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What I Learned on Vacation!

Mindset Made Simple Tip #106 – Watch or listen HERE.

Did you know that Boston Cream Pie is a cake? Me either!

Boy did my family get a laugh when I asked if after all of the ingredients were put together if it then went into a pie crust!

The conversation ended with this comment from my sister.

She said, “you are good at so many things, but cooking/baking isn’t one of them.”

Why would they call it pie when it does not have a pie crust, nor is it baked in a pie pan? That’s just dumb!

Lesson #1 on vacation – a pie can be a cake!

Lesson #2 came in the pool. Thinking I was the superior athlete, I challenged my sister and my 10-year-old son to a freestyle race in the pool.

Guess what happened next? Yep….we had to do it again because I could not believe I didn’t win.

Guess what happened next? Gracefully, my sister didn’t rub it in my face probably thinking back to my earlier gaffe about the pie…I mean, cake! But my dad took over for her! 😊

For some reason, my family loves to gloat over my losses…and my lack of knowledge. They seem to get a real kick out of it!

It is always in good fun, but these incidents got me thinking about how we approach things we do well and those we don’t.

As we head into a new school year, our athletes are about to embark on a journey of struggles, disappointments, frustrations and failures.

As I once heard Hall of Fame softball coach Mike Candrea say, your first day of college practice will be your best. It gets harder from there.

Why? Because college practices are designed to help athletes grow. This means we have to learn. And when we learn, we realize what we don’t know…that we thought we knew.

If we are learning, that means we are not going to be the best right off the bat.

And you know what comes next! Doubt, calls home, frustration…and more!

I was listening to a podcast recently and the guest, Dr. Rob Bell made a few good points regarding growth and how we handle failure. He said that not much exists on a mountain top. The environment is not good for growth at the very top.

It is when we are in the valleys, below the tree line, that we find the luscious beauty of nature.

It is the same for us. We are not meant to be at our peak at all times – try telling that to a new college freshman!

If we are lucky – or better yet – if we pay the price in practice, in our mental game and in our overall preparation, we will reach our peak. But the truth is, we do not live there. We live on the side of the mountain, working our way up.

And sometimes we live in the valley, learning and growing from our mistakes and failures, getting filled with the stuff we need for the climb!

But you know as well as I do that kids (people in general) don’t like valleys. We live in a race-to-the-top kind of world! So how do we help them manage the climb?

Try this. Take 2 minutes at the start of a practice or as you meet for the first time this season, split the team into groups of two and ask each player to tell their partner two things they do very well.

The first 40 seconds of the conversations will be awkward smiles and a lot of “I don’t knows.”

But eventually, they will rack their brains to give up something they do well. The female athletes will inevitably take longer and make this as uncomfortable as possible. Yes, this is a generalization, but you know as well as I do that women are not fond of telling others where they excel. Let’s work to change this…even with this simple exercise!

Once you have everyone comfortable with their two things, get them to think back to when they weren’t good at whatever they do well now. They did not come out of the womb with that skill.

They had to learn, grow and work at it.

Now it is their time to learn, grow and work at new things to add to their list!

When they hit that wall at practice and something doesn’t go their way and they begin to remember EVERY SINGLE thing they have ever done wrong…and it begins to spiral…and the doubt creeps in…it’s time to remember that everything was hard at first!

It’s weird. We can remember everything we have done wrong, but when we reach what we think is the summit, we forget for a minute…then the wind blows and knocks us off course and we have to remind ourselves that we have faced and overcome obstacles to get where we are now.

Now it’s time to do it again. What we don’t realize is that that summit we thought we were on leads to another mountain to climb if we want to get better! Because “the top of one mountain is always the bottom of another” (M. Williamson).

So instead of focusing on what we can’t do or what is uncomfortable now, we need a simple reminder of what has gone right in the past and what is going right in the present.

We must force ourselves into this mindset!

Just like I will choose to remember all the good things from vacation, while my family revels in my loss in the pool…and the pie 😊!

What do you do well? Do you remember how hard it was or how bad you were at first? How did you get where you are today?

Somewhere on your way to the top of the mountain, you struggled in the climb. And since we aren’t meant to live on the top, we need to remind ourselves that the way to the top is through growth and brush and all of that messy stuff!

We can remind our athletes of what Sam Cummings said, “the higher you climb on the mountain, the harder the wind blows!”

Manage the moments…keep climbing… and have a great week!


P.S. It’s time to start thinking about your team’s mental performance. Join teams in all sports from all over the country and get your mental game on track with intention. Contact me to find out how we can work together to make your team more consistent, resilient and responsible! Email me at or call/text 234-206-0946

Julie Jones

Certified Mental Performance & Mindset Coach

SSB Performance • 234-206-0946


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