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Webinar: Creating a winning mindset in uncertain times

By Rachneet Randhawa, October 25 2021–

Olympic gold medallist and social justice activist Mark Tewksbury and his business partner, Debbie Muir — a former Olympic and Canadian national synchronized swimming team coach — gave tips and tricks on learning how to build a growth mindset for resilience in the face of adversity. The webinar Creating a Winning Mindset in Uncertain Times was broadcast on Sept. 24 as part of the Alumni All Access event. 

The Gauntlet attended the virtual event to learn more about the how and why of improving oneself utilizing a results-oriented approach. 

For starters, their entire process can be categorized into three key parts. The first, as a Mind-Body Connection, the second as the WAIT tool and lastly three key and powerful steps that you must adapt to as a mantra. 

“We have somewhere in the area of 60,000 thoughts a day. And of those thoughts 80 per cent of them are about ourselves. So we’re super self-absorbed,” said Muir. “Two-thirds of those thoughts are often negative in nature. So that means, in theory, we could be having somewhere in the area of 32,000 negative thoughts about ourselves a day.” 

This is what Muir calls the thought cycle. 

“What you’re thinking, whether it’s positive or negative, they become your deep-seated beliefs about what you can and can’t do. And then that access is only so much of your potential. And based on the potential that you’ve accessed, you go out and you do some actions and those actions produce a result. And then that result usually reinforces what the initial thought and belief were,” Muir continued.  

“So each step we took, actually started to shift what was that subconscious thought holding me back as a negative, suddenly either became neutral, eradicated or became a positive because we were working on it.” said Tewksbury. 

This is what’s known as the WAIT tool — or “What Am I Thinking” tool — in which you are put in a new position of being proactive and changing negative thoughts into something empowering. 

“So first of all, use the weight tool,” said Muir. “It’s incredibly powerful. In the space of five seconds, you’re going to bring unconscious thinking to the surface and then be able to do what you want.”

Asking yourself what exact purpose do your thoughts serve, and are they helping to empower you are also helpful strategies.   

“What we’re challenging you to do is look for ways to identify what your thoughts are, then fit them into that cycle and make sure that the thinking that you have is accessing your full potential,” Muir said. 

The last part of the webinar focused on tying everything together using three key tools to bring your thinking to the surface and practice creating a winning mindset for yourself in any and every circumstance: Power Words, Scripting and Visualization.

Tewksbury mentioned the powerful effect of choosing five simple words, which helped create a winning culture not only for the many years he’s been a professional athlete but also for his time during the Olympics. 

For instance, during the 2021 Summer Olympic Games in London, they asked Team Canada athletes, including medalists, support teams and coaches before the games, to come up with the top three words they used to define themselves as they were walking into the opening ceremony. They put it to a vote and collected the results to uncover the top five popular buzzwords to define the team: “Relentless,” “Fearless,” “World Class,” “Proud” and “Unbreakable.” 

These incredible words were spoken each time a team was announced giving swagger to the chosen delegates. So ask yourself  — what are the five words that define you? 

“Power words can take you out of what might be a limiting thought cycle, and then allows us to start to do other things so that you can create positive thought cycles,” Muir said. 

Secondly, write yourself a script. This was a tactic Tewksbury learned from a sports psychologist which allows you to hone in on your focus and a personal secret weapon of his. After determining your power words you take these favourite words and write out how you are going to be performing on the day of a big event. The trick is to read it over and over again and eventually start to visualize it. The script eventually becomes a mantra of sorts. 

During a second exercise called “What You See Is What You Get,” Tewksbury gave a few volunteers a paper clip attached to a string and asked them to visualize. He asked the volunteers to shut their eyes and use their imagination to foresee the paper moving in different directions. This is visualization. 

“When you do that, you are connecting to the little neurons and the electrical signals that go down into your muscles that help you to visualize exactly what you want,” said Tewksbury. 

The webinar closed off with a live Q & A from the audience, including more helpful tips on dealing with difficult situations, extenuating circumstances, reinforcing good habits, adopting a proactive and results-oriented mindset and failing forward. 

Be sure to check out Tewksbury’s and Muir’s website, Great Straits Academy for further programming and digital courses including seminars and training.

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