Meeting the Confidence Challenge

17 08 2016

Who of us would not want a deep, bold and stable confidence?stencil.instagram-ad-original

Unfortunately, to many people the thought of possessing this type of confidence left long ago. It could be that a significant relationship with a coach, teacher, parent or friend sabotaged that dream. As a result we often tolerate, make excuses and position our lives to insure that we protect ourselves from a sense of failure or discouragement in order to never deal with our utter and complete lack of confidence.

For these reasons this is the day I invite you to engage in the CONFIDENCE CHALLENGE!

Simply stated I want to challenge you to PURSUE a more powerful and sustainable confidence.

For over 18 years I have been coaching thousands of athletes and without question when I ask, “What is the one thing you want to work on?” the response 90 percent of the time is “More CONFIDENCE!”



Because so many of us are TRADING COMFORT for CONFIDENCE.

It seems that comfort has become the desired lifestyle pursuit for many.

However, this trade is coming at a GREAT PRICE. The price is our CONFIDENCE IN OUR CAPACITY TO CREATIVELY and RESOURCEFULLY lean into challenges, obstacles, adversity, and uncertainty and learn of our untapped CAPACITY. If we are to establish and strengthen a DEEP ABIDING BELIEF in ourselves we MUST NOT ONLY MEET THESE CHALLENGES BUT EMBRACE THEM. There are not enough AFFIRMATIONS, POSITIVE THOUGHTS or WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT from others that can match the deep belief that forms when we FACE and grow through these natural life challenges.

The fear of failure is epidemic in today’s society.

Many of us parents get anxious about the possibility of our kids failing, so much so, that we put up barriers in the form of making excuses, nagging and over compensating to insure they WILL NOT EXPERIENCE FAILURE. This pattern robs young people the platform to embrace challenge, work through struggle and construct the framework for TRUE and ABIDING CONFIDENCE.



This is a challenge to embrace. Joyfully engage in the big and small challenges that life brings your way daily. The challenge of generating the motivation to get a workout in, to courageously put words to your experiences or simply give your best to something all while letting go of the FEAR OF FAILING will result in growing confidence.

When the possibility of disappointment, discouragement and failure exists this is where your greatest opportunity to learn and grow also exists.

Lets stop choosing the path of least resistance and start choosing the paths of GREATEST POSSIBILITIES. This is where the true treasure of deeply embedded confidence is found.


Let us know your confidence challenges in the comments below!

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Why Does Confidence Leak?

19 08 2014

lack of confidence

Many athletes chase the evasive feeling of confidence. No matter how much they have practiced, how significantly they have sacrificed and how many experiences of success they have had, confidence seems to leak    faster than it can be replenished. Just when you feel as though things are moving in the right direction, you find yourself questioning and doubting yourself again. After working with thousands of athletes over the years one question always seems to take center stage…

 How can I feel and stay confident?  

What I have observed over 15 years is athletes have come to base their confidence on others approval. This source of approval could come from a parent, coach, teammate, or simply their own unrealistic sense of what success looks like, often grounded in perfectionism.

When the approval of others is the primary source of confidence then it is going to leak at a faster pace then can ever be replaced.

Here is why:

True confidence is cultivated through establishing skills that are tested, refined and deepened through the process of challenge, mistake making guided by a mindset focused on learning rather than constantly proving oneself.

The most confident athletes are those that invest themselves in the mastery of a variety of skills connected with the success they seek. This process consistently repeated is what leads to mastery along with a deep belief in the skills associated with success.  In fact, you could say that disappointment (which is often the result of being tested and challenged) actually plays a vital role in growing confidence rather than destroying it as many people seem to believe. Believing that the cultivation of confidence happens through only the approval and acceptance of others, as well as, continual success puts the individual on a roller coaster with little to no control to experience a deep belief in themselves especially in the face of competition and challenge.

Confidence, therefore, is the by product of a deep belief in skills developed through constant competition and testing; not the fleeting words of approval or even encouragement offered from others.

For this purpose I offer these tips to begin your confidence-growing process.


1. Know with absolute certainty what skills are needed to be developed to experience success.
2. Work diligently at becoming more accomplished at each of these skills.
3. Test your skills through competition. (If possible against others slightly better than you) Embrace mistakes as platforms for growth.
4. Commit yourself to learning from your experiences, staying clear of the obsession to over evaluate yourself.
5. Be fearless in your own self assessment while being able to notice what you succeed at as much as what you need to get better at.
6. Invest yourself in mastering skills verses playing “perfectly”.

If you want to have an abundance of confidence then invest yourself in mastering the skills

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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Discipline…get in the zone!

14 03 2013

ImageBeing a sports fan, along with working with athletes to enhance their performance, I am fascinated by the concept of discipline.

What captivates me is how easy it is to miss the deep value within the practice of discipline. The richness of this concept begins when you start to break down the word and realize at the root of the word discipline is the word “disciple”.  A disciple is one that positions themselves to LEARN. Learning is a critical aspect of development, performance enhancement, and life training. To live without discipline inhibits us from learning the lessons required to realize the self mastery needed to live in a manner that positions us not only for success, but as important, a life of peace.

Putting ourselves under a structure of discipline is like being mentored by a great teacher, sort of like your own unique personal trainer. Unfortunately, many have come to think of discipline as a life or torture and punishment.

Being disciplined forces us to face discomfort, which in turn kicks in our need for will power. Many of us our weak in will power because we engage in all sorts of avoidance thinking, actions, and comfort-based life patterns. To dodge life lessons through  excuses, comfort behaviors,  and avoidance eliminates our ability to learn the lessons that are taught through struggle and the use of creativity, resourcefulness, and imagination.

Challenge:  Choose one behavior that will force you to face some discomfort. Make a 30 day ritual out of that behavior. Spend the next 30 days executing that behavior. Experience the good feelings that occur as you generate success each day using your will power to fight all the excuses and explanations used in the past to act in an undisciplined fashion.

There are not any successful people I know that are not disciplined and have great will power. Make a commitment to strengthen yours today!

Mentally Preparing for Playoffs…

28 02 2011

At some point in your athletic experience you will most likely participate in some kind of playoff. These games come with greater pressure, more potential anxiety, and greater emotional highs and lows. So, what are the best ways to manage these very difficult times? This article is going to highlight three principles for putting your best foot forward during the playoffs.

First, have Realistic Expectations. Young athletes hurt their own performance as well as their teams when they think that everything they try should work, or they shouldn’t have to deal with things that go the other teams way. I have found that the more unrealistic the expectations the more intense the frustration. Having unrealistic expectations sets us up to be unprepared for what is most likely to occur therefore, putting us at a disadvantage when events unfold that are out of alignment with what we thought would happen.

Second, Focus on Actions Rather than Results. In pressure filled situations it becomes very difficult to remain poised and emotionally stable. When our bodies become overwhelmed with anxiety and adrenaline our judgment may become compromised and we become prone to outbursts of frustration and anger sometimes resulting in taking a penalty, committing an untimely foul, or simply performing tentatively resulting in less then excellent performance. This is heightened when we become over focused on results rather then the actions that are required to earn the results that lead to victories and excellent performance.

Third, Exhibit Emotional Flexibility. Playoff time is filled with ups and downs. There are moments of great excitement as well as great despair. Because of these paradoxical moments athletes are forced to deal with these ups and downs with poise and with grace. Doing this requires the capacity to be flexible and not allowing one’s emotions to get too high or too low. A phrase I have used for years to summarize this principle is “Never too high, never too low”.

Playoffs test our mental, physical and emotional preparedness. With the tips above, the uncertainty and pressure of playoff time can be an opportunity to shine and reveal your Mental Edge on your competition.

Best to you this playoff season!

To find out more about this topic and to schedule a private consultation, please call 763.439.5246.

Shaun Goodsell
President and CEO
Mental Edge

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Get Shaun as your personal coach for FREE!

21 07 2010

We are excited to announce we’ve launched daily Mental Edge video training.  Each day Shaun provides a short training on mental toughness and sports “psychology” to give you leverage on your competition.

Get your FREE training at

We want to help you be your best when it counts the most!


What does pressure do to us?

18 02 2010

Shaun Goodsell

Many athletes struggle to understand why they often perform better in practice then in games.  For some the presence of pressure leads to enhanced performance and for others the exact opposite is true. To answer this question we have to unpack how pressure impacts certain players verses others. Realizing there is no one single right answer for everyone.  The reason why this is the case is that everyone has a different formula for what brings the best out of them based on how they are wired when they find themselves in pressure situations. Let me illustrate:

Joe is a laid back person that takes most things in stride with a very easygoing personality. He is never really to excited and never really down. If you didn’t know him well you might assume that he doesn’t really care about much and is often accused of being a bit lazy. Practice is something that creates an opportunity to be with his friends and blow off some steam before going home for a night of Facebook and texting. For Joe the thought of a big game and any pressure associated with this game only serves to drive him into more perceived apathy and emotional disengagement because he is motivated and driven by comfort over achievement. As this unfolds a coach could become frustrated and overwhelmed, even a bit angry, as he tries to shape Joe into a more intense, engaged, and motivated player. Tactics could include applying more pressure telling Joe he will sit if he doesn’t bring more energy to the game and even yelling at him as he plays hoping to jar him out of his funk. All these do is entrench Joe more in his preferred social posture.  So, what are some explanations for what is going on and how to help Joe be his best?

First, it is likely that Joe is a strong analytical and is not prone to emotional expression. Next, the more external pressure he feels the more he will become introverted and over think everything he does because he values doing things right the first time and not having to repeat them.  In this case, pressure has the effect of activating the “over thinking” part of the brain and serves to paralyze him during competitive situations. The performance tip for Joe is to simplify the game, appeal to reason, stay calm, allow Joe the latitude to play without experiencing much external pressure, and to work with Joe to determine what he expects of himself and work to help him accomplish that.

Next we have Steve. Steve is a highly-strung athlete that approaches everything with great intensity and effort. He is a perfectionist with a very limited tolerance for mistakes not only in his performance, but with those around him as well. Practices are not only opportunities to improve but prove his superiority over those around him. His teammates both admire his intensity and are put off by it because of the inevitable critical statements that flow from him when he is under pressure. To his coaches Steve is the model that they hope to replicate and often name him a leader because of the work ethic and desire to win he brings to everything he does.  Privately, Steve is haunted with fears of failure, disappointing others, and is only noticed when he is successful. In big games Steve begins to feel like the fate of his team lies in his play and anxiety takes over and literally tightens him up from head to toes.  Fundamental skills become difficult and opportunities normally capitalized on with relative ease become very difficult. In this case, pressure serves to ignite more and more self-criticism bringing with it more and more intensity and pressure to succeed. Not only does he tighten up but his decision making process is negatively impacted by him second guessing himself and his intuitive instinctive play turns into tentative over thinking play.  Coaches trying to encourage him only feel powerless to interrupt this pattern.  Steve needs to learn how to calm himself and redefine how he deals with his desire for excellence.  In reality, Steve needs to learn how to lighten up. Pressure ignites a different series of internal events for Steve that is different then Joe. Understanding the unique ways that each player deals with pressure and what the impact of that is on performance is very important when trying to help players be their best.

These are some examples of how pressure can affect different personality types and impact the ability of that athlete to compete and excel under pressure.  As big games are on the horizon, understand that pressure has the capacity to eliminate the strengths of the best of players. No wonder we talk about the sport being 90% mental. There are many different personality blue prints that all respond to pressure differently. We have a unique tool called the TAIS profile that allows us to get a detailed blue print of how individual athletes are most apt to be impacted by pressure both externally and internally.  This blue print then guides our coaching so we can work personally to help players be their best when it counts the most.

For more information on this powerful performance tool you can visit the WM Show and Tell Video or TAIS Overview

If you would like to take the TAIS and work with us to build your personal blue print so that you can be your best when it counts the most, give us a call today 763-439-5246 and let’s get started!

Until next time, here’s to your possibilities!