We are more than what we do. We are more than our goals. We are human beings with emotions, fears, and doubts. When we focus solely on optimizing our skills, we neglect resources that are vital to both our personal and professional performance.
As a high performance athlete, I’m intimately acquainted with how easily some important pieces can fall by the wayside when we’re busily chasing our dreams. The irony is this: those pieces are exactly what is required to fully realize our goals!
We’re left asking the question: How can I both strive for high performance and prioritize my mental health?
Today’s guest, Susan Cockle, gives an approach that tackles with dilemma head on. She adds “holistic” to “high performance,” and has had a tremendous impact on her clients—athletes and coaches—that she has helped prepare over the last 5 Olympics Games.
Susan Cockle is a registered psychologist, mental performance consultant with the Canadian Sport Psychology Association, and service provider for the Canadian Centre for Mental Health in Sport, as well as the Mental Health Lead for the Tokyo 2021 Paralympic Games.
She has been working in high performance sport since 2008 and works in both mental performance and mental health. And in this podcast she gives us a glimpse of the gamechanging effect of integrating the whole person into performance goals.
The big takeaway from our conversation: Mental health is vital to mental performance.
In this episode of The Miranda Ayim Podcast, Susan Cockle and I discuss what holistic high performance looks like, creating an ideal flow state, and empowering women and marginalized communities through sport.
Susan is also the Mental Health Lead for the Tokyo 2021 Paralympic Games—a vital role at any time, but especially now in light of the current pandemic and postponement of the Games. We talk about its effects on athletes, support staff and organizers. Surprisingly and encouragingly, among her clients and colleagues there remains a wellspring of hope despite the current situation.
As a mental performance consultant, Susan Cockle is fully equipped to thrive and support in today’s difficult climate. She is invested in honing emotional and mental skills for optimal performance. She enables athletes and coaches to “fully and successfully play the game they love.” Psychological recovery from injury and transition out of sport are some of the services she provides as well. She also supports parents through the emotional rigours of high performance sport.
If you want to perform better while prioritizing your mental health, this conversation is for you.
SOME QUESTIONS I ASK
- How do we balance our emotional and logical side when in a high pressure environment that requires both gut instinct and precise strategy?
- How has the field of mental performance developed over the past decade?
- What are the first steps for increasing self-awareness?
- How are you, as the Mental Health Lead for the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics, and your team preparing for the Olympics through this pandemic?
SOME QUESTIONS SUSAN ASKS
- What have been some gamechangers to your mental performance?
- What sets the Canadian Women’s National Team apart from other teams?
- How do we look beyond individual skill sets to build something rooted in purpose and longevity?
KEY DISCUSSION POINTS
- How to get into the flow state using the “triune brain“
- Why sports are so empowering for women and marginalized communities
- How to use evidence to challenge irrational (or unfounded) thoughts
- A 3-step physical check-in to self-regulate: Head, Heart, Feet
- What a downward spiral of shame looks like
- How purpose can shift throughout a career/lifetime
- How beauty and grace (to ourselves and others) fit into high performance
- Some key performance indicators on the Canadian Olympic team
- Why the Mental Health team for the Paralympics is hopeful
- Plus much more…