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Embracing failure: The clumsy, embarrassing (and usually ugly) path to success

A guest blog, By Tyson Hartnett


It was my first game on my high school's varsity basketball team. I was a rising junior and the starting point guard after being on the JV team the season before. What do you know, my first game is against a crazy-athletic team that full-court pressed the entire game. Great, I thought. Just great. As the point guard, it was my responsibility to catch the ball and organize our attack against the full-court pressure.

At that moment (after my fourth straight turnover), I wanted nothing more than to hide and never touch the ball again. I was humiliated and embarrassed. But, even more so, I was scared. I was afraid that if I got the ball, I would fail yet again.

Clearly, it wasn't going very well.

At that moment (after my fourth straight turnover), I wanted nothing more than to hide and never touch the ball again. I was humiliated and embarrassed. But, even more so, I was scared. I was afraid that if I got the ball, I would fail yet again.

But, I...

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Confidence and female athletes: Haves or have nots?

Men overestimate, women underestimate.

If only I had a nickel for every time I heard that from a coach when they were asked, “What’s the difference between coaching men and coaching women?”

Which brings me to a question that has literally been nagging me for years:

Do women naturally have less confidence than men?

This question is really tough for me because I have this knee-jerk emotional reaction that screams ‘Of course NOT!’

But then a quieter voice asks, ‘Hmm. Do we? And, if so, what can we DO about it?’

In my work with male and female athletes of  all ages, I will say there are clear differences between the two. And two things stick out for me: Men somehow know that appearing confident is beneficial, even if it’s just a façade, and the ‘fake it till you make it’ principle really does work in regards to confidence.

Sometimes.

But, that’s just my opinion.

What do smart people say about this?

We did what...

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Creating change for better performance: Distinguishing between fixed & growth mindsets

Change happens on a cellular level. The gist is this: we all get hooked on hormones. For example, if you are used to being stressed all the time, your cells not only adjust to the high levels of cortisol (that’s the “stress hormone”) in your system, but you actually begin to like it, and then need it.

In short: you get “addicted”.

Ever feel weird while or shortly after relaxing, after experiencing a lot of stress? It’s because you’re on withdrawal; your downtime has literally become your rehab.

The same thing happens when you workout a lot: you get used to working out, your body produces and gets used to “consuming” dopamine and serotonin, and then proceeds to whine about not having those hormones when the workouts stop.

Personally, I've always had a hard time taking a real vacation (to the complaints of my wife). Going from high stress/high stimulation environment to peace and quiet was unsettling.

I was programmed for stress...

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