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  • Creating Your Own Safety

    Safety. It’s something that has been on my mind quite a bit.

    We all know it’s more than just a word. We all need it. Lately, our safety feels threatened.

    I put a lot of thought into this video, as I was not sure this was a safe topic, or if it was relevant to mental fitness for athletes.

    The pandemic, mass shootings, climate change, January 6, fights on airplanes and after NHL playoff games. Constant conflict in politics. The changes are overwhelming.

    It all comes back to safety. We all feel unsafe, though not to the same degree. I am aware that unlike my wife, I don’t have to worry about my physical safety walking through a parking lot at night.

    The irony is we seem to be trying to create safety by fighting about how to create both physical and mental safety. It seems back asswards. It’s self-defeating. The net effect is zero at best. 

    Mental toughness myths do the same. They don’t threaten physical safety, but they do threaten psychological safety.

    The book The Illusion of Money by Kyle Cease made me look at this a different way. He asserts we believe we need money to feel safe and secure, or to have status and power. His thought is that if you believe in your ability to be safe and secure, you will change your relationship with the world. Here is a link to his book.

    It applies to sports as well. I was recently working with a client on self-talk. Her self-talk was “it’s not safe to make mistakes” to “I feel safe enough in the world to fail.” Pretty powerful stuff for both of us. 

    Here are the other adjustments.

    Let me preface what I’ve learned with this — it’s hard to create your own safety if you don’t feel safe at home.

    My clients have taught me that you need to believe you can protect yourself; recover from pain, loss, and hurt; and stay with it no matter what happens. The opposite makes it difficult to take risks, which seems simple, but not easy. If you don’t know how yet, you can learn. I have seen it.

    I asked myself how I make myself feel safe enough to take risks. Then, I realized I help people do it everyday by reframing alleged threats, listening without judging, offering support, encouragement, staying calm, and believing that we can help them make positive changes. 

    I’ll steer you toward the last adjustment. It’s something we do everyday.

    While driving or riding a car, you assume you can keep yourself safe because you or the driver has the skills to do it. You need to do the same when you push yourself to grow and change.

    Please note: We’ll be taking a short break to enjoy the upcoming 4th of July holiday, and will resume our weekly Mental Fitness Fridays on July 15th.