Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Surprising Link Between Kindness and Performance

I’ve been struck by how much kindness and acceptance catapults success in healing pain and accelerating performance.  Kindness and acceptance — not the words most people think of for “kicking butt” in sports performance or overcoming fear of public speaking or music performance!

It seems that many people, including myself, learned that getting tough with ourselves or somehow giving ourselves some little “lecture” for our less-than-stellar performance would somehow help us improve!  Even on simple things like, “Oh, you forgot your water bottle again!” (said with frustration and a mild, nearly unnoticeable sense of disdain).  “Gosh, Bernadette, it takes you three trips before you can start the car and leave!”  I’m not really aware at the time that I am chastising and judging myself harshly — I just feel the frustration, and the frustration raises havoc with own sense of goodness and the good feeling of my day.  But hey, it’s just a small thing, right?


In truth, this frustration causes a literal disturbance in the neurology of my body — there is a disturbance in my energy system, and if not corrected, can create an acceleration of “negative” energy for the day.  

The more I try to “be better” (“OK, I’m going to go to bed earlier and get more sleep”), the more intractable the habit becomes.  It’s not that it can’t be shifted.  It’s that I judge myself for having “the problem,” therefore a part of me will always resist changing it.  I will resist getting to the goals I really do want.  I’ve noticed this is a universal unconscious phenomenon with all of us.  The old saying is true:  What we resist persists.

How has criticism helped you?
I grew up with lots of criticism.  Lots of people have.  Parents want the best for their children.  They want their children to be the best people they can become.  Some problems develop when parents see the child as an extension of their own “goodness” or “badness” (anything less than perfect!).

What exactly were you criticized for?  I wonder if you are continuing that history of criticizing yourself — a good question to ponder.  Has this criticism really ever made you a better person?  By contrast, useful critique can give us very important feedback.  It might sting a little at the time, but it can truly make us better people!   Critique, when skillfully done, is a powerful tool for allowing us to see more clearly and empowering us to make important changes.  But the kind of criticism I’m talking about is different.  It’s not constructive.  It’s certainly not kind.  Has this kind of criticism ever made you a better person?

“Oh,” you say, “I’ve gotten over being critical with myself!”   But . . . that’s not my experience of people.  I keep hearing ALL my clients being really hard on themselves!  The harshness of criticism seems to transfer into, “If I’m really good, if I do everything in a superior way, then (my parents or I) will be so proud of me.  I’ll earn their acceptance!   If only I could ________” . . . You can fill in the blank with winning the tournament, the race, the audition, getting the sale, writing the book … or being prettier, smarter, richer, thinner, more athletic…   Usually, this kind of criticism is expressed with harshness.  And that creates a wall of resistance to your goals ever happening.

Accomplishing excellence through kindness and acceptance
I think knowing about Dr. Masaru Emoto’s scientific experiments with water is crucial to really ‘getting’ this effect of kindness on our performance.  (You can read the specifics in my science report on Why EFT Works.  His experiments display what scientifically happens to water when we direct loving, compassionate thoughts to the water, or thoughts of anger, hostility or negativity to it.  (We’ve all heard about how talking to your plants in loving ways helps them flourish!) 

Identical glasses, amounts, and kind of water showed changes this way:
Glass 1 – Dr. Emoto directed loving, compassionate thoughts. The water crystals showed brilliant, complex and colorful snowflake patterns, which he and others have described as beautiful.

Glass 2 -  Dr. Emoto directed thoughts of anger, hatred and negativity toward this glass. The water crystals formed incomplete, jagged, asymmetrical patterns with dull gray colors, described as ugly, not enjoyable to look at.

Since the human body is almost completely water, his high-speed photographs of water crystals seem a very good replica of what would transpire in the human body when it responds to kindness or harshness.

The remedy of kindness – fueling for success
The remedy for our being hard on ourselves and creating a resistance to the very success we desire is KINDNESS.  Sounds simple enough, but you’ll need to become really good at sniffing out the subtle and multitude of ways in which you are hard on yourself.  (I know, I’ve been mastering the skill of being hard on myself for over half a century!)  We will discuss the art of sniffing out the ways of being hard on ourselves in a future article.

EFT works beautifully and powerfully on this ingrained harshness with ourselves.  We must consistently apply EFT to our episodes of self- recrimination and “feeling bad” for simple mistakes, railing on ourselves with high frustration and aggravation.  These emotions just flood our neurochemistry into a stress response.  We Don’t Need It!   It doesn’t help us!

Try this mini-EFT protocol to begin the process of allowing your best to come forward with the cleansing of kindness and compassion. Just remember how your plants flourish, and the amazing work of Dr. Emoto with kindness and water!

EFT Protocol – Try a little kindness
Pick something you’ve done (or failed to do) in the past that gets you frustrated or upset when you think about it. Some examples are:
-       I ate that piece of decadent cake and then had another! (I’m horrible!)
-       I didn’t pay the bill on time and now I have that finance charge! (What an idiot!)
-       I had a chance to win and I blew it! (It’s unforgivable!)

Start by tapping the karate chop point as you say the following:

Even though I’m really mad at myself for ___, I could consider being kind to myself anyway.

Even though I feel so stupid for ___, I can give myself a break.

I make mistakes like all people, and I’m wondering if I could give myself a bit of compassion and kindness!

Eye:  This “I screwed up” feeling.
Side of Eye:  This “I really blew it” feeling.
Under Eye:  I wonder if I really need to be on my case about this.
Under Nose:  Well, I can keep kicking myself if I want to!
Chin:  Yet, everyone makes mistakes. I do too, and I accept myself for that.
Collarbone: (Thymus Thump)  I’ll probably make more mistakes too – and I deeply and completely accept myself anyway!
Under Arm:  I can be kind to myself – it feels much better this way.
Top of Head:  Even though I make mistakes, kindness and compassion feels pretty helpful.

Take a deep breath and "let it go". 

Now, notice the following:

Feeling / Intensity: Rate your current level of (feeling “bad” or whatever your feeling was) with your problem on a 0-10 scale.  Is there less?

Sensation / Body Location: Do you notice less of the body sensations?  Is your breathing slower?  Do you feel more relaxed?  Where?
Another Round of Tapping
Here are the differences in the second round (and any necessary subsequent rounds to deal with the negative feeling  itself):

When you tap the karate chop point, the phrase you'll say three times is:

Even though I’ve screwed up in the past, and probably will again, I love this feeling of compassion.

I like practicing compassion for myself.  A little tenderness and kindness feels really good right now.

Even though it’s easy to make mistakes, I’m enjoying this kind, compassionate feeling for myself.

Eye:  Yup, I’m enjoying this calmer, safer feeling in my body right now.
Side of Eye:  I like this kindness – it feels better than that old frustration
Under Eye:  I could get used to being kind to myself !
Under Nose:  Choosing kindness is helping me feel better and do better.
Chin:  Making mistakes is not the end of my world!!
Collarbone:  I perform better when I’m calm and confident.
Under Arm:  This new kindness is becoming a habit!
Top of Head:  I’m beginning to feel the calmness throughout my body – what a great feeling!

Take a deep breath and “let it go.”

Worth your time
I’ve seen interesting and heartening examples of the effect of kindness, including this recent email from South Africa:
“I was having a restless night last night and when I decided to be kind to myself, I felt my energetic frequency change and I settled down.  Feeling your kindness has helped me be kind to me.”   

Patience is everything
“When people ask us how long does it take for something to manifest, we
say, ‘It takes as long as it takes you to release the resistance.  Could be
30 years, could be 40 years, could be 50 years, could be a week.  Could be
tomorrow afternoon.’ " – Abraham-Hicks (The Law of Attraction)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Power of Sunflowers -- In your Mind

I recently took a road trip to my homeland of eastern North Dakota/western Minnesota. Miles and miles of lush corn and soybeans - a "bumper crop" as farmers say. And then, BAM! - a huge, vibrant field of bright yellow sunflowers - heads turned toward the sun, showing off their fullness of pure Joy, it felt to me.
The blooming sunflower heads turn toward the sun throughout the day; something that has always intrigued me about sunflowers.

In creating peak performance, it's really the same process as the sunflowers. We turn our inner (hidden) and outer (known) thoughts and feelings naturally and easily toward a positive power source that's ever-present within us. The EFT process literally shifts the body and mind into a more efficient, higher vibratory system. Behavior and mood shifts, things go well, and Joy is often what people report - with themselves and with their performance.

We can easily learn the secret of the sunflowers. EFT allows the shift from a stuck, cloudy pattern to one of joyful, positive flow. It's a full-sun deal!

Eliminating the Weeds - Increasing Yield

Whether you are an athlete, musician, dancer, public speaker, sales person . . . you will often experience the weeds of negative thoughts: thoughts that bring lack of confidence, fear, anxiety, low motivation, just plain being stuck.

EFT is a natural (no artificial or toxic chemicals!) way to eliminate these nasty weeds that choke out nutrients and reduce your yield - it's a natural fertilizer to enrich each cell of your body with just the right organic chemicals -literally!- so you will perform at your optimal yield. It's a bumper crop with EFT! I'm still amazed at the results after all these years.

Examples of "weedy" thoughts shifting to sun-drenched thought:
(for athletes --- or anyone, really)

Athletes (like musicians, speakers, sales professionals, etc.) often come to me feeling in a stuck place with their performance levels. One common theme is a past "failure" - the botched tennis match, the important speech or vocal audition that went south...

The common blocking belief is, "I failed, I'll fail again." Often this thought is outside their awareness. Sometimes clients have held onto this belief for decades based on some failure in grade school. It can quite easily be cleared with EFT.

Negative unconscious thought - "I can never get over that last loss so I am a complete failure."
EFT changes this to:

Positive conscious thought - "I can recover from past losses and be successful in future competitions."

Tapping Protocol: Getting Past Failure

This example is based on a tennis player - you can easily substitute your own words of "failure" that fit your situation. We focus first on the negative to clean it out, then later we'll anchor positivity into the cells for a superior next performance!

If you're unfamiliar with the EFT tapping points, you can see a diagram on my September 2010 newsletter.

Tap firmly, but not so firmly that it's uncomfortable. As you're tapping, focus on the issue at hand. After a round of tapping, take a deep breath and "let it go"...

First, note the following:

Feeling / Intensity: Rate your level of (fear or frustration or intimidation) with your problem on a 0-10 scale.

Sensation / Body Location: What is going on in your body? Where is the sensation? (Examples: tight stomach, shallow breathing, sore jaw, shoulders raised up and tight.)

Start by tapping the karate chop point as you say the following:

"Even though I "screwed up" and lost the match, I deeply accept myself."
"Even though I should have made that cross-court, I deeply accept myself."
"Even though I beat myself up for my mistake, I deeply accept myself anyway."

Eyebrow: "this failure feeling"
Side of Eye: "this rotten 'screwing it up' feeling"
Under Eye: "I should have taken it down the line!" (hindsight beat-up) - fill in your own!
Under Nose: "This 'screwed it up' feeling"
Chin: "How could I be so stupid?"
Collarbone: "this 'screwed-up failure' feeling"
Under the Arm: "I should have known better!"
Top of Head: "This rotten failure feeling"

Take a deep breath and "let it go".

Now, notice the following:

Feeling / Intensity: Rate your current intensity of (intimidation or whatever your feeling was) your problem on a 0-10 scale. Is there less?

Sensation / Body Location: Do you notice less of the body sensations? Is your breathing slower? Do you feel more relaxed? Where?

Another round of tapping:

Start by tapping the karate chop point as you say the following:

Even though I messed up while trying my best, I deeply accept myself and choose to be more compassionate.
Even though I feel like a failure, I deeply accept myself anyway!
Even though I did my best and judge it “not good enough” I choose to be kinder and more compassionate with myself.

Eyebrow: Yes, this “not good enough” feeling is familiar
Side of Eye: I am so good at beating myself up for less than perfect!
Under Eye: I wonder if I could forgive myself for being imperfectly human?
Under Nose: No way! I’m supposed to be better than human!
Chin: It’s tough – it’s not really fair to be so hard on myself.
Collarbone: What if I could forgive myself and move forward?
Under Arm: I learned a lot from that game! (performance, speech, etc.)
Top of Head: What if I can forgive myself? – I bet I could!

Take a deep breath and "let it go".

Now, notice the following:

Feeling / Intensity: Rate your current level of (intimidation or whatever your feeling was) with your problem on a 0-10 scale. Is there less?

Sensation / Body Location: Do you notice less of the body sensations? Is your breathing slower? Do you feel more relaxed? Where? What is your level on a 0-10 intensity of your “failure feeling”?

Each subsequent round of tapping would neutralize the “beating”/ “failure feeling” – and increase forgiveness and compassion feelings for being human. This relaxes the body and the mind – a perfect combination for now being receptive to anchoring in the positive, desired performance.

We tap to anchor the positives :

• I’ve learned from that mistake
• I now know so much more
• Next time I feel myself confident and ready!

Now we’re ready to perform at our most brilliant selves!

Try this tapping on your own. Be easy on yourself. If you’re new to EFT, or even if you’ve done it before, it can be helpful to have a session with a seasoned practitioner to move things along more quickly for a spectacular next performance!

Enjoy the gift of EFT. You deserve the Joy of a Powerful Performance!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Ironman: Testing your mettle is mental

An interview with Matt Smith about breakthrough results

The Rocky Mountain Triathlon Club (RMTC) is an inspiring, focused, energetic group and I’ve had the pleasure of working with several members individually. I must say that I really enjoy their intensity and good spirits. All that aerobic exercise and endorphins show up in their positive energy! As any elite athlete will tell you, when it comes down to it, it’s the mental aspects that will take you to your highest levels of success.

Matt Smith, president of RMTC, and I did two sessions of EFT before his 2009 Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii. As Matt says below in our interview, “It’s all mental at the end of an Ironman!” We talked by phone June 18, 2010, and here’s some of what he had to say about his experience.

Matt: I had a really bad race before the Ironman. I pushed too hard, had high expectations, and I let my sponsors down.

Bernadette: In the world of EFT, we have four main aspects here to get to “zero.”
- The disappointment
- Possible guilt about disappointing sponsors
- Feeling a sense of failure
- Figuring out how to recover from this and feel able to set strong expectations for Ironman.
Remember, “emotional freedom” on a cellular level in the body — erasing all leftover chemicals of guilt, disappointment, failure, expectation — frees the body to be its most relaxed and able to perform physiologically.

Matt: With the Ironman in Hawaii, I had a lot of worry about not being able to finish the race. There’s such mental and physical exhaustion with the heat issues. In the two EFT sessions with [Bernadette], I was able to erase the thought that I couldn’t finish that long a race. I feared the environment would take me away; my imagined feeling of my legs just melting and melting while I ran turned into them feeling very strong and confident. I felt 100% physically better about the race and even though it was 100 degrees, I clocked my best time ever!

I was able to pull ahead of two other guys my age in the last two miles. All mental. It’s all mental at the end of an Ironman! You have NO gas left at that point!

Specific results – tidbits from Matt

Matt: After the first EFT session, I shaved 10 minutes off my time. I was the third athlete across the finish line. I beat professional athletes I look up to. I never got into a bad place in my head. [Bernadette] and I worked on my feeling strong, confident, being in it for fun, not for the win. I smiled the whole time I was in the race! Felt solid and confident the whole time. I attribute this to strong training and getting rid of the thought that I had to perform.

Bernadette: Pressure to perform is a killer!

After the second EFT session, Matt cut over 15 minutes off his Ironman PR (Personal Record) and was 13th overall in the world at the distance. Most importantly, Matt says, "I had the emotional gas tank to keep going the whole way."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Secret Benefits of Changing your Mind ----- EFT Tapping Protocol included for Golf

I’ve been accused by friends of changing my mind a lot. It’s true - I do. Many want me to make one decision and then stay with it – no matter what. . . no matter if I have more information or acquire an additional perspective on the matter. I always reserve the right to change my mind.

So my golfer client Sam, with a 5 handicap, comes to me and says, “I never do well on the first three holes of league or tournaments. It’s just always that way.” Well, that’s quite a belief – his mind seems to be made up! It’s easy to use EFT on this.

If you're unfamiliar with EFT, you can access a free manual from EFT founder, Gary Craig, by clicking here. Simply choose the middle choice of "free EFT Manual."

Now - onto tapping protocol for Sam --

Say the following sentences while tapping on the karate chop point:
Karate Chop:
• Even though I never do well on the first three holes, I deeply & completely accept myself (I can’t stress how important this acceptance pairing is, even if it sounds corny to you!)- many of us beat ourselves up in some way for doing or being “bad”, being less than perfect . . .
• Even though I’ll never do well on the first three holes and I might as well accept this fact, I deeply & completely accept myself (using hyperbole can be a very useful tool)
• Even though it would be more fun to do well on the first three holes, I just can’t and I never do – but I deeply & completely accept myself anyway.

Now start at each tapping point on the face, beginning with the inside of eye:

Inside of Eye: Not doing well on the first three holes
Outside of Eye: I never do well on the first three holes
Under Eye: It’s just not possible for me – just for others
Under Nose: What if I could do well on the first three holes?
Collarbone: I might be able to do well; why not?
Under Arm: No, not me. I never do well on the first three holes.
Top of Head: Maybe someday I'll do well on the first three holes.

Back to karate chop:
. Even though I haven't done well on the first three holes in the past, I deeply and completely accept myself
. Even though it's entirely possible for me to do well - I have all the strokes, I deeply and completely accept myself
. Even though I might just do well, or I might not - I really don't know, I deeply and completely accept myself either way!

Inside Eye: It may be possible to do well on the first three holes
Outside Eye: I have the strokes - I may do well, I may not
Under Eye: No, not me - I enjoy predicting my future of not doing well!
Under Nose: Hmm, interesting. I know I can do well
Collarbone: I might just be able to do well
Under Arm: I can imagine doing well on the first three holes
Top of Head: I can feel how it feels to do well on each of the first three holes, one stroke at a time!

As EFT works its magic in the brain and the cell receptor sites, the secret benefits of changing neurons changing your mind become apparent. The muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia . . . everything relaxes. Sam plays his league and reports improvement - he had 2 birdies and a par on the first three holes. He’s pleased! So am I! I love those secret benefits of “changing your mind!”

Try changing your mind on any endeavor where you feel yourself attracting the negative. EFT is a powerful tool for doing so.

“Think of every thought you have as a footprint in the brain. Sooner or later, with enough repeated steps, there is going to be a path and then a rut. The rut will continue to deepen until you begin to become conscious and pay attention to your steps (an awareness of your moment-to-moment thoughts). The good news is, you can teach an old dog new tricks, provided you are willing to take the dog walking down a new path.” - Tim Kremer, Spirit of Golf, LLC