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dr. rob bell Notre DameThe weekend was planned, Friday night, my family and I went to the Notre Dame football pep rally, visited the locker-room (touched the famous sign) and went on the field. Friday was incredible!

Saturday, we were going to the Notre Dame game versus North Carolina. All set! Now, my children are 6 & 4 years old, not exactly pre-game connoisseurs and we were staying on a lake about 30 minutes outside of South Bend. So we planned to arrive at 1:00 (game is at 3:30), watch the player walk, listen to the band & the trumpets play in the main hall, visit the grotto, etc.  All awesome traditions.

We parked, walked about 15 minutes and arrived in time to settle in & watch the player walk! I spy a guy selling tickets and then it hits me! I FORGOT THE TICKETS!

One rule I think in life, is that you don’t forget the tickets!!!! It’s basically the only thing you need to remember going to a game.

MY REACTION(S):

ANGER was my initial reaction, it always is when I mess up. I hate it. I frankly despise that part of me. But, it was my reaction, not my response!  My reaction is usually incorrect, because it is filled with emotion. Our response on the other hand is often correct.

BLAME was my 2nd knee-jerk reaction. I turned to my wife looking for someone to blame. I stopped this pretty quickly, because I knew it wasn’t her fault. Although I did mention earlier that she should be in charge of the tickets.

DECISION-MAKING time followed and quick. There was honestly no time to waste! Do we all walk 15 minutes back and then drive to get the tickets, or do the wife & kids stay? Very quickly, we decided. Let’s all go, stay together, we are a team.

STAY COMPOSED I thought.  Now, when one has kids, everything is magnified. Travel, messes, and especially stress levels. As a parent of two, the stress levels automatically increase a notch in general because there are just more things to take care of. At this moment, I was extremely aware of my kids! I must maintain composure because I do not want to model the behavior of losing it in front of them. I threw my son on my shoulders and tried to enjoy the walk back, while FUMING inside!

ANGER returned soon thereafter and this time it was directed inward. This emotion lasted much longer and manifested itself with my own verbal self-talk OUT LOUD! I (for some reason) needed to have this verbal boxing match out in the open and not just inside my own head. We are driving back and I am berating myself out loud (the kids have their headphones on watching a movie).

Here is a sample of some of the kind words I spoke: “You piece of shit”, “what is wrong with you”, “how could you be so stupid” “You call yourself a human being”? All top-notch affirmations!

After 10 minutes, I asked my wife, “Do you have anything to offer to this conversation I am having with myself?” She said, “what would you tell your athletes or coaches?”

I said  “Do the next right thing”, “Let it go”,”Re-focus”  and “rely on the fact that this happened for a reason”!  After that I was good, almost completley back emotionally. We arrived back to the stadium just in time to walk in and watch our 1st Notre Dame game. Now, I don’t know the reason why I forgot the tickets, maybe it prevented an accident? We will never know because “what-if” never happened. IMG_4360

What did I learn? 

It reinforced that we are human, we are going to make mistakes. It’s all how we respond to the situation and not how we react. People often fear the blame more than the actual mistakes as well! The situation and reaction all taught me more about myself and how I can grow as a person and as a coach. “That which hurts, instructs.” – Ben Franklin

Lastly & most importantly- What if it had been my wife who forgot the tickets? Would I have been able to extend grace and compassion onto her, or would my anger have been directed outwardly? Coaching and loving on others requires grace, sometimes extra grace is required for ourselves.

Click here to subscribe to my Friday Mental Toughness newsletter…

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kid: Build Their Mental Toughness   

 

Confident people can do this

Confident people can do this skill…


A boat is off-course 99% of the time. A sailboat finds its destination is by tacking. Confident people can do this skill as well.  A series of zigzagging maneuvers, adjusting the sail back and forth and using the wind. Adjusting is how sailboats reach their final destination.

 The best view tacking as the way to sail, while the stubborn view tacking as stressful.

Last year during a tournament round of golf, I actually 3-putted three times….Yeah, brutal. Only after doing an autopsy, I realized something. I lost confidence because I lacked this skill. I never made an adjustment coming down the stretch. Confident people can do this skill!

Confident people can make adjustments!

In the classroom, boardroom, or field of play. Those that can make adjustments will be successful. Stubborn people on the other hand make no adjustments (insert definition of insanity here) and sometimes refuse to make adjustments.

Adjustments can be physical or mental.

It may be a change in attitude or to our routine. Most importantly, however, these adjustments are usually small. The reason why adjustments are small is because

Fundamentals Never Change!

If our foundation and process is solid, then all we need to do is make small adjustments. It may require asking outside people for their help, but the adjustment is usually small.

Confident people can do this skill and make these adjustments because they believe an alteration will make them successful. On the other hand, those that struggle are firmly planted in the belief that a change won’t work. They believe they are only one mistake away from failure. (um, see my putting example from above). 

Mental Toughness is being able to deal with the struggle, setbacks, and adversity. How we make adjustments will determine our success.


Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent books on Mental Toughness- 

On October 25, 1986, The Boston Red Sox were up 5-3 in the 10th inning. They were 3 outs away from their first World Series since 1918. The Mets, however, rallied for 3 straight singles. The next play was a slow roller by Mookie Wilson up the first base line. It went through Bill Buckner’s legs and became known as the most costly error in all of sports.

The Hinge…

On October 9, three weeks before the costly error, Bill Buckner was giving an interview, wherein he said, “The dreams are that you’re gonna have a great series and win. The nightmares are that you’re gonna let the winning run score on a ground ball through your legs. Those things happen, you know. I think a lot of it is just fate.100

American social psychologist Daniel Wegner conducted an important research study in 1987.

The researchers wanted to see how people suppressed their own thoughts. Study participants were asked to verbalize their thoughts continually for five straight minutes and to ring a bell if they thought or verbalized a “white bear.” The researcher, however, gave specific instructions before the five-minute session began: “ Try NOT to think of a white bear.”101

Wegner’s research showed that most individuals became preoccupied with trying not to think about a certain object. A meaningless object, such as a white bear, became lodged in the mind, and it would surface during moments of weakness. The real world application from this experiment is more pronounced, because we, as individuals, can become preoccupied with more significant thoughts other than a white bear. Worse is that the more we try to suppress it, it can create a rebound effect of pre-occupation.

Our minds are just like our coach. We will only remember the very last thing said by the coach. So, if the coach mistakenly walks off saying, “Don’t double fault, don’t walk him, or don’t strike out.” it is stuck in the head. Unless we can replace that thought of “don’t,” we will play trying NOT to mess up.

Our mental toughness is directly connected with our thoughts. We say what we don’t want to happen, instead of telling ourselves what we do want. We notice the danger and the bad things that can happen and become pre-occupied.

The key is to be able to replace the negative thoughts with an instructional cue or a focus on what we want to do. That’s mental toughness.

Rob Bell revised slide3Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology coach. DRB & Associates based in Indianapolis works with professional athletes & corporate athletes, coaches, and teams building their Mental Toughness.  His 2nd book is titled The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness. Follow on twitter @drrobbell  or contact drrobbell@drrobbell.com

Check out the new film & e-book, NO FEAR: A simple guide to mental toughness .

 

 

Mental toughness  dr. rob bellI noticed this past winter that I had accumulated (hoarded) scores of magazines.  I mean I had hundreds of Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and Golf Magazines all stacked up in a corner. Perhaps, I had justified keeping these because “I may refer to an article,” but in reality, they were just taking up space.

Most of us keep things that we really don’t need, but we have yet to throw it away. Mentally, our minds work the same way; we hold onto baggage that serves no further purpose. This mental baggage is made up of poor decisions, bad play, resentments, self-pity, bad relationships, poor results, and hopelessness, etc. What really accompanies the mental baggage however is guilt and shame, which hinders any chance of being confident.

Mental baggage is any negative experience that we have not let go. However, instead of learning from the situation in which we were hurt or messed up, we hold on to it.

Even airlines charge bag fees, but we allow our own mental baggage to live rent free in our head.

On the other hand, successful experiences and accomplishments are thrown away. We discount our good performances because it met our expectations and we tell ourselves “that’s what we were supposed to do.” Yet, when difficult times return and we have feelings of doubt, we still have that mental baggage of negativity.

Get rid of your mental baggage. It is a difficult process to do because it means reflecting on painful experiences. Not an easy task! Who wants to remember how it felt when they we fired, missed a shot, or even lost a loved one? But, the importance of mental toughness is that it only takes one! Each one of us has a moment, person, or decision that is coming up and it will make all of the difference.  The Hinge can only connect when we can re-focus and completely “let it go.”

Rob Bell revised slide3Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology coach. DRB & Associates based in Indianapolis works with professional athletes & corporate athletes, coaches, and teams building their Mental Toughness.  His 2nd book is titled The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness. Follow on twitter @drrobbell  or contact drrobbell@drrobbell.com

Check out the new film & e-book, NO FEAR: A simple guide to mental toughness .

not successful

Three Simple Reasons You’re Not Successful Enough


The simple reason you’re not successful enough is due to the lack of consistency. You may perform well at times, and the good performances may be GREAT!

But, you are not flourishing because there is no consistency in your performance! The BAD Days are BAD. 

Coaches and bosses love the consistent performer because they KNOW who they are going to get. NO ONE wants someone who is Adam Sandler one day, but Tom Cruise the next.

Playing consistent is tough because- it matters how bad are the bad days.

Most people will tell you that they thirst for the consistent performer over the streaky. So, if you are not successful, it’s usually because you’re not consistent.

Here’s three simple reasons why you’re not successful:

1)             You are not hustling: 

Nothing can replace hustle. Look at the very best at the highest level and I guarantee that they put forth the most preparation.

It is the first step toward building success and consistency because we must know that we have put forth in the effort necessary.

Ghandi once stated “the harder we work, the tougher it is to surrender.” A rule to follow is to look at who works the hardest on your team and outwork them.

2)             You are not preparing the right way:

It pains me when I see the hardest workers not seeing results.

Often enough though, it is because they are not addressing the correct things.

Remember, we play like we train! In order to play consistent, we simply must compete and create pressure during our preparation.  These are the skills that transfer.

3)             You are putting too much pressure on yourself:

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Trying harder works in preparation, but rarely works in competition.

When we feel like we are not successful, we are often “getting in our own way.”

Focusing on results as opposed to the execution can cause us to play careful, tight, and trying NOT to mess up.

Pressure stems from a variety of places (expectations mostly) and it slowly creeps into our mentality and performance. Thus, we must completely devote ourselves to the task at hand and staying aggressive.

Peyton Manning summed it up perfectly, “Pressure is something you feel when you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.” 


Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent book on Mental Toughness- 

3 Characteristics of the Best Athletes


People often ask, what are the features of the very best athletes? Having coached, observed, studied, collaborated, spent time  and spoken with athletes for my entire life, here are the three (3) characteristics of the best athletes. Note: I have chosen not to include talent, because talent is a pre-requisite. However, tenacity is more important than talent. 

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characteristics of the best athletes1)  Passion- The best possess an unquenchable thirst to see how good that they can become & they LOVE their sport. 

This passion translates into a willingness and desire for hard work. Dale Earnhardt was once in an accident and could not finish his next race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He started the race, but they had to remove him from the car. Here was the greatest race car driver, basically crying, because they had to take him out of the car. He said, “ Nobody loves anything more than my driving a racecar.”

2)  Competitiveness- The best athletes love to compete and put themselves in situations that test their skills.

The competitiveness is more than just beating others; it is the feeling that they get from testing themselves under pressure. I often witness athletes even outside of their own sport, remain so competitive to win regardless of the event (e.g., checkers, sit-ups, darts, pogo-stick, etc.). They may fear losing, but they don’t succumb to that fear, they have an inner confidence that they continually compete. It’s one of  major characteristics of the best athletes. As Jimmy Connors once stated, “I hate to lose, more than I love to win.”

3)  Another Gear- If you listen to quality sports announcers close enough, they mention how certain players can change speeds.

For example, Emmitt Smith holds the record for career rushing yardage in the NFL, and while few state that he is the best ball carrier of all time, he was nonetheless able to hit the gap successfully and turn downfield—He had another gear. The characteristics of the best athletes are able to muster up the inner fortitude and the “it” factor which allows them to finish strong. They simply have another gear…

These skills may be more innate with the best, but they can be learned and cultivated. Honestly assess your own mental game and answer which of these characteristics do you possess and which one’s need strengthened.

Click here to subscribe to my Friday Mental Toughness newsletter…

top mental toughness coach

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology coach. DRB & Associates based in Indianapolis works with professional athletes & corporate athletes, coaches, and teams building their Mental Toughness.  Check out all of our books on Mental Toughness Here.  Follow on twitter @drrobbell  or contact drrobbell@drrobbell.com

Check out the new film & e-book, NO FEAR: A simple guide to mental toughness .

love you moreHave you ever played the game— I love you more?  Choose from the following three choices, which relationship best describes you.

1) Your partner loves you more than you love him or her.

Or

2)  You love your partner more then he/she loves you.

Or

3)  You love each other equally, but it is really boring. 

Now, if you did not pick an answer that says something about you as well. But, the question, if answered honestly, reveals so much about our sense of control.

If we picked answer #1, we want to be loved more than our loving the other person. It means we value and cherish being in control. We actually fear losing control even to the person we are most intimate with physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

If we picked answer #2, we sacrifice control over the relationship, knowing what ultimate love really feels like. It involves 100% complete trust and surrender, because we believe that our emotional needs will still be met. It means that we are willing to be vulnerable and completely exposed. If your heart has ever been broken and you can honestly pick #2, you’re stronger than you think.

If answer #3 was your choice, you either weren’t honest or you really are boring. There is nothing wrong with this choice either, except that you struggle with choices.

I work with athletes and coaches who are natural control freaks… There is nothing wrong with choosing #1. I don’t celebrate that I picked #1, but it also means that when we lose perceived control,  we can get stressed or  un-productive.

Bottom-line: we confuse and spend too much time on the things we can influence, namely other people, rather then focusing only on the things within our control; our attitude, preparation, and our hustle. If you’re stressed, it usually is a result of focusing on others and expectations of others rather than on the things we can control.

Rob Bell revised slide3Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology coach. DRB & Associates based in Indianapolis works with professional athletes & corporate athletes, coaches, and teams building their Mental Toughness.  His 2nd book is titled The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness. Follow on twitter @drrobbell  or contact drrobbell@drrobbell.com

Check out the new film & e-book, NO FEAR: A simple guide to mental toughness .

Any successful NFL kicker is the epitome of mental toughness, and Adam Vinatieri is the most clutch kicker of all-time. This is evident in his record four Super bowl victories; three of those as a result of his game winning kicks.www.everyjoe.com

My intention from the beginning of the book was to interview Adam Vinatieri about his mental toughness, but also about his Hinge moment. The Hinge is that one moment, event, or person that connects who we are with who we become.

One of Adam Vinatieri’s Hinge moments occurred while he was a freshman at West Point. Now, I can’t go in depth here, that’s what the book is for, but the mental toughness he displayed during his time at West Point transferred into his kicking and wanting the game on the line.

Okay, so how did I get the interview? For starters, after re-reading Think and Grow Rich, I set my intention to interview him. When any of us set our intention on a target, we find a way to achieve that goal. It’s that simple. It’s never easy, but it is simple.

So, I contacted everyone I knew who might have access to him. I wrote several letters telling him about the book and its premise. I even showed up at the Colts camp. Every single function I was at, I even brought up the topic and inquired if he or she might have an “in.” No luck.

Until, my Hinge came along. The premise of the Hinge includes that one person who makes the difference in our lives. We may know hundreds of people, but it will result in just that one person, who gives us a break, or an opportunity, or introduces us to that right person.

Phil Richards, the awesome columnist of the Indianapolis Star was that Hinge. He made the connection and while at the Outer Banks on vacation with my family, Adam Vinatieri called me up.

Let me be honest, I hope this isn’t the end of the story, because I am still seeking a testimonial from Adam Vinatieri for the back cover of the book. He hasn’t (yet). A lot of it is out of my control now; if it is meant to be, it will happen. In the least, he provided an awesome story in The Hinge: The  Importance of Mental Toughness.

 

Dr. Rob BellDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology coach based in Indianapolis. DRB works with athletes, coaches, and teams building their Mental Toughness.  His 2nd book titled The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness will be released soon. Twitter: @drrobbell 

became the hinge moment

 


How A Reader’s Digest Became The Hinge Moment


The Hinge connects who we are with who we become.

It is the one moment, event, or person that makes the difference in our lives…We just don’t know when or who that person or event will be. 

I’ve had many Hinge moments, some good and some tragedies. I’ve even shared a Hinge moment with An Olympic Champion. 

This is the earliest of My Hinge Moments, that would take almost ten years before it connected me with who I became. 

As a teenager, my grandmother used to give me the awesome gift of, wait for it, Reader’s Digest magazine…Thanks, Grandma! 

As a fifteen-year-old, Reader’s Digest really didn’t fit my needs.

However, it did become great bathroom material and I would read it while on the porcelain throne.

Well, within Reader’s Digest, I once read a story about the “runner’s high,” the physiological and psychological effect that runners would sometimes encounter during long runs.

It was like “being in the zone.” The study looked at how the personalities of those running long distances may transfer into other areas of their lives. I thought it was cool. This was long before my Marathon and Ironman days. 

Fast-forward nine years to the end of my undergraduate college; I had to choose a research project in my advanced Psychology class to graduate. We were to find a previous research study and replicate it. Well, immediately, the image that came to mind was the Runner’s High story in Reader’s Digest magazine. I tried to do the same study, did okay I guess, and presented it an undergraduate conference and thought no more about it. 

I knew early on that Sport Psychology would become my chosen path in life, so I applied to Temple University’s graduate school, although I never really applied myself in undergrad until my junior year, I was a hinge candidate at best.

The on-phone interview went surprisingly well and, in fact, the Temple University professor who was interviewing repeatedly probed at length my little research project on the Runner’s High.

I was accepted and even received a graduate assistantship that paid for my graduate school. 

The Hinge Moment….

As it turned out, my professor, Dr. Michael Sachs in 1984 was the one who basically coined the phrase, “Runners High” for his research. 

If it weren’t for my grandmother supplying me with Reader’s Digest subscriptions as a teenager, I would not have been accepted into Temple University’s graduate program, nor met my wife, nor continued on to Graduate work at The University of Tennessee, nor caddied on the PGA Tour, or work with so many gifted athletes. I wouldn’t have written a book titled: The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness either. 

We have no idea who or what may be The Hinge Moment. Our role is simply to be prepared. 

My story and this story would have been different. 

Who or what have been hinges in your life?  Share your Hinge moment here.


dr rob bell

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & Associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out all the mental toughness books.   

Please check out the podcast 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment.

How many times have we heard in sport or life, “I was robbed of that play “or “that game was stolen?” If we have said it or have been a part of it, then we know the thoughts and feelings that go along with it.

Well, literally, I was robbed!

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During an early morning swim at the YMCA, the aquatics director was soon standing over me letting me know my car was broken into.

Dammit!!

Now, my Mac Book, iPad, and video camera were all taken as part of this smash & grab job. BUT my thoughts immediately went to MY BOOK! Having worked on the book for the past year, it was quite a bit of time, effort, and money.

The Victim

I was upset, felt helpless, and even wanted to blame somebody for what happened. I went to all of these mental places the hours after this took place. But what really surprised me is the “feeling” that stuck inside my gut. I just felt “off.”

Since I help athletes, coaches, and teams perform better, I always want to be a product of my product. “The Variable is YOU.”

The easier part for me about the break-in was getting over it. I could do that!

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But, I actually wanted to use this obstacle as an opportunity…I don’t like feeling or acting like a victim. Winners don’t do that.

The only way I could have used this obstacle to improve was to be THANKFUL IT HAPPENED. Could I convince myself that this robbery actually was a blessing? Could I really turn my thoughts into  “why NOT me?”  Did having my car broken into actually save me from getting in a car accident later on? Was it a HINGE moment? 

How many of us get stuck, unable to get over what happened to us?  Yes, it sucks, but don’t stay in the “I was robbed” mentality. Instead, let it go, but more importantly use the experience to mentally get better.

When I was able to make this acceptance a part of my growth as a person, everything changed that day!! Oh yea, we have to practice it on a daily basis. It is easy to be positive when things are going well, but the true test is not where we stand in times of comfort, but during times of struggle.

Turn your obstacles into opportunities.


Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kids: Build Their Mental Toughness