Dealing with Doubt

12 05 2016

Have you ever been getting ready to do something that you have prepared for only to find yourself overwhelmed with doubt? It could be a test you have studied for, a game you have marked on your calendar as significant, a tryout that will determine your next opportunity, or a meeting you have coming up that might open some doors for you.

These types of situations can all spark doubt.


However, doubt doesn’t have to derail you! In fact, when you experience doubt it is your CUE and SIGNAL to tune into or cultivate a NEW SELF TALK. What is self talk? It is the dialogue we cultivate within ourselves. The nature and coding of this conversation can either fuel us with COURAGE, PEACE, JOY, or DOUBT, DESPAIR, FEAR to name a few.

If we are going to OVERCOME DOUBT we need to speak to ourselves differently, not just once but ALL THE TIME.

Here is an example:

Recently I was preparing to shoot some training videos. Being in front of the camera has often brought about the self talk of “I am not good at this!” or “What right do I have to put something on video?” I end up DOUBTING MYSELF. The more I engage in this internal conversation, the more the doubt intensifies. Up until recently it has paralyzed me from even pursuing videos for the last 5 years.

When I was aware of this self talk I CHANGED it by saying, “I do not have to be perfect at this,” and “I will do my best and see where it takes me.” The more I engaged in that type of self talk the more I began to calm down and let go of the need to have it go a certain way. Doing this allowed me to ENJOY THE CHALLENGE and the LEARNING that the experience brought my direction. The funny thing is that where there was doubt at one point led to PRIDE, ENERGY and CONFIDENCE because of the EXPERIENCE.

I have learned that often my doubt is more about me than about what it is I am doing. I have had many experiences that have gone so much different than I thought they would (for the better). People have been more gracious, generous and accepting than I would have ever imagined.

If you will talk to yourself differently I believe with all my being that you will access COURAGE and ACTION where there has been doubt.


Start today by learning a new SELF TALK CODE.

To help you get started go ahead and schedule a High Performance Coaching Strategy Session with me today. This coaching session is a powerful spark to anyone that is looking to aim their life in a different direction. Click here for the 411 and I’ll talk to you soon on your High Performance Coaching Strategy Session!

Until then,


BONUS: Listen now to our latest Edge Talk with Shaun and Luke.  Luke will take you on his amazing journey of Overcoming Doubt.  Enjoy!


28 10 2014

iamLately, I have been fielding many questions centering around the quest and increased desire for certainty. Some want to know if they are going to make the team and others want to know if they will get a good enough grade to keep them on track to qualify for the college they have eyed for years. The quest seems to know few boundaries; everything from wanting to be assured of success to knowing for sure that they will never be alone are the places where this perceived need pops up.

Certainty is being coveted and focused on in the same way an addict would pursue a fix of their preferred mood-altering chemical.

I would like to propose that an ever-increasing preoccupation and need for CERTAINTY is actually a symptom of a devastating problem, not only amongst our young people, but in our society.

The problem is a lack of clear, deeply embedded clarity about who I AM!!!

When it comes right down to it, a true sense of certainty really does not exist. There are simply too many factors outside of our control that affect outcomes that we treasure. Making the team, getting the grade, assuring the affection and long-term trust of a current friend or loved one is actually more uncertain than certain.

However, the ability to become and generate success, maintain quality relationships, be happy, fulfilled, and at peace really is determined by who I AM more than anything else. Who I AM is the single most powerful force determining my possible level of certainty. Let me illustrate this:

I really want to be happy. However, my happiness seems to be tied to getting certain grades, making certain teams, being liked by certain people, and having certain things. If for happiness to be mine these things all need to line up I might as well go out and buy a lottery ticket and keep buying them. The odds of me being happy on this set of premises is a virtual impossibility.

However, if I clearly, boldly, and consistently know that I AM: capable, uniquely talented, empowered, strong, creative, resilient, and determined, then I have a powerful force at play in my life and that is ME AT MY BEST.

You see I believe that more certainty lies within a fully and boldly expressed I AM than any other factor in life.

I believe that we are all given the challenge to live full out, embrace the challenges as opportunities and set our mindset towards leveraging ME AT MY BEST!

Take the time to get clear about your I AM stance on life.

You will never have more power to shape and influence the outcomes of your life than when you become most certain about this. Quit putting your trust in the waves of uncertainty that often accompany many of your life circumstances and start digging deep into who you are using your I AM statement as your point of power to gain your mental edge.


16 07 2014

imagesA troubling trend is emerging and gaining momentum quickly.  This destructive trend is the outsourcing of our opinions, perspectives, thoughts, interests, and evaluations to coaches, parents, friends, teachers.  Day after day I talk to athletes that are giving away their sense of personal power to a parent, a coach, as well as, friends. It would be one thing if they had already arrived at their OWN thought or opinion and were seeking new thoughts, affirmation or challenge to refine and strengthen their own opinions. Unfortunately, many have simply abdicated and allowed others to dictate and define their lives and thoughts for them. Now I know this isn’t without outside reinforcement. There are certainly many parents, coaches, friends, along with others that like to share, might I say, force their opinions on those around them believing they are helping. This is dangerous and destructive and needs to be confronted, challenged and changed. You might ask yourself, “what is the harm?” Quite frankly, the harm is significant and long standing.

The price tag of abdicating one’s opinion, perspective, and sense of possibility is significant!

  • Loss of inner confidence
  • Increased anxiety
  • Decreased engagement and motivation
  • Decreased self awareness
  • Inconsistent performance
  • Delayed learning
  • Delayed maturation
  • Decision-making skills underdeveloped
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Increased confusion and despair

These are just a few of the unintended consequences.

When athletes play and learn in environments where their opinions are rarely asked the likelihood of outsourcing one’s opinions, perspectives and personal power is high. I believe we need to challenge, encourage and affirm our young athletes to retain to their personal power by asking, affirming and acknowledging their opinions and perspectives along with refraining from offering OUR thoughts. This is not to say that every opinion and perspective one generates is helpful. However, if we rarely ask or acknowledge then how does one ever cultivate a useful, productive and personalized perspective for themselves? This is often referred to in other circles as “growing your voice.”

Over the last 15 years of coaching athletes at every level I have found that those that have learned to believe in themselves starts with having an opinion that often leads to an inner confidence, strong work ethic and faster learning than those that simply wait for someone else’s approval or perspective on their performance.

If you are an athlete that has been prone to giving away your power then I offer these tips to gain back your sense of power:

  • Start with admitting that you have given your power away. What you are most likely doing is trading your power for the assurance that you will play or please. At some level you believe that if you try to fit your game to the satisfaction of someone else it will insure you will get playing time. Hey, the truth is playing time goes to those that are clear about their role, have the skills to perform and confidently and courageously engage themselves doing the best they can.
  • Determine your strengths. GET REALLY CLEAR about them. Most athletes hand over their power because they are not clear about their strengths. To compensate for their lack of clarity they simply allow someone else to tell them what to do. KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS!
  • Have an opinion before you ask someone else for theirs. It is to easy to shape what you think after you have heard someones opinion, especially if you respect them or they have power to determine your playing time or role. No matter what it is IMPORTANT to arrive at your own conclusion. You may need others to help affirm or challenge your opinion but HAVE ONE TO START!
  • Commit yourself to fully expressing yourself to the best of your ability. We are all at our best when we live boldly, confidently, intentionally, and without regret. You can do this by designing your life and play with clarity, support and the commitment to learning along the way.

Lets take the time to ask before we tell, acknowledge before we assume, and empower our young people to retain and refine their opinions and perspectives. In doing so we will be growing independent thinkers that can confidently withstand the objections, critical feedback and disappointment that often accompanies the competitive environment they will undoubtedly experience now and in the future.

Triggers for Growth

2 06 2014

StruggleParticipation in sports provides a great opportunity to test the waters of competition, overcome challenges and manage change. Growing through these dynamics is a must if one is to maximize the opportunity in front of them. Often, athletes train to improve skills, work hard to improve strength and speed, however, they neglect the training that is required to grow through the resistance, discomfort and disappointment that competition brings.

Success in a competitive environment not only requires the evolution and mastery of skills, but also, the capacity to work together with others, receive feedback and coaching, manage and experience discouragement, struggle, and disappointment. Because competition creates environments where equally skilled and talented athletes seek to test their skills against each other, challenge becomes a  consistent theme in the life of an athlete accompanied by change. Change happens because situations may dictate that athletes be asked to fulfill different roles and these roles may be different than what has been experienced prior. All this is to say that the landscape of sports INCLUDES the opportunity to COMPETE, as well as, manage and grow through CHALLENGE and CHANGE. Unfortunately, growth does not just happen. Athletes need to be equipped with strategies in order to grow through these 3 C’s.

To that end I offer these (3) triggers for growth:

The first trigger is to work to develop a more effective PERSPECTIVE. Our perspective can become lazy, unfocused and under developed. Much like a physical skill without continued focus and work it can begin to lag behind as others are moving forward and gaining greater mastery. Your perspective should always be a focus of improvement. Here are (3) questions you can ask yourself in order to improve and strengthen the quality of your perspective:

  1. How can I use the circumstances I am currently dealing with to get better?
  2. What is my picture of success and what do I have to do to create the picture?
  3. Say to yourself: I know I can take any situation and turn it into a stepping stone of success.

When athletes pay attention to their PERSPECTIVE and actively seek to improve and strengthen it they are better able to GROW through competition, challenge and change.

The second trigger is to be INTENTIONAL.  Too many athletes live in fear and therefore, hold back because of the fear of failing. Nobody, exhibits power in their life without first understanding the importance of being intentional or on purpose. What this means is to begin each day with an internal picture and design about how you want the day to go. Facing competition, challenge and change insists that you move boldly towards it seeking to have an intentional stamp that you leave on the situation you are in.

Train yourself to think in this manner:

  • Next time I face that situation I am going to_______.
  • When I face that challenge in the future this is how I am going to approach and it________.

These types of statements put you in a place of power to affect the situation you are in and give you an incredible advantage.

The third trigger is to embrace the power of STRUGGLE. Put bluntly, struggle is where strength is created. Have you ever seen an athlete go into the gym and lift air? Why? Air provides no resistance and would keep us weak and underdeveloped. Growth truly requires us to embrace struggle so that we can be strengthened through it. To do this will require you to change your mind about struggle so that you are not interpreting struggle as a symptom of failure but a platform for future growth and success.

These triggers will add great value and benefit to you as you seek to grow through competitive moments, the challenges that come from competition, as well as, the change that often results from being involved in sports.

Let’s begin to actively and intentionally train ourselves to not simply be stronger physically but to match the mental skills needed to grow through any circumstance or situation.

This is when we truly become GREAT!

Perspective and Power

26 03 2013

Perspect&PowerAthletes consistently pursue achievement at many levels. When athletes train, they spend most of their time training their body to be faster, stronger and more skilled (these are important). Optimum performance often is not only dictated by the training of the body, but also the mind.

The mind is often spoken of as being a significant asset for those seeking optimal performance. Words like confidence, mental toughness and resiliency are often noted as labels to clarify what leads to optimal mental capacity.

The truth is, in order to cultivate deep confidence, resiliency and mental toughness a TRAINED PERSPECTIVE matched with an active, consistent display of personal power is non-negotiable. Most athletes simply believe that the mind will develop on it’s own until they run into a performance roadblock. This is a catastrophic error in judgement.

Your PERSPECTIVE is your personalized window you look out of AND the window that information comes back to you. Your PERSPECTIVE sets the stage for how you think, how you feel and what possibilities or limitations you experience. Your PERSPECTIVE either opens or closes you to vital information that can end up influencing your ability to learn or keep you stuck in a reality that limits you. Too many athletes have an untrained perspective. They have never even explored this nor experienced the power of a “trained perspective”. When your PERSPECTIVE inhibits your learning, you foster a negative and rigid attitude as well as a defensive and fearful existence that reveals your need to enroll in PERSPECTIVE TRAINING.

Perspective training includes:

1. Increasing your awareness of how your current PERSPECTIVE is helping and hurting you in your quest towards achievement.

2. Re-inventing a new PERSPECTIVE leading to enhanced awareness, creativity and courage.

3. On-going support to consistently grow and utilize your reinvented PERSPECTIVE to take on challenges and pursue optimum achievement.

Make a commitment to train your perspective in a way that will allow you to reach consistent play and live at your optimal potential. You will never regret it!!

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Confidence…oh, so often misunderstood!

19 01 2011

One of the most common topics that I get asked about from players, coaches, and parents has to do with confidence.  The questions I get vary as people attempt to understand this seemingly misunderstood concept. Below are three of the most common questions I get and my response to them in a attempt to bring greater clarity for those seeking to develop confidence, as well as, understand the role of confidence in understanding performance.

1. Is confidence a critical factor in how someone performs?
Although confidence plays a part in impacting how an athlete performs, what is more critical is how masterful an athlete has become concerning the foundational skills of the sport they play. What is true is that an athlete develops a great deal of confidence based on how effective they feel they have been at developing and mastering skills that allow them to compete with those they play against. If an athlete hasn’t invested the time, energy, and dedication to practicing the skills needed to experience success then confidence should not be a “right”.  Therefore, what is important to performance has more to do more with skill development than confidence.

2. When my son/daughter seems to lack confidence is the antidote encouragement?
The answer to this is maybe. I believe we have become a culture (especially with our kids) that believes the answer for every problem is encouragement. Certainly our kids need optimistic, positive people in their life, however, they also need “truth tellers” that are able to communicate truthful statements in optimistic and positive ways to help them build a healthy self perception built on better “truth”. Telling an athlete they played well when they didn’t does nothing to build their confidence, in fact, it confirms in the mind of many that adults just tell kids things to make them feel better. This actually erodes the possibility of confidence because of the credibility that is lost.

The last question is: What helps to grow self-confidence?
I want to start by saying that confidence can be compartmentalized into different life interests. For example, I can be confident in my ability to understand a persons emotional pain and have zero confidence in my ability to build shelves for my garage. My lack of confidence in building doesn’t compromise my overall confidence as a person it simply means I have not developed the skills associated with building shelves. With this example as a guide I believe the inner belief in oneself that we label as confidence is created, grown, and developed when we invest time, energy, interest, and genetic cooperation to develop what it takes to perform effectively in competitive situations. Because of this, I believe developing true confidence is, in reality, within all of our control. I hope the clarification around this often-used topic is helpful.

Shaun Goodsell
President and CEO, Mental Edge

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Maybe they act like they don’t care because they don’t care!

25 10 2010

One question that is posed to me on almost a daily basis is why do many young people exhibit characteristics of apathy and laziness? While reflecting on this I have pondered many possible explanations. These include being pampered, disinterested, and the environment of low expectations to name a few.  It is possible that each of these holds some merit in trying to explain some of the problematic behavior that appears in some of our young people.

However, I have come to believe that the answer may not be as complicated as I first thought.  Maybe many act like they don’t care because they don’t care! The more I talk to young people the more they tell me they can’t see the connection between school and sports performance and their future. Not only is this blurry but much of the material they are learning in school is not only irrelevant to them but often presented in a manner that does more to put them to sleep then to engage them in a pursuit of ongoing curiosity leading to enhanced living. I often wonder if there is some virtue in choosing disengagement, which is a form of rebellion, to compliance simply for the sake of doing what you’re supposed to.  Where has that lead most of us?

For many this formula has lead to living an uninspired life stuck in jobs that we hate, marriages that are shallow and lifeless, and a life that is to be survived rather then savored. The survival strategies include but are not limited to alcohol abuse, food abuse, over spending, Internet addictions, and simply engaging in activity for the sake of distracting ourselves to avoid the realization that we are simply existing and not truly living. Sometimes, this internal dissatisfaction leads us to focus energy towards over controlling our kids telling them “we want them to avoid the pain that we currently live with by helping them see a better way”.

Inspiration and engagement comes by seeing and experiencing, not by words that are often hypocritical. If we truly want to SHAKE UP our kids maybe the way to do this is to begin to take pride in our own lives. Maybe if we cultivated an appetite for better living by challenging ourselves and those around us to overcome their fears of inadequacy, and heal from the disappointments of their lives, maybe our example would DRAW and ATTRACT those around us to become curious about the new found passion, inspiration, and courage that has now become an authentic expression of our everyday lives.

I believe that our kids are screaming for meaning, purpose, and inspiration. There is a hunger for examples that are credible because of the life they live not the rhetoric they spew to authentically lead our young people to engage in life in a new manner. Maybe our kids act like they don’t care because they don’t care. Why should they?

What do you think?  Please let us know with your comments below!