOES NOT mean that mile 18 or 20 will be the same way! The flip side of the reality coin is we all have a second wind in life! And we will hit it, IF we stay focused on the short-term, the task at hand, this shot, this step, this breath, and just this moment. 

Besides…

Yesterday ended last night…

Merely because Monday was awful, or February was poor, or we lost last week, or got beat, literally has no bearing on this moment, this event, or situation.  That’s the truth! Setbacks can have an influence on our belief patterns and mindset moving forward, but it still has no vote toward any future successes (unless we let it). 

What is so troubling about setbacks is that we allow it to get at big picture goals, by taking that difficult period and making it larger than what it really is…. 

Our beliefs can become “If February was this bad, then how can this month possibly be better” or “If I can’t win here, how can I possibly win next week” or “If I’m not successful at this level, then how can I reach my goals.” and so on and so on. 

After we have our vision , it doesn’t do us much good to keep looking at them.

Goals are like the sun, we can’t stare at them. 

Staying in the moment allows us to rally and perform our best when it matters the most. KEEP THE PICTURE SMALL!

at big picture


 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 

 

best happiness status

 


4 Ways To Increase Your Best Happiness Status


Regression to the mean is a simple concept.

If a variable exists that is outside of the mean, it is an outlier, and then the subsequent point or variable will be eventually be closer to the mean. 

There is a baseline level in every area of our lives. If we shoot a really good score of golf, chances favor that the next round will be closer to our average (mean) or base game.  If we are mentally tough and have an off day, or week, or month, then we will also return back to the mean. 

Our best happiness status is the same, we all return the mean.

In my podcast episode with Barry Zito. Here was a MLB pitcher, who won a CY Young and signed a $126 million dollar contract, but was miserable.  He lived in the Hollywood Hills mansion, had the massive 450 gallon fish-tank, $150,000 sound system, and the new Bentley. But, he was miserable, so I asked him to elaborate. 

He said “It’s like when you get a new pair of shoes.” You are all excited and geeked out and can’t wait to run in them.  (I got that reference!)

He said, “that feeling, wears off.” 

 It doesn’t matter how great the achievement, how big the bankroll, or size of the trophy.

We all return to our baseline. Our best happiness status is simply that, a snapshot, a level, a state.  

For instance, after the event, we’ll return to the mean, whatever our level of happiness was before the thing or achievement or payday. 

Since we return to our own mean, we’ll simply need to raise our overall baseline level of happiness.  Once we can get to the state of  “I AM”  happy, or we will continue to chase it. 

And we can’t “get to happiness” with things, stuff, accomplishments, or status. 


1) Relationships

  • We can only increase our overall baseline through the quality of our relationships and the impact we make on other people’s lives. The stronger our relationships, the higher or overall baseline level of happiness. 

Relationships either get deeper or they die. 


2) Gratitude

  • Gratitude is memory of the heart.

Yet, we take almost everything for granted. The water we drink, the bed we lay in, the ability to walk or even run.  An attitude of gratitude is a myth. 

Gratitude is a muscle and unless we take certain actions of gratitude, this muscle can atrophy. Gratitude exponentially increases our best happiness status. If our base level of happiness is one from scarcity (not enough), then it’s almost impossible to raise our level. We have to develop and nurture our abundance mentality. 


3) Process over product

  • Brett Favre won the Super Bowl Trophy in 1996. A very emotional player, it’s the ultimate in any footballer’s journey. So, here he reached the top of the mountain! And yet, he thought “Is that it?” He felt this, because he didn’t want for it to be over! 

Those who prep and prepare and actually climb Mount Everest take many months to do so. And yet, they are only at the top of Mount Everest for a few minutes. 

When we finished our basement. It was wonderful. But, as we enjoyed it and looked back, an interesting thing popped up. We actually enjoyed picking the colors, painting the walls, having our kids paint, choosing the carpet, and furnishing it and decorating it.

It was the process of it all that was so exciting! But, we often don’t appreciate the process until the product was over. 

PUKE & RALLY is all about that the process is more important than the product! 


4) Suffer

  • We are physically comfortable in life.  Nothing wrong with comfort, but because we are physically comfortable, it does not mean we are mentally comfortable. The human spirit is more pleased with growth rather than comfort. And unless we have adversity in our lives, then we can’t grow. 

If things are easy, and there is no challenge, then there can’t be much joy in “it.” The harder we work for something, the more we enjoy it! 

The people who were given the real gift in life are those who have suffered and made it through. How are you creating these moments of suffering? 

1.  Relationships

2. Gratitude

3. Process over Product

4. Suffer 

 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 

best happiness status

stop unhealthy comparisons


3 Ways To Stop Unhealthy Comparisons


Most of what I read is about how to stop comparing yourself to others.

The “comparison is the thief of joy” stuff.  It makes perfect sense. Even in my first book, Mental Toughness Training for Golf:, I extensively wrote that one common way to lose confidence is to compare yourself to others.

 I was wrong.


It’s our natural tendency to compare ourselves, in fact, since the age of about six years old, we started doing it all the time.  

We are in a constant state of evaluating to those around us in all areas of life. 

This type of beauty contest comparison is what causes internal strife because we often end up in a state of “I’m not good enough.” The media and advertising world pray on all of us by comparison. It’s unavoidable. 

No matter how good we get, there is always someone better. Even if we are the best, it’s not for very long. It’s the mountaintop fallacy. 

I previously subscribed to the belief that we should ONLY focus on getting better and comparing ourselves to our own level of improvement. I still believe this, but, there are healthy comparisons that we are we missing! I mean if we are the average wealth of our five closest friends, isn’t that dependent upon comparison?

Mental Toughness is NOT ALL OR NOTHING THINKING. 

We need to recognize and stop unhealthy comparisons and simply find more productive ways to do it. 


Unhealthy Comparison #1- We focus on the differences

“We judge others using their highlight reel, while we judge ourselves by what happens backstage.”

We regularly find the differences between others, our competitors, about why they are better than us. Or, we find differences about why we are superior.

Both of these are why we need to stop unhealthy comparisons because they put us in a position of inferiority or superiority. We are relying on our comparison to feel confident about ourselves.

The healthy alternative is noticing and focusing on the similarities between others puts us in a state of equality and forces us to pay attention to what we can control. Besides this comparison becomes an excellent way to build our confidence! 


 Unhealthy Comparison #2- We become envious

“We need to focus on our ‘why’ and others ‘how’.”

We find someone who is better than us or has something we desire and we get envious.

We think how awesome it would be for us to have that talent, status, or car. 

We may even ponder “why” they deserve it. We need to stop unhealthy comparisons because it puts us in a state of negativity and reinforces the belief that we are not good enough

Instead, the healthy way is to replace the envy, and use that individual again as a model.

Focus on “how and “what” they did to achieve that goal and how we can do the same.


Unhealthy Comparison #3- We notice only people better than us

The way that we improve is to use these models of people who are better than us, find out their how, and use it ourselves. But, we need to focus on people worse off as well. 

In the interviews for my 2nd book, The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness, I came across people who had lost a child.  It is the most difficult thing any parent or person can probably experience.

I interviewed different parents who lost a child at birth, 2 months, 2 years old, and 20 years old. Each of these circumstances were different and painful, but it put into perspective that no matter how bad we have it, someone has it worse. My interviews with these strong people revealed that the manner in which a child was lost had a major impact on the grieving process. 

The pandemic put a lot into perspective for us. If we adjust our lens the correct way, then we can see the benefits and the good. When we focus on the things we are grateful for, it develops an action of gratitude.

Once we begin to count our blessings, it gets tough to stop.

 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 

Mental Health Experts Tips About Handling The Pandemic

Mental Health Experts Tips About Handling The Pandemic


 Mental Health Experts Tips About Handling The Pandemic 


I love being able to feature experts because they are much smarter than me. I sent out a request and received a lot of responses, and after sifting through many pieces, “hear ye, hear ye, these are thee best.”

It is a very difficult time! many people are struggling. Resources and blog posts are needed to actively incorporate mental skills into daily life. We need to be proactive, not reactive about our health.  

I have my own thoughts and strategies regarding a quarantine and overall health, but I still lean on these greats.

I trust that you’ll be able to get some beneficial actionable knowledge. 

Mental Health Experts Tips About Handling The Pandemic 


Coping With Abrupt EndingsDr. Tim Herzog 

Becoming A Butterfly During An Epidemic Jenna Fuchs, MS

One Mental Practice You Should Be Doing Right NowCoach Blaise, EdD

Well, It’s Groundhog Day All Over Again- Coach Levi Nelson  #Lead 

Creating A Lemonade Edge During A PandemicDr. Kate Hays

A Letter to Coaches In The Wake Of A Epidemic- Brian Alexander, M.A.

Staying Productive During A Pandemic Taylor Staden- B.A.  


Feel free to share your thoughts about the article- Mental Health Experts Tips About Handling The Pandemic. 


 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 

how positive must I be

 how Positive must I be


How Positive Must I Be To Change My Mood?


Walking out of a coffee shop, my hands were full. 

The door opened up from someone walking in (with perfect timing I might add). They walked in first, but strangely, they didn’t hold the door open and I had to do the stop the door trick with my foot. I managed it okay, but man, I was pissed.

I thought to myself, damn, I don’t live in Philly anymore. 

This simple encounter bothered me. I let it infect me with negativity; my own reaction to this incident soured my mood and negatively affected my other interactions with others.

That’s the power of a negative interaction! 

So, how positive must I be to change my mood? 


Dr. John Gottman’s research at the University of Washington examined successful and unsuccessful marriages.

His initial study examined 95 newlywed couples across several years as he sought to find out predictors of divorce. Eventually, he completed over twelve longitudinal studies and 3,000 couples, even following one couple for over 20 years. He eventually predicted with over 90% accuracy marriages that would end in divorce. 10

He discovered an interesting thing about the communication between happy and unhappy couples.

Successful couples had a 5:1 positive to negative ratio during conflict.

In the most sacred relationships, the ones cherished and invested in the most, five positive experiences were needed to every one negative one.

That’s how positive must I be to change my own mood? 

Unsuccessful couples had a 0.8:1 positive to negative ratio of interactions. It was almost a ratio of 1:1. 

Why must it be 5:1?

Negative experiences simply carry greater weight than positive experiences. It’s why we remember the bad more than the good. A put-down of a spouse in front of others is much more hurtful than the warm feeling of a “nice shirt honey” compliment.  

The bad outweighs the good and it takes much more effort to correct a hurt. That’s also reason why it is easier to criticize than it is to compliment.

Anger is labor intensive. 

How positive must I be to change my own mood? If we are not positive with others in a 5:1 ratio, then a strange boomerang effect takes place.

We then become negative with ourselves.

Anger directed inward = depression. 

We give away what we possess in our mood, and if we give away our own negativity, then the negative spiral of negativity take place.

The simplest way to become positive with ourselves is to be positive to others. That’s the secret to mental toughness. 

If we are able to adopt the 5:1 principle with others, then we cannot but help ourselves as well.

No one can help someone else without also helping themselves.

How positive must I be depends on how bad you want to get out of the negative trap you’re in.

Positivity must be deliberate, and by design, because it does not happen by default.  Make it a goal to provide five positive comments, feedback, or interactions to overcome the negativity that occurred. 


 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 

2020 Halloween is more important than ever before

 2020 Halloween Is More Important Than Ever Before


Why 2020 Halloween Is More Important Than Ever Before


I wasn’t always a massive Halloween honk. I still don’t have a yard full of gravesites or skeletons. 

And I was certainly never a hater. I recall my wife and I once checking out a church (sans kids) and one of the fellow members shared that Halloween was an evil Holiday. Um, bye!

It’s only been the last few years that I’ve converted to the importance of Halloween as arguably the best holiday! 

Stay with me… 

  • 4th of July is all about freedom, cookouts, and partying. 
  • Thanksgiving is about family. 
  • Valentines Day is for couples. 
  • Memorial Day and Labor Day are significant for the calendar and welcoming of seasons. 
  • Christmas is well, Christmas. 
  • And I don’t need to share with you the importance of Arbor Day! 

Our 2020 Halloween is more important than ever before because it’s the only holiday that celebrates community! 

When we can see past the costume, we will witness the magic that Halloween is way more important than just candy. 

Halloween is not about your country, state, or even town. October 31st is about your little carved out pumpkin of a community! 

Don’t we all remember “that” house that gave out full-sized snickers or cans of soda? No one outside of your own community is privy to that secret. 

When do we ever walk up to your neighbors house and say hello? And expect a gift. 

It’s a day of welcoming your entire community to come up to your front door and give them something for just being part of it. It’s an evening of walking with neighbors, sharing with neighbors, and seeing those who we might not have otherwise. 

Shouting “Trick or Treat” is really just a way of saying “I love you!”

This is NOT the year for a virtual trick or treating, whatever that means.

Virtual means isolation.

This blog and mission is all about Mental Toughness, and confidence happens within us when we are connected to others. 

Yes, a safe 2020 Halloween is more important than ever before. And of course, wear a mask (pun), hand out sanitizer (instead of toothbrushes if you’re “that” house), keep the candy in a dish outside if you wish.

But, tis’ the season to make sure you celebrate it with your community. Besides, If “we are all in this together” then let’s show solidarity with our kids at least for one special evening. This isn’t a mission statement or proclamation, it’s a request for all to connect. 

Now, the CDC and other health agencies have recommending canceling Halloween. They’d rather not have this debate because it’s a real example of the How The Grinch Stole Christmas!  

Lastly, if more proof is needed that 2020 Halloween is more important than ever before, then for the first time since 1965, network television canceled airing The Great PumpkinSeriously, 2020 is the year that they cancel it? Errrrr, you can now buy it on Apple +. 


 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 

 

create momentum


re-create momentum


How to Re-Create Momentum After The Pandemic Paralyzed Us


The stay-at-home order and pandemic resulted in temporary paralysis. It still continues. 

Life already has a lot of stops & starts. The pandemic merely added another heavy layer. 

Personally, I find myself stopping mid-stride into a building only to turn around and go grab my mask. I have questioned whether I can even go into buildings or out to eat. Then I question why “that” guy isn’t wearing one. 

I start over-thinking mid-conversation if I’m too close to this person. I’ve mini-freaked out on a car ride because I forgot my mask. (thankfully, I had a back-up). 

We went out to eat at a restaurant and were told that my wife and I can’t dance. It felt like Footloose. The place was state-ordered closed a week later.  

My kids didn’t start school, then started virtually, then 1/2 time, followed by who knows?  

People have experienced much more strain and trauma and heartache than just turning around to get a mask.  I get it, I’m not ignorant to the suffering. So, what happens when everything stops, suffering continues, and we’ve loosened into a “new normal” where we can’t be normal?

The toughest part about stopping is re-starting. So, here is what we need to do. 


How we can re-create momentum is an important tool if we want to be mentally tough and succeed

Momentum, even in sports, is a rare-bird. 

It’s almost always a feeling rather than a real construct and a psychological trick that we play on ourselves. It’s also the most-tired and over-used cliche’ that sport reporters use- “Oh, this team has momentum.” I never understood how a team can have positive mo’ from one season into another. Here’s how to-do it! 


1- Face The Fear and Do It Anyways-

There is more apprehension now regarding most anything where other people involved.

Flying for instance, I’ve seen people post pictures of themselves on a plane like they are summiting Mount Everest or plunging into the depths of an Arctic Ocean. 

Sure, there is fear around activities that used to be normal, but is that fear keeping you from pursuing your life?

The fear around many activities that were mundane is both real and imagined. It’s both!  As you’ve followed along with me for some time, you know that fear doesn’t always tell the whole truth. There is a host of lies within that fear. 

If you want to re-create momentum, then it begins with identifying the big fears, then, blowing past them. 


2- Create The Habit-

The first hour of the day sets the rudder for the rest.

Whatever routine that you’ve created was probably rocked to its core. We need to start over, fresh, a new beginning and orchestrate a bullet-proof morning routine.

It must be a battle that you win every morning.

That’s how it becomes a habit. Some say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Frankly, nobody knows because everyone is different and has different “why’s.”

What I can assure you is that the habits you create will result in massive momentum. Some of us are trying to remove something, while many are trying to build something. Know what it is exactly that you want and create a small daily morning routine that will create the habit. 


3- Eat The Frog-

In order to build mental toughness, we have to put ourselves in situations that stress us. Doing the things that you don’t want to do.

Hence, the incorrect way to create a morning habit and routine is to do something easy.

It’s wrong, because all you are doing is exhausting mental energy and delaying the inevitable; which is “that tough stuff is still waiting for you.” 

The right way to get after it is to EAT THE FROG! Do the toughest thing 1st thing in the morning. That’s how you re-create momentum.

Ask yourself, what is it that is important to me, that I DO NOT want to do. Then, Start With That.


4- Check That Success Sauce-

Momentum simply means having good outcomes. It results in us getting on a roll. Hence, we need to have successes. 

Confidence flows downhill

Confidence is contagious

Doing the tough stuff early in the day, even if we weren’t perfect, means that we have already secured a win!

We build off of wins and thus need to recognize and appreciate the good things, the successes, no matter how small they are. That’s why make your bed became a best selling book. 

Success is the mental toughness sauce that is needed to fulfill the mission.


5- Just Keep Moving- 

Life shows us that if we just keep moving then a miracle happens. The miracle is our second wind!

We ALL get a second wind IF we don’t quit. By continuing to show up, stand up, be counted, and keep pushing, you’re giving yourself the best opportunity!

Life is more about opportunities than comfort.

Seek opportunities to push yourself and struggle and comfort will follow.

If you do what is hard, life gets easier. If you do what is easy, life gets harder. 

When we welcome the challenge we will adopt a perspective and gratitude. Comfort can’t be sought before struggle. Re-create momentum by birthing opportunities and never giving up. 


 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 

be the hinge for others

be the hinge for others

How to Be The Hinge For Others


In 2009, photographer, Jitu Kalita was exploring a barren river island in India named Majuli Island.

What amazed Jitu was that after miles of desolate space, he came across something strange; a massive dense forest. He met a man during his exploration, Jadav Payeng, who single-handedly planted and cultivated the forest, which was now larger than the size of Central Park.

As a kid, Payeng found hundreds of dead, curled up snakes that had been washed away by flood rains and massive erosion with no shade to protect them. From this hinge moment, the then 16-year-old boy simply began planting seeds on this island.

Jadav Payeng began planting trees in 1979 on the island that housed approximately 150,000 people.

Jadav, over the course of 40 years, tirelessly created a vast forest that spans over 1300 acres. Today, the island houses over one hundred elephants, a hundred deer, five Royal Bengal tigers, wild boars, several species of birds, including vultures and pelicans, many one-horned rhinoceroses, and of course snakes.

Jadav Payeng became known as the “Forest Man of India” for his continued effort. 

Jadav’s work and passion for his daily routine transformed his entire environment. Remember, If you want to change the way you feel, change your environment.


Most of us will not follow in his footsteps, but we can still plant trees!

Every transaction we have with someone else has the potential to be transformational. We don’t know which acts or gestures will be the hinge for others, so every person and transaction is the most important.

We may not develop a transformational encounter with someone at the cash register, but of course, isn’t it nice when we enter a store and they know our coffee order or remember our name. In those cases, our transactions became transformational and relational. We become connected. 


On the simplest level, we each have the potential in our lives to positively impact everyone we encounter by planting trees that we will never see. 

One of the ways I do this is during my long training runs. I simply wave and acknowledge others. 

These people in my wake, in the early morning hours are putting forth their best effort, running, getting after it, and my way to be the hinge for others is to wave and/or say ‘hello.” The wave or hello may not seem important, but it makes a connection.

It’s simple, not hard, and I’ll never know the impact! But, I believe in my core, that we all need an acknowledgement and to feel worthy and recognizable.

This simple act of the wave establishes the possibility that the beneficiary will extend it further to someone else.

While it is impossible to know the impact simple, generous acts; the effect is invaluable. However, if we hold back and do not extend to connect with those around us, then there can’t be any positive impact. The Hinge can’t connect that way. 


“We do not know the impact of our actions, but if we take no action, there will be no results.”- Gandhi 


After the pandemic struck however, I noticed more and more people who would also wave back. I think it is a key to keeping our sanity during these times.

We actually want to plant trees that we will see and enjoy ourselves. However, planting trees that we will never see, means doing actions because it is the right thing to do, not because of the reaction or non-reaction we get from someone else. If we wave, acknowledge, support, and are generous to enough people, then we eventually will receive the reciprocation.

The theme about being the hinge for others is that we give away the mindset that we possess ourselves. If we want more confidence, or focus, or patience, or kindness, then only by helping others with that specific skill will we actually improve upon it. That’s why no one gets there alone. 

How will you be the hinge for others? 


 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly.