One of the most powerful benefits of working with a coach to improve emotional intelligence and develop your own self-coaching skills is the ability to overcome what I call ‘mental injuries’.  As an elite athlete, you’re probably pretty familiar with physical injuries, and you likely even have an entire staff of professionals dedicated to helping you and your teammates take measures to prevent them, and manage and overcome them when they do occur.  That is a truly beautiful amount of support, but the truth is, mental injuries are far more common than physical ones – yet many of us are never taught how to cope with them properly!

The three most common mental injuries that I’ve experienced myself and have also seen plague my clients are: failure, rejection, and overwhelm. Let’s quickly look at each one and talk a little bit about how coaching can help you reframe them with ease.

1). Failure

Most of us were taught that failure is bad, period.  Winning the game is good, losing the game is bad.  Pretty simple, right?  Not quite.  What I believe is missing in this equation is the distinction between worthy failures vs. unworthy failures. When we go BIG in a business venture or athletic pursuit, it is not uncommon for us to, at first, fall short of our big goal. This is something to be celebrated- not feared or looked down upon. You see, when we go big, we have to push past fear and self-doubt, but we get to learn so much as a result. We learn what works, what doesn’t, and what we can do differently next time. These worthy failures provide us with precious wisdom we would have not gleaned had we not gone for it. 

On the other hand, an unworthy failure is when we don’t go after our goal at all because we are scared and don’t want to feel uncomfortable. When we do this, we stay small and we fail to grow. So the next time you put yourself in an uncomfortable situation in an effort to grow, celebrate your worthy effort regardless of the outcome. Failure is part of success, so no need to feel bad. If you engage in unworthy failing by quitting in advance, there is no upside in feeling bad about it, but seeking some coaching can help you move through the negative emotions that are holding you back.

2). Rejection 

“If everyone likes you, you’re not doing it right”

~Bette Davis

Our primitive response is to be part of the tribe, and most of us loath being rejected. This is normal for everyone, but when you take control of your emotional intelligence you will come to appreciate that being rejected or judged has absolutely nothing to do with our own worthiness or lovability. There will always be people, even people who love us, that will judge and even reject some of our ideas and actions. You are not for everyone and this is something to celebrate.

This is not a problem until you make it mean something negative about yourself. Instead, try to remember that it is not you as a person they are rejecting or judging; they are just having thoughts about you. If 100 people see you do something in public, they might all have a slightly different judgment of your behavior, yet the only real truth is that you are the constant. Others’ opinions, judgments, or criticisms are variable. Not all people will like you, and that’s okay. What is important are your behaviors and what you think about yourself.

3). Overwhelm

Overwhelm is an indulgent emotion – meaning it is a feeling that is comfortable to us but does not serve us. Many of my clients believe that their jam-packed schedules and to-do lists are the cause of their overwhelm, but it is really the thoughts about the lists and schedules that are overwhelming – not the tasks themselves. The first step to shifting this mindset is to become aware or conscious when you notice yourself drop into this emotion. 

For example, I tend to complain or vent when I am feeling overwhelmed so this is my signal to pull back and buckle down on my thought work.  Further, when we complain, we increase stress and we end up spending time venting to ourselves or others that we could be using to cross things off of the list that’s overwhelming us in the first place!  In this overwhelm example, what I recommend is to tackle one small to-do item on your list.  Taking action, regardless of how small, will instantly reduce your state of overwhelm.  You can also choose to adopt the mindset that “there is time for all of this” or “I am choosing to do these things for a very good reason”. 

With these shifts in thinking, we increase our mental resilience, and when we know how to heal from these mental injuries we do not let ourselves suffer long.  Once you come to realize that these emotions come from your own thinking, it becomes possible to move through them by adopting new beliefs.

If you struggle to move past one of these 3 or want to talk further about any other mental injuries, please schedule a discovery call so we can chat about increasing your mental strength.

Mind Your Strength,

Melanie Shmois

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