What's YOUR word-of-the-year?

I love the energy heading into a new year. 

There's something exhilarating about a fresh start, a clean slate, and a chance to begin again. I started my annual tradition of choosing a word of the year in 2006 after reading about it in the newsletter I got from Christine Kane.  She was a singer at the time.  Now she's my coach.

I've been writing about it and doing word-of-the-year workshops since 2014.

In the sport of swimming, teams are often training over the New Year's holiday. We had a lot of international athletes on our team. We had a new year's count down for the different time zones across the world and even learned how to say "Happy New Year" in different languages. 

I wanted to take time to celebrate this new beginning with the team - and tap into this powerful energy.  Since we were already training hard and the team was pretty tired, I didn't want to add another serious "goal" to their plate..like coming up with a bunch of resolutions.

I wanted to do something more fun...more powerful...more meaningful. I introduced them to my tradition of choosing a word of the year.

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What To Do When You Feel Burned Out And Want To Quit

It was spring - during my 5th year as an assistant collegiate swim coach. I was at one of the top programs in the country and yet, I was done. I had already made a new plan. I was moving to Alaska. 

I would work at Starbucks or REI. I wanted to do something easy. Maybe I would pick up some substitute teaching hours along the way.

My friend had offered me a place to live for free while she traveled out of the country for the next six months.

All I wanted to do was sleep...and be by myself. What I realized later was that I was experiencing all the classic signs and symptoms of burnout. 

Have you ever experienced any symptoms of burnout?

  • Physical and emotional fatigue or exhaustion

  • Disconnect between job and responsibilities

  • Cynicism, isolation, or detachment

  • Feeling unimportant or ineffective

  • Lack of passion 

[Click here for a self test on burnout.]

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3 Things To Do To Get Clear, Save Time, and Get To Sleep At Night

When I first accepted the head coaching job at Washington State University, my former boss congratulated me and then said, "Congratulations coach! That's so awesome. You're not gonna be able to sleep for a month."

He was right. 

As soon as I said yes to this job, my brain turned on with a never-ending checklist on a continuous scroll. All the things I needed and wanted to do would pop into my head - day and night. I had so many thoughts. I couldn't shut them off.

The best thing I did during this transition was hire a coach. We began working together immediately and our coaching relationship continued - almost weekly - for 9 years. I can't imagine how hard things would have been without her consistent support. She taught me strategies I still use and now teach to the coaches I work with today.

Whether you're transitioning from an assistant coach to a head coach or you're looking for ways to be better where you are...here are three things to start doing each week. I can literally guarantee you will become more clear, more confident, and more effective as a coach:

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3 Things You're Avoiding...and How It Drains Your Energy

I've noticed a pattern that's come up with a few coaches I've talked to recently.

I'm curious if you can relate?

Read through these examples and choose the letter that best describes what you tend to do.

Note: Don't think too long. There are no right or wrong answers. Which one best describes your 'go-to' mode. (And...be honest.)

1. You see someone you’re having a hard time with…and you really don't want to talk to them. What do you do?

Do you a) avert your eyes, find something interesting on the floor, pick up the pace and walk briskly walk by...like you're in a hurry b) duck into the closest restroom...and hope they don't come in c) pull your phone out and pretend to answer an important call d) suck it up and begin the conversation...awkwardly or e) none of the above? 

2. There's a big decision you need to make by tomorrow. What do you do? 

Do you a) go workout, turn up the music and try not to think about it b) go home, tune into a new Netflix series and numb out with three more episodes c) stay at the office late, like you're "really busy"...frantically checking emails, facebook, instagram...or working on something that's not due until next spring d) lie down in bed and stay wide awake stressing out about it all night or e) none of the above?

3. There's a conversation you know you need to have to clear up some major tension. What do you do?

Do you a) vent about it with someone you can count on to agree with you to collude with b) rehearse lines in your head over and over again until you think it's perfect c) ignore it assuming it'll eventually just work itself out d) tackle it head on without considering the ideal outcome or e) none of the above?

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Gratitude For Your Most Challenging Athletes

Challenging athletes are usually the one's who get most of your attention, take most of your time, and drain most of your energy. 

They can leave you exhausted - while whittling away at your passion and inspiration. Just when you think you've got your team moving together in the right direction...another issue surfaces and drama escalates.

(You probably have someone in mind...right? Your blood pressure may be elevating just by reading this...)

Your other athletes sense your frustration. They're most likely fed up with the whole situation too. 

They don't know what to say to you...and they're definitely not sure how to handle their teammate.

This vicious cycle will not only keep your team stuck...it will widen the gap between where you are and where you wanna go.

You didn't sign up for this. You just wanna coach!!!! Is that too much to ask????

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3 Steps To A More Successful Outcome For Anything You Do

written by Erica Quam

I was talking to a coach this week who shared one of her accomplishments. 

(Coaches begin our calls by telling me what went well, what they’re proud of, and things they’ve accomplished since the last time we spoke).

This coach shared, “My accomplishment was...I actually set an intention.” 

Alright! Cool!” I replied.

What did setting an intention look like for you? What did you do?”, I asked.

THE EVENT

The coach described what happened.

She had been avoiding a difficult conversation with her head coach. There were issues that she didn’t know how to address so she kept putting it off. Over time, emotions continued to build. Now, almost anything he said triggered her…even if it was an innocent comment.

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