Obstacles and Forward Momentum




Think about the following, and be truthful with yourself.

There are times in life when you will need to retreat a few steps. But at those times, is your energy and intention still moving forward?

You may feel loyal or committed to something you'd like to do or achieve, yet when an obstacle or bump in the road appears, or someone attempts to sabotage or stop you, what do you do? What is your response?

Reevaluate?
Give up?
Sit on it for awhile, and play out the emotions?

Or, do you retreat just enough to give yourself space to wait for an opportunity? An opening through it, with your eye focused beyond it.

In martial arts, this dual response is worked into muscle memory as an automatic response. Practitioners train retreating steps while keeping their intention and vital force moving forward. Specifically, in Chen Taijiquan, this forward-moving energy, which is actually present in all directions at all times, is a type of warding off energy, called 'Peng'. It allows for the practitioner to step back, always following the opponent, ward off the attack, yet awaiting and ever-ready for an opening to the offensive move. It applies no matter which direction the opponent is approaching. Both the retreat and forward energy happen simultaneously.

A commitment is a commitment. 

Of course, there are a multitude of sports analogies. That is a no-brainer. Just pull up an image of how an NFL quarterback looks as he takes those steps back or any direction to avoid being sacked; but you see his focus, and forward intention to locate the recipient and direction of his pass. You can see and sense it happen simultaneously in his body language.

Yet, it also transposes to life and life lessons. I'm certain that we've all read things other places that harmonize with this idea. There is, however, a difference between having the idea in your conscious mind and the physical manifestation of it. I'm not so certain that knowing about the idea will always enable you to act in accordance. 

Why?

Well, because of all of those pesky negative thought-patterns that surface and interfere. The ones that knock down your self-confidence and competency, and doubt your intention and goal. These thoughts and emotions keep you in a waiting mode or talk you out of it all together. In response, physically, this is where your focus and energy will flow. This is the energy you will begin to exude, scattered.

Scattered energy leads nowhere.

In Chen Taijiquan and other martial art paths, we train cultivating intention from a calm mind. We train the physical body to move accordingly and appropriately to the circumstance, in the moment. Not too much, not too little, but just enough needed. We train to align our entire being to answer the challenge at hand. We handle whatever is in front of us. In my personal opinion, we need our entire being onboard, ever aligned.

Around the obstacle
Through the obstacle and threat
By redirecting
By patiently waiting 
By using the energy of that obstacle or threat

Whatever is needed as you retreat to get a glimpse of the situation at hand. The larger picture in front of you, your intention still moving beyond. Our emotions about ourselves will eventually catch up. They always do.

Life will always happen, but we can always maintain forward momentum if we so intend. 

Stay safe and warm wishes,
Tami Daun
  

The Enemy Within. Commitment versus confidence


If you listen closely to people, you will hear them say that they would commit to certain endeavors if/when they feel a certain amount of confidence to ensure some success.

I find this quite ironic. Granted, from the principles of mental toughness and success, both are important. 

Yet, when we begin with issues of confidence, we run the risk of never feeling confident enough. Confidence is full of excuses, and it is greatly influenced by the ebb and flow of life. The caveat being that we may never feel confident enough, for all you perfectionists out there.

Lean in, and listen up. Let's take it a little deeper. 
Consider that minor inch-shift in mentality

Ultimately, confidence is a function of what?

Ultimately, confidence runs the danger of being the function of Ego. When leading an endeavor, ego is that false self that measures 'good enough', 'better than', 'measures of success'. If this is the starting point, I can guarantee y'all that it will lead wayside.
Why? Simply because too many of our ideas revolving around these issues are tainted by our blind spots of conditioning and self-esteem. Confidence is a buzz word in our Western societies.

So, is confidence vital in maintaining endurance? Of course it is, when placed and used correctly. But it cannot be the starting point in daring to take those first steps.

We have a term in martial arts and in Chinese martial arts, we talk about 'Yi' (loosely translated as intent) or Yi-zhi, meaning will and intention. 
Just for a moment, view this concept as another way to express commitment. 

When we open our minds and commit to anything, we override a large aspect of our confidence issues. We decide. We intend. We decide to make something happen, and that will mean learning and adjustments along the way. Yes, we need a certain amount of confidence to keep at it, but nothing can stop a strong intent, willpower, commitment. 
It means the commitment to say, "This is what I am going to do, and I will figure it out".

As we take those steps of small successes, confidence is built lending fuel to take it to a greater level. 

Tell Ego to step aside, and commit.

I don't care what it is. You decide:

A career endeavor
A health goal
A fitness goal
A team goal. Work, friendships, relationships, or athletics.
A personal development goal
A crises, health or otherwise in life

When the commitment is made cultivate an open mind to remain aware and receptive to opportunities that lead to steps of success. It is a much more efficient way to succeed. If we focus too heavily on our confidence issues, we remain stuck there. 

If you're a team player at work or otherwise, commitment to the highest objective takes the ego out of the way, abolishing selfishness and lends loyalty to win.

The greatest fuel combined with commitment? We'll cover that soon in a future post.

Want to know more? Want to learn how?
Contact us at Solborg 

Stay safe and warm wishes,
Tamera Daun




Endurance and the Mind






Endurance

The arenas in which we operate and strive for improvement are many; career, athletics, life, whatever it may be. There will be crucial crossroads, and times of exhaustion. They are inevitable.  

At certain points in life or training, we will need to go the extra mile and put in the extra effort, but it will rarely be without purpose. The experience of successfully pushing through discomfort helps us to grow, and helps us to handle even more of what life may throw our way. 

Whenever we challenge ourselves and wiggle out of our comfort zones one step at a time, we not only strengthen our confidence to do more, we ultimately train our endurance.

Endurance is built from the inside-out; one step, one workout, one day at a time. It is the decision and will to do so, the discipline to keep moving forward, and belief in ourselves to do it.

At some point we notice that we automatically gain second wind, third wind, or even a fourth wind. Each time we meet circumstances that demand an expanded capacity within ourselves, we will be better capable to meet those demands with less fear or worry. It doesn't matter if it's a chosen goal, physical training or life just throwing us a curve ball. 

Needing less time to re-group and re-coup, we catapult ourselves further than we initially imagined. 

Now hold that thought, and let's put it aside for a moment...

Individual responsibility put aside; the number of people preferring to engage trainers and coaches is on the rise for a variety of reasons. 

For athletes, this is a given circumstance.    

What role can a trainer/coach play in motivating and inspiring that extra effort out of their clients/students/athletes

Aside from the obvious talking points, there are also subtle little tools in the process of coaching and teaching lending great effect on the brain and more generally, the mind.

Building endurance is, in my opinion, most influential at breaking points of exhaustion. The point of surrender. The main reason being that in these moments, the mind moves beyond a state of perceived control, regardless if that state is negative or positive. It capitulates to frustration. In some cases, it short-circuits into a state of emptiness. Ego perception reaches a breaking point of what it thinks you can, or cannot do.

When you temporarily take the mind out of play, there resides chance that the physical body still has an ounce or two left. Squeezing those out builds that incremental variance, becomes stored into muscle memory, and expands consciousness. 

The mind is a tricky coyote to trap, yet at certain moments it can be beneficial to side-step it to a degree. Endurance is one of them

We can either walk through the front door, but we can also slide in through the backdoor. Preferably both. The purpose being to keep pushing for the mind and body to land on the same page.    

It may not seem so, but in this state the brain is wide open for suggestion or direction as to the next step forward. The next movement. 

When the client, student, or athlete seemingly cannot produce one more ounce; the window of opportunity opens wide. 

Important is how the performing individual has trained themselves to self-talk and power through. This is vital, yes. 

However, the trainer/coach/teacher also gains opportunity to amplify the sub-conscious effect, and it should never be underestimated. 

Mistakes made at these points can hinder and tense the individual, and create subconscious blocks. A teacher or coach must therefore strive to be a role model in mental mastery; ever present in the moment, and flexible and fluid in communication. They must believe in their student/athlete's highest development and potential. Moreover; caring, patient and generous with their energy and skill.

Fundamental elements:
  • Trust is fundamental.
  • Authentic expression. The trainer's exuded energy is paramount.
  • Proximity is important.
  • Intonation is vital.
  • Hands-on guidance is many times purposeful.

They are all subtleties for the experienced teacher and coach to internally check themselves, and master. Replay responses and results, and learn to better read the body language of athletes/students/clients.

  • It can mean a more effective endurance training
  • It can mean less frustration
  • It can mean better cooperation
  • It is functional and sets the stage for optimal teamwork 

Strength is little worth without endurance to utilize it. 

Want to know more 
Contact me at Solborg  

Stay safe and warm wishes,
Tamera Daun