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Are You Playing Scared?

My old football coach used to tell our team never to play scared. Coach Wolf used to say, “The minute you play scared on the field, you either get hurt or you get beat. Regardless of the situation, the score, the opponent or adversity, it never helps to play timid.” For anyone looking for optimal performance, playing “tight” in an athletic contest won’t help.

So I ask you this question, “Are you playing tight and scared in the game of life?” Just the other day, a client asked me if the recent economic woes were affecting my business. I politely said, “I’m boycotting any recession we’re in because I have too much stuff to get done!” While I was half-joking, my point was that there is no way I’m going to let my mind get weak and participate in feeling blue about a situation I can’t control. My outlook is to focus on what I can control and forget about the rest.

Right now, it is absolutely imperative that you sharpen your mind and keep your attitude positive. Living in fear, living scared, and playing “tight” won’t help your performance. Whether you are a personal trainer, attorney, teacher, coach, doctor, entrepreneur, or house mom, there are several things you can do not only to survive the current times, but to thrive in them. Here are my top ways to create a “winning attitude,” stay positive, and prevent “losing” despite the adversity you may currently face:

  • “Armour up” everyday. This means that you must fortify your MINDSET everyday! Read great books, listen to books on tape, post positive quotes on your mirror or next to your computer, etc. Some of my favorite authors are Ken Blanchard, Mac Anderson, Napoleon Hill, and Brian Tracy. I also love to listen to audiotapes by authors such as Joel Osteen, James Ray, and Anthony Robbins. Feed your brain daily with positive words and uplifting messages. It is said, “Your thoughts determine your words, your words determine your flesh, your flesh determines your actions, and your actions determine your character.” Therefore, your thoughts ultimately determine your character. Armour up!!!
  • Eliminate “negativity” from your life. This pertains to all areas of your life. This may mean that you can’t hang with people who bring you down, you can’t watch the news anymore or you won’t read the newspaper. Going on a “media strike,” along with training your mindset for positivity, can be a powerful way to help you create an energy that is dynamic and refreshing.
  • Have a “purge party.” A purge party also helps reduce “negativity” in your life. A good “ole-fashioned spring cleaning” creates clarity, organization, and a sense of freedom and enlightenment. When you remove clutter from your life, it allows you to think clearer, to be more efficient with your time, and to feel good about your work and home environments. Enhance your new environment with green plants, waterfalls, positive quotes, bright colors, good music, and good smells all around. “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” and a good “purge party” can help you create the environment you need to think more positively.
  • Simplify. Now is a great time to simplify your life. Whether this means reducing the “number of things on your plate,” learning to say “no” more often, or reducing your spending on items that will not enhance the quality of your life, you can help reduce stress, tension, and anxiety in your life by using the old “K.I.S.S” method (Keep It Simple).
  • Be creative. One of the best things about challenging times is that we’re forced to be creative. What can you do to create an improved organization, a better system, more revenue, new programs, or whatever it is that you have always wanted to do? Richard Branson, from Virgin Atlantic, started his company when he was $400 million in debt. We often complain about our problems and frustrations. Dream about what you can create, regardless of your situation, and then make it happen. Your intentions ultimately determine your destiny.
  • Let it “flow.” Now is not a time to play tight. When we get scared or nervous, we often get tense and tight. When you get tight, it affects your energy and vibration and you can no longer “operate” at a heightened state of consciousness. Let yourself flow with your thoughts, your energy, your passion, your desires, and eliminate the word “NO” from your vocabulary. Imagine that you CAN create whatever it is you desire in your life and that there is no better time than NOW to start. Let your energy vibrate at a higher frequency and attract other high-energy people.
  • Expect success. Ghandi said, “A man is a product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.” What do you expect? Winning is an attitude and losing is an attitude. Which do you choose for your life? One thing you CAN control is your attitude and when you expect success, success will follow. Determine your intentions, set an action plan and fire away. The important thing here is that you take action. This gives you momentum and momentum ultimately leads to positive results.
  • Put on YOUR oxygen mask first. Besides attitude, the other thing that you CAN control is your physical health. You can CHOOSE to exercise daily, eat correctly, meditate, pray, sleep 7-8 hours per night, get a massage at least once a month – all for positive impact on your physical health. When you take ownership of your own conditioning, it positively affects your mind and body. I always say that if you want to be a champion in the game of life, you need the “4 Cs” — Commitment, Connecting, Conditioning and Creating.
    • Commitment —to your own success. Commit!
    • Connecting—to other people as well as yourself. Connect!
    • Conditioning—of your own life. Condition!
    • Creating—If you commit, connect, and condition, you can create whatever it is you desire in life! Create!
  • Surround yourself with other successful people. If you want to be positive during tough times, find people who are resilient, hard-working, enthusiastic, and have a “CAN-DO” attitude. Who you spend time with is critical, so choose your friends, colleagues, co-workers, and others carefully.
  • Laugh MORE. Today I had a chance to train a group of about 10 guys and gals I have been training for over 10 years. This self-styled “stud club” makes me laugh every time I work with them as there are some true characters in the group. I thanked them today for making me laugh and for the energy they bring to every session. Each of us has 1 or 2 people in our lives who make us laugh. Seek them out. Laughter is a gift and is ever important to create positivity, energy, and connection.
  • Focus on what you CAN control. My question to you is, “Why do you spend so much time worrying about the things you have no control over?” I hear it all the time—the stock market, the credit system, the real estate market, the gas prices, the war, the economy, your boss, blah-blah-blah. My answer is, GET OVER IT and start focusing on what you can control—your attitude, your health, who you choose to spend time with, and how you spend your time. My father used to say, “Ninety-percent of the things you worry about never happen and the other ten-percent you can’t do anything about anyway.” Wise words, because too many of us spend time worrying and fearing things we have no control over. Focus on what you can control!
  • Adopt an “And Then Some” attitude. If you want to be in great shape, you must workout hard…and then some. If you want to be great in school, you must study hard…and then some. If you want to run a solid business, you must have a great team, great products and services, great systems, great customer service…and then some. It takes a lot of hard work and perseverance to be successful. And this may mean that you have to work harder today than ever before just to get the same results. But if you take on the attitude of “And Then Some” in all areas of your life, it will positively influence everything, from relationships to career to overall happiness.
  • Believe in yourself. There is nothing more important than your beliefs. It is your beliefs that formulate your thoughts. It is your thoughts that ultimately determine your attitudes. There are several ways to help improve your belief in yourself:
    • Live with an “attitude of gratitude.” The more you say thank you to others, the better you connect with others.
    • Give more. If you want more out of life, you need to give more. The more you “give,” the more you get. The more you get, the more you can give back. Let it flow and keep giving. If you are searching for more out of life, give more!

In a time when people are feeling nervous, anxious, scared, or even depressed, it is imperative that we protect our most valuable assets: our mindset and attitude. Remember, it is important that you be the impetus for change and you be the one who creates the positive energy and success you desire in your life. It is critical that you take control of your own health and continue to invest in your mindset everyday. Ghandi challenged others to “be the change you desire in the world.” This is absolutely brilliant. And I also love this one from Winston Churchill, “Pessimists find difficulty in every opportunity. Optimists find opportunity in every difficulty.” It’s time to step up and play big. Stay loose, let it flow, believe in yourself, persevere, and create the life you so desire!

Todd Durkin is a 2 Time Personal Trainer of the Year and Founder of Fitness Quest 10 & Todd Durkin Enterprises in San Diego, CA. He trains people from all walks of life, but is best known for the work he does with over 25 NFL Superstars. He trains the likes of LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, Reggie Bush, Alex Smith, and Donnie Edwards amongst others. His expert staff of 30 trainers, coaches, and massage therapist/bodyworkers perform over 400 weekly sessions and help educate, motivate, and inspire the world to greater levels of health & fitness. Todd has 17 DVD’s on fitness & sports performance and has been featured in many national magazines and media outlets. His ezine newsletter “TD Times” is his way of connecting clients, trainers, coaches, colleagues, and friends from all over the world. He can best be reached via his websites,, or by using the contact form below: [easy-contact]

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