Silent Screams

30 03 2018

One evening I got a call from a young athlete that had tried out for a specific team, and Silent Screamshe was struggling to understand why he did not make the team. With great frustration and anger, he detailed for me all the work he did and how angry he was that the work did not seem to make a difference. As is often the case, I dug a bit deeper to understand what was truly fueling his intensity. He went on to describe how many of his friends would be on the team and how sad he was to miss out on those experiences. I replied; “Is there anything else that is hard for you?” He then said; “I know my dad is really disappointed in me. He told me that I needed to work harder to keep improving rather than play video games.”

I have had this type of conversation too many times to count.

Tryouts bring with them fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, joy, relief, and uncertainty.

This blog is not designed to be about the fairness, or lack of it in youth sports, although there might be value in making some statements with regards to this topic. This blog is about the SILENT SCREAMS that often hide behind seemingly normal types of youth sports experiences. For the sake of clarity, I would like to highlight 3 SILENT SCREAMS I have experienced over 18 years.

First, the SCREAM OF REJECTION:
The need to feel accepted is huge for young athletes. This need doesn’t discriminate according to skill and talent level at all.  As young people play, they carry an internal “acceptance” module. What this creates is a filter within that is constantly measuring and evaluating, with every action, the curiosity of acceptability. This need is so strong that many young athletes consistently look into the stands, or across the gym or field to read how they are doing from their parents or other loved one’s body language.

One story illustrates this: Some years ago I was working with a young hockey goalie. He was tremendously physically skilled, with cat-like reactions, great size and strength, and advanced instincts. But he was also plagued with tremendous anxiety, fear, and a lack of belief in himself. One day I asked him; “Are you afraid of failing?” He said; “NO!” I responded with; “Then why all the anxiety and fear?” He said; “Everyday I am afraid that I will let my dad down. I can tell by looking in the stands if he is satisfied with how I am doing.” He continued; “Somedays I look in the stands, and I see him with his hands over his head, and I know he is mad or disappointed about something. This makes me not want to play at all.”

I have since heard this type of story hundreds of times over the years.

The silent scream connected with the fear of rejection is often anxiety and a lack of belief. It rarely occurs to us that these symptoms may have a connection to us and the information that we are giving both verbally and nonverbally to our young people. Young people regardless of ability are looking to experience acceptance from the important people in their lives. At the core, this means the capacity to accept and positively reinforce the individual regardless of performance. Too often, parents and coaches relate to athletes like they are feelingless machines performing to make them happy and proud. When a player’s level of performance dictates the mood and posture in a relationship, then questions begin to form in the mind of an athlete about their acceptability and anxiety and fear strengthen. We must elevate our capacity to disconnect a player’s value from the quality of their performance and learn to communicate acceptance and appreciation for attributes that we notice that are worthy of reinforcement. Young people are super sensitive to this and because of this SILENT SCREAM anxiety, fear, and mental dysfunction is at epidemic proportions.

Second, the SCREAM OF INVISIBILITY:
Young people not only want to experience acceptance but also want to be noticed. On every team, there are those that are the most skilled and those that are less skilled. We tend to have preoccupation and unbalanced focus on those that are most skilled. I am not referring to playing time here. As young people grow and play at higher levels, I believe that the best players should play. However, this does not mean that less skilled players have to become invisible. Often, most of the feedback, coaching, and focus goes to the most skilled players. One’s level of skill should not dictate the quality of coaching or feedback. Every player deserves to be coached and given the opportunity to progress their craft. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many. Once they have been slotted as a “role” player often, they become invisible. From this experience motivation drops, practice engagement slips, and desire to keep playing decreases with every experience. In this case APATHY SCREAMS! The foundation of this apathy is invisibility. When asked about why an athlete has “lost their motivation” it is hypothesized that they simply have other interests. I am not denying the viability of this argument, however, when young people do not feel or experience evidence that their presence is valued or needed motivation drops significantly, and the SILENT SCREAM OF APATHY OCCURS.

Taking the initiative to focus on the contributions, and assets that every player brings to a team goes a long way to silencing the scream of invisibility.

Third, the SCREAM OF BEING INVINCIBLE:
At first glance, you might take a double take when reading the title of this silent scream. Let me attempt to explain this. I think most if not all of us would like to raise confident and self-assured young athletes. In fact, many parents retain my services to teach this to their young athletes. However, my concern is that we are not truly raising CONFIDENT and SELF-ASSURED young athletes but, athletes that feel “special,” “privileged,” “entitled,” and “delusional.”

Confident and self-assured young people understand that struggles, disappointment, and failure will find them. In spite of this, they can stay engaged, find the value in the experience, and turn the moment into learning that elevates their capacity to grow themselves and their skills. All of this without damaging their sense of self or motivation to move ahead. Contrast this with young athletes that have been told they are “special,” “talented,” and are “unfortunate” when a moment of failure or disappointment finds them. We make excuses, feel sorry for, and find words to soften the impact of disappointment. The message here is often; “YOU ARE INVINCIBLE.” When young athletes believe that they are invincible, struggle, disappointment, and failure DISRUPT, DISMANTLE, and DESTROY them leading to emotional breakdowns, pouting, crying, and internal disarray. Recently, a young man called me in a total emotional meltdown. His team had just lost a game they were expected to win without much effort. The talent was not at all equally distributed. His team was the favorite. He was so distraught I could barely understand him. After calming him down, I asked why he was so emotional? He said; “I have never experienced such a bad loss.” “What makes the loss bad?”, I asked”  He answered, “Maybe we were not as good as we thought, maybe I am not as good as I thought?” One loss in a season of great moments was enough to have this young man question it all. There are a plethora of young men and women playing youth sports that are emotionally destroyed and deeply discouraged from NATURAL AND NORMAL occurrences in youth sports.

Why?

Because we reinforce the message of specialness and entitlement, our young athletes often conclude that they ARE FAILURES WHEN THEY EXPERIENCE FAILURE. This is the SILENT SCREAM OF INVINCIBILITY. This conclusion erodes one’s sense of self and leaves them feeling hollow and without the tools to turn those moments into platforms for growth and future accomplishment.

After 18 years of working with young athletes on the mental side of things, I have learned that what presents itself as the problem is rarely the real problem. These three silent screams of young athletes often hide. As a result, creating solutions to transform the scream into growth can be a challenge. However, I have seen many young athletes turn these screams into improved self-awareness, greater confidence, and overall self-mastery. As leaders and parents, we need to look deeper when we see attitudes and actions that are troubling. More often than not we will find a SILENT SCREAM.

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Motivationally Impaired

30 03 2018

I first thought of this concept when I was on the pool deck of a club swimming team stencil.youtube-thumbnailworking with individuals as they, one by one, jumped out of the pool for a short mental-skills coaching session. (for 2 hours I rarely have a break because of the interest these amazing athletes have in mental skills development)

Many want to know how they can strengthen their levels of confidence, reduce anxiety, mentally prepare for their races, or move on from a discouraging race.

However, the most often asked question is, “Shaun how do I stay motivated?”

This is an understandable question because most of these athletes train and compete year round. Fatigue, questions about what is being missed out on, and sacrifice lurk under the surface and grow intensely during times of disappointment and discouragement.

Because of the sheer numbers of athletes asking this question I was forced to dig deep and figure out how to respond responsibly to this important question.

What follows is my response:

First, I AFFIRM the athlete for being vulnerable and honest about how they are feeling about the work needed to continue to progress in the sport (after I affirm them tears are not uncommon). Many of these athletes have believed LACKING MOTIVATION was a sign of weakness. I often tell them that I am amazed at their dedication, commitment, and sacrifice. I also tell them I am not shocked by their struggle with motivation. Lacking motivation is not a sign of weakness!

Second, I ask them an important question, “What is your expectation for motivation? In other words, do you expect to be excited, motivated, and energetic every day?” The shocking truth is YES. They are carrying the burden of expectation believing that they SHOULD BE HIGHLY MOTIVATED every day! Unpacking this I find out that they have been carrying this for a long time…the myth of daily motivation.

Third, I ask them, “What if you did not have to be HIGHLY MOTIVATED all the time?” A big sigh of relief is experienced right at that moment! But, the sigh is followed by a BIGGER QUESTION, “Shaun what do I do then? If I do not have to be motivated all the time, how will I ever get where I want to go?”

Fourth, I bring them through a series of questions that focus on the VALUE OF OBLIGATION.

Question 1: “Is there anything that you do consistently BECAUSE IT gives you a chance to SEE WHAT YOU ARE MADE OF? In other words, challenges you to reach your potential?” The answers vary but they tend to focus on doing homework and eating well.

Question 2: “When you do what you are OBLIGATED to do when you are done do you feel proud of yourself?” YES is always the answer.

Question 3: “Is it possible that coming to swimming out of OBLIGATION to yourself because you have a long-term goal is a good enough reason to come during those times that you are FEELING UNMOTIVATED?” Often there is a look on their face that resembles a new found FREEDOM. “I do not have to be MOTIVATED all the time?” they ask. I can come to practice because I am obligated to because of my desire to reach some ambitious goals. (Character is deepened when WILL overrides the need for COMFORT and path of least resistance) It is not weakness to come to practice out of sheer obligation. I believe much of what we do to pursue success in any endeavor requires us to act out of a sense of obligation. THIS IS NOT WEAKNESS. I think this points more to maturity.

To be fair there are times when a lack of motivation goes deeper. Chronic fatigue is real and needs to be assessed. However, more often than not the athlete is trying to come to grips with the MOTIVATIONAL IMPAIRMENT that is born out of a belief that they ALWAYS have to be motivated to reach their goals.

Let’s not be afraid to help our young athletes unpack some of their mental challenges to arrive at frameworks for engagement that strengthen their ability to navigate through personal challenges and come out on the other end stronger and more resilient.

To the swimmers and coaches at the AQUAJETS, I thank you!!!





Progress is Power

15 03 2018

Some months ago I was talking with a young athlete, and I asked him how things were going for him.

His response was, “I DONT KNOW.”

To most people this response would be a dead end and the conversation would have moved on to something else.

Not this time!

I continued to explore with him what “not knowing” meant. My next question was, “Does ‘I don’t know’ mean you don’t know how to describe how it is going?” With immediate tears, he said, “YES.”

This experience opened my eyes to the reality that many young athletes are living with deep disappointment, discouragement, and despair without the words to describe their reality. This has emerged as a trend as I have worked individually with young athletes. Much of their experience leaves them confused, frustrated, and without direction.

Recently, I spoke to a young athlete that expressed to me his deep desire to succeed, but with frustration and anger he said, “I have no idea what I can do to get better.” This is an epidemic in the youth sports culture. Many young athletes that have the MOTIVATION TO IMPROVE have little, to no clarity about how to invest their energy. In fact, when a young man/women have the actual courage to approach a coach and ask what they need to get better, they often hear, “Just work harder.” I do not think there is any intent here to frustrate or anger these young athletes. I believe we have a great number of coaches that are unskilled in communication. This inability to communicate with clarity is what leaves these athletes at a loss of what to do. The accumulation of this over time leads to a great deal of frustration, confusion, and at its height, ANGER. The result is motivation is decreased, enjoyment is dissolved, and engagement is replaced with distraction and dissatisfaction.

We all want to feel like the effort we invest is leading to progress. PROGRESS IS POWERFUL!!

Recently, a young athlete reached out to me for coaching concerning his desire to control his emotions and have better focus. During my initial interview with him, he expressed tremendous discouragement and frustration because he was “trying” without PROGRESSING. During our first coaching call, I gave him some clear and specific strategies to invest in his “trying.” After just a couple of weeks, he reported feeling significantly better. When I asked why he felt better, his response was, “I am improving!”

IMPROVEMENT IS POWERFUL! Progressing leaves young athletes with an internal center of power that their efforts are getting them somewhere. They are not spinning their wheels and shooting into the dark about what they need or can do to improve. This is huge! In my opinion, the feeling and feedback that one is progressing may be the single greatest source of ongoing motivation for young athletes.

The next motivational variable is having a clarified role that brings with it a way to mark contribution. When a coach has observed and evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of an individual, communicated that to the athlete, and followed that with continued feedback as to the ongoing level of progression concerning the skills needed to contribute effectively within that role, motivation and perseverance are at their highest. Doing this well requires the capacity to look beneath the obvious. A contribution is often only associated with that which is most glamorous and easily observed. However, success in any team sport is dependent on different roles performing at high levels that combine for high-level team performance. When players are not clear about their role and opportunity to mark contribution, WINNING is of little value or consolation.

One player exhibited this with this example:

Following a weekend tournament that her team had just won a coveted championship while talking to Jill, I  asked her how it felt to win the tournament. Her response was troubling. She said, “I didn’t feel like I did anything to help the team win.” Her head was down, and her body language was discouraged. It would be easy at this point to shame Jill for not being a team player. However, her response speaks to the importance of leading young people to understand that they often have great contributions that go unnoticed. At least, in this case, her discouragement wasn’t about selfishness, it was about the DESIRE TO MARK A CONTRIBUTION TO THE TEAM.

I wonder how often we misread this?

Being a great teammate is about OFFERING WHAT YOU HAVE for the betterment of the whole.

What if the discouragement we see in some players is connected to their lack of clarity as to how to MARK THEIR CONTRIBUTION? When CONTRIBUTION cannot be marked, belonging is eroded. This can lead to discouragement often appearing in body language and actions that get labeled as immature and selfish. Telling athletes to be “team players,” without giving them a clear role, is nothing short of systematic rejection.

Young athletes are craving a clear path towards improvement. With clear roles, qualitative feedback, and a team atmosphere that values and reinforces differing forms of contribution, engagement increases, and discouragement and confusion decreases. This will lead to more young athletes feeling proud of their contributions.

Progress is POWER.





Cultures of Care

19 02 2018

culturesofcareCULTURES OF CARE = WINNING EXPERIENCES

Over the years I have been paying attention! I realize that this statement is quite vague on the surface. One could easily ask, “What have you been paying attention to?” The answer is what provides the clarity and understanding.

What I have learned over 30 years of working in the personal development field is this: what we “pay attention” to is what determines how we think, act, and live. If we have trained ourselves to notice what is lacking, wrong, insufficient, frustrating, or problematic then we are focused on all the information that supports these principles.

I want to suggest that the danger in our focus is not simply WHAT we are focusing on. Maybe the bigger danger is what we are NOT focusing on.

Let me explain. For the better part of 18 years, I have dedicated myself to learn and pass on the most advanced science on what unleashes HIGH PERFORMANCE for athletes, individuals, business professionals, and others simply seeking to “BE THEIR BEST.” My focus led me to pay attention to and help individuals succeed within the context that they were performing or competing. There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach. However, I have become acutely aware of something that requires my ATTENTION.

When the group succeeds, individuals thrive as well. Where individuals succeed only, the group rarely thrives.

I have come to believe that the future success of many individuals is going to exponentially increase as more and more intentional efforts and strategy are invested in the RELATIONSHIPS that turn a group into a team.

Simply stated, for youth sports to THRIVE we must bring back a focus on DEEP FRIENDSHIPS. What I mean is that we must consistently and intentionally put teammates in positions to not only express themselves authentically but teach others how to embrace the individuality of each person. I think we have neglected this because we think the shared goal of winning and succeeding is what brings people together. This only proves to be true when everyone on the team plays to win. This is where the myth begins. Most youth sports athletes do not only play in order to WIN. They play, ironically, to be with their friends and share experiences. What if we focused on amplifying the connection between teammates? I believe we would find an explosion of MOTIVATION, ENGAGEMENT, CONSISTENCY, and, quite frankly, I believe there would be less drama, more fun, and coaches would enjoy the process more.

I am not saying that WINNING does not have value. However, I believe that a focus on winning has created a point of focus that will keep us unaware of what truly will lead to greater success! Fully engaged, energetic, caring, and connected teams will outperform the opposite all the time when talent is equal.

In other words, we do not have to focus on WINNING to CREATE A WINNING EXPERIENCE.

In the depth of where my passion and experience resides, I believe our young people are craving genuine, authentic, and caring cultures to freely experiment, fail, succeed, and, maybe most importantly, LEARN ABOUT WHO THEY ARE.

My passion is designing team experiences that build a caring culture and teammates learn about themselves and others.

Shaun





UN. PRECEDENTED.

11 11 2017

While preparing a talk for a team that I have invested in and worked with for the past 7 years, one word kept resonating within me…

UNPRECEDENTED

It was not until after the experience was over that I understood why this word rang boldly within my spirit.

For many years I have held the belief that those who participate in youth athletics are missing a HUGE OPPORTUNITY! Yesterday it was confirmed in an UNPRECEDENTED way that my belief is indeed accurate.

The team gathered with the numbers reaching close to 100 athletes. They each grabbed their chair and formed a group in front of me while talking with their neighbors, as is normal for this group. Rather than use my voice to mark the time to start, I simply stood quietly, observing the interactions and noticing the energy of the group. Without uttering a word the group refocused their attention to the front with a curious aura about what we would doing.

I opened with a story from my teen years describing my first day of seventh grade when two seniors cornered me in a hallway, lifted me, and hung me by my belt loop on the back of a door leaving me there while people walked by and laughed. While I told my story their eyes were riveted with respect and empathy. I could see the impact of my words in the eyes of the group, as well as, feel it with the energy present in the room.

After my story, I sought to inspire the team to move from a group of individual participants to a powerful TEAM of courageous, bold, and connected teammates while offering a four-tiered understanding of this process which included emotional safety, bonding and belonging, courageous and creative expression, and lastly, bold leadership. In most cases, this is where the experience would end and practice would begin.

NOT TODAY!

Best selling author, Brene Brown, said: “It is hard to hate from up close.” So, I thought it might be time to challenge these young people to get to know some of their teammates UP CLOSE.

To the coach’s credit, she said: “Shaun, take the time you want to build this experience out. If you need all of our practice time, take it.” It was this permission that gave me the freedom to then ask this question to the TEAM:

“Do you want to do something UNPRECEDENTED TODAY?”

Even though there was some hesitancy the TEAM said yes. (They could have just wanted to get out of going to practice.) What followed will be remembered as one of the most powerful experiences I have been a part of in my 17+ years of coaching.

The next request I posed was, “I need some volunteers to come forward to PUT INTO PRACTICE what we just talked about. You will be interviewed in front of your peers (teammates) and the questions will not be easy.”

I thought I might stand alone up front without any volunteers.

What actually happened is about 35 courageous young people of different ages came up front to be interviewed in front of their teammates and peers. In spite of sweaty palms from anxiety, tears because of deep-seated unspoken fears and hurts, and uncertainty, these 35 courageous team members left their hearts out there to be cared for and understood in an UNPRECEDENTED way. The team members that were left in the crowd listened attentively for almost 2 hours without distraction or disrespect.

Some of the questions I asked:

  • What are you most proud of?
  • What hurt are you carrying that has gone unexpressed?
  • What is something about you that others do not know?
  • What is one dream you have?
  • What are your deepest fears?
  • How do you deal with your deep fears?
  • What kind of team do you want to be on?
  • What are you willing to bring to the team?

The responses to these questions were far from what might be posted in a snapchat story or social media post. The outpouring of genuine love and support was powerful and UNPRECEDENTED! I stood there proud and honored to be in this space with these amazing young athletes wishing that others could see this.

WHY?

Because I believe that our young people are starving for meaningful connection and authentic engagement. Their hearts are so starved that they would risk embarrassment in front of their peers to get a taste of this seemingly sparse resource. What we need to understand is that the resource is not lacking abundance. Many coaches and other adult leaders have disregarded and underestimated the capacity of young people to be GAME CHANGERS for those they play and compete with. Let’s hope that this experience moves from being UNPRECEDENTED to the PRECEDENT.





What is Focus?

20 07 2017

We hear a lot about the importance of focus in discussions about HIGH PERFORMANCE. Rarely is this concept unpacked with clarity and practical application. For this purpose, I offer these thoughts.

First, let me ask a couple of questions:

Do you find yourself with a daily desire to experience more in your life?
MORE…
Energy
Accomplishment
Peace of mind
Motivation
Purpose and Fulfillment
Connection with others
LESS…
Distraction
Fear
Uncertainty
Discouragement
Isolation
Empty days with endless tasks but very little purposeful results

If you can relate with these then I suggest that generating MORE focus is the equivalent of generating more power in your life. I have learned from coaching thousands of people that the LACK of FOCUS is always CONNECTED to a lack of true POWER in their lives.

Let me explain.

Focus is the capacity to continually invest yourself in the direction of clearly defined goals that connect you to your deepest desires and dreams. The emphasis here is on CONSISTENCY and INVESTMENT. The basic form of FOCUS is found in these words.

The reason why distractions are so destructive is that they turn off the continual feeding the fuel needed to generate or create the outcome for which you desire.

Many get lost right here, in distraction!

When asked what their goals and dreams are, responses vary but they sound something like this:

I want to have a great marriage!
I want to be an outstanding parent!
I want to make more money!
I want to have better friendships!
I want to make the A team!
I want to get better grades!
To name just a few…

The derailment has begun at this point because the strategy for progressing towards these outcomes is UNCLEAR, VAGUE, and LACKING TRUE FOCUS. In other words, great intention but very little capacity to turn the intention into the outcome sought after.

Here is a better, more focus friendly way to approach these goals:

I will pursue being a better parent by bringing a heightened degree of energetic, engaging presence to my interactions with my kids. I will focus on being present and intentional in the practice of this with each and every interaction.

If you wanted to make the A team in a sport you would say this: I will dedicate myself to mastering the skills needed to elevate my performance so that I increase my chances of making the A team. These skills include (list the skills specifically). I will pursue this mastery by dedicating 1 hour a day of practice in each of the skills I desire to master.

The power in statements like these is that they give a point of FOCUS for the individual to INVEST THEIR ENERGY ON A CONSISTENT BASIS. Without a CLEAR AND SPECIFIC point to direct one’s focus, you are left with a goal but nothing to point your energy towards on a consistent basis that moves you closer to that which you desire.

You might find this basic framework helpful as you work to generate intentional focus in your life:

I will progress towards my goal of _________ by ________ over the next 30 days so that I can reach my goal.

What is focus?

Focus is the intentional, consistent and ongoing pursuit of the desired outcome. When you use this formula to direct and guide your energy on a daily basis you literally generate your outcome because of your consistent pursuit.

Put the formula to the test in an area that you are looking for accomplishment.

If you’d like to dive deeper into this concept of focus and clearly defining your goals, sign up for your personal High Performance Strategy Session with Shaun now by clicking here.





Who’s Got Your Power?

23 05 2017

I often get calls that start off like this, “Shaun my son/daughter is really having a tough time this year. EVERYTHING has changed.” They continue by stating, “Something is off.” They conclude by saying, “I do not know what to do to help! Can you help?”

This is truly a difficult spot for a parent to find themselves. Knowing that your kid is struggling and not knowing why or what you can do to help is truly disturbing and a bit scary as well.

This experience has become far too common and as a result, it is going to be the focus of this blog to help give perspective, guidance and some encouragement to those that might be dealing with this currently or in the future. We can all learn something.

Every player that I have worked with over the years WANTS TO DO WELL AND PLEASE THE COACHES they have. Hopes are high, motivation is strong, and most of the time they have invested significant time and energy to perform well. What often transpires moving forward is NOT WHAT THE PLAYER HAD IN MIND. As time goes on, playing time may be limited, communication is sparse, confidence is questioned and discouragement, frustration, and disappointment begin to overwhelm. It is at this point that fear also begins to run deep because answers and hope are absent.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED?

Every player’s experience is different. However, I have learned something very important over the years. MOST players have GIVEN AWAY their personal power to their coaches. What this means practically is that they have given away (unconsciously) their identity as a player and person. Instead of defining for themselves their priorities, purpose and strengths they look to others to affirm, provide certainty and make it better for them.

WHEN SOMEONE ELSE HAS YOUR POWER YOU WILL ALWAYS BE A SLAVE TO THAT PERSON. Your thoughts about yourself will be dictated by them leading to a complete internal breakdown. This is happening to athletes of all ages, skill levels and personality types and it destroys confidence.

There is no substantive change until the player takes back the power and digs deep and decides that they are going to strengthen themselves from within to PLAY and LIVE from this internal center of power. This is not to say that you shouldn’t take feedback from those around you, but, you should always reserve the right to have the FINAL SAY.

Let me give an example: a number of years ago I received a call like I cited at the beginning of this blog. The player was absolutely beside himself, mom was in tears out of despair and the future looked extremely bleak. It was apparent that this players power was in the hands of his college coach.

When I said, “Why does your coach have all your power?”

His response was, “Until now I didn’t know that was the case.”

From that moment forward there were a number of conversations that centered around him taking his power back by PERSONALLY defining his purpose and matching that with decisions to re-engage in his own empowered manner. His mom would tell you today this was his MOMENT OF TRANSFORMATION. Her words were, “Shaun I have my son back! I do not know what you did but I got my son back.” This story is not isolated but has been repeated many times since with many different athletes.

What did I do?

I taught this player to take back something that he should have never given away! HIS POWER. He recently graduated and he was able to reignite his love for the game, play at the highest level he has ever played at and finished the year playing some Pro hockey. Most importantly, he learned a valuable life lesson.

Here is the lesson: The best person to have control of me is me!

People are powerful when they live from their center and reserve the final say for themselves. When they are fortunate to have positive influences in their lives they can integrate these messages to elevate their performance and life experience. But they should always ask themselves WHO’S GOT MY POWER?