When working on our wellness goals, it's easy to forget we all have both an inner coach and an critic inside our mind. The inner coach encourages us to do our best, while the critic can shut us down- dissolving our state of flow.
"There's a voice inside of all of us that tells us to accomplish what we desire and never quit. This is our inner coach. This is a voice that tells us to believe in ourselves." - Jeff Grant
Fortunately, we have the power to bring out the best inner coaches within us and soften our harshest inner critics.
On this episode of Wellness Force Radio, coach, mentor, writer, and ultra-endurance athlete, Jeff Grant of Hillseeker, shares several hacks on how we can tap into our mind and emotions to become better athletes and more productive.
Our emotions can easily distract us, but with the right mind tools, we can learn to use those emotions to our advantage.
"In positive psychology, flow is the mental state of operation in which a person who is performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment during the process of the activity.” - Jeff Grant
Being in the mental state of flow means that we are both amazed and inspired to be our your best. It's the natural high we feel when we're on a mission or have completed a goal such as completing a great work out, finishing a race, or finalizing a project at work.
Experiencing a state of flow means that we are present in the moment.
It can be difficult to get into a state of flow, but there are several tools that we can use to help cultivate more flow into our lives. Once we understand what helps us get into the state of flow, we can jump right into it when we want or need it in our lives.
When Jeff finds flow during a run or through music, he tries to transfer it to another part of his life or within his work as a coach and author.
To find flow and stay within it, there are four steps: Struggle, Release, Flow, Recover.
To begin our state of flow, we need to struggle on purpose. We can do this by taking ourselves out of our comfort zone and placing ourselves in an unfamiliar place, situation, or thought.
Once we have struggled, we can release.
We can release ourselves from our struggle by finding something to laugh at or something that distracts us from it.
This state of release places us in a state of natural flow and euphoria. When we're in the state of flow, we can find immense happiness and feel like anything is possible to achieve.
Once we're in the state of flow, we never want to let go of it again. We think that we always need to have this euphoric sensation 24/7, but recovery is part of the process as well. Recovery is important because it allows us to connect each cycle of flow.
A lot of us are looking for our next great achievement: a place on the podium, a best time, or a new goal accomplished. But if we're just focusing on pushing ourselves to our limits with new goals, we might push ourselves too far, too fast.
By focusing on recovering, we're give ourselves permission to take time off and not push ourselves to do more than we can handle.
With goals and technology, we focus so much on the quantitative numbers that we forget that qualitative facts are just as important to our health and wellness.
Flow isn't just applied to athletic performance, but to life performance and job performance as well. The 4 Stages of Flow can truly be applied to anything that we want.
To start discovering and using your inner coach to your advantage, think of the coaches or teachers that were or are still part of your life today. They most likely all have different voices and different teaching methods from giving cues and instructions to building confidence or being aggressive with a military manner.
What did coaches or teachers do in the past do to help you? What were their voices like in different scenarios?
If you can identify the inner coach voices in your mind, then you can learn how to build the best inner coach to help you stay focused and accomplish your goals.
So, how do we begin to tap into that inner coach voice? Think again about different coaches and their styles of coaching. On this episode, Jeff shares 5 different coaching styles:
"The inner critic loves it when we worry about what other people think. It loves it when we highlight our fears. It has a strong dislike of the flow state." -Jeff Grant
The inner bouncer coach tells our inner critic to be quiet. Visualize a bouncer at a club who doesn't let others inside and acts as a bodyguard.
Disarm your inner critic by giving your inner bouncer coach one new thought to help redirect your thinking.
Our inner muse coach is the voice that reminds us to play and be creative. Jeff likes to tap into his inner muse by leaving the running trail and taking a different path. When he's listening to his muse coach, he may skip and jump around or go down on a slide at a playground.
When we're so focused on quantitative results, sometimes we need to take a break and just play during our workouts to get into our state of flow.
Playing can help snap us out of our stressful thoughts and help us experience a new state of flow.
You can practice listening to your inner coach by practicing meditation. Focus on what the voices sound like and pay attention to how they motivate you.
As you meditate, concentrate on what your inner coach is telling you to do. Be sure to take your time and listen to each of the 5 inner coaches to create the perfect one. You may need a different inner coach for different moments and situations.
What emotions do you experience during a race or workout? Do you ever feel anger, joy, love, jealousy?
We can face many emotions while we're exercising, but we don't tend to intentionally put ourselves into a state of emotion to see what positive and negative results may happen.
Jeff likes to put emotions to the test by having his students focus on different emotions during a workout to discover what impact they have on them. With amazing results, Jeff discovered that different emotions can either improve or hinder our performance.
By purposely tapping into emotions during a run, we can become aware of which ones serve us better.
We've got 5 signed copies of Jeff's book, Flow State Runner, to give away!
To win a copy, include a #FlowStateRunner and @WellnessForce on Instagram!
Jeff has a 20-year background in endurance and adventure sports. He has finished some of the toughest events on the planet, including the Marathon des Sables (a weeklong stage race through the Moroccan Sahara), the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (a 166KM extremely mountainous run in the Alps), numerous ultra marathons, Ironman Hawaii and other long distance triathlons, mountaineering expeditions, and even some shark diving.
In 2010, Jeff branched out from traditional endurance sports to complete the grueling SEALFIT Kokoro Camp, a 50-hour non-stop, no-sleep crucible modeled after the US Navy SEAL’s Hell Week and designed to teach mental toughness and test participant’s limits across many spectrums.
After several years of hard work, Jeff earned a unique civilian instructor position in the cadre for this grueling and transformational mental and physical challenge. Jeff has coached countless runners in workshops in Switzerland and the US, runs the Hillseeker® online coaching business, and enjoys tapping into his corporate experience as a motivational speaker for businesses and teams. He also enjoys playing jazz trombone, blues harmonica, and African drums, as well as dancing Lindy Hopp.
Jeff is a qualified yoga teacher, with over 600 hours of teacher education and 20+ years of practice, He fully embraced a philosophy of “Do what you love” in 2010 by leaving a successful 18-year corporate career to focus full time on coaching, motivational speaking, and writing.
Jeff is a coach & mentor, writer, ultra-endurance athlete and a hillseeker in all walks of life. He also an active supporter of charity work in Malawi and Cambodia as a Board of Directors member at the nonprofit Face-to-Face Project.
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You read all the way to the bottom? That's what I call love!
I do the same thing for the people, things, and movements I care about as well.
PS: Looks like you and I share the same passion. I'm grateful for you and want to extend you my email address.
Write to me and let me know what you'd like to have to get more wellness in your life.