Athlete’s Workshop in Kelowna

March 4, 2012


Coaching (Motivation, Punishment and Rewards) – External Control and the Poisoning of Team Culture

October 17, 2011

I often receive calls from coaches who, after being exposed to a workshop I have given or coaching with me, come to a point where they are pulling their hair out trying to either motivate some athlete or they can’t understand how players can be so individualistic and self-centered and choose not to play as a team.  What we don’t understand as coaches is how deeply we and the players are entrenched in the world’s psychology of external control. This psychology is the psychology of having power over other people as a means to cover up one’s deep personal insecurity. All throughout history, having power over other people has put humankind in a perpetual state of conflict and war.  External psychology, the hub of human misery in coaching, damages the team culture by slowly or sometimes quickly eroding the relationships between coach and players or players and teammates.

In any successful endeavor that human beings tackle, the ease and effectiveness of learning and succeeding is based on how well the people doing this endeavor get along. Players learn how to play together in supportive, caring environments at a rate that is ten times greater than in environments where coaches play head games, power trips, punish for poor performance, or reward for good performance.  This sounds strange in any culture to people who are external psychology people. They are lost when you tell them that honesty is the best policy, something they have known and have heard instinctively but is seldom practiced in their life. The exception would be for relationships in their lives that are very important to them where they tend to be more honest with themselves and the other person. Punishment is so ingrained into our psychology that whenever we don’t achieve what we want from ourselves or another person, we punish. If punishment were a method to correct behavior, our criminal institutions would be empty. But in fact most are full of repeat offenders.

Coaches have always asked me, without “bag skating” or doing “suicides” or other forms of punishment, how do you get a team to cooperate and play together?  When I ask them what they are doing now, they say the same thing they have been doing for years – bag skating (a horrible term for skating people to exhaustion), suicides (a horrible term for getting players to run till exhaustion), taking away their playing time (taking away the thing they love) – it makes no sense whatsoever.

Most GMs, except for a few, practice nothing but external control psychology on the coach because the common practice to achieve quality is misunderstood by most people trying to develop it. So coaches are often rewarded with bonuses for wins, which means that most people love the reward but hate the rewarder. Motivation is often very low for people you dislike. An external control coaching style often dangles carrots or gives incentives that destroy team culture because they often pit people against each other creating external pressure.  Most people feel this external pressure any time you feel that someone is trying to get you to care about something you don’t care about or see the value in. Then things become adversarial and one or both people practice the habits of external psychology.  These habits are always in the forefront of our minds because they are so well learned and we think they are part of our human nature. But they aren’t.

Below are descriptions of the habits in order to show you what I mean. Often when people get frustrated by other people they do one of the following external psychology habits. Remember these are well learned, not our nature.

1. Criticism. When you criticize another person you harm the relationship. This is the main habit that kills team culture.

2. Humiliation. Coaches often use this to center a person out and use them as an example. When teams use hazing as a means to build a team and you hear other athletes say that it does no harm and everyone goes through it, or “I made it through it!”, obviously they didn’t. If you asked them, “Well, why not haze in your family then, to increase your family bonding?”, Children’s Aid would take the children and they wouldn’t be allowed to parent. No loving parent that I know would willingly want his or her child to be humiliated.

3. Guilting. Coaches and parents often use this as a means to control the athlete or child and the damage it does it sets in motion the process of head games and the cycle of doubt, which destroys players’ and children’s confidence in themselves and others, which is one of the building blocks of trust.

4. Punishing or rewarding to control. This habit more the any other confuses the issue of how to get people to self-evaluate. Punishing allows and excuses the undesirable behavior because the person punished thinks, “Now that I have been punished, things are over and I don’t have to look any deeper at my behavior or take any responsibility for my attitude and effect on the team”. When the person gets a reward the same effect is created in a different way. It still becomes all about me and achieving my short-term goals and less about the how I achieve them. Therefore the person rewarded thinks “I can do a lot of damage and hurt the culture but I get the reward so I did what you asked so we are even, so go work on someone else”. Any time we focus on the outcome without deepening our understanding of the process, we move away from strengthening the culture.

5. Blaming. This external psychology habit is so pervasive in our culture we often don’t catch ourselves doing it. This is the habit shown when shit happens and players look at others or external things in the environment to excuse their poor behavioral performance. Coaches often use this habit in ways that blame player or bad calls by referees and don’t see how blaming anyone but himself or herself is acceptable. Blame is always about evaluating something you have no control over and therefore futile. Blame is an action that takes the pressure off in a way that harms the relationships and kills trust and collective responsibility. For a team to be a team, blame must be removed and when shit happens we all must see our part in it through self-evaluation. Blame is about evaluating others therefore killing the process of learning. Players that can learn a lot can perform better as a team than players who can’t learn.

6. Threatening. This is a habit that forces people to become defensive and instills fear. Fear is a quick motivator but a cultural cancer. It will only last a short time then the coach or GM places the player or coach’s job on the line and greater damage is done because when you attack a person’s livelihood you are messing with their means to survive and therefore strengthening fear.  Fear based environments create aggressiveness – not towards the other team but the players, coaches, and GMs that turn on each other.

I challenge any team at any level to learn internal psychology, teach it to your whole organization and within four years you will have not only a winning program but a team that is a contender for the cup on a regular basis.

Coachbri


Sport Testing Hockey Combine

June 21, 2011

hockey combine sm

My name is Brian O’Reilly. I am a high performance coach.  I have been working with athletes and teams all over the world and I am sick of the travel so I have dropped Europe and Australia and have been working closer to home, the U.Ss and of course Varna in Huron County. What I have been establishing over the last five years in the GTHL, OHL and in Varna is developing the total athlete program from the physical side to the mental toughness side (focus, behavior under pressure and practice and game prep as well as recovery from injuries, mastering emotional states, visualization and training character development, which helps athletes take the lesson they learn in a sport and transfer them over to life lessons).

I am now at the point of working with the Alliance in developing a high performance identification program which shall be introduced this season. I am holding the first hockey combine in Goderich during the first week of my Hockey Boot Camp, which is made up of players from A to AAA, NCAA, ECHL, RHL, AHL, and NHL players. I have worked as a National team coach for five years on the world tour and am a NCCP Level 3 coach. Over the past five years I have worked for the National Coaching Institute, under the direction of Andy Higgins, teaching internal psychology and motivation to Level 4 and 5 coaches. This On Ice  Hockey Combine is the first step in getting kids tested in the strict elements specific to hockey, and to start a database to see how we compare provincially as well as nationally. Please look at the image above and let your kids know about it. I will make all the results available to you.

If we don’t measure ourselves we are just guessing.!

Register here: http://www.sporttesting.ca/register.php

Hope to see you there! Bri


There is No Recipe for Winning

February 8, 2009

The coach had assembled the team in the small warm room. It was a place they met often. Today, because it was 38 degrees outside, the room was especially hot. Soon the air conditioner was put on and it quickly offered some relief from the heat.

The athletes arrived and we all began to debrief. The athletes first described the match and their thoughts on technical things of the game. The atmosphere in the room held many emotions and all were hiding what they really felt. They were in a space where self-deception was going to divert from the problem and render people ineffective. The chat went on for some time and everyone avoided the heart of the matter. It is amazing how clever people can avoid the real questions and what really is going on within a group of people who have no regard for their potential and living up to it.

Often athletes who have some success are the hardest to work with because they think they can win or have the recipe for winning. The fact is that there is no recipe and every journey must begin each day new and fresh and the level of commitment to what you are doing must be in place.

We put so much attention on the technical things, facilities, tools etc to get away from the fact of team building and the competitive edge. It is not natural to be competitive. It is something that is put into us. It is a ruthless thing that easily can become twisted in the sense of power over other people and situations that can breed a heightened level of superiority. This level of superiority invites fear because it forms an image of the player based on success. Any time you identify yourself with your performance in anything, you invite fear and it cripples the love of the game and destroys it. These athletes were masters at building all kinds of “off ramps” with each other and scared to really reach their potential.

The thing we fear the most is the work we must do to be an effective team. Excellence is learning all the factors that prevent you from giving your best effort. Many people dream of winning Olympic gold but only a handful have the heart to do the training to achieve it. Fewer have the insight that winning is a quest for excellence, the dismantling of their brainwashing to end all fear. Where there is fear, all love is not. Love and excellence is our natural state.

Coach bri


A Team Using Internal Control

May 28, 2008

It was a quiet evening in Osaka Japan. The subway had very few passengers and when one arrived at the station and entered into the night there was a tingling rain. The air seemed heavy and out in the night air the city seemed to be slowing down on a busy work week. The team I have been working with has been very successful and tomorrow we will play for a chance to win a medal. The players have been practicing internal psychology with each other after a long period of going external on each other.

No matter what we do in life, nothing is ever perfect. Perfection does not exist, especially in the psychological field. I think the Japanese know this because perfection is not the goal but constant improvement is. When dealing with material things, constant improvement has its place. But when dealing with human beings, perfection becomes a problem and a virus to relationship and performance. Each relationship we have in our life is undergoing a change. It is our ability to be aware of the movements going on in people that strengthens our relationship with them. Whenever you’re unaware of what’s going on in the people you care most about or people you have to accomplish some project with, you are greatly increasing the chance of conflict and ineffectiveness.

The problem in all human relationships is that they are a process, not an outcome. When you focus on the process, a relationship moves in the direction it moves and one begins to look at themselves with the awareness of how to stay connected to that person. When you focus on the outcome, you come to points in the relationship where you say, “we’ve already dealt with this” and this is a constant issue. When you see relationships in this way you are setting up the disconnect because, again, relationships are not an outcome. You can only understand human relationship by observing it, not criticizing, judging, or comparing. In relationships there is no such thing as a rival; every living thing is undergoing a change. We cannot understand that change but we can be aware of the movement of change and be sensitive to how it affects us and the relationship or relationships around it.

What actually happens with human beings is the constant need to create an environment that works for both people. Often when one environment doesn’t work for one of the persons in the relationship, they become critical of the other person or practice some external psychology on them. They do this instead of looking at themselves and their own self-evaluation and understanding what isn’t working for them and what they can do in order to change their environment so they can feel more effective in it. The last thing we want to be is ineffective. And when we feel ineffective then we often poison the environment and practice the habits that destroy the relationship or make the situation significantly worse. The way we poison the environment is when we practice any of the four premises of external control psychology.

The first premise of external control psychology is responding to information personally. When we do this we stop listening to the person and whatever emotion they are expressing, we take what they’re saying into our head and create the disconnect. Now I’m not saying that one should say whatever they want when one is upset. It is very important to be aware of the fact that when you are upset you should be very careful what you say because you can poison the environment. I would repeat a very old saying: It’s not what you put into your mouth that defiles you but what comes out.

The second premise is that whenever we don’t feel good we blame someone or some situation for the way we feel. When we do this what we are really saying is people and situations have the power to make or break me. Some people love to live into this because they then are not responsible for the situations in their life.

The third premise of external control psychology is this notion that when I don’t feel good and I want you or the situation to change. This is a very narcissistic view of the world and people go around trying to change other people and situations all the time to accommodate how they want it.

This leads us to the fourth premise of external control psychology that probably does more damage than all the other three premises put together. The third premise is about changing things outside of us and the fourth premise leads into people who know what’s best for them beginning to know what’s best for everyone. And often the problem is they let people know about it! And when you do this you make huge disconnections with people in a relationship. We often call these people ‘know-it-alls’.

If you look at the world truly you can see what’s happening in your own house, in your own backyard, in your own neighborhood, in your own town, city, province, and country. You will see one or more of these principles being practiced everywhere. All of these principles are really about laying a power trip on other people. When I take information personally it’s my way of fighting back from the person who’s come in at me. When I’m miserable and blame them for how I feel what I’m telling them is that they have to change, which is a pretty powerful position. When I start telling them how to change, well that’s even more powerful. But the most powerful of all is when I know what’s best for people or a situation. This is when you often hear the phrase, “Well who died and made you God?”

What I am really amazed about with this team is their development as people. They are true athletes that are beginning to recognize that the breakdown of other teams, even technically, often does become injected into the relationship between the people on the team. And then the team members start practicing external control psychology on each other. When this happens you can actually see the disconnect between the athletes and the team is unable to respond to pressure situations and therefore they can’t perform at their best.

It kind of makes a lot of sense: if you want to have and see people succeed in life, build environments for them that are caring, supportive and loving. Stay away from criticizing, blaming, threatening, ‘guilting’, humiliating, rewarding and punishing to control (just to mention a few of these external control habits!). Success in any endeavor that human beings do is dependent upon the health of the relationships. Healthy relationships adapt quicker than poor relationships. Healthy relationships support each other in times of trouble and find a way to succeed. Healthy relationships have broad shoulders, suspend judgment and are sensitive to the needs of the person. There is no arrival point!!! Just always live every day as a fresh beginning.

Coach bri


Driving Assholes Out of the Workplace

May 1, 2008

I see that you have a very different way of dealing with the girls that you coach. I pick my daughter up here, three times a week, and I love to come and watch. You seem to be different than most of the other coaches. You seem to be able to coach more performance out of them. The quality is higher when you are around. I am heavily involved in the business world, and responsible for many managers who report to me daily. I do know what it’s like to manage people, but one thing that seems to stick out is your relationship with the girls. They seem to really like you. I have watched this now for about two weeks. I’ve heard you are Canadian, and that you went home, and I never got a chance to talk with you. Now you are back, and I was wondering if we could have a beer some night and talk. How long are you here for?

I am just heading to China, and I’ll be gone for about a week. I will return to Australia, and then I’m off again for another couple weeks to Korea and Japan. I do have a couple of hours now, if you’d like to talk now.

That would be great. My daughter won’t be ready for a few hours, and I can go for a run later. Can we go across the park and sit on a bench there? It’s a very nice park.

Sure, I will meet you there.

Drive around to the back of the park. It’s quieter there.

When I arrived, the park was absolutely beautiful. There were several gum trees hanging over a pathway. Two trees seem to invite you with their large drooping branches, offering their shade from the hot sun. The magpies were busy, many of them making lots of noise to let you know that you didn’t belong here, that you were the intruder. We sat on this old bench made from wood that I had never seen before. The handsome friend named Jake told me that this bench was of the actual tree that actually occupied this particular spot. It was part of their conservation to use the trees and everything within the park to add to the parks caveats. He then began.

I am under a lot of pressure at work, and I manage many people. I have the task of reporting to three different upper-level managers, and all of them are very different. And at times, I often feel lost and frustrated and feel like quitting my job. I have talked this over with my wife and she feels I can do whatever it is that I feel I must do. She is very supportive, and I am well aware that quitting my job would have a large impact on my family. But the money is great, but most times my headaches are greater. I was wondering watching you, if there is a different way to do things.

Sir, if you can pick up what I’m doing that is different from other coaches, you have a sensitivity that says you are well suited for managing people.

I know I’m good at what I do and I do treat people well in the company. Most of the people I work for like me and they perform well. That is not the pain in the ass.

And what is it sir?

The assholes I work for.

Can you tell me about that?

Reporting to three bosses is hard, one boss is great. He is really smart. He never tells you what to do. He gives me advice when I asked for it. Anyway, he is always interested in me as a person. The second boss is a total lie, so he is always trying to find ways to put me down and point out all my growth areas, and he is such a hard ass.

Sorry, what is a ‘hard ass’ to you sir?

A person who is just negative and has always got to have things done his way. He has the last word, no one questions him and he is beyond learning except, of course, if it’s someone higher than him. Then he is a suck up. The third boss is a massive asshole in a different way. He is a Mr. Know-It-All and is always critical of everyone’s ideas. You can’t nail him down on anything. He was always complaining about a better way to do things. And when you ask him for his feedback he is always afraid of giving it to you. He never wants to put himself out there and take a risk but he expects everyone to take risks around him and then when they don’t go well, you receive his reprimand. He holds onto valuable information, and then things go wrong, even if it could be a quick fix. So he becomes the one that looks like he’s the knight in shining armor because he’s withheld information from people that’s critical to their success. He creates so much dependency. He constantly destroys the economy of people when it comes to product management. He never manages the product, he only manages the people. I believe he cost the company thousands of dollars, but he’s invisible to the CEO, because he constantly sets himself up to be the savior and is always playing head games with everybody. Sorry, I know that I’m venting!

No sir, not at all.

So, that is the life at work and I’m sort for talking about all of this with you, even though I never really met you. You just seem like a good person to talk to.

Sir, may I point out something? The culture in your work is so common. It is put together by an external psychology. This psychology gets in the way of quality all the time, and it is what most of the world practices, except for a few like yourself and the first person you report to.

Yet he’s a great guy and if it wasn’t for him, I would have left my job years ago.

Sir, what this guy is practicing is an internal psychology.

Okay, he’s different from others. What do you mean by internal psychology? Can someone learn this internal psychology?

Well, yes, of course, but very few companies are interested in it because it means that they have to really examine not only why they are doing things but how they are doing things.

But if you don’t do that, you don’t or can’t improve.

Yes sir! Internal psychology is the psychology of we, not I. The first manager you talked about does these things and so tell me if I am correct in my assumptions.

All right, this interesting!

First, he’s a friendly guy. He’s warm, sincere. You always know where you stand with him. You always know what he will do for you and what he won’t do for you and you trust him.

Yeah, that’s for sure, he asked, but he is also built trust in me. He is okay with me making mistakes as long as I own them and come up with a different way of doing things.

Good. Secondly, he never uses fear of threats, punishments or rewards to control.

Never, as a matter of fact. He is the reason I was promoted. He is always encouraging me to apply for new promotions and new parts of the job.

The third thing: He also works on improving the system and never tries to work on the employees by trying to get them to improve. He helps them get the learning pieces from their mistakes.

That’s for sure, you know this guy?

The fourth thing is always asking for best effort, and he’s always asking people to evaluate their own work.

Shit that’s amazing, it’s almost like you know this guy. Last week two employees that work under me came to let me know that they have had a session with that good manager. They decided they were moving in the wrong direction, and what they were doing didn’t have enough quality in it, and then they both stayed late and came in on the weekend and will have the project in on time.

Yes sir. The fifth thing is not only does he give his best effort, but he is always doing things that are constructive for everyone and for the organization. He is always throwing the light on what is the learning piece and focused in constant improvement.

That’s what I see when I watch you coach. Other coaches want performance, and then they lose it on the athletes. You just talked respectfully, asked questions, they respond, and you can see their performance produces higher quality. I heard another coach talking about you the other day, and he said he loves coming to practice and working with you, because the athletes work so much harder and are so much more coachable. I wondered if you did know this guy because you seem to be cut from the same cloth.

No sorry sir, I don’t but this I do know. It takes a very insightful CEO to embrace what it is that I’m doing. It is a business culture renovation, and most people fear change, because it means there is no room for hassles in the organization. When you teach internal psychology to the employees and managers, the assholes eventually get exposed. And they either jump on board by change, or they leave the company. These mean-spirited people hurt and poison and they are highly destructive to accompany in ways that most people can’t even imagine. Just as your first boss affects the company in positive ways, you can even imagine people who like people who work harder for people they like, but this is nothing new.

So, you teach this stuff to companies.

Yes sir, but very few CEOs are interested. It means you have to change in the middle, and then in both directions, up and down. So the whole organization changes in both directions.

Why do you say it starts in the middle? I don’t understand this.

Sir, in every organization, there is a core of people that do a majority of the work. Most of these people exist within the middle of the organization. All roles and positions in a company that is driven by internal psychology have equal value. It is important to change at the very core. The organization must identify the core people in every department, and that doesn’t necessarily mean the managers. Core people are the people that other people get along with and enjoy working for and with. These people have what is most important in any successful organization, and that is character.

Well, how do you define character?

Sir, the word integrity means integrated. Well integrated people are people who are able to give the knowledge and action their proper significance. What I mean by this is that you can have all the brains in the world but if you don’t have compassion, sensitivity, and awareness, you’re basically an ignorant person.

This is a very different way of dealing with people, but I do see what you mean. I would say what I like most about my boss is that there’s no bullshit. The way he talks and the way he speaks is without contradiction. The other two bosses say one thing and do another. There’s a feeling with the first manager that he’s always got your back and is not afraid to get to know what you think, why you think it and where it leads you. The other two really don’t give a damn. It’s all about them.

Yes sir, I know. Learning an internal psychology not only makes you a better employee, it makes you a better person, spouse or parent, and anything that brings integration within the individual develops his character.

This has been a very interesting talk. I want to thank you.

You’re welcome, sir.

Can we meet again when you’re back in Australia?

Yes sir, I’d love it, take care.

Coachbri


Hockey and Fighting

April 5, 2008

Recently, Coach and former NHL goalie Patrick Roy told his son to go beat up the other team’s goalie during a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game.

Having both my sons in hockey at a high level, I have been asked about this situation by so many people and my response has been, “No comment”.

I feel that I needed to hold my anger about the situation and see what and how I think and feel about it.

First of all, it makes no difference if you have a child in the game or not. What happened is but an effect of a series of causes that are rooted in the belly of our conditioning. Sport is now the opium of the masses and just like religion, it will produce the greatest horrors. Religion has seen tyrants, as politics has. Patrick Roy is just a tyrant in sport. What has the world done about the tyrants in the world? Unfortunately very little. We do not see the small acts against people as crimes against humanity. Yet are they not one and the same? The leaders of the hockey world have not come out and publicly done something to insure this tyrant is removed from the game and made an example of. What goes on in hockey is tolerated, and if you did the same behavior on the street you would be charged and in court. No one has asked how one of the greatest goalies ever went through our Canadian Minor hockey system and the NHL and never learned what it is to be respectable or to have any human values. There are news clips of Patrick Roy telling stories of emotional harm done to his wife, and here he is telling his son to go and fight another goalie who was totally not engaged in any of the chaos present on the ice. What kind of man does this?

The answer? A man that has been brought up in a society that teaches the golden road to success in Canada is hockey. Look at the parents today that want their child to live the Canadian hockey dream at any cost. Lie, cheat, fight, do anything to be the best. Who cares who you hurt and how you hurt them, just get noticed, Hockey has become a business.

We as a society have created a Patrick Roy, and we are responsible for his actions. When we live out our dream through our children and base our relationships on their performance, they know in their hearts they are not loved and cared about in the true sense. These children who become adults have great difficulty forming and maintaining relationships that are based in honesty. respect, commitment to excellence and, of course, character development. The purpose of sport is for that single purpose: you want to see your child learn things like being a team player, anger management, perseverance, commitment, physical fitness and health. Overall you want your child to develop more than just skills. If I had my wish each situation would be handled by the players themselves and a community made up of a strategic plan process, set up by the captains of the teams.

When we handle situations in hockey as we handle them now, the levels of accountability are punitive and disconnected from the major people responsible for how they play and that is the players themselves. We create outside governance in sport because we are not character and value focused. It is like schools who put cameras in all over the school to catch misbehaviors, rather than educate and create processes that changes the culture of the school. Where violence sells tickets and character and skill are secondary. people are not interested – until it happens to a parent’s child and then the love of the game is killed in him or her. By then their skill set must now become also about being violent and criminal to survive a very short career.

Coach bri


Coaching and the Conditions of Quality

March 27, 2008

In my job as a high performance coach I am often asked why coaches and athletes need me.

I often feel a little funny answering this question. This is because I have to talk about myself and what I do to a very external or bullying type coach, or an athlete who by all intent and purpose is scared and rather insecure about what I am going to say. It often doesn’t take long before the athletes or the coaches are running for the hills because of how I do what I do. Getting both the athlete and the coach to start paying attention to how they do what they do, and how effective both are under pressure is not easy.

Well, what does all this mean? Well, first of all I am fighting a very deep conditioning in the brain that for the past ten thousand or so years has been heading in an ineffective direction. How do I know this? You only have to watch your own family and friends and you will see how indifferent human beings are to each other when they are undertaking any task together. It isn’t long before the relationship breaks down under pressure and a so-called team goes into an “every man for himself” mode.

When I talk to athletes, and I do this in my travels around the world, the top problem that gets in the way of people succeeding is the thinking process itself.

Thinking has done some marvelous things in the world. It has accomplished many technological feats. It’s put man on the moon, found a vaccine for polio, and created gradation to turn waste land into farmland. Thinking is also responsible for all the wars, past and present, all the horrors done in the name of religion, politics and many more belief systems that have set man against man.

When under pressure in sport, it is important that one is able to think clearly and purposefully, to adapt to any situation and produce quality. It is this quality that has become the focus of my life for the past ten years. People in sport at any given moment may produce quality in order to win. The person or team that wins is most often the team that produces more quality than their competitor for a longer period of time.

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A Man and his Habits

March 24, 2008

One of the other coaches said that I should have some time with you. I am also 40 now and have been around this sport for some time. It is not that my life is really bad but I notice that I have so many bad habits that keep me stuck where I am. Every so often I make a commitment to change but like most things, I am only inspired up to a point then I fall back into my old ways and sabotage all the good things I have done for myself. At this point I am get so fed up with it I say fuck it(sorry about my language), but I mean I end up disillusioned with my life and this whole world. My friend said he talks with you often and you have restored something in his outlook on life.

First of all sir your language doesn’t bother me, it is only information. But if it bothers you then I suggest you check the words you use so that you don’t lay a guilt trip on your self later. The other thing is sir this: How can one be in this world and if you have any vulnerability in you, how could you not be fed up with what is going on!!!! May I ask you some questions?

Sure!

You say bad habits! What is a habit sir, just a plain habit?

Well, is it something I do?

Yes, habit means you do something repeatedly, yes!

Okay, I guess okay!

No sir, this is not a guessing game. You say you suffer from bad habits did you not?

Yes, piles of them. So many bad habits I struggle all the time with them.

Well do you struggle with good habits?

Well of course not! Who suffers from good habits?

That is just the point sir! If we are to really understand the nature of bad habits we must be able to understand the good as well. Because the bad may be the same as the good, and therefore not really good or bad at all, just a habit.

I don’t know what you mean but something in what you say touched me is a funny way.

Yes sir, the truth does this to us all the time if we take care to listen. So a habit is a behavior or something one does repeatedly. Right sir?

Yes I see that.

A behavior one does repeatedly to achieve a result. Where the result is positive or negative, good or bad, right or wrong, it is repeated in a certain situation or more frequently.

Okay, I can relate to that. I do my bad habits repeatedly and I do them often even when I know I shouldn’t yet I do them. Why?

So now sir the question is going deeper. We are investigating habits and we are now asking what is behind a habit. Is it not to feel good?

Well if I know this habit I have is not good and I do it anyway, why do I continue with it knowing that I am on a slippery slope?

Because you are running from something sir.

And that something is?

Your own change!

What do you mean? I want to change!

Do you sir, really? How often do you get up in the morning and are concerned with your own change? The challenge to change?

What do you mean? This is starting to tick me off mate. What you are saying!!?

Sir, if we were really concerned with change, would we escape into pleasure, and run from pain?

So are you suggesting if I get so far and then you think I am running from something?

Yes sir, most of us are!

And what is it then that I am running from then because I think you are right. I mean I have a sense of that!

Yes sir, you are running from a feeling.

And that feeling is?

That is just it sir. You are running from a feeling and you want me to describe it for you so you don’t have to feel yourself through the feeling your running from.

This sounds like you are running me in circles.

Maybe sir, let’s find out. What don’t you understand ?

You are saying that before the bad habit there is a feeling, and that this feeling and not facing it is the cause of my habit. So then what the hell am I to do about my habit?

The same thing you do about a good habit.

Which is what?

Nothing!

Then how is that change?

Sir, what is the old pattern?

You said a bad habit comes from a feeling or I feel something and feeling provokes the bad habit.

Yes sir, it is one and the same.

Okay, but I still don’t get it.

What don’t you get ?

You say I am running from a feeling into a bad habit. You said this feeling is the same for everyone!

Well I didn’t say that but I agree with you. It is at the source of all bad habits that people have the world over!

This feeling – you can’t describe it to me. I can’t get it through you.

Sir, if you have a toothache does your wife go to the dentist?

No! I guess I see what you mean, it sounds pretty knackers.

Knackers?

Crazy! Stupid!

I see. Yes that is what most people are doing – running to some professional to tell them or remove from them the same shit that is inside the professional.

How do you know that? I do see what you mean – everyone seems to have a shrink or a counselor.

Yes sir or reading everyone else’s book. Trying to get people to change by a process of thinking to become something.

Yes I see that going on in myself – I am waiting to become.

To become what sir, if I may ask?

Well, a master coach, an enlightened coach, something better than what I am.

Yes sir becoming something, which means you are running from what you are!

Shit mate, I don’t know where this leaves me. I’m laughing about this but I am sad but I laugh. Shit it is funny!

If it is funny you are learning about yourself. Sir, can you see it?

Yes but I laugh but I can feel something else, but I don’t want to go there.

Is it the other feeling your running from?

Yes, yes it is sorry, sorry, now I’m crying, I’m sorry, really, I’m sorry.

Please sir feel it, feel all you are! Live in it.

I don’t want to I’m I’m…..I’m sorry.

The man cried deeply for about half an hour and one sat with him and listened to the sorrow of mankind, deep and rich and cleansing. He slowly began to gather himself and tried to talk again but know words came.
Finally he said:

I’m so ugly! I hate myself, I am so lonely and afraid of my life. I’m so selfish and cunning and twisted, I’m greedy, self-serving and conceited. I don’t appreciate what I have or anyone in my life – they are just there for me – it is all about me – my wants, my sex, drink, my food, my pleasure and fuck anyone who gets in my way. Fuck that’s terrible. It’s horrific, pathetic.

Yes sure – you are full of your own importance. You hide behind your coaching as a means to cover up your boring petty life.

Fuck mate kick me when I’m down why don’t you. No no, I know what you mean.

But do you sir? Do you see how you how you have reduced life to pleasure and the avoidance of pain?

Yes.

Do you see how you have isolated your self sir?

What do you mean? I do feel the isolation.

Well what do you spend most of your time doing?

Worrying about me.

Yes sir! Preoccupied with ourselves we are. Until we face that preoccupation we will never know another movement. And until we touch that other movement our lives have very little meaning sir. We are asleep, dead to our own potential.

Thank you Bri, I feel something so different. I feel a great release. I have never cried like that before in my life.

I know sir, cleansing tears. Sir, most people are in this state of some craphole of some belief system, in religion, atheism or this one person I met she was all consumed by astrology. You could feel the sadness in her and how she was running from the truth of herself. It is a sad thing to watch, and how dangerous this person is. She believes that she has an answer for every situation and imposes her darkness on others.

Darkness is like that I guess – it is all consuming.

Yes sir, but light crashing in darkness can end the darkness.

You have been the light for me today, Thank you.

No sir that is the big problem: if the world is going to change we all must do it, we must take our own change to our own heart. Most people don’t care. They want to read books to avoid change. Practice yoga, meditate. All escapes sir. Read your own book sir. After all, no matter how another person is, he cannot help me out of my own darkness. I first must realize the darkness I’m in and be willing face it.

That’s amazing mate, amazing.

Very few people are interested in all this. It offers them nothing, which is the core of themselves. They are frightened.

Thanks. Can I come again?

Whenever sir, the choice is yours!

Coach bri


Athletes and Their Potential

March 22, 2008

The coach had arrived in the small warm room. It was a place they met often and today, because it was 38 degrees outside, the room was especially hot. Soon the air conditioner was put on and it quickly offered some relief from the heat. The athletes arrived and we all began to debrief.

The athletes first described the match and their ways of thinking on technical things of the game. The atmosphere in the room held many emotions and all were hiding from what was really felt and place that they were in. The chatting went on for a time and everyone was avoiding the heart of the matter. It is amazing how clever people can be to avoid the real questions and what really is going on within a group of people who have no regard for their potential and living up to it. Often athletes who have some success are the hardest to work with because they think they can win or have the recipe for winning. The fact is that there is no recipe and every journey must begin each day new and fresh and the level of commitment to what you are doing must be in place.

We put so much attention on the technical matters to get off on the competitive edge. It is not natural to be competitive. It is something that is put into us. It is a ruthless thing that easily can become twisted in a sense of power over other people and situations that can breed a heightened level of superiority. This level of superiority invites fear because it forms an image of the player based on success. Anytime you identify yourself with your performance in anything, fear cripples the love of the game and destroys it. These athletes were masters at building all kinds of ‘off ramps’ with each other and were scared to really reach their potential.

We fear the most the work to accomplish the dream we have. Many people dreaming of winning Olympic gold put only a handful of work into that dream and few have the heart to do the training to achieve it.
Coach Bri