Quick Thoughts

Don't Let Fear Win

We all experience fear, but what is it? Fear is fantasized outcomes appearing real. In my terms…fear is self created by imagining a negative outcome in the future. Um, so fear isn’t even real? The feelings associated with it certainly are. But the event we are “afraid” of hasn’t actually happened (and may never happen). Yet we give in to fear ALL THE TIME! Does fear ever stop you from achieving or doing something you really want to do? I know for many years I had let fear rule me. As a freshman in high school I went out for the track team. I started hurdling and sprinting and was having fun, but what I really wanted to learn was the high jump. I was decently tall, had ok hops and was somewhat flexible. One of my older friends whom I looked up to a lot was our only girl high jumper. She started to tutor me, and I was showing promise and having a blast learning the new skill. Our first meet was at a small school in the middle of nowhere. As I was warming up for my first two events (hurdles and high jump) I looked over to the high jump pit and noticed there wasn’t really a pit, just a net full of foam wedges laying on the ground. I panicked. A host of imagined outcomes raced through my mind. What if I missed the “pit”? What if I knocked the bar off and landed on it with no padding? What if I did something really stupid and made a fool out of myself? I was already extremely nervous and didn’t know quite how to control my emotions. My hurdles were to be run at the same time as the high jump. Usually in a small dual or tri-team meet they allow you to go back and forth between field events and running events. I knew this, but used the fact that they were at the same time as an excuse to bail on the high jump. The extremely sad thing was, that I never went back to the high jump. Not in 4 years. In fact, the next time I approached a high jump bar was when I was 9 months pregnant and trying to induce labor by helping run a track clinic.

Does fear ever paralyze you in that way? Oh how I wished I knew then what I know now. What I know now is that courage is not the lack of fear (as I had assumed until a few years ago). Courage is being scared to death, and jumping into the “non” pit anyway. Courage is wanting to throw up at just the thought of the 300 hurdles, but getting in the blocks anyway. I lacked courage. I lacked the mental strength to look my fears in the face and say, “To heck with you! I am doing it anyway!” I lacked any strategies to deal with my fear. I have learned a few of them now. I am constantly learning more. But for those of you who are debilitated by your fears, try some of these on for size.

1. Try the Harry Potter method of dealing with the Boggarts. Imagine your fear in the funniest way possible. (Ron imagines a spider’s legs (his deepest fear) in roller skates and it is struggling to stay upright). Use laughter to diminish the situation.

2. Figure out what you are imagining that is bringing up the fear, then imagine the opposite. Your brain is unable to handle both thoughts at the same time. Eg. I was imagining myself missing the pit and making a fool of myself. Instead, imagine making a great jump, hitting the pit just right, and doing well.

3. Take a moment to pay attention to the physical sensation you are feeling with the fear (sweaty palms, butterflies, etc.) Imagine the physical response you would like to have. Really take time to focus on that positive feeling.

4. Eliminate some of the risk. Maybe jumping off the 50 foot cliff is a bit overwhelming. Try a 4 foot cliff first. When that no longer scares you to the point of not jumping, go to a 6 foot cliff. Continue to move forward (even if the process is slow) until you can jump off the 50 foot cliff. Remember that it is common and normal to still feel fear, but having the courage to jump is what we are looking for, not eliminating the fear.

5. If bite size pieces isn’t for you, bite the bullet instead and take the big leap all at once. Often, the stress of thinking about doing something is worse than actually doing it.

I love this quote by Alberto Salazar, winner of three consecutive NYC marathons. “If you want to achieve a high goal, you’re going to have to take some chances.”

There’s still a chance you will miss the “pit” and land on the bar, but you won’t ever have the chance to make it over the bar unless you actually jump.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly” -Robert F. Kennendy

2015-02-11 Shelly (Glamour Portfolio)-0008 (1)Shelly Coray is an inspiring speaker, trainer, coach, and mom. She has helped hundreds of youth and adults gain greater control over their thoughts and actions and achieve higher levels of success through her workshops, speeches and training programs. Find out more about her HERE.

Kids Should Be Climbing Trees

My 9 year old daughter just called me outside to see her scale the 40 foot Maple tree in my backyard.  Before you panic and call me a horrible negligent mother, let me tell you why I am so proud.  My 9 year old (who has struggled since she was 6 with depression and bullying) is sporting an “ear to ear” grin.  She has spent the last two days trying to get into every tree she can find.  So what!  Big deal.  But for a child who is riddled with fear and doesn’t believe she has the same athletic ability as her peers, I am stunned. A few weeks ago I attended a coaches training with Al Joyner (Olympic Gold Medalist), Craig Poole (BYU head Track and Field coach for 30 years), Jeremy Fischer (coach of current 5 time world champion and Olympic gold medalist), and Art Venegas (UCLA head Track and Field coach for 28 years).  All of the coaches are current US Olympic coaches doing amazing work.  Can I tell you what an honor and privilege it was to be in the same room?  I sat right on the front row just so I wouldn’t  be distracted.

Jeremy mentioned that he is seeing a growing epidemic.  Many of the athletes he is working with missed opportunities in their youth to learn how to use their bodies.  He said he is surprised and disheartened at how many kids have never climbed a tree, did a cartwheel, and the like.  Too many of our kids spend far too much time watching TV, playing video games, or messing around on our devices, and it’s hurting our kids (not just their brain development and health level, but also their ability to move).  I admit, until that moment, I was THAT mom who was scared to death to allow my children to do anything adventurous.  What if they got hurt???  If I look back statiscally, so far we have only had 2 semi-major injuries in the last 10 years.  Stitches from a nasty bike wreck, and a broken collar bone from falling of a  chair at a store.  And really, neither injury severely hurt my kids or has affected them long term.  So the fear is really not even substantiated. 

Coach Venegas followed up Jeremy’s concern by stating that if we really want our children to be good athletes (really, if THEY want to be good athletes) it would be wise to start them in gymnastics when they are young.  This teaches them how to move their bodies on all planes (side to side, front, back, upside down) and also teaches them strength and control.

Michael Johnson, Olympic gold medalist and at one time deemed “Fastest Man in the World” believes this same philosophy.  He talks in his book “Goldrush” how we should encourage our children to participate in several different sports and activities.  Let them try them all out.  Don’t get sport specific until they have really learned to use their bodies in all ways.

My mentor, and coach of multiple state champion throwers, Gary Nielson taught me a valuable lesson.  Often our track team was on the lookout for good athletes.  Once in a while, a baseball or softball player would assume that since they could throw and were one of the top performers on the team that they were a good athlete.  They would step out to the track to see if they could help the team any.  Some of these athletes had great success.  But often we noticed that they weren’t as athletic as everyone thought.  Being a “good” athlete is more than being the best in your sport.  A truly athletic person can throw AND run AND jump. They have learned (or were blessed with) coordination.  They can move side to side without falling flat on their face.

All four of these Olympic coaches noted a need for their athletes (remember, the ones training for the Olympics and winning World Championships) to participate in all different modes of training.  Their athletes are often in the pool swimming or on a bike.  Coach Venegas even stated that if you want to be a good shot putter, it would do you well to learn to negotiate the hurdles.  Before you say “Huh?” Think about it.  What does it take to make a good hurdler?  Timing, coordination, flexibility, speed, focus.  Tell me those things aren’t needed in the shot put.

I don’t know if my 9 year old daughter will ever want to be a competitive athlete, but I love the fact that she is learning to appreciate what her body can do for her.  And the smile and confidence she is gaining in herself and her own ability can’t be replaced.  Which is why I am not freaking out that my 4 year old is now up in that tree with her!

Kids Should be Climbing Trees

2015-02-11 Shelly (Glamour Portfolio)-0008 (1)Shelly Coray is an inspiring speaker, trainer, coach, and mom. She has helped hundreds of youth and adults gain greater control over their thoughts and actions and achieve higher levels of success through her workshops, speeches and training programs. Find out more about her HERE.

Are you a Dream Killer?

I am the first to admit that I used to be a dream killer.  In my defense, I thought I was protecting my kids from disappointment.  But I have since repented and changed mymom-431087_1280 ways.  And thank goodness, or I would never have had this touching and insightful experience with my cute daughter. My oldest daughter is the spitting image of me...not just on the outside, but on the inside too.  We both struggled learning to read, sucked our thumbs until an embarrassing age, are very sensitive to the world around us, and at times struggle to keep our confidence up.  One day we were sitting at the kitchen table when she looked up at me and say “Mom, I want to have a really big house.”  My first internal thought was, “ya, me too, but not in this lifetime.”  But luckily I listened to a little voice inside me that said “SHHHH!  Ask her why.”  She told me that she really wanted to have a home with an art studio in the basement and a riding stable in the yard.  I like those things too, so I thought it sounded fun, but what she said next broke me down to tears.

“Mom, I just really want there to be a place where kids like me can go and be loved and important.  Where they can do the things they enjoy and and feel like they are good enough.”  You see, my daughter is very creative and gets distracted easily, so she often doesn't get her school work done very quickly.  She is a very smart girl, but learns very visually, which she doesn’t get a lot of a school.  When she started kindergarten she was well above average.  But by the end of the year, she was almost failing and the kids had started calling her “slow” and “stupid” because she was often the last one to get her work done.  Her confidence plummeted and she couldn’t see herself as smart or talented.  It broke my heart.  Since then our family has worked really hard to find her strengths, work on her weaknesses, help her see her worth and show her the love she deserves.  Now 4 years later, she is wanting to provide that for other kids who need it just like she did.  I am amazed at how kindhearted and sensitive she is to other’s needs.  But I wouldn’t have had that insight if I had not stopped for a moment, let her dream, and asked more questions.

Do we take time daily to show our kids the love they really need?  Are we a safe place for them to come with problems and concerns, heartaches, mistakes, and dreams?  I know growing up I was always scared to share my inner feelings with others, especially those who loved me the most.  I am not exactly sure why that is, but I have prayed that I could be open with my kids and be that place they turn for strength, comfort, and a soft place to land when they fall.  That one moment with my daughter taught me a lot.  It taught me to value her ideas instead of shutting her down.  It taught me that I need to let her dream, even if is doesn’t seem possible.  I learned that there is so much down deep in her heart that she would share if I only took the time to listen and ask.  I also learned that she is deeper and more aware of the world around her than I ever realized.  So my challenge to you (and myself) is:

  1. Take more time to listen
  2. Ask more questions
  3. Act in Love!

2015-02-11 Shelly (Glamour Portfolio)-0008 (1)Shelly Coray is an inspiring speaker, trainer, coach, and mom. She has helped hundreds of youth and adults gain greater control over their thoughts and actions and achieve higher levels of success through her workshops, speeches and training programs. Find out more about her HERE.