What it means to compete and why most people aren’t built for it…

February 14, 2024

This message isn’t for everyone, but I’m hoping it’s for you.

I want to talk to you about what it really means to step into the arena and compete.

Most people don’t even know what the hell I’m talking about.

… Because most people aren’t built for it.

It’s lonely. It’s scary. It requires you to put yourself out there like almost nothing else.

The criticism is deafening (especially inside your head) and the praise can be just as loud.

So when athletes tell me they don’t meditate, I tell them to try again.

Because this isn’t about who you are in times of peace and tranquility. It’s about who you are in times of turbulence and insecurity. Can you be with yourself no matter what?

Can you show up even when the odds are stacked against you?

Focused. Confident. Still.

THIS is what it means to step into the arena and play BIG. And this is how meditation helps you get there.

Why Meditation Isn’t Just for Yogis: A Guide for Athletes

Let’s face it, the mental game is half the battle. Stress, anxiety, losing focus. Sound familiar? It’s what happens when your mind’s not trained to keep up with your body. That’s where meditation comes in—not just for peace and quiet, but for mental resilience on the field, court, or track.

Overcoming Pressure: Mental Conditioning

Ever seen an athlete choke under pressure? That’s lack of mental conditioning. Without it, all the physical training in the world won’t prevent those crucial moment slip-ups. It’s not about if you’ll face these mental challenges, but when and how prepared you’ll be.

This week…

Which brings me back to you.

In class (at Northwestern) I lead a guided meditation for my students and asked them to reflect on their experience following the 15 minute exercise.

I was blown away.

Students talked of increased clarity for the first time, feelings of intense calm, greater peace, tranquility, and on and on and on.

Some times I forget that you all won’t do something unless we as adults force you to.

But if we’re talking about you becoming the Player Coach, I need you to take ownership of your development – and that starts with doing stuff that might feel uncomfortable at first.

hint, hint, nudge, nudge – MEDITATION.

Start Small

I’m not asking you to commit to hours of silence, but practical, daily exercises tailored for you as an athlete and a student.

Start with 5 minutes – 10 if you’re feeling ambitious.

And follow Pema Chodron’s six points of posture below ⬇️

How to Meditate: Pema Chödrön’s 6 Points of Posture

Key Points of Posture for Meditation:

  1. Find a comfortable seat (seated or in a chair)
  2. Comfortably Positioned Legs
  3. Upright Torso: “Find an open heart and strong back.”
  4. Hands on Your Thighs
  5. Soft Gaze
  6. Relaxed Mouth

The Player Coach Reframe

I love the saying, ‘What got you here, won’t get you there.’ Meaning you’ve got to be open to trying new things if you want your game to change. And if you’re here, I know that you are.

Try this. Find a place in your house, take a seat, set a timer, close your eyes and meditate. I’m posting a reminder every day this week in ​Instagram​ stories, because I’m that serious about it.

And if you’re not following ​me​ on the gram – wtf!

Tips for Incorporating Meditation into Your Routine

Create a designated space. Or carve out time on your run to pull over (this is something one of my students started doing and I think it’s brilliant).

Again, start with just five minutes a day. Focus on your breath, notice your thoughts without judgment, and bring your attention back to the present when your mind wanders (because it will – chill out; this is normal).

  • You’re going to want to fidget. Don’t.
  • You’re thoughts will be all over the place. Let them.
  • You might feel waves of anxiety. Breathe through it.

The goal is not for it to be easy. You don’t need easy. You need stillness.

Notice what comes up for you in the silence. Embrace it with a sense of curiosity instead of judgment.

All of these are tools to help you learn about yourself.

And on that journey you can’t get it wrong.

Keep showin’ up. I got you.


five stars

FREE DOWNLOAD>>​ To help you integrate these principles into your training, I’ve got a special gift for you: a downloadable PDF poster with all the Yamas and Niyamas, complete with affirmations for athletes. It’s a game plan for your mind, and it’s completely free. ​Click here to grab yours!​

The Weekly

See you next week!

Good athletes train the BODY
Great athletes train the MIND
Exceptional athletes train BOTH

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hi, I'm Annette

a self-proclaimed excellence junkie, yogi, part-time college professor, and mom of three. And maybe, just maybe, your next mentor...