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Why an abundant mindset is crucial for athletes in the pandemic and 4 steps to developing one

As we all know, the pandemic is here and affecting all of our lives, in big and small ways. And you know what? The pandemic's had a large effect on our mindsets in day to day life, and not necessarily in a positive way.

Let's get some context. I nerd out over learning how our brains work and practicing hacks and habits to optimize this thing we call life. Maybe it's the athlete in me always wanting to get better, but honestly, why wouldn't I want to make my life better, less stressful, more successful, and more fun with more ease? As a retired athlete, I'm wired to know how to put the work in to get the outcome.

A hack and habit that's had a HUGE impact on my well being and success is focusing on an abundance mindset over a fear mindset. What do I mean by that? As humans, we are hard wired to protect ourselves, to be on the look out for threats, to survive. Which means we have a tendency to automatically focus on the negative, the threat, and the fear.

This is magnified during a global pandemic. Between the way our brains work, the news, and friends, family, and coworkers talking about COVID, it's natural, and incredibly easy, to make decisions on what we do each day out of fear. I mean, let's get real for a minute, I don't want to get COVID and get myself and someone/multiple people I love sick. As a result, I've found myself making decisions grounded in fear. Which we can't beat ourselves up about because it makes a ton of sense - not only because of the way we are wired as humans, but also given the state of the world we live in today. Did I mention we are in a global pandemic?

Why is that important? Because, in the pandemic, I'm more likely and now more in the habit of making decisions based off of fear of COVID. I've found that fear based mindset has slowly crept into other areas of my life and brain. Friendships, relationships, work, family - you name it.

Instead of thinking, "I have exactly what I need, I have so much" and come from a place of abundance and gratitude, it's much easier these days to focus on all that could go wrong and take the least risky path, the path grounded in fear.

How do we change our mindset to be less about fear and to better serve us?

I encourage you to pick an area of your life you'd like to improve or work on. Then apply these 4 steps to get the result you want by softening the fear mindset and creating an aa mindset coming more from abundance, that better serves you. For today, I'll pick a relevant topic to many retiring or retired athletes out there: finding a job.

4 Steps to Use an Abundant Mindset to Make Finding that Retired Athlete Job Easier

1. Recognize the fear or scarcity based thoughts.

The first step is learning to recognize, and become aware, of the thoughts your brain is putting out there. It may sound simple, but it's not always. Thoughts can be sneaky sometimes.

For example, if you're a retired athlete looking for a job, you many be thinking, "Jeez, this is going to be hard. I don't know if I will ever find a job." And that's perfectly okay your brain is thinking that. Recognize it and allow it to be there, with compassion. I can tell you this from experience, it takes practice to recognize your thoughts. Journaling helps me, along with meditating for a few minutes.

2. Hold space for the fear based thought without judgement.

This one is tough sometimes. Sometimes we find ourselves judging ourselves for judging ourselves, you know what I mean? (If not, I mean that if we are trying to let go of judgment, if we recognize we are judging ourselves, then we can judge ourselves for still judging ourselves when we are trying to let go of the judgment- try that on for a brain teaser).

So, as a retired athlete, if you are thinking "Jeez, this whole job finding thing is going to be hard. I don't know if I will ever find a job," then step #1, recognize your brain is having that thought, and step #2, allow that thought to be there, and hold it with space and compassion. I'll do this during meditation sometimes, or visualize my hands, palms up, literally holding that thought with tender compassion (as Tara Brach would say).

3. Find another thought to practice and believe.

Ask yourself - is there a thought that better serves me? What would an abundant thought sound like? In this case, the retired athlete thought "Jeez, this is going to be hard. I don't know if I will ever find a job" could be replaced with "it's possible that finding a job will be easy, and even a little fun." Or "it's possible it won't be that hard to find a job." Or "finding a job will be a fun challenge, and I'm always up for a challenge." You get the drift.

The key is to find a thought to practice that is believable to you. That's why I like the "it's possible" phrase because if I'm working through a pretty fear based thought, it can be hard to switch right from "it's going to be so hard to find a job as a retired athlete" to "it's going to be so easy to find a job as a retired athlete!"

4. Practice, practice, practice that alternative thought.

As someone who's changed a lot of thought patterns and beliefs, it takes practice to change a thought. And you usually don't wake up the next day with "oh! I know 100% believe this new, abundant, thought." It's usually gradual and I personally find the frequency of time I believe the new thought increases gradually over time. Meaning, some days or moments I may have a hard time believing the new thought, and some days it's easy.

And then, one day, you realize you're believing that new thought more often than not. Magic! In this case, one day you'll wake up and realize you're actually thinking it's easier and a little fun to find a job as a retired athlete.

Another note is sometimes the first thought you practice isn't the one that sticks. If you're having a hard time believing the thought, try another one! Over time, you will notice you start to rewire your brain to believe the better serving, abundant, thought.

And you know what? When you start believing the thought that "it may not be so bad finding that job as a retired athlete, in fact, it may be a little fun," it can actually shift your own experience and reality, making the job search a little less stressful and a little more fun. I've been mind blown the impact it's had on my life. I encourage you to try it out!

Looking for that retired athlete job? Not sure what marketable skills you have for the next job? Check out this post on 6 marketable skills athletes should put on their resume for that killer job in life after sports.

Kirby is a former pro soccer player, creator, and coach who helps elite athletes figure out what's next in life after sport. Learn more about her and her services at

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