How to Actually Live What You Teach: Actionable Self-Improvement for Coaches (w/ Free Download)Mar 14, 2019
The First Life You Change is Your Own
As a mental training coach (or mindset coach, as we call it), you cannot affect change in others unless you are willing to do the hard work of shifting your mindset first. It’s not just about achieving goals or pushing yourself, it’s about living what you teach. It's about truly believing and investing in the power of your own mindset enough to live in alignment with your values.
If you are a mindset coach, an influence to others, an agent of change, it is your job to be an example of what is possible.
So what exactly happens when you don't practice what you teach? Frankly, it's not a dramatic shift, it's a slow burn that turns your influence stale. Sometimes, it's even undetectable to anyone but yourself, yet it affects how you evolve and how you impact those around you.
Before addressing the simple, super impactful, actionable ways you build a life that helps you live what you teach, I'll start by talking about two big roadblocks that commonly prevent coaches from doing so.
You Don't Practice Self-Care
You push yourself; you have a high-powered career, you run marathons, you constantly live outside of your comfort zone, but you don't live a life of balance or alignment to any specific purpose. You are motivated by fear, of not being good enough, and of perfectionism. On the outside, you look ‘successful’ but it’s hollow. If you're caught in this cycle, you absolutely cannot coach anyone toward a life of balance.
This roadblock is hard to see. You're likely getting external validation, “Wow you’ve lost a lot of weight”, ‘Really?! You just ran a marathon?”...Needless to say, our egos like that. We can convince ourselves we are working on our mindset because it looks like we are.
You Play it Safe in Life
The 2nd road block is the 'playing it safe' variety. You stay inside your comfort zone. You are great at asking others to push themselves but you fail to do so yourself. It's not usually because you're lazy or unmotivated, it's usually because life gets hectic; you prioritize putting out fires and stop pushing yourself in ways that matter long-term. You're drained and uninspired. Life has become routine, and your confidence to take risks has atrophied.
You WANT to help others, but since your intuition, trust, and confidence is misaligned with who you currently are, you're stuck. You may prevent yourself from being vulnerable, and you may even adopt a self-sabotage or victim mentality. You aren't having the impact you want to have.
If you fall into either of these categories, you're not alone. We've all hit these roadblocks in the past. The question is, are you ready to start making changes today so that you can enact real change in the people around you?
Below, my team and I have gathered some resources to help you live what you teach.
"Success is nothing more than a few disciplines practiced every day." - Jim Rohn
Making mindset a daily habit is not something that just happens because you believe in it, it's something you have to actively work on (just like your athletes).
- Create a plan: Define what 'Mindset Work' looks like. Write down your process, and follow it every day. My mindset work includes:
- BRAVR - A 5-minute focusing exercise.
- Schedule it in your calendar: I turn my daily mindset work into a task that I call my 'Daily Mindset Beast', and literally block out a chunk of time in my schedule to complete it.
Need a hand developing your process? I've made my Daily Mindset Beast into a downloadable worksheet to help you get started!
Let's be real, nobody really 'gets it all done'. That said, there are a few things you can do to optimize the time you have without setting yourself up for burnout.
Identify your non-negotiables (and honor them) : This is super important. For me, this means being here for my family in the morning and at night, providing my family with healthy food, giving myself a little time to exercise, and setting aside time with my husband. For you, it might mean investing a certain number of hours into your hobby, attending big family functions, or taking a couple weeks a year to travel. Whatever it is, plan everything else around your non-negotiables.
Set your work schedule: When you're forced to manage your time better, you often get more done in the time that you have. Be clear about when you're on and off the clock.
Learn how to say NO: Saying no to one thing means saying yes to something that's more important. Pay close attention to the things, people, and activities that move your life forward and give you energy, and don't be afraid to say no to anything that doesn't.
Manage your expectations: I work well in short bursts (I call them sprints). Identify phases in your schedule or strings of days when you'll be able to focus, then set big goals for that phase. After your sprint, give yourself recovery time to focus on family, getting chores done, other passions, then cycle back through. Have high expectations for a time followed by low expectations for a time. This system will help you prioritize and protect you from burnout. I also keep an egg timer handy and challenge myself to COMPLETE a task in a certain amount of time.
Acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments: When you have a well-oiled, productive day, celebrate it. It's so easy to get hung up on the bad days, those are often the ones that really stick out; so it's super important to take a win when you get one!
"The most basic form of human stupidity is forgetting what we were trying to accomplish." - Fridrich Nietzsche
My very favorite goal setting tool is my planner, I take it everywhere with me; I dump my brain onto paper, mark it up, and get a little dopamine rush every time I cross something off my to-do list. It's the best. There is truly no mindset optimization that can be done with a full and cluttered mind; my planner allows me to clear up space in my mind, reflect, and stay focused on my daily, weekly, and yearly goals.
- Yearly Goals: At the start of the year, I do my Yearly Mindset Beast. I journal about what I want to leave behind and what I want to accomplish. This brings my year into focus and forces me to set intentions for the year that drive my monthly, weekly, and even daily goals. These goals may relate to my work, my health, my family, and my hobbies. We spend a lot of time on this in our coaching programs because this is the cornerstone of everything else.
- Monthly and Weekly Goals: I identify a few specific goals that I plan to accomplish in the next 30 days or next week. These goals are aligned with my yearly goals. I write down why these goals are important, and my plan of action to execute them..
- Daily Goals: Before I do anything else, I do my Daily Mindset Beast. A portion of this exercise is dedicated to setting and reviewing my daily and weekly goals.
I've also found that (especially if you fall victim to the second roadblock), sometimes goal setting is more about letting go of goals than it is of creating new ones. If you want to accomplish anything that requires focus and effort, you have to preserve your energy to focus it on what's most important.
You cannot keep your energy high if you feel guilty about some goal you aren't really serious about accomplishing.
Let's be honest, it's easy to believe that you can do whatever you set your mind to, and in a lot of ways, you can! After all, you are a mindset coach. But that doesn't mean that you have to do any of it alone; in fact, you're not doing yourself any favors by thinking that you can. Part of doing what you set your mind to means seeking out the people and resources that will help you get there and committing to the future you want for yourself. This may mean:
- Letting go of harmful relationships that are keeping you from your goals.
- Hiring a professional coach for accountability and direction.
- Joining an online community of people with similar values.
- Investing in your own mental training education.
Building a good support system is about more than just weeding out the bad, it's about surrounding yourself with people who make you feel empowered to love yourself and live your purpose.
To help your athletes make massive, life altering changes, you have to first show them what it looks like to live it out.
Defining and pursuing your goals, managing your time, making mindset work a habit, and building a positive support system will push you toward growth in a way that reinforces your belief in mental training, and empowers you to affect real, lasting change in your athletes.
Introducing: The Mindset Coach Academy™
As a Mindset Coach, the first life you change is your own. Once you have built mindset habits, put in the work, and felt the effects of mental training in your own life, you’ll fully believe that you can do anything you set your mind to. If you have a passion for mental training, want to invest in your education in order to offer more value to your team, or even start your own mindset coaching business, check out our Mindset Coach Certification.
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