Ballroom dancers love working on their dancing skills and technique! But if dancers neglect to train their mind, it can sabotage them when it counts most.
I'm Amber Haider and I'm a Life and Mental Strength Coach for amateur ballroom dancers. If you want to take your dancing further, faster, with less anxiety and more fun, stick around. It's time to make that beautiful brain your most powerful asset. We talk about dance AND life, providing tools to uplevel all areas of your life, not just your dancing!
Visit www.amberhaider.com for more information and for contact details
44. Subtractive Thinking
Subtractive thinking is one of the simplest things that you can change to have a big impact on your mental toughness. Subtractive thinking are just thoughts that take away from you. They start with words like, "I can't..." "I'm not..." "I don't know how to..." "I'm not able to...".
These thoughts are sneaky because it seems like you are just telling me the news...just describing what is. But these simple, tricky little thoughts can start a cascade of problems that lead to a train wreck if you aren't careful.
We discuss what mental toughness is, how it is different than confidence, what subtractive thinking is and how it is that it can erode your confidence and chink away at your mental toughness, and finally how to change it.
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43. Learn to Love the Process
The person who loves walking will walk further than the man who loves the destination.
Everyone loves a good result. Everyone loves the fulfillment of a finished product. But if you don't fall in love with the process, the odds of you getting that finished product are vastly reduced. And if you don't reward yourself along the way, you'll quit prematurely.
The best strategy I can offer to you is to learn to love the process. You can love the results too, but it’s loving the process that will get you to those results that you want.
Love the contrast of feeling weird and awkward when new figures are introduced compared to how it feels when you have practiced that choreography a thousand times and can do it with your eyes closed.
Learn to embrace the frustration of a new level. Learn to love the feeling of having to dig deep when you are tired and have had to dance so many quarterfinals and semi finals and finals.
Learn to embrace that what you are actually doing is developing. Learn to love that you are never done. Learn to love reps. Learn to love drills. Learn to love being unfinished. Learn to love the feeling of being a beginner, over and over again. Learn to notice when something has gone from unnatural feeling to familiar to mastery. Notice when you got better today, just a little bit. Try to notice that the needle is moving in the right direction. Love the feeling of your body changing and your abilities changing. Love the preparation. Love the practice. Love the work. If you do that, the milestones will come. The results will come. It’s inevitable. They will happen as a side effect. And you are training yourself to love it all along the way, not just at the end.
For more help, book a free Dance Strategy Call HERE.
42. 4 Stages of Mastery
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How do you dance freely and expressively and also think about all the things you are supposed to be doing with your body? The short answer is you really can't. The part of your brain that has to think through things and concentrate to make them happen is minimal. We want to delegate as much as we can to the part of our brain that does actions automatically without much thought. The more we can delegate there, the better. That's what you call muscle memory or automaticity.
You engage in automaticity when you are driving and can carry on a conversation while also putting on lipstick. You have driven so much, that you don't have to think about it. You OVERLEARNED it. Overlearning is when you learn how to do something and can do it well and then keep doing it. You keep repeating it. I just call that reps, or repetitions. Reps are the way to overlearn and develop strong muscle memory so you can reach automaticity in your dancing. How do you do that?
Well there are 4 stages you go through.
Stage one--Acquire Knowledge--This is where you first are introduced to something. You have the intellectual knowledge, but are only beginning to apply it. You haven't translated it into your body yet. It feels clunky and stiff. It feels like you can't make your body do what you want it to do. Your brain is working hard to try to connect to your body and make it do what it wants.
Stage two--Apply Knowledge Inconsistently-- In this stage, you are applying knowledge but it isn't consistently in your body yet. There is a lot of transition happenign here and this stage can take a long time. It will take a lot of thinking hard at first and concentrating to get your body to perform the actions. But over time, some of them become automatic. After a while, the percentage shifts and more and more is automatic and we can use less and less of the pre-frontal intentional part of the brain. You might experience a lot of impatience at this stage because you are getting it and feeling better about it and just want to have it down perfectly.
Stage three--Apply Knowledge Consistently--This is where you translated the knowledge into your body and you can execute it consistently. You can rely upon it. You feel more confident in some areas because you have performed them successfully repeatedly. You have a lot of muscle memory in this stage but it can be a little deceiving. This is because you may not realize there is one more stage.
Stage four--Apply Knowledge Consistently Under Pressure--You know this stage. This is when you can practice on your own and execute it but when you try to do it for your teacher, you can't do it as well. Or you can do your routines well in a lesson consistently but then things might fall apart more on the competition floor. This stage requires overlearning and we just plain don't do that work very often.
You don't need to be in stage 4 to be successful or even feel confident. The biggest problem lies in us expecting to have the ease that we have not quite earned. Listen in to find out how to have more confidence in where you are at and find out if your expectiations are really the problem.
41. Powerful Self-talk
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Don't roll your eyes at the subject of self-talk.
Your self-talk is a large part of your everyday experience and has a lot to do with your ability to get the results that you want in your life.
Self-talk is the voice you hear all day. It can be used for good or evil. When your inner voice is on default, how does it sound? Do you even know? If you start to pay attention, you might come to realize just how poorly you treat yourself.
That inner voice is a pretty good indicator of the relationship you have with yourself. Would you say that you have a supportive, loving relationship with yourself, or are you in an abusive relationship?
Listen in to find out why your self-talk matters, how to improve it, and how to leverage positive self-talk to get the results that you are wanting in your ballroom dancing.
40. Task vs Ego
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Sometimes I call it MATH and DRAMA In this podcast I am calling it TASK vs EGO. These are two mindset states that we as dancers tend to be in.
In the case of a task-oriented mindset, we are focused on what needs to be done. There are certain traits associated with this mindset that turn out to be very useful. You persist at tasks longer, you enjoy the process more, and you perform better under pressure...among other things.
In an ego-oriented mindset, you focus more on yourself--how you look, what other people think of you, and what the results mean about you. This mindset is so easy to slip into but it can be so detrimental. It is also an exhausting roller coaster of emotion.
In this episode I want you through both states and why you want to be in one more than the other. Listen in and see where you fall on the spectrum.
39. Obstacles and Strategies
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The brain is so good at identifying problems. This is good since it helps us survive better as humans. However, we tend to get stuck in our problems. We become problem-focused. We stay stuck in the fact that we have a problem, talk about it, find evidence for it, etc, when we could just move to a solution.
One issue might be that we are lamenting that we have a problem in the first place, as if we shouldn't have them. But life is always going to have problems. You can't escape it.
So rather than thinking about our problems as PROBLEMS, I think of them as OBSTACLES. All you need to get around or over an obstacle is a STRATEGY. What are we going to do about it?
Listen in as we go through some specific problems and use our useful problem-solving brains to find a way around it.
Struggling with brain freeze during a competition?
Getting disoriented on the competition floor?
Not motivated to practice on your own?
Still comparing yourself to other dancers?
We have you covered.