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Resilience: A Mindset Shift

As athletes, coaches, and parents, we all face adversity in our life—sometimes, they hit us like a freight train. I vividly remember my freshman year in college when I barely got any minutes out there on the court. Which was unexpected since I had a great HS career, and I was ready to dominate in college. I watched as the coach put others in the game who I felt I was better than. I knew I could contribute but the only thing I contributed was unenthusiastic hand slaps to my teammates when they got subbed out of a game for a breather. It was a tough pill to swallow, but I finally realized that it wasn't about what happened to me; it was about how I chose to respond.

 

At first, frustration, disappointment, anger, and jealousy were at an all-time high. I said things like “coach doesn’t know what she is doing”, “I should be getting more playing time”, “I am wayyy better than her, why is she even starting??”, “I can’t wait to transfer out of here.” You know, the normal things athletes with an average mindset would say. But then, I had a choice. I could either drown in self-pity and have a bad case of BCD (blaming, complaining, deflecting), or confront the adversity head-on. I chose to respond with curiosity and courage. Curious to find ways I can be better, and with courage by not letting the situation define me. I worked on my confidence, and I worked on my personal development. I implemented a simple strategy that you can use starting today and it is called START, STOP, CONTINUE (SSC). I needed to change, I could not continue going into practice feeling down, and full of negative self-talk. I had to figure out the habits and actions I needed to start doing, I needed to figure out the habits and actions I needed to stop doing, and I needed figure out what was working well for me at the time that I needed to continue doing.

Implementing SSC was one of the few things I did to help propel my athletic career at Millersville University. By the next season I found myself being a starter and a key player for our basketball team. By the time I graduated I cemented my name in the top 15 of all time scorers and a few years later I was named to all the 75th Team. This was my pivotal moment—the moment I understood that resilience is, above all, a mindset.


Yes, a mindset. You need to understand it is not a matter of IF adversity will strike but when. It’s a certainty in the unpredictable world of sports (and life).  When it does strike, I want you to be prepared—armed with the mindset that turns setbacks into comebacks. Adversity, in its many forms, stares us in the face and asks a simple question: What are you going to do next? My approach is straightforward: adversity is inevitable, BUT your response is within your control.


The most successful sport stories arise from those who not only faced adversity but embraced it, using it as a catalyst for growth and success. Michael Jordan, cut from his high school basketball team, didn't see defeat, or go home and quit—he saw an opportunity to practice harder and became the greatest basketball player of all time (sorry LeBron fans, but MJ is the GOAT!). Wilma Rudolph, overcoming childhood polio (she couldn’t walk as a child), went on to break world records and became an Olympic champion in…… track and field!!

 

What are some ways you can build your resilience?

 

  1. Having an Elite over Average Mindset – Reframe your outlook on challenging situations by first accepting the challenging situation and then actively looking for ways to see the good or lessons in them. Someone with an average mindset says, “why me?”, while someone with an Elite Mindset says, “what is this teaching me?”

  2. Develop a problem-solving attitude – Accept new challenges, with the understanding that you just might fail. If, or when you do, try to focus on bouncing back and learning from your mistakes.

  3. Build your confidence – challenge yourself by pushing yourself out of your comfort zone (but make sure you’re protecting your peace). Like they always say “nothing grows in your comfort zone”

 

So, when setbacks come—whether it's, riding the bench, a tough loss, or a season-ending injury—remember this: adversity is not the end of the road, it’s a bend in the road. It not your entire story, but a chapter in your story. Your resilience is your secret weapon, your ability to bounce back stronger, wiser, and more determined than ever.




I have had my share of adversity from the basketball court in sports to board rooms in corporate America. My time at Millersville is just one of the stories I share in my Keynote, Game On: Turning Adversity Into Your Advantage. If you're looking for or know someone who is looking for a dynamic Keynote speaker to transform their audience and help them build their resilience and confidence click here to learn more about my keynote and booking!


My goal and dream is to reach more people and help them transform their mindset. You can help me achieve this while helping someone you care about:

  1. Athletes, if you have a fellow teammate who may be going through the same thing I went through and you want to encourage them to remain resilient, forward this email to them!

  2. Coaches, I am sure you have quite a few athletes on your team who can benefit from my personal story and these tips. Maybe even your athletic director can benefit. Please forward this email to them.

  3. And parents, how can I forget the MVPs in all of this! Mental Performance is not only for athletes, it is also for parents and professionals just like yourself (I use these tools in my everyday life as a Mother, Wife, Engineer, and Entrepreneur today). Do you know a co-worker who would enjoy quick mental toughness strategies in their inbox every other week? Then go ahead and forward this with them!

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Would love to hear your comments and thoughts

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