Overcoming Fear

What makes you anxious?

What are you afraid of?

What are your fears… your irrational fears?

We all have them.

Blame it on your “Lizard Brain”… the part of your brain called the amygdala.

The amygdala’s job is to provide us with our most primal instincts: fear, hunger and arousal. It drives us to fend off predators and protect ourselves from harm.

Useful if you are getting attacked by a bear…. not so useful if it is making you irrationally anxious about…


  • Speaking in front of a group of people…
  • Learning how to use new technology…
  • Writing an article for a coaching journal…
  • Expanding your comfort zone.

So how do you overcome these irrational fears… how do you tame your lizard brain?

The advice by marketing expert Seth Godin

“To overcome an irrational fear… replace it with a habit.

If you’re afraid to write, write a little, every day. Start with an anonymous blog, start with a sentence. Every day, drip, drip, drip, a habit.

If you’re afraid to speak up, speak up a little, every day. Not to the board of directors, but to someone. A little bit, every day.

Habits are more powerful than fears.

Recognize and acknowledge your fears… then begin crushing them incrementally by developing powerful habits.

You can do this…. A little bit every day.

You would expect nothing less from your players or students… right?

Related Posts:

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you… Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

The Negative “Voice” II

Yesterday I completed my 8th (or 9th ?) road race since I had my hip replaced last year, the Amy Thompson 5K ,which benefits traumatic brain injury. Every race I learn something new about training, especially the mental aspect of it.

Yesterday two things happened at the beginning of the race that mentally tested me.

  • The 5K began with a steady uphill grade over the first mile
  • Many more people were passing me than normally do in that first mile.

brain-powerMentally dealing with the uphill start was no problem.  The day before I had put the route into RunKeeper (see Apps for the Coach) and knew that, although the first mile was slightly uphill, once I made it to the halfway point, it was going to be a steady flat or downhill run to the finish.  I was prepared for that situation.

Dealing with the negative thoughts of everyone passing me up was a different story.  It was unexpected… I was not prepared for it.  Negative thoughts were pouring into my brain… “I must be running really slow”,  “This rain is really effecting me”, “I am tired already”… My legs felt heavy; I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath, I was questioning the decision to run a 5K in the pouring rain.

At the 1-mile mark, my pace (thank you RunKeeper) was the same or slightly better than what it normally is.  I made it to the 1.5-mile mark, and the remainder of the race was figuratively and literally downhill.  I finished with one of my better times.  So I had to question, “What was going on with all those people passing me at the beginning of the race?”

Here is what I was not prepared for, what almost sabotaged my run…

Normally, at the start of most 5K races, you line up in “waves”, based on what the mile splits you run in a 5K…. all of the 7 minute mile runners are at the start, followed by the “wave” of 8 minute per mile runners, etc…  I typically am brutally honest in the wave I line up in… probably lining up with a group of runners that are actually slower than what I run.  This is why (I figured out after the race) that in previous races, few people are passing me up, and I am doing most of the passing at the beginning of the race.  In yesterdays run, because it was pouring rain, the participants were not lined up in waves.  We all just literally got to the starting line and the race began, which meant there were many good runners starting behind me that typically would start in a “wave” in front of me… so at the beginning of the race these were all zooming by me.

Here is my takeaway from all of this.  Prepare the best you can… it will help you deal with all of the foreseen events that come your way during competition…. like knowing the first mile of the race will be uphill.  But, in order to deal with (mentally and physically) unforeseen situations that come up, your preparation must be complete.  If you have done everything in your power to prepare for a race (or game, or match) then you will have the true confidence to deal with unexpected road blocks that are thrown at you… anything less is just bluster (see Confident vs Cocky).

While I have trained to run these races, I know in my mind I have not done everything that I could.  For me, it is not the same preparation that I go through when preparing for a football contest, or preparing for a classroom presentation… nothing can sway my confidence in those situations.  But, when something unexpected happens in a run, because I am not thoroughly prepared, it is easy for the negative thoughts creep in and a downward spiral begins.

Guess I need to Do More!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Brain Games

I am not a big time distance runner, but started doing 5K’s as a part of my rehab after having my hip replaced last year.  I have completed five 5K’s in the last year, but yesterday I did my first 4 Mile run.  A 5K is 3.2 miles, so yesterdays race was a mere .8 miles more.  But what a difference mentally!

I have written extensively about having a positive attitude and believing You Can Do More, and still yesterday I found my own brain trying to play tricks, play games with me.  At the 1.5-mile mark, when running a 5K, I am always thinking the positive thought, “OK, already half way finished.”  Yesterday, at the same 1.5 mile mark, in a race only slightly longer, I caught myself thinking the negative, “Oh man, not EVEN half way finished.

lizard-brainI am not completely sure why the human brain does this, all I know is that it does.  In unsure, unfamiliar situation, the brain always seems to revert to the negative.  I am pretty sure it has to do with the “Lizard Brain”, the “fight or flight reflex“, fear of failure, etc.  The important thing, I think, is that as coaches and athletes we are aware that it is there… always lurking.

So how to handle it?  I have had great success using mental visualization with my athletes, and that is a topic for a future post.  I think the more we can prepare our athletes and ourselves, when entering new, uncharted territory, the better we will handle it.  Scripting situations during practice so that when those same situations arise in contests, they are not unfamiliar and not so “scary”, is one way.   Even just having a conversation with your athletes about possible contingencies that could arise during a training session or contest can help as well.

Bottom line – as best you can prepare physically AND mentally for when you enter uncharted territory.  You Can Do More … your brain WILL lie to you as it did to me yesterday.  Be ready for it – Don’t Believe It!

Any questions or comments?  They are always welcome – I WILL respond!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

The Little Things are Big

Do you make it to every practice?  Are you always on time?  Do you always give your best effort… Do you always do your best work?

moneyWhat if I told you that I would give you a million dollars if you made it on time and to every practice this year? Would you find a way to get there every day?

What if I told you, guaranteed you, that if you never missed a practice,and never missed a workout, that you would be rewarded at the end of your career with a full ride athletic scholarship?  Would you find a way to do it?

trophyWhat if I said that if all of your teammates did the same thing, I would guarantee a state championship?  Would you find a way to make sure that you and all of your teammates held up your end of the bargain?

What if I said that if you went any harder, ran any faster, blocked any longer, finished the drill any quicker… You would be rewarded with a championship or scholarship… Would you do it?

I am sure that the answer to all of these questions would be YES!  And if it was yes, then my next question is why aren’t you doing those things then?  Because, even though there are no guarantees that you will be rewarded with scholarships and championships if you do these things, it is almost certainly guaranteed that you won’t if you don’t !  Doing these little things, developing these good habits, these championship habits, will make greater success possible.

When you understand how important these “little” things are, most athletes, most competitors can find a way to do it.  You have to develop the mindset, the attitude that it IS important… that a million dollars, or a scholarship, or a championship IS riding on it.

Here is the deal… your brain will lie to you.   It will tell you that you are tired, that you can’t possibly go any faster or farther… You can’t get that last rep on your heavy hang clean day… You cant possibly make it down the court to block that shot… your brain will try to convince you that it is only ONE practice -being late or missing isn’t THAT big a deal… ALL LIES!

You can do all of these things and more.  I have witnessed it countless times when great competitors, young athletes just like you,  have done more than they ever thought possible…. Because they beat back that lying lizard brain… That voice that says “I cant”  and replaced it with the champions mantra of “I WILL” – And they do it daily until it becomes a habit.

It is not easy… I know… But I also know you can do more … Trust me… Be the best.

Here is some bonus content for those of you that did more and read to the end of this post.  This is Seth Godin talking about quieting the Lizard Brain.

Remember – You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Grit and “The Grind”

I was having a conversation last night with a good friend and colleague, Scott Baumgardner.  Coach Baumgardner is currently the wide receiver coach at the University of New Mexico.  We were talking and laughing about the “grind” that is college coaching.  The endless hours you put into the job, while loving every (well nearly every) minute of it.

In his book, The Icarus Deception, bestselling author Seth Godin  discusses the concepts of grit and and grinding

“….  is precisely the same grit we seek out in a leader or hero.  We measure sandstones and grindstones in terms of grit – the ability to stand up to resistance.  Someone with grit will grind down the opposition, stand up to criticism, and consistently  do what’s  right by their art [work].”

“If the grind is wearing you down, then you may be viewing the grind as the enemy, something apart from the work itself. The person with grit on the other hand, understands that the grind is part of the work, that the grind is part of what makes the work interesting, a challenge, worth doing. If there were no grind, you would need no grit.”

The grind (substitute your own term here…. practice, long hours, weight training, running… you name it) is not the enemy…. It is what makes the work interesting, challenging and worth doing.

The challenge to you … Have gritgrind down the opposition… Be a leader and a hero! Your art (work) needs you.

Remember – You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It! 

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Six Daily Habits for Artists

From Seth Godin’s new book, the “Icarus Deception, How High Will You Fly

Six Daily Habits for Artists (You!)


  1. Sit alone; sit quietly.
  2. Learn something new without any apparent practical benefit.
  3. Ask individuals for bold feedback; ignore what you hear from the crowd.
  4. Spend time encouraging other artists.
  5. Teach, with the intent of making change.
  6. Ship something that you created.

You ARE an artist! How high will you fly ?

You can do more!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

The Icarus Deception – You Can Do More

icarusMy son, Carter, (one of the brightest people I know) called me after reading my initial blog post on “You can do more – your brain is lying to you… don’t believe it!”  He reminded me of the wider scope of the message by asking (and I am paraphrasing) “Doesn’t it (the blog and phrase) really apply to more than just strength training and conditioning?  I mean, really, it can be used for business success as well, don’t you think?”  He actually asked if I had ever thought about writing a business book.

Well here is how all this ties together.  One of my favorite non-fiction writers is Seth Godin, author and blogger, who deals with primarily business and marketing concepts.  I have found that the converse of what my son said to be true as well.  Many of the ideas and concepts Seth Godin shares regarding business and marketing apply equally well to athletics, and strength and conditioning.  I am currently reading his new book, The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

Here is an excerpt from his book: The Icarus Deception – How High Will You Fly?

            Just south of the Greek island of Samos lies the Icarian Sea.  Legend has it that this is where Icarus died – a victim of hubris.

His father, Daedalus, was a master craftsman.  Banished to prison for sabotaging the work of King Minos (captor of the Minataur), Daedalus created a brilliant escape plot, described in the myth that we were told as children.

He fashioned a set of wings for himself and his son.   After affixing the wings with was, they set out to escape.  Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too close to the sun.  Entranced by his magical ability to fly, Icarus disobeyed and flew too high.  We all know what happened next:  The wax melted, and Icarus, the beloved son, lost his wings, tumbled into the sea, and died.

The lesson of this myth:  Don’t disobey the king.  Don’t disobey your dad.  Don’t imagine that you are better than you are, and most of all, don’t ever believe that you have the ability to do what a god might do.

The part of the myth that you weren’t told:  In addition to telling Icarus not to fly too high, Daedalus instructed his son not to fly too low, too close to the sea, because the water would ruin the lift in his wings.

Society has altered the myth, encouraging us to forget the part about the sea, and created a culture where we constantly remind one another about the dangers of standing up, standing out, and making a ruckus.  Industrialists have made hubris a cardinal sin but conveniently ignored a far more common failing: settling for too little.

It is far more dangerous to fly too low that too high, because it feels safe to fly low.  We settle for low expectations and small dreams and guarantee ourselves less than what we are capable of.  By flying too low, we shortchange no only ourselves but also those who depend on us or might benefit from our work.  We’re so obsessed about the risk of shining brightly that we’ve traded in everything that matters to avoid it.

The path that’s available to each of us is neither reckless stupidity, nor mindless compliance.  No, the path that’s available to us is to be human, to do art, and to fly far higher than we’ve been taught is possible.  We’ve built a world where it’s possible to fly higher than ever, and the tragedy is that we’ve been seduced into believing that we ought to fly lower instead.

Godin is basically saying, only much more eloquently than I have: You (we) can do more!

  • In athletics
  • In training
  • In friendships
  • In school
  • In education
  • In business
  • In customer service
  • In society
  • In our families
  • In art
  • In love
  • In _________
  • In _________

Don’t be afraid – your brain (your lizard brain… your conditioned brain) is lying to you – Don’t believe it!

  • Take Chances
  • Stand Up
  • Cause a Ruckus
  • Be Remarkable
  • Fly High!
  • Be The Best!

Seth Godin writes a daily blog, and has authored several best selling books.  You will hear more about his book, Purple Cow, later this week when I begin writing about college recruiting!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com