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Every athlete, whether you are a professional or amateur, shares the same problem: the desire for success and results.


You’ve tried everything pop culture has said would lead you to overnight success. But, instead you get results that don’t reflect your effort, which leads to a cluster of bunches of stale oats. At that point, nothing can take the bad taste out of your mouth. But, that is where in lies the problem. You give up in your prime, when you’re on the brink of result. And later, your heart will be broken or grieving the loss of that something that once gave you a feeling nothing else in your life could.


As cute as pop culture is, pop culture does not have your back. It’s trendy with empty promises. Even the entertainment of it all, gets old. Except when there is a whole lot of heart and soul.


Heart and soul.


Results is just really a catch all term for anything really. If you think about it, “results” is nothing more than a word that has no true significance until you give it meaning. What is it that you want? What is “success?” And not all “success” is waited the same. And not all “success” is the same for each person. And not all “success,” has the bread and butter of heart and soul.

Not all successes are created equal folks. They just aren’t. There is just something about that heart and soul.


I personally think, that is the issue with our society right now. Not enough of us are accessing our heart and soul. Statistically speaking, every year, more Americans experience anxiety and depression in shockingly high numbers. (I’ve experienced both!) But, no seriously, according to science, Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. And that is serious. First of all, anxiety disorders are highly treatable! I can attest to that. In my humblest of opinions (you don’t need to share this opinion- hence why it’s my opinion), so many people suffer from anxiety disorders because empty promises are soul damaging.


I haven’t even yet touched the most important thing here though, and that’s “happiness.” Statistically, less Americans are happier than they are anxious. So, we can’t even assume the other non-anxious Americans are happier than the anxious ones.


Roughly only 14% of Americans consider themselves happy. Insanity. What are we doing to make us so unhappy? Chasing after empty promises of results/success. When you’re not living for success that has heart and soul…everything is impacted, including the quality of your life/performance/health. Empty promises breed anxiety. Success/results with heart and soul breed happiness.


But it’s not your fault. You can’t blame yourself. The blame game is not worth your time.Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.


Yes. That is right. If only 14% of Americans consider themselves happy, clearly we are not learning how to be happy. (Where does that leave the other 86% of us? Unhappy?) Happiness is a skill. As is unhappiness. There are skills involved in achieving a certain feeling. You have to implement a certain behavior or thought to activate the bio-chemical reaction in your body that would achieve the feeling of happiness. So, are you happy? Are you an overall optimistic person?


How does happiness have anything to do with success/results? EVERYTHING. It’s the most important question, because it’s the crux to your talent, success, and results.


The science behind the umbrella of “happiness” is powerful. (“Happiness” in air quotes to also capture the ideas of optimism and joy). It’s not going to just be enough for me to tell you to be happy. And voila, you’ve solved your problems. But, the science has clearly linked our performance levels with our happiness levels.


Here are 7 of highly effective scientifically proven strategies to help enhance your performance and get results.

  1. The Optimism Effect: Martin Seligman, Ph.D. popularized the movement of psychology into researching ideas related to happiness. In one of his studies, he screened 15,000 newly hired salespeople at MetLife over a three years, using a test he developed to measure optimism. The salespeople who scored in the top 10% for optimism, performed 88% better in sales than the reps in the top 10% for pessimism. This wasn’t a one time thing though, this also was true across other professions. Overall, what they found in their studies is that optimistic people perform an impressive 20 to 40% better than their pessimistic counterparts. Sign me up!!

  2. Go Long Term: We all love Target, no? It’s not hard to leave Target with more than you needed. But, we also all know that the longevity of certain items is purely for our short-term bliss. However, if we are chasing after something highly demanding, trendy is not going to help you sustain you through the journey. When something is highly demanding, it requires you to make the sacrifices that go against short term happiness. And that means, resisting temptation for the short-term trendy fix. When you make something so important that you sacrifice a certain amount of happiness for it, that is when you will see optimal results and extraordinary living, because you’re trading in short term happiness for opportunities in obtaining growth, awakening, meaning, unique experiences, and results.

  3. Prioritize Your Dream, Not First Place: My favorite line from the movie, Pretty Woman, “What’s your dream? Everybody comes here; this is Hollywood, land of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don’t; but keep on dreamin’ — this is Hollywood. Always time to dream, so keep on dreamin.” Having a dream/a vision is key to happiness. Remember not all successes are created equal, but the ones that have heart and soul are most memorable. Emphasize the journey and you will get through all the challenges that are inevitable with pursuing goals.

  4. Turn Up “Your” Volume. The other big thing is that you must prioritize your voice over others. Everyone is going to have an opinion. And perhaps they’re all valid opinions. But they, being “everyone,” are not you. And you have a unique signature, that you must listen to. Ultimately at the end of the day this is easier said than done. Why? Because it’s become so ingrained in us since we were little that people’s opinions matter. But… technically that’s false. This isn’t just about critiquing you, but also about when you receive praise. Every time you give someone the power to build you up, you simlutaneously then give away your power. And every time you give someone the power to critique you and pull you down, you give away your power. The question is how do you do this without turning into an unsocial person: Practice receiving criticism and praise with curiosity, just simply as information for your toolbox.

  5. Fuel Your Soul. If you want to become extraordinary you also have to make your dream something that you live for. It doesn’t mean giving up the job or not paying your bills. It means fueling your soul with your calling, so you become ready for the opportunities that will lead in their learning literally feel like magic. Read some Simon Sinekfor more of this.

  6. Be Happier, Be Smarter. There was a study done at Northwestern University that showed that you can set up your performance by strategically shifting yourself into a positive mood. In this study, they found that people who have a positive outlook, have enhanced decision making skills and emotional control. All super important when performing under pressure in competition. Those who were negative showed little to no activity in this brain region. What does that mean? Under pressure, if you’re happy or optimistic, you will make better decisions, perform better, and get results. Basically, do whatever it takes to have a moment where you crack a smile.

  7. Gosh Darn It Stop Being So Polite. Avoid unhappy people. Another study, found that who you surround yourself with matters. Next time you’re around someone that’s pulling you down, just make up an excuse and walk away. It can be as simple as saying you have to take a car or run to the restroom. By doing this you are strategically protecting your brain, your performance, and your mood. I don’t know about you, but when I am in competition or training, I want to prime myself for success.

Don’t be fooled, these aren’t quick fixes. They deepen that heart and soul journey of yours. Because when you are happy, you are letting your heart guide you. Depression, anxiety, and other ailments I believe are signs that you are not. Science has found that your heart has intelligence, but for some reason we learn to cut it off and build walls to “protect” it. But, in so doing, we neglect it. And that impacts our performance, success, and results.


If science has found that optimism changes the structure of your brain, then I can’t imagine this wouldn’t be the case for your heart too. I won’t bore you with the structural changes. But, you need to know that optimism reduces stress levels by dropping the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that makes us happy, motivated, innovative, and gives us the courage to take risks. It also protects us against anxiety, depression, and getting physically sick. It’s not about faking a smile.


Success is about cultivating YOUR heart/soul journey. Not following trends. A life story, that is your signature, where ultimately everything is always working out in your favor.


For more, please follow me and check out my website drpernillanathan.com for more.

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Let’s get real and talk about the coaching industry. The coaching industry including the psychology world has taken some interesting turns throughout its existence. And the amount of knowledge that isn’t being tapped into by people, that will change their lives, is mind blowing to me.


Why are people so resistant? Why do people love to stay so comfortable, even if being comfortable doesn’t serve them? Honestly, it’s not “THEM,” it’s their brain. It’s called being stuck in a habit. And as we all know habits are hard to break.


CELEBRITIES AND THEIR COACHES

Coaching has been an incredible tool that has helped some of the most amazing public figures including Oprah, Steve Jobs, Serena Williams, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Justin Bieber, Tom Cruise to the likes of LeBron James and Tom Brady excel into their success. That’s quite a lineup. Included in this lineup are notable equestrians: Anne Kurinski, Mclain Ward, Jennifer Gates, and Adrienne Sternlicht. The lineup just keeps going.

But, why aren’t you in that lineup?


COACHING THE SECRET NO ONE TALKS ABOUT

Coaching is the behind-the-scenes secret, that few talk about. I see athletes who don’t want to share that they’re being coached, and or amazing people tell me they hesitate to share that they see a coach, because of the suspicious looks.

Coaching is controversial, only because there is not much transparency around it. Also, like many other markets, you have individuals who proclaim results with a specific specialty (e.g. sports, business, entrepreneur), but have never been or achieved results as an athlete or entrepreneur. Consequently, providing empty promises such as giving you results of record wins or taking your business to 50K by next week. Additionally, the other controversy regarding coaching is that many coaches don’t obtain either formal education or real-life experience. How do we establish a credibility framework? Or do we?

These are all questions everyone is asking. But, at the same time, this is what makes coaching so powerful. The ability to be a visionary in developing relationships with each other that are specific to supporting us in achieving our dreams! That is pretty incredible. To have someone on your side who supports your potentiality. That is a gift.


DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE

Not all coaching is created equal. And not all self-proclaimed coaches know what they’re doing. And it lands on you to find a suitable match. I say this, being a consumer myself. I have sat on both sides and still do. With all things before you purchase, tap into your gut and if you are feeling pulled in a direction… there must be a reason. Not all of my healers/coaches have had degrees. Others have. And they have all come to me at different times in my life, for different reasons. Just because you sign up with one. Does not mean you have to stay with them forever. Usually, they will catapult you to get ready to be ready for the next one for the the next phase of your life.


MY COACHES

Do I have a framework or do they just meet my “gut instinct” standards? Well, honestly it depends on the situation and what my needs are in that very moment. I will be honest and transparent. I work currently with 4 different healers (that doesn’t count the ones I’ve worked with in the past) that ebb and flow. That doesn’t include the 2 business consultants/coaches in the past, and the numerous amounts of books, online trainings, and online courses I have taken. Not to mention the years I dedicated to my degrees. I think there is incredible value in working with experts who can help you navigate life. For each one I work with, I have chosen to work with them based on if their “expertise” matches my “needs” and “criteria.” Sometimes, I have wanted them to have a specific degree and other times a “specific” life experience.


QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE HIRING YOUR COACH

Here are 8 questions I ask myself and would encourage you to consider before working with someone:


First what am I struggling with and is this coach in this niche?

Are they credible (Do your research!)?

Does this person speak your language (Do you vibe with them)?

Do they have something to offer you that makes you excited to work with them?

Are you “available” to work with them? Do you have the time to fully immerse yourself to fully expand?

Do they bring something “new” to my life and “expand” me to open myself to new ideas/experiences?

Are your expectations and their expectations for your goals in alignment?

And lastly, does your “gut” say “yes!?”


THE VALUE ON YOUR RETURN IS AMAZING

The value on your return will change your life. Yes, there are enough self-help books out there. And yes, you can do it all alone. And yes… and yes.. but, there are costs. There are opportunity costs that come with doing it alone. And yes it might be a financial commitment, maybe you have to wait and not buy yourself a fancy outfit or cut back somewhere in your life, but at the end of the day, that is all temporary. The question is: what are YOUR PRIORITIES. Seriously, you are going to chose a bag over your brain? Your brain, your health or that thing that will bring you temporary satisfaction.


It really comes down to your priorities. I have had people tell me innumerable excuses of why NOT NOW. Ok.. fine. But, you’ve dealt with your anxiety for how many years now? How much longer do you want to live as you are? Think about all the opportunities you have missed because you were unable to receive? Does that not get you fired up?! And mad!? And want to change?! Life is short. Life is fleeting. Tomorrow is NOT guaranteed. Nor is your health.

The human experience is incredibly valuable and choosing to work with someone is personal, no matter your reasons. Ultimately, even if the “coaching” world is crazy busy and you don’t always know who to work with, just breath. And then decide where your gut leads you. I have never regretted working with coaches and experts, because the growth has always been exponentially invaluable. The value returned is beyond that I could ever imagine.

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REASON #1

  • SAME, SAME, & MORE OF THE SAME=SAME RESULTS

It is becoming a common theme. And I’m not ok with it! I can’t tell you how often clients come to me and tell me they are not having fun in the sport. If things don’t change quickly they say, they will quit. They share with me, that everyone around them is progressing, except for them. Sound familiar?!


For years they’ve felt stuck at the same level, in the same lesson, jumping the same height, and dealing with the same performance anxiety at the shows. Hm? What is the common denominator here? No, it is not “THEM.” It’s “THE SAME.” Sadly, I think a few more of you relate then you want to admit to. But, stick with me on this one, maybe 1 of my 3 explanations will help you dive deep and better identify what is keeping you “stuck.”

The reason you feel “stuck” is because you keep taking the same route from A to Z, ignoring all other options.. What about starting at E and going to A instead? Regardless the route, you are not activating your performance so you can adjust accordingly to excel towards the achievements you desire. When you understand how this all works the formula brings shifts in your performance, but because you don’t know how the brain works, instead

you gravitate towards trendy mindset band-aids

in desperation with little to no success.

Trendy band-aids that actually have not only been misconstrued in translation, but also don't apply to you.


What happens instead is that you unintentionally FUEL the same results. The results you are so over. What has happened is that you have just perfected the same behaviors (insert the behaviors you are struggling with.) Here is what I mean by that. If you jump and the issue is your anxiety, well with the band-aids you have just inadvertently perfected that anxiety that comes with keeping you jumping the same height over and over again. You haven’t developed new neurochemical pathways.

Then, you begin to blame yourself because you begin to take it personally. I mean, everyone else is excelling and you’re not, it must be you. Which just adds fuel to the fire, but that is not the issue.

  • YOU ARE NOT THE ISSUE

The only benefit of blaming yourself, is that yes it will make you feel terrible about yourself resulting in you quitting, and you will quit, prematurely without getting any help. This is all preventable. All of it. If you want my opinion not that you are asking, but I am assuming since you are reading this that you want it, you have willingly obliged to staying SMALL by not accepting that you need support.

You hire a horse trainer, right? You take lessons, right? You wouldn’tgo to a horse show without your trainer, right? So, why do you think you don’t need a professional to help you with the mental side? You need help. Not because you are flawed, but because you don’t have the tools. Please read that sentence again and let that set in real deep. And if you are too lazy to reread it, then here it is again my friend slightly different; “...because you don’t have the tools, not because you are flawed.”

  • WHAT THE HECK ARE NEUROCHEMICAL PATHWAYS? AND WHY DO I NEED THEM?

I won’t bore you with all the science but this is important. Here goes. Your brain lives off these electrical charges that help your brain function optimally and expand. And over time if the same chemical charge gets activated it makes a neurochemical pathway which translates into a behavior.


Here is my own metaphor to describe it.

Let’s say you are walking along a path. Suddenly you see a lake and you want to go to it, but there are no paths to it. So, you have to create one by walking through the bushes. Twigs break, the grass flattens, stones are moved, etc. It’s a lot of work, you actually get a ton of foliage stuck on you, had to dodge some major brush, etc. But, you make it. And you love the lake, because it’s incredible. You turn around and head back on the same path you just created. This time, it’s a bit easier because you deliberately place your feet where you stepped before. The next day, you decide you want to go back to the lake. And the next day after that, taking the same exact path. Every day your footprints begin to leave a clear designated trail to the lake.

It’s the same with the patterning of your brain and creating new patterns of ideas that lead to potential.

You have to have a thought first. Then you have to nourish that thought deliberately to repattern your brain. When you repattern your brain with new thoughts you have to repeatedly tread on it, to create the trail that leads to the destination you want. If you do it once and only once, the foliage of other thoughts (the thoughts you don’t want) will just continue to grow. It’s simple really. But, hard in theory, because it requires discipline, tools, and knowledge.

  • WHO YOU WORK WITH MATTERS

The funny thing about the brain, is that everyone thinks they are an expert or can become their own expert.

But, let me ask you this: you need to get heart surgery- are you going to choose theexpert MD who has years of practice and specializing or are you going to choose the person that’s an intern and never completed a surgery, BUT HAS READ A BOOK? You’d be dumb and stupid, sorry to be so blunt, but you would be if you chose the intern. I think everyone would question your level of decision making, including you, no?! That method of thinking applies here too. Oprah has coaches. Tony Robbins has coaches. I have coaches.

A ton of people have coaches, don’t be fooled by the silence.

REASON #2

  • AND THIS BRINGS US TO REASON #2: BACKWARDS THINKING

The thing is, and this is what will blow your mind, but please just stick with me. You believe that your lessons and riding are where ALL the work EXCLUSIVELY should be done. Let’s shine a light on this idea that is so backwards. That’s a whole lot of expectation both in quality and quantity for 1 hour lesson. You should be doing the work outside of the saddle, to prepare you to come to your lesson at your best in that very moment.

You have a responsibility, and please excuse me if this rubs you the wrong way which I hope it does, but you have a responsibility to your horse and trainer to come mentally prepared.

And by that, I mean, to have worked on your issues that surface in your riding. To leave all the "life junk" out of the arena as much as is possible, so you are close to as focused as you can be in that moment (obviously you will have better days than others.)

We all have stress and issues. I work every day on my issues of anxiety. Some days are more successful than others, however, if I don’t, it shows in my performance.

Anxiety stops you from learning by turning off key parts of your brain that are relevant to memory, processing information, following directions, integrating new information, and more.

If you are expecting your trainer to teach, then you should also expect yourself to be primed to be taught. If you are expecting your horse to optimally perform no matter the day, then you should also expect yourself to be at your optimal for your horse as well.

REASON #3

  • THE ME VERSUS THEM

Every top athlete practices the basics. In truth, they over practice the basics to make that one movement beyond well-learned to the point of unconscious memorization. And when it is to that degree, the muscle memory is so fine-tuned that it is perfectly executed under any and all conditions. And if it is not, an issue will reveal itself in competition. And again... they will spend hours fine tuning that movement.

Now, let’s apply this to us amateur equestrians who have lives, families, and obligations. We can’t spend hours. It is absolutely not realistic. Nor do we have endorsements deals that pay us a nice living wage. Nor do we have the pressure either to perform under certain expectations and at a certain level. So... because we are not them, then we should not use their techniques and learn from them? That there is your biggest mistake. The ME versus THEM.

It is called comparing yourself. You do it all the time. It’s so annoying to me and makes me so irritated for you. Why? Because then it spirals you into this anxiety ridden self-deprecating dialogue that serves no one, no purpose, but to make you feel small. Whether you compare yourself to the elites and say, I am not one of them, I will never be them, I can’t be them, you close yourself off from learning and opportunity. You do the same in group lessons, comparing yourself to your friends and fellows simply because they are in the same lesson as you.

And consequently, you erroneously

make the assumption that you are even comparable!

There are so many factors that make you completely different and incomparable, so stop. Once you understand this, you can finally ride in your own lane, fully and with ownership. And once you do that, then you are OPEN to learning. To observing and learning what works for others who are better at it than you are.

  • DO YOU KNOW WHAT COMPARING YOURSELF DOES TO YOUR BRAIN?

It disenables capacities that allow for integration of knowledge and enhancement of performance, because you are focused on something entirely unrelated, “comparing.” The choice is yours.

Intern or heart surgeon? Discipline or sidelines? Your lane or someone else’s? Simple choices. Simple decisions. But, with a cost. Effort.

Effort that will feel so freakin’ amazin’ when you start experiencing the results. And at that point, the effort doesn’t even feel like much of a burden, instead it brings relief and gratitude, because you are expanding and it feels freakin' amazin'.

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