GAME CHANGERS

PHASE 2: BRAIN POWER

YOUR AMAZING BRAIN

Welcome to phase two! Since you’re here, it is safe to say that you are starting to have a better relationship with your emotions! This is important because your emotions are going to help you access the greatest treasure you possess. The treasure I’m talking about is so rare, it is the only one that exists in the entire universe. It can’t be replicated or replaced. This treasure is priceless. It can’t be bought for any amount of money, and you have it – yet, you didn’t have to pay a penny for it. So really, it is the most precious gift you have ever been given. What is it? 

It is YOUR brain.

Your brain is the most powerful thing in the world. It is limitless in what it can create.

Human brains generate up to 70,000 thoughts per day. It races with the speed of the fastest race car. Your brain processes information dramatically faster than any existing computer and has virtually infinite storage capacity. And get this, even if you only had half of your brain, you could still be a fully functioning human being. I could go on and on about what brains are capable of, but I’ll let you use Google if you need more fascinating facts about your brain.

Think about it. Everything that exists in our world today, was once just a thought. Just an idea in someone’s brain. Human brains are amazing.

The things is, brains don’t come with a tutorial or owners manual. Most of you don’t realize that your brain functions like a muscle. You can train your brain similar to how you train any other muscle in your body. You brain can grow, learn, change, and become stronger OR it can build patterns and walls that limit you and make you become weaker.

Unlike your other muscles, your brain is the one thing that influences everything else in your life. 

Mindset is everything.

Your brain is similar to other human brains – it comes with the same default programming, but just like your finger print, it is unique to you. Your brain is like a smart phone. It can be updated and reprogrammed, but the default programming is necessary for it to operate. Realizing how your default programming operates is key!

You are the only one who can train your brain.

You are the only one who has access to your thoughts, your ideas, and your beliefs. 

Chances are, you have learned some things that aren’t helping you. Beliefs that limit you.

The good news is, you can unlearn these things.

But first, you need to have a basic understanding of how your brain functions.

Once you understand your brain, you will learn faster and have the ability to create anything you set your mind to.

Training your brain to work for you instead of against you is actually quite simple, but simple doesn’t mean easy.

Are you ready to take your brain power to the next level? 

Download the worksheets and join me in the next video.

THOUGHTS ARE THINGS

Can I tell you a quick story?

I have three dogs. My yard used to have a chain link fence that kept my dogs in the yard just fine. Until they discovered how easy it was to dig under the fence and escape.

So my husband built a strong, tall, wooden fence. The problem was, my dogs were used to getting out. They were obsessed with finding a way out of my yard. The thrill of being free and chasing a squirrel, a cat, or a deer was just too strong. They broke boards off the fence, broke our gate, and it didn’t matter how much my husband reinforced the fence, they found a way out.

That was a couple years ago. Now, my dogs never leave the yard. In fact, I can leave my gate wide open and they still don’t leave the yard. A cat or deer or squirrel can be right outside the gate – with the gate open, and they still don’t even try.

Do you want to know why? We have an electric fence. Actually, we used to have an electric fence. After all the fence breaking and doggy court visits, an electric fence was a simple fix. My dogs learned their lesson after only a couple attempts. They learned that going by the fence meant pain.

Now, we have kids and keep the electric fence turned off. Yet still, my dogs won’t leave they yard. Why? They THINK they can’t. My dogs believe they can’t. In their minds, they are prisoners, trapped in the yard. They associate life outside the yard with pain. They have no idea that the only thing keeping them in the yard is a thought that they believe.

“Leaving the yard will cause pain.” It isn’t true, not any more, but it doesn’t matter. This thought still controls their behavior.

This is the power your thoughts have.

What you think shapes who you are.

Thoughts are literally just sentences in your brain. Only, you don’t think of them as sentences, you see them as pictures, images, and ideas. You experience them as feeling. Thoughts create emotions you feel in your body. Which is why you spent the first phase of this program getting in touch with your emotions.

Whatever you think, your body makes it real.

For example, if you imagine biting into a lemon, it will create a response in your mouth. You can imagine the tart and bitter taste, and your saliva glands will respond – even though you didn’t actually bite into a lemon. The more vividly you imagine it, the stronger reaction your body will have.

Perception is reality.

You see, your mind can’t tell the difference between reality or something imagined. If it exists in your mind, it is real.

 So, what determines your perception?

The questions you ask yourself.

Thinking is really just asking and answering questions.

On default, your brain will ask you some pretty disempowering questions, like:

* What’s wrong with you?

* Why is this taking so long?

* What if I mess up?

Your brain will also give you the answers to those questions:

* You’re not good enough.

* You’ll never get it. There is something wrong with you.

* It’s your fault. You let down your team. Everyone’s going to be mad at you.

Can you see how this works?

If you want to take charge of your perception and the thoughts you think, you must ask yourself intentional questions.

The questions you ask give your brain direction.

You can think of your brain kind of like Google search. It doesn’t care what question you ask, it will find an answer.

There is a part of your brain called the reticular activating system or your RAS.

This is the part of your brain that controls your perception. You can think of it as the Gatekeeper. It decides what you focus on, what you notice or give attention to, and it identifies possible threats, which controls you fight or flight response.

Have you ever gotten a new phone, and all of the sudden, it seems like everyone else has the same phone? This can also happen when you get a new car – you start seeing that same car everywhere.

This is what your Gatekeeper – your RAS – does. It makes you aware of what you have told it is important to you. 

 You tell your Gatekeeper what is important to you by what? By the questions you ask!

So, this week I want to invite you to THINK about your THINKING. This is called metathinking.

Identify what questions you ask yourself, and determine if they are helping you or hurting you.

You cannot defeat what you cannot define. 

To define your thoughts, you must make them VISIBLE. 

How do you make your thoughts visible? You must write them down.

Writing down your thoughts is the only way to identify them and capture them.

One simple way you can do this is to keep your journal near you, and use it often throughout the day! This week, you will notice on the worksheets some simple exercises to help make your thinking visible.

Completing the worksheets will help you identify:

  • Thoughts you currently have

  • Questions you ask most often

  • If these are empowering you or disempowering you

This will help you decide what questions you want to intentionally ask yourself to change your default programming.

Thoughts CREATE and thoughts DESTROY. Where are your thoughts taking you?

Thoughts are extremely powerful, but there is one thing that is more powerful, and that is NOTICING the thoughts you have. Noticing is the first step. Being aware of what thoughts exist in your mind is a game changer.

I want to encourage you to use your journal this week. Commit to doing your Daily Reps and make sure to do the work this week to make your thinking visible.

BELIEFS

When you were born, you were given a bucket. It is called your Belief Bucket. I want you to imagine beliefs are like rocks. As you grow up, there are all kinds of people – parents, siblings, religious leaders, friends, coaches, the people in your life – who put these rocks into your bucket. Some are heavy, some are light. Some are big, some are small. Some are beautiful, others are ugly. For much of your life, you stood, holding your bucket, as other people filled it with their rocks – their BELIEFS. 

Most of the beliefs given to you were given with the best of intentions. They were meant to protect you and keep you safe.

The problem is, it is YOUR bucket. You are the one carrying it around. The beliefs in your bucket shape every thought you have, which creates every emotion you experience, and drives every action that you do or don’t do in your life, which ultimately creates your reality.

This week, I want to invite you to take a look inside your belief bucket. What beliefs have you been carrying around that are no longer useful? What beliefs do you want to add to your bucket?

A belief is created through repetition. If you think something once, you may not believe it. The more you think a thought, the stronger it gets until it becomes a belief.

Another way you can think about beliefs is like a table.

A belief is like the top of a table. It is supported by legs, which are thoughts.

What you might be surprised to find, is that most of your beliefs are based on your PAST, which is why most people stay the same day to day, year to year.

This can be a problem when you want to create something new in your future.

This week, you get to uncover beliefs that you currently have – more specifically, the limiting beliefs that you have. These are the ones that are creating problems.

How do you get rid of a limiting belief?

You first have to find it. Define it. You must acknowledge that it exists.  

Then, you question it. 

Limiting beliefs are reinforced by a lie. It is a sneaky lie, and you don’t actually know it is a lie until you examine it further. Asking yourself questions will help you find the lie so you can replace it with the truth.

The only beliefs you get to keep are the ones you never question!

For example, a limiting belief might be that you don’t believe in yourself.

Can you see how this is a limiting belief? 

“I don’t believe in myself” is the table top.

What legs are supporting it?

  • I don’t do what I say I will.

  • I always lose.

  • Other people judge and criticize me.

  • I’m hard on myself.

  • Nobody else believes in me.

When identifying beliefs, I want to encourage you to find at least four thoughts that support each belief (just like a normal table).

Now, question those thoughts.

Ask yourself…

  • Is it true?

  • What would be more true?

  • What is the opposite of this thought? Is there any truth to that thought?

  • Do I want to believe this thought?

  • What happens when I do believe it?

Really connect what results this belief creates for you.

If you like the results, keep the belief!

If you don’t, then it is time to make a change.

So, first identify a limiting belief along with the thoughts that support it.

Then, questions all of those supporting thoughts until you can disprove them or reframe them in a more empowering way.

Finally, decide one belief you want to actually believe about yourself, and create thoughts that are true (meaning you currently believe them) that support your new belief. 

Thoughts form neural pathways in your brain, much like trails through a forrest.

The more you travel a path, the stronger and smoother that path becomes. 

Repetition is the key! 

You can repeat thoughts by writing, thinking, and saying them.

A thought that is supporting and encouraging is called an affirmation.

Affirmations can be powerful because they are thoughts you declare to yourself through repetition. They are powerful when you choose affirmations you actually believe.

Every week, I want to encourage you to say one affirmation (at least) in the mirror to yourself out loud. 

Yes, I am serious, try it! 

There is also a great app called ‘ThinkUp.’ It allows you to record affirmations, and listen to them in your own voice. Another app is called ‘I Am.’ It provides all kinds of affirmations you can use!

Here are some affirmations you might try:

  • I love myself unconditionally.

  • I take setbacks as temporary and I bounce back quickly.

  • Yes I can, regardless of the circumstances I am faced with.

  • I no longer let people’s opinion of me affect me.

  • I am an overcomer.

  • I have a voice worth listening to. I care what I think.

Use one of these, or create your own! 

Find your limiting beliefs, question them, and destroy them. Decide what you want to believe. Stop letting other people put beliefs into your bucket without your permission.

Guard your mind. Remember that all beliefs were once just thoughts you kept on thinking.

 Just one empowering belief can completely change the quality and direction of your life.

Creating your beliefs on purpose is a game changer!

NEUTRAL THINKING

Champions don’t think negatively or positively.

They think neutrally.

This might be a new concept. Many coaches stress the importance of positive thinking.

The problem with positive thinking is that it usually tries to act as a bandaid for negative thinking.

Make a mistake? It’s ok! AKA don’t feel bad, you’ll get the next one.

Except, why would you want to be happy about a mistake? You know this doesn’t make sense. But you have probably been told you should “stay positive” when things don’t go your way.

In sports, mistakes happen all the time. You don’t need to think positively about them. You also shouldn’t think negatively about them.

I want to show you another way. The REAL and most powerful way to think is to think neutrally.

What is neutral thinking?

Well, let’s look at something has positive, negative, and neutral parts.

Like an atom. Hopefully you paid attention in science class, but if not, I’ll throw a picture up her for you to see.

An atom has molecules (like thoughts) that are positive, negative, and neutral.

Electrons have a negative charge, and they are attracted to the positive charge of the nucleus. In fact, atoms must have the same number of electrons and protons.

If your thoughts work this same way – and they often do, for every positive thought you have, you will have a negative thought for. Because you can’t have a “positive” thought without a negative. They are attracted to one another.

However, neutrons are not attracted to electrons. Neutrons only exist in the nucleus. What else is in the nucleus?  Thats right, protons. 

So, what this tells us, is that where a positive thought exists, so does a negative one.

Positive thoughts are useless when a negative thought is also present.

You can’t go from a negative thought to a positive thought. You must go from negative to neutral, and once you’ve done that, then you are already in the realm of positivity.

Neutral thoughts live in the same place as positive thoughts. You just don’t have to keep battling the negative in order for them to exist.

I want to invite you to really embrace this way of thinking.

What if you stopped trying to think positively, and just focused on thinking neutrally?

Neutral thinking is factual, non-judgemental thinking. 

Do you want to try it?

Let’s say you are playing a volleyball game to 25, and the score is 22-23, you are down.

If you hit the ball into the net, how can you think neutrally?

First, let’s identify what positive (trying to feel better) thinking would be. Maybe a thought like, “It’s ok, I’ll get the next one.”

As you learned earlier, there is always a negative thought lurking with a positive thought. What might that negative thought be? “No, you won’t get the next one. You’re going to mess up again. It’s game point now. There’s even more pressure. If you mess up this time, you’ll lose the game.”

Has this happened to you? Those negative thoughts are so fast, and they seem to multiply!

How could you instead think neutrally?

First, you must understand that the past doesn’t equal the future. Too often, we elevate the past. We give it far too much importance, when what we should do is simply acknowledge the past and move on. If you just made a mistake, that doesn’t mean you will make another one. In fact, the law of probability tells us that the more you make mistakes, the more likely you are to succeed in the future. 

However, even probability isn’t part of neutral thinking. Every moment, every play has a life of its own. It is important. It matters. You are responsible for it. But it has nothing to do with what happens next. Each moment, each play, is independent of any other play.

Thinking neutrally doesn’t mean you are a robot. You can be extremely animated, and still remain neutral and focused on the facts, on the reality of a situation.

So, back to our example. How could you think neutrally?

Thoughts like:

The score is 22-24. We’re still in this game. We need this point.

You can recognize patterns for what has been effective. You can spot an opening or weakness in your opponent the moment. Maybe the blocker is late. Or the setter releases early on defense. Staying neutral allows you to see possibilities and capitalize on them.

Neutral thinking frees up mental space. It allows you to think clearly. To find the truth, the facts, the possibility.

Neutral thinking allows you to stay in the moment. To give each moment its own history. It allows you to react to events as they unfold. It takes away emotion and replaces it with behavior. Instead of asking yourself, “How do I feel?” you ask yourself “What do I do?”

This week, I want to invite you to stop thinking negatively and positively and instead, think neutrally.

Use the worksheets to help you do this! 

Remember, Game Changers don’t think positively or negatively.

They think neutrally!

MOTIVATION

What is motivation?

Motivation is really just the reasons you have for doing what you do.

When you’re feeling motivated, there is action involved.

Can I get a little science-y for a second?

Did you know that every action you take requires a stress hormone to be released. Stress can actually be healthy or unhealthy. Lifting weights stresses your muscles, which is necessary for them to get stronger. So stress is an important part of motivation – because stress and action are connected. After you take the action, your brain releases dopamine. Dopamine is really important – have you heard of it?

Dopamine is responsible for allowing you to feel pleasure, satisfaction, and what else? You guessed it – motivation.

All humans are motivated by two things: pain and pleasure.

You will receive a dopamine hit any time you avoid pain, or anticipate pleasure or reward.

Your brain is wired this way for a reason – to keep you alive.

Did you catch that? Your brain isn’t wired to make you happy, it is wired to keep you alive. To help you survive.

Much of your motivation is based on your survival instincts. 

Your survival instincts are essentially your fight, flight or freeze response, which is controlled by your nervous system.

On one end, you have your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for resting, digestion, recovery, and rebuilding. When your parasympathetic nervous system is fully engaged, you would probably be sleeping.

On the other end, you have your sympathetic nervous system. This is the part of your nervous system that protects you with your fight, flight or freeze response. It is when your adrenaline kicks in. This part of your nervous system allows you to get out of a burning building, and also makes you jump or scream when you feel startled or scared.

The sympathetic part of your nervous system is important, but you don’t what to stay in that mode for very long. It activates whenever a threat or perceived pain is present.

When activated, you don’t think clearly.

You make irrational choices.

So, what is one way you can control your nervous system?

Your breath.

Breathing has the ability to control what you achieve physically and how you perceive your environment. It controls your thinking, action, and perceptions.

Breathing is the dial that controls your nervous system.

Breathing IN (inhale) is a sympathetic response.

Breathing OUT (exhale) is a parasympathetic response.

Check out the bonus video to learn more about breath work.

But the key here is being aware of when your nervous system has been triggered! This part of your brain overly active until you are 25, so being aware of how it works can be really, really helpful.

So, how can you use this information to be more motivated?

First, you need to realize what you see as threatening or painful. 

Remember, your brain can’t tell the difference between real or imagined pain. Anticipating pain is just as motivating as actual pain. 

You are strongly motivated to avoid pain – because if you are in pain, your brain thinks it could be life threatening, and it is wired to keep you alive, so avoid pain at all costs. However, most pain is not life threatening. Like speaking in front of a large group. Or running. Or feeling embarrassed. All painful, but you will survive.

What do you try to avoid? Some things your brain might perceive as painful are: physical harm, emotional harm, anything dangerous, or unknown. Feeling uncertain. Trying something new. Doing something hard. Being wrong. Missing out or standing out.

So, what would the opposite be? What does your brain perceives as satisfying or pleasurable? Well, your brain will be drawn to anything that seems safe, fun, or known. This part of your brain wants everything to be exciting and give you instant results. Your brain also wants everything to be easy and automatic so that it can save energy. This is when the autopilot part of your brain will kick in.

More importantly, pain and pleasure are determined by your beliefs. The reasons you have for WHY something is painful or satisfying will determine your perception, and affect your motivation.

For example, I had a friend who drank alcohol – a lot. I personally don’t drink alcohol, but my friend would express she didn’t think she could ever not drink. That is, until she got pregnant. Instantly, she was able to stop drinking for over a year. How was she able to do that? She had a compelling reason to stop drinking. The satisfaction of drinking no longer outweighed the perceived pain of harming her own baby.

So, if you want to feel more motivated, you need to know what you currently are perceiving as pain and pleasure.

Anything you see as simple, fun, easy, or rewarding will be motivating.

Anything you see as painful, boring, hard, or harmful will be unmotivating. 

Next, you need to have compelling reasons for WHY you want what you want.

Your brain is not very creative. Reasons to not do something are almost always “I don’t have time, money, or energy.” Or something along the lines of “It won’t matter anyway, so why try.” Or the fear that people won’t like it and will make fun of you.

If you want to do something MORE, make it EASY.

If you want to do something LESS, make it DIFFICULT.

You do this with your compelling reasons.

For example, let’s say you want to workout more, or push yourself more when you workout.

If you currently think that sore or burning muscles means you should STOP or that you could get injured, you will be motivated to not workout or to go easy on yourself.

If you think that sore or burning muscles means you are getting STRONGER and BETTER, you will be motivated to push yourself.

What you tell yourself in the moment matters.

Have compelling reasons for why you want what you want, and frame them to help your brain use them to motivate you.

You want to know something better than motivation?

Commitment.

Commitment allows you to align with your goals whether you feel motivated or not.

But it is nice to feel motivated, so use the default programing in your brain to help you! 

Use your worksheets to practice doing this.

Taking charge of your motivation and controlling your nervous system is a game changer!

BEST BREATHING

Your breath is powerful.

It is the one thing that can always connect you to the present moment. 

By controlling your breath, you will be able to be present, get into the zone, and instantly improve your performance.

Watch this video for an intro to breath work, and follow Breathe Degrees for more!