CREATING A LION MIND

Jag skulle vilja publicera en blog post nedan som Matilda skrev 2016-03-24 och la ut på sin blogg. Jag tycker själv den är väldigt intressant och bra skrivet och kanske är det någon av er som kan inspireras av det.

Matilda inledde för dryga året sedan ett samarbete med en mental coach som heter Cecilia. Hon fastnade direkt för Cecilia och deras arbete, kände att hon lärde sig mycket, kunde lära sig kontrollera sig själv ännu mer och upplevde en väldig harmoni senaste året till stor del av detta, vilket jag kunde se. Matilda dela med sig mycket till mig med deras arbete, jag lyssnade, höll med, men ifrågasatte också, mest för att skapa mer tankar och förståelse kring det hela hos Matilda. Jag blev väl kanske mer intresserad än jag visa. Dock kände jag att mycket av det hon berätta, var saker jag redan såg som självklara och redan använde mig av. Dock kan större förståelse varför man gör det få dig att få ännu starkare verktyg vilket jag inte tänk på innan.

Jag har alltid sagt att jag inte vill att någon ska in och “rota i mitt huvud” och har aldrig gjort det, då jag alltid känt mig stark. Vilket Matilda skratta åt, men också höll med lite om då hon såg upp och försökte lära även av mig. Dock hör jag nu hur okunnigt det låter.

Vilket fall, efter Matildas olycka fick jag ganska snabbt erbjudande om mental hjälp från olika håll. Jag bestämde dock direkt att tacka nej till allt detta. Jag bestämde mig istället att vända mig till Cecilia som jag aldrig träffat men jag var nyfiken vad det var Matilda hade fastnat så för och jag visste att jag kom till någon som kände Matilda. Dom två hade kommit så nära och inspirerats av varandra att dom under denna höst skulle hålla i en workshop/föredrag för att dela deras samarbete med andra. The flowcode.

Ni kan nedan läsa det Matilda skrev i sitt blogginlägg längre ned under bilderna. Så hoppas jag kunna dela mer av min egen kunskap och det jag lärt mig kring allt detta längre fram. Jag har dock fått ännu större förståelse nu, att hur vi väljer att tänka på saker och ting, gör större skillnad i slutändan än man kan tro.
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In July last year I met Cecilia for the first time. I got her recommended by our trainer Andreas as I was interested in doing some mental training. I had realized, putting all those efforts into summer dryland training to be in shape physically for the winter, why not invest some energy into the mental side of things too? Last season I didn’t perform the way I wanted to in contests and in hindsight I think I had forgotten why I was actually in it.

I didn’t know what to expect out of our first meeting but I liked Cecilia and her approach right away. Since then we’ve worked closely together, we met about every second or third week in fall and during the winter Facetime has replaced those face to face meetings. It’s been such a thrilling journey and I wish upon everyone to get a similar opportunity because it’s so facinating to learn about the way the mind works and how to change the way of looking at things. Not only in terms of competitions and being a professional athlete but also in life. I could go on for hours about this topic but I thought the first thing I could do is just to share a couple of insights that I’ve learned through my work with Cecilia. Bare in mind that just because these things helped me it might not be the same for you 😉

The brain is a muscle. The understanding that the brain, just like any other part of your body, needs practice was key for me. Mental coaching is exactly what it sounds like – a way to make the brain stronger. Ceclia asked me to listen to my thoughts, my feelings. Reflect upon them, be curious about what went on in my mind and ask myself which thoughts I wanted to be consumed with and which not. To do this with curiosity, not judgement. Instead she gave me the advice to talk and listen to myself they way I would I would with my best friend.
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Stay present and focus on the things I can control. Let go of the rest. Make sure you do what you can about the things that are in your power and most importantly, let go of the things you can’t control. If I’m worrying about the future I’m not staying present. For me an example is to think about what happens after a contest if I don’t succeed instead of focusing on what I can do here and now to ski my very best when the time comes. Asking myself what I need now in order to do so helped me.

Breathing is everything. It’s the best tool for staying calm and focused if used wisely. By deep inhalations your body gets way more oxygen which makes your muscles, including your brain, work more efficiently. Hence I can take better and faster decisions, something that’s necessary to reach flow, the state where I ski the best.
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Gratitude. Life isn’t a competition and in order to perform well I need to feel well. One have so many things to be thankful for in life and that’s what matters at the end of the day. I always come back to the fact that I have so many loving people around me that support me no matter what. My family, Mattias, my friends. I’m grateful for their health, their love, their inspiration. I’m grateful for what I have done in my life that took me to where I am today. Keeping those things close to my heart and mind makes me remember what’s important but also to keep the objective in sight.
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The objective. I thought that my objectives in life and skiing were always clear. To win. To succeed. To make those who believe in me proud. Cecilia questioned that right away. Was I in it so please sponsors? To beat competitors? Was that my drive? The more questions she asked the more confused I got. But after a while we reached the core. I’m in it because I love skiing. I’m passionate about being in the mountains. And I love to test my own limits and challenge myself in my favorite element. I realized that in deciding to ski it for myself instead of for others I could let go of so much negativity and stress and focus on the important things – having fun and enjoying the adventures of being a professional skier. Over time we reformulated my objective. It is to reach my full potential when skiing a contest run. For me, I do that when I’m in flow state, as fuzzy as it may sound. Potentially ending up on the podium is just a consequense that, it’s not the goal in itself any more.
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Inner images are stronger than thoughts. I learned that visualization is key. If I can see myself do my dream run, I can do it for real and vice versa. The brain needs practice and it deals better with inner images than words. Cecilia asked me not only what I’m thinking when I’m performing at my best, but also what I’m feeling and doing. And then she had me re-experiencing that, mainly through meditation. We also identified triggers that I could use to get into the right mode. For example, putting on my goggles or smiling just before I leave the start gate. Just to enter my flow state.
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Keep calm. A challenge in freeriding is the waiting game. Sometimes the contest happens right away, sometimes we have to wait for days to even get a confirmation of when the contest is going down. Finding the on/off switch for my performance/flow mode helped me managing the waiting game. I don’t have limitless amounts of energy (I wish!), hence I need to save as much as I can for the contest run. I also need to refuel energy actively, for instance by spending time with loved ones, go for a run, meditate, laugh, sleep etc. Cecilia had me identifying energy leaks so that I could learn how to possibly avoid or tackle these. Understanding that I sometimes have to say no and learning the importance of how to prioritize wisely hasn’t been easy but I’m getting there. It’s a hard nut to crack as I, like many others, hate having the feeling of letting someone down. But if I don’t say no every now and then, not only will I get drained and frustrated but with all the traveling there’s a high risk of getting sick or unbalanced and it’s not worth the risk.

These are all things I’m practicing and that helped me a lot this winter. I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections on this topic and I’m sorry if this got a little too long.

As Cecilia would have put it. Stay curious.