The Mindset of an Olympian with Chris Stanley, Florida State University & Sport Psychology Consultant for USA Track and Field

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Dr. Chris Stanley earned his BA from the University of Illinois-Chicago, where he was also an all-conference track athlete. Thereafter, he earned an MS in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Florida State University, and a PhD in Developmental Psychology from Loyola University-Chicago. He coached at Florida A & M University and Illinois-Chicago during these years.

He was full-time faculty at Winston-Salem State University and Florida Gulf Coast University, teaching Sport Psychology and working as a Sport Psychology consultant with numerous teams and athletes at these universities. Currently, he is research faculty at Florida State University.  He is a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) and lead consultant for USA Track and Field for the Tokyo Games and into the next quad. His scholarly and writing interest relate broadly to performance enhancement and development in educational and sport contexts. He is currently writing a book due for release later this year focusing on coaching athletes with hidden disabilities and impairments.

In this episode, Chris and Cindra discuss:

  • How to adapt a growth mindset
  • Why stay processed focused is key to peak performance
  • Strategies to respond to failure
  • Why it’s important to savor small joys
  • Mental tools that are “low risk but high reward”
  • 4 considerations when deciding how a breathing exercise will lead to peak performance
  • How the game “Whack-a-Mole” can be applied to your thoughts
“Mindset is related to ones perspective on growth and the ability to improve.”-Chris Stanley
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“Approaching tasks and goals solely based upon outcome is untenable.”-Chris Stanley
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“Savor small joys and victories.”-Chris Stanley
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Full Transcription:

Cindra Kamphoff: Thank you so much for joining me here on the high-performance mindset Chris how is your day going.

Chris Stanley: it’s going very well, Dr Kamphoff, thanks for asking.

Cindra Kamphoff: Well, that was nice the unique you called me so formally

Chris Stanley: Now we can go first name basis, I think we’re that at that point in our relationship.

Cindra Kamphoff: I think so to um well Chris I’m really excited about having you on the podcast today and talk about mindset of some of the world’s best. And I wanted to start and I’d love to hear and for the people who are listening to learn more about what you’re passionate about and what you’re doing right now.

Chris Stanley: Sure, and Cindra certainly thanks for having me I was excited to join and talk through some stuff where I can speak into and unpack some recent and past experiences. So personally on the surface and in terms of some nouns I guess I’m a psychology instructor researcher and practitioner there’s a kind of some of the three main buckets that a lot of. Faculty and academic professionals maintain currently I’m research faculty of quantum in the division of quantitative methods and innovation at Florida State University. Will also talk part time and their sports at Grad program in recent years and in an applied practitioner context and also the lead sports psychology consultant for USA track and field. For the Tokyo games so leading up to the Tokyo games and then for the quad thereafter, if I could also get a less a little less noun ish and throw some verbs in there, which I think is important. I enjoy educating and Problem Solving in relation to human development and performance.

Cindra Kamphoff: awesome very well stated Chris obviously we know each other from USA track and field that’s how I got to know you more. About your work and I’m really excited to learn more about your perspective and especially I think about, for you know there’s so many things we could dive into today but I’m thinking about for those people who are training for the trials and then the Olympics and how you’re going to be there to support them in Tokyo. What are you looking forward to about that experience?

Chris Stanley: So, you know I think we’re still in a point where we know I should say we have more questions and we do answers I think as a you know, sports psychology consultant I think I’ve always felt we’re in the position where we need to be the leaders in terms of adaptability. Wanting to prepare others, you know athletes and coaches, but ourselves as well, we need to be prepared to handle whatever might come our way, I mean coven has kind of become to epitomize uncertainty long so we’ve had to adapt in a variety of ways in educational athletic domains over the past year that hasn’t changed as of yet the Tokyo local Organizing Committee has offered a playbook, which is a you know detailed set of rules and regulations that continually gets updated as the Games approach, so they try to answer some questions and offer some clarity, but again, you know I think we clarify as best were able, we prepare as best rebel with the information that we have before us at any given time point and we continue to you know ask questions and you know practice athletic and mental skills in ways that we have reasonable expectation will serve us well, while we’re in Tokyo.

Cindra Kamphoff: yeah and I’m thinking about right this year, particularly with Kobe there’s so many things you have to adapt to as a practitioner, you have to be on but also care for yourself so I’m sure there’s a lot of things you’ve been thinking about as you prepare for that. As we dive into you know what you see in the world’s top performers, maybe just give me a little sense of how did you get to where you are today they’re Florida state, you know now going to the Tokyo Olympics, with the USA track and field team, maybe just give us a little snapshot of how you got here.

Chris Stanley: So yeah track and field, and maybe when you even peel that back a little bit running has always been you know something I found you know, particularly enjoyable it did turn into track and field in high school and then collegiate Lee as well. As It so happened, I was a student athlete and a psychology major at a university, where one of my professors Dr Gloria worked with us at F at. She mentioned that, during the course of a psychology class that was enrolled in, and that was years ago and a kind of some flags and bells you know went off, and I was immediately able to merge kind of my academic and athletic passions and in a ways, and so we stay in touch with her, I stayed in touch with her went on to Grad school at Florida State actually I had a first visit down their doctoral degree in developmental psych at Loyola Chicago and then from there after their after I accrued professional and apply to experience that Winston Salem state in North Carolina and Florida Gulf coast. I came back into the fold that USA tf and more of a formal way years later, so yeah 15 or so years after Gloria originally mentioned this was even a possibility. Professionally speaking, you know it started to happen, I started working and traveling with junior athletes and then have the opportunity to transition to lead for Tokyo games and subsequent quad.

Cindra Kamphoff: that’s awesome I love that you, you know first learned about it, many years ago from Gloria then you’re following in her footsteps. How cool is that um you know so given your work with USA track and field, I know you work you’ve worked with a lot of other high level athletes and performers and musicians give us a sense of like what you see the best do differently in terms of mindset.

Chris Stanley: So yeah every athlete you know they as you get to know them as a person, you see a unique array of traits and skills and interests and many of these you know physical talents and mental skills are malleable and they’ve been worked on over time, I think elite athletes experienced athletes I think they have that that background and reflective practice to know where mental skills are useful for them, they might define them in different words in different ways they might describe them in different ways than, then you might detect and say a sports psychology textbook, but they can detect where they’ve been useful, I think they can also detect where they would be useful. In a high performance setting and and you know it mental skills can still come up as something they feel they need to work on and sometimes that’s my approach us for the first time they can detect when mindset of the mental game would have made a difference it kind of makes me think of. Your talk about high performers elite athletes it kind of makes me think of deliberate practice and actually also speaking of the late Anders Ericsson and his theory of deliberate practice and how. You know, experts in a variety of fields are very mindful and strategic that is deliberate, about how they implement and practice specific areas and tasks and sub tasks they’d like to improve upon including cognitive ones, and you know they put in the time and hours to to build those skills and as a sports psychologist it’s my hope that well as a sports psychologist I know we are there to support that for for athletes and performers it’s my hope. They know where to find us.

Cindra Kamphoff: yeah isn’t that true. Yeah and I that I’ve noticed in my work with you know high level athletes, is that we might think that they’re sort of like perfect at the mental game rate but they’re human just like you and I, and so they experience doubt and anxiety and pressure. And you know I think when I talked to an elite athlete maybe there’s some nuances that sound differently, they might have a little bit more drive you know, but they still experienced the same thing that I do on a daily basis with you know thoughts I get in my way of success and things like that. Yeah thanks for sharing that I know a lot of your work, Chris is about you know kind of based on growth and fixed mindset and I want to talk with you a little bit about that what you see in your research, but also what you see with high level athletes, maybe even how you practice it yourself. Sure um, how do you want to start on that.

Chris Stanley: So I could just kind of you know, maybe speak about mindset, more generally, and kind of move into so my own, you know, research and personal experiences with it my own applications. So, and you know truthfully in applied areas I off I probably rarely use the word mindset with athletes you know, I think process orientation comes up more often, you know, maybe in some writing and papers, you know mindset comes up because that’s kind of a you know, academic term, but I also I usually you know with athletes talk about process and process orientation, but you know, generally speaking, mindset is related to one’s perspective on growth.

Cindra Kamphoff: and ability to.

Chris Stanley: improve, and you can kind of view it on a continuum where on one end is this growth incremental mindset which is a kin or apparent when someone believes they can improve. In a certain area contingent upon their effort and practice that they put into it, over time, on the other end of the continuum is kind of this fixed or entity mindset which is related to when someone invests in the idea, they either have a particular capacity athletic intellectual or they don’t the ladder this fixed mindset is it’s a very categorical I think type of thinking that you know you have it, or you don’t and you know it’s in sports psych and in education and other domains, you know I think we, we obviously want to nurture a growth mindset and you know I again I may not use the term mindset, often with athletes, but I use the term process orientation and I try to prompt that in dialogue. Whether it’s between me and an athlete whether it’s between the coach and an athlete and some of their feedback patterns or interaction patterns, or even the internal dialogue, you know as you get to unpacking and maybe working with some cognitive restructuring or you know some internal beliefs or self talk that athletes are having you might even want to try to you know, let them speak to themselves in process oriented ways and try to facilitate more of a growth mindset. But process orientation slash growth mindset it’s it has implications for mistake management has implications for learning and performance scenarios it helps an athlete move from scenario move from the idea that I am a failure and I can’t do this too I failed, this time, and you know what can I do to improve, and so it is kind of this internalized belief system kind of core belief system that that has a lot of implications important implications, when it comes to development well. If I could say you know just briefly in terms of research, so at Q amp my quantitative methods we recently analyze some longitudinal data with fourth graders and we had some predictive variable related to. Growth mindset versus fixed mindset and get some standardized literacy outcomes. And we found with structural equation model analysis, we found significant links between growth mindset and outcomes mean increases and growth mindset were broadly related to increases significant increases in reading skill in fourth grade, and it was unique this study was unique that we employed a sample that’s much larger than a lot of the other studies related to growth mindset which tended to be adolescents and young adults it speaks to the robustness and the robust nature, I should say of mindset and you know it really you know also invites you know further study I think in relation to mindset with younger samples, but the the fact that it again emerges that that mindset matters you know again speaks to you know, this is something that we need to consider when we are teaching coaching students athletes down to at least you know fourth grade level, but you know, certainly, I would argue that it’s relevant throughout the lifespan.

Cindra Kamphoff: yeah excellent Chris I appreciate what you said about how growth mindset is in the connected to reading skills and really important in terms of believing that you can always improve let’s kind of talk about the implications here. And I’m thinking about an athlete who is really hard on themselves, maybe had a really tough race or tough event or maybe practice, you know, a person in business, who might have just lost the sale right and give us a sense of maybe the internal dialogue that somebody might have if they adapt more of a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset.

Chris Stanley: Sure, so you know I think you know society has a way of emphasizing outcomes wow for us. Wins scores pass fail, when you get into a business sector, you talk about sales or quota I like to help athletes kind of push back on that a little bit approaching tasks and goals solely based upon outcome is untenable, I mean there’s holes in it it’ll just it’ll break down over time. Process orientation, you know impacts, how we communicate with others and impacts are intrinsic motivation goals we set how we view failure and manage mistakes, you know as a sport site consultant I like to process emotions with athletes. And I would do the same if I guess, I was an psychologist working with someone in the business sector. I like to process the emotions associated with you know the joys of victory, maybe the agony of defeat but thereafter plan with tangible behavioral steps for what’s next I also like to prompt individuals to savor small joy’s. Yeah and victories and again this might feed back into you know how individuals are setting goals and so yeah but detecting where you know small progress has been made and that can be important, you know, especially with you know, high performing athletes. What high performing you know sales persons, you know, sometimes over time, you know improvement can be difficult to detect. Just because you’re at a certain level and that next level up is you can go weeks or months without getting that extra centimeter or inch or extra you know X number of you know sales or dollars or whatever you’re kind of you know outcome very factor is and so anyway, those are some thoughts which come to mind when you talk about those issues.

Cindra Kamphoff: yeah I think that’s really great Chris and I am thinking about right how each of us can take more of a process orientation, the thing that I see when people are focused on the outcome is it tends to set us up for failure, however, we define it right, because it isn’t uncontrollable and. I think there’s a lot of factors that impact the outcome, whereas if it’s you know if you’re process orientated you’re more control over that so I’m thinking about what that means for you know I ran the 800 in the wild was mostly my event in college I ran a little bit longer like 3002 mile when I was when I was in high school but you know, maybe how I wanted to run that first lap or you know what I wanted to do in the straightaway, or what my mindset wanted to what did I wanted to say, or how did I want to feel at the starting line Those are all the things that come to me when I think of like the process orientation. What he. What, what is the process orientation mean to you.

Chris Stanley: So for me the process orientation is kind of like the you know I look from a goal orientation framework, you know you have outcome goals you know I think those are you know, important to set and to you know consider but walking back from there you have to consider the steps that would lead you to that point and working with you know elite athletes, it is fairly common to you know have athletes that have spelled out, you know numerous training cycles covering months, weeks even up to a year, where they really break down. You know exactly what they want to be accomplishing on a weekly, sometimes even a daily basis, and so you can really get into the weeds on process that might not be practical for for everyone in a wider sense. But you know breaking things down and kind of examining those specific, measurable observable kind of milestones tangible steps along the way is often time well spent and it’s time well spent as a performer but it’s time well spent as a sports psychology consultant to I think prompt this dialogue and work with athletes.

Cindra Kamphoff: yeah that’s great I’m thinking about how that’s really helpful to focus more of this process orientation at the Olympics, because you’re focusing more on the outcome and that can feel really overwhelming.

Chris Stanley: Absolutely.

Cindra Kamphoff: mm hmm.Chris do you have a sense of like how you practice this every day as a practitioner as a researcher as a parent as a person he goes going to give us some insights how you how you use it.

Chris Stanley: Sure, so you know i’m you know with professional roles and responsibilities, you know I kind of said with with athletes, you know you have these outcome goals, and you can walk it back, and I think I do the same professionally speaking with football with projects roles responsibilities, I find it time well spent to kind of look at due dates or major deliverables and kind of walk back and and set some milestones for myself that can be helpful. You know, from a professional perspective from a parental perspective I try to notice things my kids do academically in school athletically they’re involved in track and field and flag football and baseball now I try to notice things they do, which illustrates effort, I try to steer clear of giving technical advice and kind of getting too into the weeds of. Things they did or didn’t do and Cindra I’m like you I’m a former 800 meter runner and my daughter now has just finished her first track season and she was dabbling in the 800 as well, so, believe me, this got particularly difficult sometimes project my self you don’t want to her and kind of work by curiously. Through her, but whether it’s a topic or skill or sport they’ve been working on and there’s some type of noticeable improvement you know I tried to. I try to notice those things and make sure that is praise you know to them and for them, I let them know I’m proud of their effort and really I want to be the type of parent that. And let my children know that they’re my attitudes and affection for them is not contingent on outcome in any way. And so I try to keep that I try to internalize that and children and just messages like that very early behavioral message how I you know. I kind of display that behaviorally but also verbally and try to be mindful of that. From a different personal perspective, I try to engage in and appreciate new tasks, I try to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, so to speak. Even if I have initial apprehension and I’m talking about things like yard work like gardening things like you know playing the guitar which i’m terrible at all of those things, and more, but you know I still like to approach when something else arises and inevitably does you know I like to be engaged in new tasks where I’m still a large part of the learning curve and you know I can you know, sometimes it’s easier for me to engage in those tasks I’m not heavily emotionally invested in them, you know it’s they’re not career doesn’t impact myself as a professional or a parent or anything necessarily maybe as a homeowner but you know it can be you know, I think rewarding in some respects to engage in tasks where you’re in that again that that that girth you’re part of a learning curve and. Beyond that, again I’ve mentioned this before I personally try to save her small joys and victories whether it’s in those tasks, whether it’s professional ones and and so in those ways I kind of see you know process and effort you know bubbling up in in my own life.

Cindra Kamphoff: yeah that’s great I think about trying to do that myself, too, I can do it more often to be honest, Chris is like you know just even measuring your successes, I have this journal, where every month I just write down the things that you know I’m proud of myself that I did, I think that helps me kind of stay focused more on the process and feeling good you know, instead of kind of seeing the progress over you know what I wish that I would have done absolutely. You know wish that you were a certain you know kind of further ahead than, then you are. One of the things Chris I also hear you say often is the kind of this low hanging fruit so there’s some of these kind of small strategies that we can use maybe the tools that might be seen as simple, but that we can apply really to help us be our best and help us kind of perform on demand. Can you give us a sense of maybe what some of those might be that you might suggest an athlete do or and we can apply to you know other areas besides athletics is we’re talking.

Chris Stanley: Absolutely so yeah I use the term low hanging fruit I think sometimes the phrase low risk and high reward also comes out but if you really want to unpack the low hanging fruit I guess you know metaphor it’s that you know you don’t have to overextend yourself to get something that is going to be particularly useful for you. And you know more recently I’ve been working with athletes, even this last weekend at attract me, you know I’m watching athletes I’m talking with athletes and you know something that that bubbles up often is you know how are we managing and regulating in those moments seconds minutes, even before a gun goes off or before you step into the ring or before you’re clear to go on a runway you know those can be you know intense places for athletes and I think sometimes it can even be accentuated if there’s some type of a delay, whether a technical delay starting pistol isn’t functioning or there’s you’re waiting for a TV timeout so and there for that or introductions you know, maybe there’s a weather delay or something. I think you know those moments those intense emotional and cognitive intensities can be experiences can be accentuated and it might take you to places you don’t want to be, and so, for me, with some recent dialogue I’ve had some of the low hanging fruit is breathing techniques and you know I’m confident to speak into that because there’s a really depth of literature and health and clinical and even sports psych supporting. You know breathing techniques is kind of a harness of cognitive and physiological arousal and I think sometimes people may think breathing is just related to like a relaxation response and it doesn’t have to be I think classically that’s how it’s introduced, but you know in those moments before you know again a gun goes off before you step into the throw. You know you don’t necessarily you’re not necessarily going for a relaxed state or deep relaxation, you know you it’s not necessarily the case and so. These breathing techniques and there’s a variety, to choose from, they can be customized according to the individual according to the tasks you can customize an individualized them according to the kinesthetic movements that you focus on the count in the rhythm there’s belly breathing I think that’s the most classic technique associated with relaxation, because that. That kind of stimulates that Vegas nerve and that that relaxation response there’s also techniques called roll breathing where it’s not just the belly but now you’re incorporating also kind of a kinesthetic movements of the chest as well, and you kind of get its role breathing also kind of called wave breathing as well there’s different counts, you can experiment with you can you know have something a little more rapid counts, where it’s kind of following your inhalation and exhalation you can incorporate a pause in between inhale and exhale if you want, you can have calm or forceful breaths. I think it’s traditionally important to be inhaling through the nose and out through the mouth, but you know what these breathing techniques do and again you experiment with it, you customize it according to your needs it does a couple things you know, particularly with like a belly breathing it can you know lesson kind of this physiological and cognitive you know activity states, not necessarily you know by much in that time in place, but it can move the needle. I think perhaps more importantly, though, it offers cues again whether it’s kinesthetic cues counts breaths it gives the athlete or poor form or something which takes up cognitive space which otherwise might be filling with these tasks irrelevant information from the environment from one’s own mind you know, maybe this is some of those What if type thought that they just they don’t necessarily serve a purpose than in there and it’s just kind of creating noise, and so I think that’s one of the most lowest lying of the fruit is to work on that and again it’s low lying in the sense that it’s low risk, high reward the athlete will not have to overturn their pre performance routine you know in any way it’s largely undetectable. You know, to the casual observer what an athlete might be working on and those ways I think it’s very desirable useful thing to impact more and work with an athlete on, but the key is with that and other tasks, you want to work on it when time is abundant if you have that luxury so you’re prepared for when time is limited.

Cindra Kamphoff: yeah that’s a great way of saying that I’m thinking Chris I’m hearing you speak I’m thinking about myself and there’s moments where like I’m on the starting line and maybe there’s a delay and I’m comparing myself to the other runners either like wow she looks a lot faster than me you’re stronger than the and then suddenly I’m in my head, you know and. The gut you know guns going to go off and I’m not really in the mindset, to be my best right so and obviously that’s why I got into the field that I’m into the field that we’re both in is because I struggled with mindset myself and I didn’t necessarily have these really practical tools and that’s what I’m hearing in the breath is you know. We always have it with us we’re always breathing but like using it more and a deliberate way and I, like you know the different options that you gave us. How might you, you know suggest that people consider what options do we better for them if it’s like an option with counting or belly breathing or roll breathing or rapid counts, you know what’s your thoughts on adapting it to what people need in the moment.

Chris Stanley: So you know I think I. I think I use this term before, but you but you experiment and you yeah you start and across contexts in you know I think you get to know your body’s own physiological response to belly breathing too and kind of be able to. You know activate that relaxation response, I think you try various counts, I think you try various pieces and rhythms I think you try it in I think you set up mock scenarios if you’re a ball, you know even in practice, contacts you know a lot of athletes you know, talk about. You know, wanting something a little more forceful. Well, if that’s the right word, you know, in the moments leading up and they might have one final kind of cleansing kind of focusing type breath but backtracking from that it’s just it’s something again more deliberate it’s a faster count it’s you’re doing it almost more for the attentional Kenneth cues that it’s giving you to kind of focus on take up again that cognitive space that otherwise might be occupied by your lap your relevant thoughts or you know extraneous noise so it’s usually just a it’s an experimental you know approach and. You know if I had if I’ve worked with 10 athletes I’m employing this and, in some ways, you know a lot they’ve arrived at, you know 10 different you know, specific techniques that that works for them oftentimes, we have to pare it down and keep it simple that’s largely what I want to do is keep things simple, but you know the breathing techniques, sometimes it’s breathing techniques, I should say you know they are useful, you know in and of themselves but oftentimes there can be supplemental or accompanying exercises we work on again and, in time, abundance scenarios, you know, one of those you know some of these you know, cognitive restructuring. You know why exercises so when you’re coupling these things together what you’re doing is creating kind of you know layers almost of tools that the athletes can employ and you’re strengthening that that response it’s not just about the breath, but now you have you know cues to go along with it to help mitigate some of these some of these spots and that’s often the outcome it’s lessening the cognitive noise.

Cindra Kamphoff: wow that’s great Chris and I’m thinking about is having like this toolbox of tools that mental tools that we have maybe around our waist right do we can use in the moments that we need to they’re invisible right, but we have them. So, give us a sense of you just said, you know, maybe these irrational thoughts I’m thinking for an Olympian and obviously you’re traveling with them in July to Tokyo and I’m thinking about sometimes you know and Libyans might even get in their own head, you know, maybe they’re thinking about the moment making it bigger or thinking about the people who are watching at home and their thoughts, maybe get might be a little bit not very logical or irrational how might you help somebody who has thoughts that aren’t serving them in the moment to be their best.

Chris Stanley: And you know, and I start off, you know, often by saying that you know these What if thoughts. Or are part of the human experience they really are it’s part of a natural condition. And you know, sometimes when you talk about what IFS when you talk about worry. When we do that and we end up being wrong, you know we often assign you know that Okay, so that was nonsense that was even you know paranoia there was nothing to it it’s completely irrational you know, sometimes we worry, though, and we’re right, and you know that’s more akin to being that’s more akin to like intuition, and so I say that sometimes, in the sense that you know, not all what IFS are wrong, and they it’s not like we’re out to expel them completely from our psyche or ourselves, and so, but we do want in some situations like those pre performance situations we want some tools, maybe because that’s not the time to be having those conversations again, it can stimulate arousal anxiety, we just don’t want. So i’ve been talking to athletes about again those moments prior have mentioned that you know they, they’re in the blocks they’re approaching the ring and just you know when these What if thoughts start to emerge, what can we do you know these what ifs, are these doubts about ability belonging strategy, what can we do to kind of mitigate them. And a basis of cognitive restructuring is disputing these thoughts again in time abundant context. When I have time with athletes we unpack these we identified some of those common thoughts and we try to dispute them and concise logical ways and we couple that with kind of a new redirected que all whether that’s A word or a phrase in a way you’re having the athletes, you know irrational thoughts have a bit of a dialogue with their rational self or thought that that’s the dialogue that’s the discussion time. So, in a way it’s a personal dialogue and I think the rational side is is putting themselves in a position to protect their own space okay, saying we’re having this conversation now because later I’m not going to have the time or energy to it and. Maybe some people have had that experience with other people in their lives, and I said, you know we’ve already been through this I don’t have the time or energy to get through that again and, in some ways I think that’s analogous here. But you know, so we go through those exercises we unpack them we dispute them we but again that’s something we work on over time we couple it with breathing and you know you talk about tools and I envision like a hammer, or a mallet almost and I use the analogy of like whack a mole, which is a game that you might see at fairs and festivals or chucky cheese, or something like that. But again we’re not trying to expel you know turn off this which of these what ifs, because that is practical probably impossibility, but do you have tools, where you can kind of you know whack them back down or mitigate them or lessen their intensity. In certain situations when you don’t need them, and I think, with some of these techniques breathing you know, cognitive restructuring, maybe having some keywords when you put those together when you practice them. In practice, context at meets leading up to bigger meets like trials, you know I think you’re setting yourself up to have this mouth in hand and again it’s more like whack a mole you get one pops up, you can maybe get it back down presumably, another one will pop up, but you have that you know same tool and mal in place and by practicing it you’re only strengthening. Your reaction time you’re only strengthening your precision your forcefulness. But it’s a very real, you know set of mental skills that I think complement one another and they converge nicely for that pre performance scenario that I’ve been talking about that has been bubbling up you know, in very real ways recently so yeah you speak of tool belts and I think, I think of a mallet.

Cindra Kamphoff: that’s perfect you got the mallet for your tool belt invisible mallet and I love that analogy I’m just thinking about somebody said it standing on the starting line you know with the whack a mole around them, just like me of pushing down those disempowering thoughts and how sometimes we need to do that particularly moments of pressure or uncertainty I’m thinking about. I do a lot of keynote speaking Chris and there’s been a few moments, where I’m like at a speaker showcase. And you know, there are 20 other speakers and I have to get up and do my thing, and it can be a moment where all of a sudden, the doubt you know it’s like well where did where did that come from so you’ll having some strategies to kind of whack that down it’s not really helpful in that moment to be thinking about where you are.

Chris Stanley: I think public speaking, you know, is absolutely another scenario where this would play out and it’s interesting you know you. You might have public speaking engagements and you know all of a sudden you’re kind of gaining credibility and notoriety and you know you’re doing it in front of an audience of 20 then maybe 40 than 50 and then it jumps up to 500 and all of a sudden you’re in a new place in terms of pressure that happens in athletics often. Is that athletes are under the radar I guess I’m speaking about track and field now, but their quote unquote under the radar you know they throw this are they run that are they jump that are they bought this and then in a particular me because they’ve been preparing well. They throw that extra inch or more, they throw an extra you know centimeters they get over the bar, you know a few extra centimeters they run. You know, depending upon the if it’s a sprint they run a few hundreds of a second faster if it’s a distance race, maybe they log off numerous seconds, but next thing you know, in the sport of track and field that can elevate you to kind of a next tier and all of a sudden, you went from under the radar to on everyone’s radar and you’re in a much more pressurized environment, and so I think that’s a very relevant analogy for this particular work.

Cindra Kamphoff: I lost you, you must have stayed on but I jumped off.

Chris Stanley: When you I think I trailed off maybe intentionally when you kind of froze up a little bit so not hopefully not too much was lost I was kind of finishing my thoughts on the public speaking.

Cindra Kamphoff: yeah that’s perfect well no problem well so as we wrap up. With your final thoughts on you know when I think of Olympians performing at the games with millions of people watching right and how we can learn these same things that they might use and in different moments of pressure in our own lives is there anything else that you want to kind of close us with or help us consider that we might be able to use that you might have in your toolbox.

Chris Stanley: You know just some you know general pieces, you know I encourage people to expand their own definition of winning to include effort and learning and that’s, not just for themselves, but that’s for you know younger athletes or children, or you know supervise ease that they may be, you know mentoring in a particular field see progress on a wide Arc.  Hall, and you know again heavily laden with effort and learning and you know, try to push back on some of the societal and professional tendencies to always understand you know people and events in terms of kind of that outcome remember that external dialogue has a way of becoming internal dialogue, so you know, try to talk to others, you know coaches. Sports psychologist colleagues supervisors family and a process oriented way about yourself, or that let them and let that language and those types of questions you know kind of permeate You know yourself and others, and you know I one of my favorite quotes is from Nelson Mandela, he said, I never lose I either win or learn, and you know, I think that nicely captures you know where I come from everything about growth mindset and you know process orientation, I think, at the heart of it all that’s kind of the this the Center of it.

Cindra Kamphoff: awesome Thank you so much, Chris I am so grateful for your time and here’s some things that I took away from our conversation, as I wrap up and summarize so when we started, we talked a lot about kind of growth mindset and fixed mindset and you kind of also talked about how the best athletes that you see know where mental skills fit in right and know when they can use them. But this growth mindset is really about seeing that you can improve and the process orientation is really a big part of that kind of savoring the small joy’s we also talked about you gave us lots of different breathing strategies that we could use and helping us think about which one would be most important for us to use and kind of experimenting with that. I really liked this whack a mole idea, a good visual of like what to do in the moment and really appreciated everything you just said at the end there, so Chris how could people reach out to you if they want to learn more about your work or connect with you in any way.

Chris Stanley: So I have somewhat of a subtle, I think you know web presence, so you know, I would just you can reach me via email at CT Stanley so that’s CT St AE l E y 800 at Gmail.com very hundred being my event and awesome. And then yeah So if you shoot me an email, I’ll be happy to connect and we can unpack you know things, maybe a one off type thing or, if you have an APP for your team you want connect me with or you know just anything reach out I’m happy to happy to dialogue.

Cindra Kamphoff: that’s wonderful yesterday I was thinking what’s the 800 well there we go. Nice clear, thank you, Chris I’m so appreciative of your time and energy, and thanks all for all the work that you do for our Olympians.

Chris Stanley: And I’m grateful for the opportunity Center thanks so much.

Cindra Kamphoff: Thank you.

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