Thursday, July 14, 2011

No Performance Goes Unjudged

Following an amazing weekend in Toronto being part of the "Psyching Team" at the 2011 Toronto Marathon, I witnessed something that bears more truth than we believe it to...

No performance goes unjudged.

Elite marathon runners and the most average Joe or Joanne actually have something in common, they are being judged and/or judging. 

Raise your hand if you have been judged by another individual or judged yourself. Go on, don't be shy, nobody is looking. If you didn't raise your hand, your nose is probably growing and Pinocchio is somewhere laughing. Today social comparison and competition is almost as prominent as Justin Bieber on a teenager's wall. You can go out and buy the most fashionable clothes and somebody is there to judge. You by accidentally trip and somebody is there, like magic, to judge you. You got lucky last night with the guy/girl of your dreams and thought there was chemistry, but she doesn't call the next day, guess what, you begin judging yourself. Since these two societal factors are inevitably going to be part of our lives for quite sometime the real question is...

What can you do to help create your best performance in life?
The following are encounters, mental skills interventions, and stories that were witnessed first hand at the 2011 Toronto Marathon as being part of the official "Psyching Team".

I. The All or Nothing Veteran

Tracy, 58 years of age, has been a competitive runner most of her life. She has completed over 30 marathons, 10 triathlons, 3 Iron-man Competitions,  and hundreds of road races, but still faces the fear and anxiety of failure before each race...

Tracy truly believed she would finish the Toronto marathon in under 3.5 hours (borderline unrealistic time) and will soon feel utterly defeated when she does not reach her goal.

My encounter with her...

Standing at the race finish, 26.2 miles from the starting point, I witnessed an individual look as if they were entering the beginning stages of rigamortis. I put a blanket around her and assisted in getting Tracy some water and a banana. I sat down next to Tracy and said, "How did the race go?". She replied, "not so good, I finished 5 minutes slower than I should have."

Five minutes!? A marathon takes hours, and this veteran runner is getting upset over five minutes! Now of coarse I did not say any of that to her, but I offered her something she could use for future races. I told Tracy that when she establishes her goal for a finish time she should create 3 tiers.

I. Finish times that are excellent
II. Finish times that I consider good/strong
III. Finished times I could live with

Tracy, although drained emotionally and physically, said she believes she needs to start using that mentality.

How can you apply this to your everyday life?

If you are searching for a job, create 3 tiers...

I. Jobs I really want and could make into a career
II. Jobs that could be interesting/fun
III. Jobs that could work for the time being

If you are having issues with spending too much money, create 3 tiers...

I. Things I really need right now
II. Things I would like to have
III. Things I want to buy if I have money left over

Doing the 3 tier system will help you to be more specific in what you are targeting to do or accomplish. It will also help you complete your goals without the feeling of "all or nothing thinking" while releasing all of the unnecessary pressure. 

II. Mrs. One Kilometer

While standing at the one kilometer mark, with a mere 41.2 km to go, a middle aged seemingly experience runner staggers directly to me crying her eyes out. She goes on to explain that last year she tore a small part of her calf at the one kilometer mark in the Toronto Marathon and was unable to finish. She claimed to feel the same type of pain and said, "Why does this always happen to me".

Can you predict the ending?

After borrowing my phone to call her husband in tears, she quickly recouped and went on to finish the marathon.

How does this apply to you?

Every decision we make in our lives is effected by the past events we have been through, both painful and pleasurable.

A situation occurs (you want a raise at work)
You begin to go through thoughts and beliefs of the situation, mostly influenced by past events
(my boss has a short fuse and gets mad easy)
A particular behavior is exhibited (I guess I shouldn't ask for a raise)

Your thoughts and beliefs directly effect how you may behave in any given situation based off of whether you have a pleasant or unpleasant regard for that event.

When confronted with a situation that you have trouble with follow these three steps.

1) Stop: Take a second to step back and increase awareness of your thoughts and any affiliated beliefs that may influence your decision/behavior.

2) Explore: Brainstorm how your decision/behavior may change if your thoughts and beliefs were different about the event.
(my boss gets mad easy vs. my boss is a nice guy and will understand)

3) Take the hard path: This may not sound fun, but if you continue the patterns you have been living and not seeing the outcomes you expect, BREAK THE PATTERN!

In a sea of people you believe you will go unnoticed, but on the contrary, people see you. They see your strengths and weakness.

If you wish to find out the top 5 ways to live a healthy, positive, and confident lifestyle email me @

If you ever wish to run a marathon, start a new sport, begin exercising, or simply live a more active lifestyle contact YouTime Coaching to give you the positive mental edge you deserve.

Check out the Psyching Team!


Anonymous said...

Very interesting information you are giving in your post!
I never knew marathon runners had teams of professionals at the races to help them through it either. Thank you, a great read! said...

Another great post! You have alot of insight Jon.

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Myra Wolf said...

Using this information to get me through a big project I am working on. It came at the right time because as usual, I am finding myself putting more time and energy into it than I get paid for. This method is helping me not only recognize that but also put it into a more balanced perspective.