Progress not Perfection - Jon Osborn

Samantha StoutDecember 14, 2021Ballroom Chat: Episode #56
jon osborn ballroom chat

Jon Osborn sit's down to talk about mindset going into performance and competitions and the difference between positive and negative self-talk. Jon and Samantha also discuss the key factors to a helpful mindset and how to prepare better for benchmarks and goal setting when it comes to competitions or performances.

Jon Osborn is part of the RJ Performance Group and is a Mental Performance Coach. He holds a Master's Degree in Sports and Performance Psychology, and some of his clients include Real Salt Lake, the Real Monarchs, Weber State Athletics, Team X Alpine, and the Rowmark Ski Academy.

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Episode Transcript

Samantha: Welcome back to another episode of Ballroom Chat, the podcast dedicated to sharing the dance journey. I'm your host, Samantha with Love Live Dance. Today, I'm joined by Jon Osborn. He is part of the RJ Performance Group and is a Mental Performance Coach. He holds a Master's Degree in Sports and Performance Psychology, and some of the clients that he has worked with include Real Salt Lake, the Real Monarchs, Weber State Athletics, Team X Alpine, Rowmark Ski Academy, and many more.

Um, we got a chance to sit down and talk with him today about, uh, the mindset going into performance and competitions and a whole bunch of information about positive and negative self-talk. How to make sure that you are going in with helpful mindset and how to prepare better for benchmarks and goal setting when it comes to competitions or performance. So if that is something that you are interested in, please enjoy my conversation with Jon Osborn. Well, thank you, John so much for being a guest on today's podcast,

Jon: you bet really, really excited to be here.

Samantha: So, as I mentioned in the introduction that you are a mental performance coach and that you hold a master's degree in sports and performance psychology. You are also the first guest on ballroom chat that does not have a history of ballroom dancing, did not grow up in ballroom dancing, is not currently a professional in the industry. So, um, I kind of want to start a little bit differently than I do with my normal guests, which is, um, if you could tell us, if you could educate all of our wonderful listeners, what does it mean to be a mental performance coach and what is sports and performance psychology?

Jon: Yeah, for sure. But I, I didn't get to qualify. I mean, I do have a 16, you know, 16 year old ballroom dance class at my high school, public school, high school. Right. So, you know, we would just say, we're not in the industry. That's a hundred percent completely accurate, but, uh, yeah. As you were talking, as you were saying them, like, I actually took a ballroom dance class in high school. I mean, by no means have that qualify me in any capacity, but, uh, uh, it was super fun.

Uh, yeah. Being a mental performance coach, what a great career. And it's been, been very rewarding for me. Um, so I went and got a master's degree, as you mentioned, sport performance psychology. And what that, what that schooling entailed was just trying to understand the brain and, uh, the, the motivations that go into human performance and maybe, and what, what sort of mental skills or what interventions we can use to help change the way we think, um, to, to help understand our motivations more, and the ways we can intervene to help ourselves be more motivated or maybe be more, more committed.

Um, and so as a mental performance coach, I work with performers and I, and I, you know, I, I work with a lot of athletes for sure. Um, but, uh, the way I kind of qualify that is, you know, anybody who's involved in, you know, high stakes or anyone who's involved in a performance of any kind, and that I've seen that go into the, you know, into the corporate world of the business world. The people, the stakes may not be, you know, a, on a world championship or an Olympic setting, but the stakes are really high for that person as this is, you know, their livelihood. It's what, they're what they're doing to bring, you know, bring home the bacon for their family.

And so those, those stakes are very personal to them. And so it's a high, it's a high performance, high pressure situation at their job. Um, and so my job is to kind of help and ask some questions and be a good listener, um, and help, uh, understand, you know, where, where our mental processing is at. And, um, look at things like the way we talk to ourselves, you know, obviously like anxiety and nerve reduction methods, uh, whether that be like relaxation or breathing, but helping, you know, helping them understand and, uh, be a guide on that journey. Uh, but you know, I, I say all the time that I'm trying to work myself out of a job. You know, because I don't want to be just the go-to, right? Where it's just like, oh, I got a problem, go call Jon. I want them to be able to, you know, I want people I work with to develop those skills on their own so that when it comes up, they can, they can solve it, work through it, um, and feel really confident in their ability to respond to that pressure.

So, um, that's a little bit what, uh, you know, what that's like and, uh, its in sport and performance psychology, because, you know, sports is one of those, uh, you know, performances that's just so visible and is so, so accessible from your youth sports, um, all the way up to like the professionals in terms of, of people watching and whatnot. So, um, yeah, that's a little bit about my background and I think it's awesome. I'm excited, maybe a little nervous to be the first guest you have, that's outside of the world. Um, you know, as I expect you, all of these people watching your podcast in the world of ballroom dancing, you're gonna watch the first five minutes and be like this guy's a kook doesn't know what he's talking about, you know, so there's some pressure there that I'm excited about, right?

Pressures and opportunity for me to rise to the occasion. And I, and I hope that I do so, so thank you very much for having me. I'm excited to see where this discussion goes

Samantha: of course, of course, well, and I think it's so important to have kind of a difference of opinion and to search, to search outside of, you know, the, the group or the minds within our own industry, because we can learn so much from each other. So, so having, um, you know, folks like you and, and folks outside of the industry in different areas, I think is important to further the conversation because we can always learn from each other. So now that we know a little bit about kind of what the idea behind sports performance psychology is, how did you actually get into this field? What was kind of the path that led you here?

Jon: Yeah. Great, great question. And that's one of my favorite questions that I ask other mental performance coaches, because, um not all, by any means, but there are a lot of people that get in because they're former athletes and they saw the benefit of like the mental game. That's not me, but I peeked in, in high school, my athletic career peeked. Uh, but I had injury, you know, I had a lot, lots of injuries that I had four knee surgeries from age 16 to 22. And so, you know, I knew playing was no longer going to be my thing, but I remember, I remember sitting on the bench, uh, my, my JV, not sorry, not JV, my junior year, varsity soccer at West Jordan High School, West Jordan, Utah.

I remember sitting there injured and one of my, one of my best friends came out of team is one of our better players. He came out and sat next to me and we weren't awesome. You know, we maybe weren't even good. Um, but I remember him like coming and sitting down, like being really frustrated and his body, what I know now, his body language was really poor. Head was down, um, wasn't, wasn't looking at the game, was you could tell he was just so in his head. And I remember like, just kind of starting these thoughts of like. That's not going to be like very productive. Like all I can see for him, is it just going downhill from here? You know? So I was just like, Hey man, like keep your head up.

And that's all I said to him and didn't know why I said that other than just a colloquial term. Right. Like, keep your head up, chin up, man. Um, and I just started and he did, and I was not quite sure how the game went from there. Probably not, again, probably not awesome. Um, but I just remembered like, realizing that even though I wasn't playing, I could still make an impact. Um, and as an injured athlete, I had lots of opportunities to not be playing. And then when I made the realization, I wasn't gonna be playing because of, uh, either, either skill at some certain sports or injury in other sports I realized I can still make an impact. Um, uh, and so I just started, I kind of had that as like a foundation. Uh, and then I was, I was at school at a community college and my sister took a sports psychology class from, uh, from a guy Dr. Rich Gordon, up at the university of, sorry at Utah State. And she called me right after. And she's like, Hey, John, like, I love to give him like sports psychology, a thought. Um, but you should, like, I think this is right up your alley.

That was when I was about eighteen. And I remember I remember going in, and this, this is how niche my, my, my schooling and market is. I remember going into my counselor's office at, at the community college. And I was like, Hey, um, you know, I kind of want to pursue a career in this. What advice do you have for me? Like, where should I, where should I go? And she didn't think it was a job, but she didn't think it was a real thing. And I was like sitting there thinking like all already, like nervous being like, this is fake, you know? And I was just like, you know, this is, you know, this is what they do. And, and, you know, I know there's a guy at Utah state is doing it. How can, how can I get, like, what do I need, you know, do I need advanced degrees? You know, what, where should I go to school? What, you know, what, what prerequisite should I take? And she was her whole thing was trying to convince me that that wasn't real. And I was like, I really isn't like, all right, then go ask that guy.

And so I actually got in contact with Dr. Gordon. Anyway, served a two year LDS mission, came back from my mission and is enrolled at university of Utah, took an undergrad class and it was my absolute favorite because I sat there and I felt like, wow, like this is, this is kind of where I belong. Like everything, all my gut feelings, my intuition were, were research backed. And I was like, oh, like, I didn't even know that. And so it just became like, that's what education like became really exciting for me. It wasn't like, homework wasn't a real thing because I was like, Hey, I want to pursue this and see what this was like. So that was just super fun. And I mean, there was a, so I, I finished that, uh, you know, my undergrad out and immediately enrolled and applied to for a master's program up at the University of Utah as well. I remember seeing my first semester. And then there was a lot of doubt from, from friends and family, again, probably kind of that same counselor idea of like, that's not a real job. Like I'm sure my parents thought they were going to be like having to support me through my forties. Um, you know, my in-laws were like, probably not jazzed that their, you know, their baby girl would be, you know, be homeless or whatever.

I had a lot of like self doubt and a lot of imposter syndrome, you know, where it's like, Hey, I'm, this is what I'm doing. And hey, you know, I don't think, you know what you're talking about. And then it got even worse as I went into these classes with people who are now colleagues, and all of them, you know, like their, their origin story, how they got in the field, it seemed like now they were made for this. Former athletes, like who had a ton of experience, worked with mental performance coaches.

And I'm like, I don't measure up, like, if I'm competing against these guys for jobs that ain't ever going to happen. You know, like there's, so there's a lot of, a lot of doubt. And probably for a lot of really good reason, but, uh, um, I, so I almost gave in after my first semester, um, and it wasn't until I just kinda like sat back and realized that a lot of these, like, that, that gut feeling, that intuition that I had about some of these principles, that it was still the same, you know?

So I'm not saying I'm like a natural, a natural mental performance coach, but, um, a lot of these things just started making way more sense than other concepts. And so I'm stuck with it. And, and it was that second semester and the third and fourth that were started really realizing I had a groove and, you know, I had some ability to do this and the ability to connect with people, you know, and build, build relationships with the people I work with and how important that is.

So, um, that's kind of my path, how I got there, you know, a lot of, a lot of doubts, a lot of, um, stepping into the void because it is such a, an unfamiliar, um, an unfamiliar field. Um, yeah. I can remember a couple of like, and I won't go into, but I can remember a couple of like pretty clear experiences with, uh, with my dad and with my in-laws, um, like explaining what I was going to do.

And just so much my dad's favorite question he always asks is, and you can do that? So I tell him like, you know, I'm going to go work with such and such basketball and do some sports psychology with them. And he's like, and you can do that? I was like, yeah, here's how, um, and, uh, so that's always been kind of fun to, you know, show him, you know, and I he's, he's really, really supportive, my in-laws are as well, everyone, everyone has been.

But when you, when you venture into anything that is unfamiliar to the norm, right. You're going to be faced with that stepping off point of like, Hey, I don't, I really don't know where this is going to land. And here we go. And just, you know, wake up, say a prayer, hustle, and then get going with it and hope that it all kind of pans out.

Samantha: I adore that because I, I relate to it so heavily that idea of like, I feel something deep in my soul calling me to this career path, calling me in this direction and everything logical around me is telling me this is like, this is bad. This is not going to happen for you. Go the other direction, find something different. This is not what's meant for you. And then just fighting it and being like, no, I'm gonna, I'm gonna push through. I'm gonna figure out a way to make this work. And then I'm going to hustle every single day of my life to make sure that I, to find that feeling of, no, I belong here. I made the right choice.

Um, and obviously part of what you do, you know, we were talking a little bit off stream and obviously we've kind of mentioned it a couple times in the introduction. A lot of what you do is work with folks to push past that idea of imposter syndrome, to push past, to figure out how to cope with the anxieties and the self-doubt. So having experienced a lot of that in your own career journey, um, how do you counsel your clients? What advice do you give when we're talking about imposter syndrome or the idea of I don't belong here, I'm not skilled enough to do X I'm not good enough to do X, I don't have the years of experience to do X, Y, or Z.

Jon: Right. Yeah. So true. Like, even as you were talking, I was just thinking about, you know, as you were saying, like all of those, those thoughts that come in your head, I'm like, I can't do that. Like I don't have, I don't have the knowledge. I don't have this. I don't have that.

You know, I, uh, I saw a stat recently that said 82% of people have reported feeling imposter syndrome at some point in their lives. Like 82%. If we're sitting in a room of 10 people, eight of us are talking about what it was like when we felt imposter syndrome. And when a percentage percentages that high, what kind of, what kind of it hits me that is twofold. One is that it's very real and very normal for us to feel. Which is, which starts countering this idea that, that comes when we feel like an imposter is that it's just us. Like everyone else here is experts. I'm the only one feeling this. So we start liking, so normalizing the idea that it's like, yeah. Okay. You and everybody else feels that way as well. Right? 8, 8, 8 people here, right? Our group of 10 there's eight of us feel the same way. So not only, so the first thing that it's very real, but the second thing is that it's not based in, its not founded in reality.

You know, it is very real, but it's not founded in reality. Like if eight out of 10 people are thinking that they like that they don't belong, that can't actually be true and real. Right. So it's not founded in reality. So one of the things I think is most helpful is to help us reconnect to, to our reality, into what that reality is. And a lot of that comes with first is understanding that not all of our thoughts are true. And I think that's probably one of the most, um, eye-opening. I probably thinks are the clients I work with and it, because it hasn't been for me as well.

It's thinking about how many conversations you had with the, in your, in your own head, either talking yourself into something, out of something, and, and how many times we take our own thought or, or the, we, we think something, we take that now as, as a foundational truth and we use that to base other decisions on, right. If I take this idea that I'm not good enough and that's truth. Yeah. Well, I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm not gonna go forward. Right. I'm going to make these other decisions, other avoidant decisions based on the idea that, you know, I don't know enough. So we first break down the idea that not all of our thoughts are true. Um, we can kind of start taking a little bit more of control of our reality and understanding like what, what is real, what isn't?

So, one of the things that I think is, is really, really helpful when we're battling imposter syndrome is to understand like, is to remove our result from our self-worth, you know, that like, hey man, we came in last place. That doesn't mean we're a last place person. Right. Um, because that, that result is out of our, out of our control, out of our influence. Um, there are so I guess, there's so many other factors, right? Not necessarily out of our influence, there's so many other factors related to that result. So we, we take that away from our, you know, uh, our own self-worth.

Um, the other thing that I think we can do is understand our efforts and, and applaud our efforts. You know, I remember, you know, Steve Young's at a quarterback at BYU, played for the 49ers. I think in his book, he was talking about, um, uh, he used to play outfield. And if he, if he dropped seven fly balls, one day, or maybe he dropped eight fly balls one day and the next day he drops only dropped seven it's like that was grounds for Dairy Queen. You know, like, like, yeah, he still dropped seven fly balls and we could, we could focus on those. But if we focus on those, you know, those drops, we don't recognize the gain that we've made, you know, so, so constantly recognizing the good things we've done.

I like to use a three to one ratio when we're evaluating our performance, whether it be after practice, after competition, whatever the thing was. What are three things that I did well? And then what's one thing that I can, that I can work to improve on? Right. But recognizing those good efforts, you know, good efforts that we're doing, um, I think, uh, I think becomes really, really important.

Um, and yeah, then just kind of removing our, our, you know, that failure from our self-worth and realize that there are, there are a lot of people around us who like us, um, and, and choose to be with us regardless of our, you know, regardless of our outcomes, regardless of our performances, you know, and in that group, as we get a higher, higher level might actually become smaller and smaller because there are a lot of people who want to be around us because you know, we're famous or because we're really good at what we do, but there's that tight knit circle that we realize that we feel, we, we, I'm not going to say we base our self-worth on those people.

Right. But they're, they become our tight knit circle that we know we can trust. Who's going to, you know, be, be honest with us. Um, will always have our back if all of a sudden that fame, that fortune goes away, you know, that circle is always, you know, always going to remain the same and always going to be there for us.

Samantha: Yeah. And I think, I think it's so important going back to that idea of, of decoupling results and self-worth, um, just as much as like what you are passionate about and your identity, right? I am a ballroom dancer, but that is not all that I am. Um, and I think, especially for students that are going through this process, or, you know, maybe amateurs that are just beginning their competitive career or even professionals that have been in for a long time, I think we do focus so much on, well, I didn't, I didn't make, you know, the final six.

Okay. But you made it through your first heat. You made it through quarter finals. You got to the semi-final round. That's incredible. Be proud of that or, okay. I placed third instead of first, but it was a brand new routine that has never been tested on the dance floor and I got through it. Like, that's incredible. So I totally support, I totally agree with you in this idea of like setting benchmarks and seeing the success and not focusing on, did I get the trophy? The trophy is great, but the trophy isn't everything.

Jon: Yeah. And I think those benchmarks need to be set or those benchmark items need to be things that fall entirely within, within my control or my influence. Right. Because if I set a benchmark of like, you know, that I want to reach the top 10, well, what if literally the 10 best people, my age group came that day right? Out of my control. But instead I focus on the things that are like, you know, so they, you know, I, I didn't make top six, but man, I, I literally nailed every part of my routine to the best of my current, my current ability. Right. That can be a benchmark.

And I know people have kind of give that a bad bad rap because, you know, they want these benchmark items to be really, really like measurable. And I think they still can be, you know, I think we can put, I think we can put measures on things like effort, you know, we can put measures on things like preparation. Right. And so, so putting these benchmark things entirely in the hands of the, of the student of the performer, um, allows them to look back and, and grade their performance.

Yeah. Someone else is going to right, there's a judge, who's going to tell them what they think. And ultimately the prize is going to be more than on what that judge thinks. But, but that judge doesn't have to wake up again and do it tomorrow. I do. Right. And so what's going to be the, the, the factor that it gets me out of bed and keep going. If it is, if I'm relying entirely on what that judge thinks that I might as well just go live with that judge so they can tell me what I should be doing every single day.

Right. But if I, if I established these benchmarks for myself, it'd be like, Hey, you know what? This last performance I achieved, you know, A, B and C benchmark, but I didn't quite get to D, here, here are some things. Here's some ways that I'm going to try and maybe change up my, my preparation, change up my way by training to achieve D the next time we go out. Right. But, but I still achieved A,B, and C.

Samantha: Yeah. So I think that flows beautifully into this next question that I have for you. So I actually asked our, um, Instagram followers on Ballroom Chat. I mentioned that you were, you were going to be a guest and I asked them what questions they might have for, um, someone with your background

Jon: they actually had some questions that makes me honestly feel so good.

Samantha: They do.

Jon: Some people who don't know me would actually want to ask a question and they were like, and didn't respond with like, no, would you please pass, go to, uh, go to the next guest, please. That's great. Yeah. What do they got? What can I help with?

Samantha: They actually had some really great questions. So, um, the first one it comes from, and I'm so sorry, I'm going to butcher all of these usernames. Um, but. amezlady. Um, she says when it comes to focusing, should we aim to think about something or nothing? And she actually followed up because I wanted her to kind of explain a little bit more about exactly the question that she's aiming for. Um, so she said for her, um, to focus on, to focus during practice means something different than to focus during a competition. Um, when we're getting ready to go on a competition floor, let's say we aren't nervous just to remove that variable. You feel confident and comfortable going in. Um, should she think about a specific task, like maintaining frame, lowering, focusing on technique, or should her goal be to keep a meditative or blank mind and not linger on any thought in particular? Just essentially take the beginning of the dance and then go from there and enjoy the moment.

Jon: Right. Well, I hate to sound lame, you know, in, in answering this, um, or like I'm sitting on a fence, you know, but I I've known athletes who, uh, who performed best on both. Right. There's some that they really just want to kind of go out there and just pay attention to like how they're feeling and not be really focused on, you know, a particular task. And if that's, if that's your cup of tea, like great.

Um, you know, the way we think about focus and focusing on one thing or trying to keep a clear mind, that's really, really difficult to do. Um, you know, one of the best, uh, one of the best things, um, w ways that I, I heard it described was that our focus is kind of like a spotlight in that it, it can only be focused on one thing, you know, just like thinking about up on a stage with that big spotlight, right. It can't, it can't be seeing everything. But it can, and it highlights and it, it, uh, expands or magnifies the one thing that it's on. And so oftentimes when someone comes to me and they're like, hey, I'm having a hard time focusing, what would I see that as is that that spotlight keeps bouncing around different items, you know? Um, and sometimes that may be due to due to anxiety or nerves, you know, um, sometimes it can be done because of the complexity, what they're trying to do. And so they think they need to think about all these different things. And so simplifying on a single task can actually be really, really important.

Um, so when, when someone says they're having a hard time focusing, I like to simplify and identify one or two things to be thinking about, you know, during this stretch of the routine. Maybe as we're starting, we're really, we're really focused on our posture. Maybe this middle part, you know, after I perform this move, I'm going to be, you know, changing, you know, to, to my depth or whatever it might be, but we just kind of keep in simplify, you know, these performances, you know, that we're going through, um, you know, like I said, I've known athlete's who like that meditative state and, and really, it's kind of a matter of like, where do you perform at your best? You know, um, oftentimes people want just that one, like, you know, the quick fix the, um, the, the pill that's gonna, you know, make it, make it all go away or magical, you know, we're all, we're all so different. And so, um, if you perform at your best feeling, really relaxed, great. Um, but if, if that's what you want, but you notice your mind jumping out elsewhere, you know, that means your mind probably needs a task and we become, we become, you know, very, very task oriented.

Um, I, I would, I would probably say that, um, with the people I've worked with more people are a benefit from having a task orientation than that, you know, that meditative state, but it's not, you know, it's not unheard of, I guess. Does that answer her question? It wasn't, it was a good question. It was kind of complex, lots of pieces , did I miss anything?

Samantha: I think you answered it really well. And I, I just, from like a ballroom specific mindset. And, uh, I believe, um, the, the lady that's asking this question as a follower, I'm assuming. Um, so as a fellow follow, um, I would say there is kind of this balance point, depending on the style of dance that you're dancing in. If I'm dancing a rhythm dance or a Latin dance, where a lot of the choreography tends to be, um, personal in, in that we have side-by-side elements, we're still connected with our partner, but we're moving through figures where I have a little bit more autonomy, I guess, would be the right sense. I'm really gonna focus on one thing for each dance that I do. So maybe in Cha-cha, I want to hit my line really hard. So I'm going to make sure that every time I hit a crossover break, I'm going to hit that as sharp as I possibly can.

If you're dancing in smooth or standard, where the connection with the partner you are relying on your lead so much more. Um, it really is a more connected, um, body and .Performance, uh, experience. For me, I like to go into a blank state of mind as a follower in those dance styles, because I need to be able to react quickly if we go off script, right. If, if we get into a corner and we're about to get hit by another couple, and my partner has to take me out of our routine, I can't be focusing so much on hitting the next line that I miss the signal that we're about to get hit and we need to go somewhere else.

So, you know, obviously everybody is different in that. Uh, you just mentioned like athlete to athlete, different things, work for different people. For my perspective, as a follow. I like to go into more of that like Zen, I'm just in the moment I'm listening to my partner, I'm doing the routine, but I'm kind of on an autopilot from a technique perspective. And as I'm fully in the performance for smooth and standard, and then for rhythm and Latin, I like to pick a specific task that I could focus on for each dance.

Jon: Right. And it sounds like to me, just because, um, uh, in, in each of those different styles, right, that there's, um, there's different relevant information, right. You know, if, if it's something that I need to really technical on that relevant information is the technique, you know, is, is the, the move I'm doing. Right. Whereas if I'm trying to be connected to my partner, the relevant information is that connection. That's the chemistry that you have. Um, and so as that's where I think our focus becomes on my connection to this person, because I'm relying, you know, you're relying on them to lead and guide you and, and kind of help you through the place.

And you've trained enough that you can go on that autopilot, right. You know, that you don't, you don't need to be, to have a high load performance. You don't need to be so focused on, on those items, because if you did, the spotlight might be on the wrong thing. You know, like if, if, if, if you need to be connected to your partner and let them lead and guide you where you need to be, but your focus is, you know, on your, your foot work or your posture, whatever it might be that becomes counterproductive to what the, the team together is trying to accomplish.

That's kind of how I see that. Does that make sense?

Samantha: Absolutely. Absolutely. And, and I kind of want to get your opinion on this, obviously from a different sport perspective, whether it's, you know, your work with Real Salt Lake or any one of the high school teams that you've coached in the past or, or worked with in the past.

Um, I feel like there's also a sense of like trusting the process and trusting that all of the hours of practice that you've put in will show up on game time or show up on the competition floor. So if you're working on a specific goal and you've set that benchmark for the competition, obviously focus on that, but don't be so focused on it that you lose the experience of the performance or the competition experience.

Jon: Right. 100% and you're totally right. One of the, one of the things that the people I work with that they want the most, like, what do you want to feel as like, they want to feel in the zone? You know, have you, have you ever had, had a, had a competition or performance, like one of your dances go, but you're like, you were totally in the zone.

Samantha: Oh, absolutely. I've I've had many times

Jon: describe that to me, explain what that, what that felt like.

Samantha: If for me, it feels like from the moment that I step onto the dance floor, if I'm really prepared and my partner is really prepared and I mostly dance with students. So just put that in the context of we're in a Pro-Am setting, right.

When I know that I can trust my, my student, my partner, a hundred percent, and I can just experience the music and experience the lights and experience the floor and experience my body moving. It's like this out of body experience. It's like, um, I'm suddenly transported and I'm, I'm not Samantha on a competition floor dancing, the Viennese waltz. I'm Anastasia with the dress, waltzing across the floor to Once Upon a December. And then you walk off the dance floor and you're like, wow, that was awesome. I don't know what just happened, but that felt amazing.

Jon: Gosh, yes, you are. You are describing being in the zone perfectly. What some of the hallmarks of being in the zone is that we often don't really remember it. Like we don't remember the finer details. Right. But one of the people, so people always want to know, like, how do I get in the zone? And that's kind of the trick of it is that you can't actually get in the zone. Sorry. You can't force yourself to be in the zone. The the biggest, the number one indicator of whether or not we can, we can do that, is being able to let go. Meaning, and I think what I'd like to kind of kind of bridge these two things is I think it comes to trust, right? Trusting our training and trusting that I put in 40,000 hours or how I've been doing this for so long that we can trust it like that. I can let go. I don't need, I don't need the micromanage every, every performance or every single part of what I'm doing. You know, a few years ago I had opportunity to work with the Riverton baseball team. They were a good group of good group baseball players. Um, and they're, you know, they're trying to go win, win a state championship and whatnot. And I remember right before they started the state championship, we went, we went in there and our session together because I asked them, I said, I was like, I want you to, I want you to stand up if you've been playing baseball, um, uh, longer, longer than 20 years.

So maybe I do the opposite. Like stand up, sit out. If you played baseball less than, less than two years, sit down. If you sit down, if you put less, less than three, less than five, less than that. And what they started realizing is my numbers kept getting higher as I was like six years. And everyone's still standing, seven years all of them are still standing. Eight years, all of them are still standing. Well, they started realizing was like, oh my gosh, I, what I'm about to go compete in. I've been doing this even, even from a T-ball level, we get it, but I've been doing this for a long time. You know, because our minds and our rights starts remembering, you know, that's not like just like yeah, years, right. It was eight years. We start remembering what has been involved in each of those eight years. You know, it's like now I remember that one summer that I, you know, I, I, I practice, I practice every single day for like three hours each night. In that one week I put together like 18 hours of a practice. And that was just one week in one of those eight years. So I did that, and that was, that was kind of my message to, you know, sending them off into this, you know, into the state tournament. It was, you guys have been doing this for a really long time. You don't need to micromanage your performance, go out there and trust your training. You know, instead of thinking like, Hey, what should I do with this at bat? Man, think about all the times you've been there before trust that, you know what I've been in this situation enough that I can go and just kind of feel my instincts and trust. They went out and they had a great tournament, you know, you know, they, they were the eventual, like state runners up, but push them to the very final game.

Um, and you know, they had a great tournament and it was really cool to like be involved in that because they really did just like trust their training. There were so many, there was so many occasions in that tournament where they were put into situations that they were, that was not the norm, but they have been there before, you know, I'm thinking of, of a center fielder who like all of a sudden was like called into pitch.

And like, he wasn't, he wasn't in the rotation to pitch, but needed to, because of, you know, pitch count and all that and amateur sports. And he came in and like, remember that he had like pitched before in his life, you know, and, and he got them out of a jam that eventually led them to, to advance into the next round. Um, but yeah, when we. Our training and allows us sets up those, those opportunities for us to let go and gives us a good chance of having those moments of where we're in the zone or having looked decent, having those out of body experiences. But I love that because we can't force ourselves to be in the zone.

Like, all right, I want to be at the zone. Here we go. We got to be able to have the maturity to be able to step back and recognize, Hey, I've done this, I've done this a lot. Like, I've practiced a lot. Even recently, we don't, you know, we don't need to have years and years. Right. But we might have, you know, this isn't the first time I'm doing this dance. Now this isn't the first time I'm dancing with this partner. You know, we have, we have some good chemistry. We've been through some things. I trust, you know, I trust that they've been doing training because I've actually been there with them. You know, I know, I know they have been as well. And so I don't need to micromanage their performance. They don't need to micromanage mine cause we both trust each other. And I trust myself where I don't need to micromanage my own performance. I don't need to nitpick every single element of this, you know, of this footwork, um, or this, you know, dip or whatever, whatever it might be. Right. Yeah. Yeah.

That makes sense?

Samantha: Yeah. But I do want to flip that though. So I feel like, um, one of the pitfalls that a lot of beginners fall into is, working with someone that has been doing it for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years.

Jon: They want the person with experience.

Samantha: Well, they want, they want the person with experience, which is absolutely correct, but then judging themselves and their progress against where this expert is. It's similar to, if an NFL, a current player came in and taught Peewee football and the Peewee football student is like, well, why don't I move like them? Why, why am I not there? I want to look like that. How do I get there? So what advice would you give for beginner athletes or beginner hobbyists that are starting their journey in ballroom dance or in any, in any sport, any performance avenue to kind of put, put their goals and expectations in line with where they want to be eventually.

Jon: Right. Yeah. I think the advice I give them is, you know, recognize that you're a work in progress, not a finished product, you know, that we walk, we walk progress, you know, it's about progress, not perfection, you know, I think, I think that's probably the advice that I'd give them.

And I honestly, I just barely talked with, uh, an individual, uh, maybe just a couple of weeks ago about this exact idea where he was, he was so hard on himself. He's a really high level basketball player. He's only 16 years old, um, uh, playing at a really high level in a, in a very competitive environment. And he was getting really hard hard on himself about, um, you know, if I want to make the, I need to make the NBA. I need to be shooting this percentage. And I'm not right now. And he's like lots of statements like that. And I was like, you're not in the NBA. And he's like, it was like, so eye opening for him to realize like, Okay. Yeah. Where I'm at right now does not need to be what I need to be doing in this final, in this final, final product.

So if we start recognizing that we're not, you know, we're works in progress, we're not finished products. Um, so, okay. So if we, if we started viewing ourselves in that way, and okay. If I'm a, if I'm a work in progress, well, what's, what would I expect to see for myself? And we start seeing certain behaviors, mistakes would be one of them. Right. If I'm a work in progress. I'm going to, I'm going to have, I'm going to have mistakes. I'm going to have failure. I'm going to have learning opportunities. If I'm a finished product. Yeah. We don't want mistakes. You know, obviously we always want learning opportunities. Right. But, but what we expect to see from ourselves in terms of behaviors are totally different. If we are a work in progress versus a finished. Right.

We don't look at the, look at the painting, hanging in the Louvre and we're like, oh, you know that they're making some great progress. You know, like they're, that's a finished product. We're looking at an absolute masterpiece. But if we go look at, you know, but my, my three-year-old's drawing, we're not like, dude, why on earth did you not? Don't you don't you realize that you, you have three, you know, places for light here, you know, are there three moons? Right. Are there three suns? We don't get mad at that, right, cause they're a work in progress. And so we start seeing ourselves the exact same way, you know.

In the situation you're talking about like, you know, beginner with some of the, so many years of experience, one of my, the things I think is so important is like asking questions, you know. Is okay, great, your partner has 10 years more experience than you. Right. They're going to perform at a higher level, but what sort of questions can you ask them? You know, what, what, what advice would they give to themselves 10 years ago?

What advice do they have for you? And like asking that opportunity to not just a great opportunity to learn to dance from someone who knows so much more than you, but what, what sort of questions could you ask them? What sort of things could they maybe tell you to speed up your learning, that you don't have to go through 10 years to get where they are, but can you be a good listener and can you be coachable?

Can you be teachable that maybe that 10 years only takes five, you know, or whatever, however you want to qualify it. Right. But would we, would we see ourselves as like the finished product or we see what they're doing and now that becomes the criteria for what we're doing. That's becomes really, really de-motivating because it's just not real. It's not reality. And we're just, you know, we're playing a video game at that point, right?

Samantha: Yeah, absolutely. A couple different thoughts that I had, um, during your answer there, which I think honestly was so fantastic. Um, one was just a motivational quote that I came across a couple of years, which was, um, something along the lines of, thanks to dance, I no longer say I can't. I say I will, I just need time to practice. Right. And that idea of, I, I might not be able to do it today, but just give me enough time and I will be able to someday, um, you know, I, I can't do the Latin walks that Yulia or Joanna can do, but give me time, and maybe one day I'll get there.

Same thing with my beginner students. They might not be able to do the same, you know, hip action that I have at the moment, but give them enough time. And I'm sure that they'll get there. Um, and then

Jon: it reminds me of the power of yet. Right. You know, it's, it's one of the, it's probably probably a really quick fix in terms of our mindset of, of where we're at, right? Like I can't do this, dot dot dot yet. And it's so, so quick and easy to do, but it totally changes the, the procedure or the product, um, or the, the process of what we're doing is if I can't do this, that's a final statement and we stopped trying, but I can't do this yet. It's like, yeah, I can't do this yet. But with, with enough time with the practice, with some training, I know I'll be able to, or I'm going to work my hardest to be able to yeah. The power of yet what a powerful concept.

Samantha: Yeah. And then I love your analogy with the idea of when we look at a painting at the Louvre, we see a finished product, but there are also those, you know, art historians or, or, or students that are really studying the great masters of art that will go through a Van Gogh experience and say, okay, look at this painting versus this painting and see how he's starting to play with, you know, texture or color or X, Y, and Z. So even, even those people that we think of as greats are still refining their technique and still playing with their art and seeing how they can change. And it's the same for athletes. We never stopped going back to the basics. We never stopped going back to the fundamentals to see if we can improve and change and develop and evolve.

Jon: Right? Yeah, absolutely. It is really cool to see, um, see those ones, uh, or see those people we see as great, yeah, see them change over time. Um, and I think you can see, we, I see that in the sports world a lot with, um, with some athletes that changed the way they play their sport over time. You know, you know, maybe they're really athletic when they're younger and now they are starting to be little smarter and play differently, but they still are, are so great.

Then they change and they adapt because they need to, or they change, they adapt because it's what feels right to them. And that's what I, that's what I think it, it happens so much with these, you know, these great artists is, you know, they change and they play with, with new tactics and new styles, because I think it sort of speaks to them, right. You know, I think, think about if, if they had a fixed in their mind of like what they, what they should be or what they do. Like, no, I don't, I don't paint that way. This is what I do. We made me never, never actually get to see some of these great works of art simply because they put themselves into a box.

Um, as you're asking me that, I also think about, um, I, I can't remember if it is the Mona Lisa, there's a great work, um, uh, of art that most people agree is actually like, uh, not very good or that is riddled with mistakes. And I, I love that. That is like one of my favorite things is that this, you know, this thing that is perceived as great and beautiful is actually riddled with mistakes.

And I'm like, if that isn't the greatest parallel for the human experience, I don't know what is, you know, the people and maybe that's exactly in kind of getting back to impostor syndrome, right. Is us sitting here experiencing, like oh my gosh, there are so many mistakes with this. Or we look in the mirror and we're like, there are so many mistakes with the way you do things, but other people looking at it, like my goodness, wasn't, isn't that beautiful. Isn't that the most magnificent performance that we've ever seen. But to, to the person it's like, there's so many mistakes in this.

Samantha: Yeah. The idea of giving yourself grace and giving yourself the room to appreciate the moment that you're in and the journey that took you there and the journey that's still ahead of you.

Um, yeah. Um, I want to ask one more question from Instagram and then there's another conversation that I'd like to see if we can get into, but first we have a question from. Uh, Ericonomics. Yes, Ericonomics. Um, he says tips and strategies, uh, with connect, uh, tips and strategies for connecting with a partner and having presence on the floor, uh, aka how to dance big or be seen in a large competition floor, like Ohio Star Ball.

So a little bit of context for this. Um, Ohio is one of, if not the largest competitions that we have here in the United States. Um, and depending on what you are competing in, I believe this individual, cause I've spoken with them a little bit in the past is competing in collegiate. So they're a college student. Um, when I competed at Ohio in collegiate ballroom, in 2010, um, there were 230 couples that were competing in the bronze age or the bronze, uh, syllabus category, which means you were competing against 230 other couples. They tended to put somewhere between 30 and 35 couples on the floor in the first round heats, and then you would whittle down from round one. You might get a call back. So you'd go from 230 down to 150. Then from 150 down to 68, then from 68 down to 32, 32 to 16, 16 to eight, a couple of final. And it is incredibly difficult to make it out of round one. And if you make it out around one, it's incredibly difficult to get out of round two, mainly because it's hard to be seen with 30 other couples on a 40 by 60, 60 by 80 floor.

So I would kind of equate this similar to, I don't know if there's, uh, I think the NFL combine, you have one person at a time going through and being judged and kind of being timed, but, um, What is your kind of advice for standing out from the crowd or being seen in a very large competitive environment? Um, just to make it past round one, round two.

Jon: Yeah. Well, I mean, I, you know, I, I just think of, um, perspective is what is, is where my mind goes with this is, and now, in meaning, let's start asking some questions from the perspective of the judges. Right. Okay. If I, if I'm, if I, some questions, asked if I'm a judge, what am I, what am I looking for? If I'm a judge, what stands out to me? You know? So, so let me ask you that, you know, let's pretend you're the judge, right? So what, what are some things that would stand out to a judge?

Samantha: Um, depending on the level, if we're talking bronze, silver syllabus, um, posture, how you take frame. Are you on time with the music and that's probably all, I'm going to be able to see with 30 couples on the floor and a minute 15, a minute, five per dance. Past that maybe I'll look at like what patterns they're using, what their footwork is, but 30 couples and a minute, posture frame, are you on time?

Jon: Awesome. And what I, what I love, I mean, with my very limited understanding is you, you tell me if I'm actually wrong on this, but every single one of those things are in my control. Right?

Samantha: Oh, absolutely.

Jon: Yeah. Right. So, so when I think about is, is, um, the, the strategy that I use is I'm thinking about a routine, right? And not just like, this is a routine different sense, but I like to think of it as like a funnel. You know, we all have funnels in our kitchen. The funnel is to take large things, large quantities and bring them through a small opening and that sort of thing, if there's 30 other couples, that's a large thing.

So our funnel is, is what's the, what's what we're trying to get out. Right. What would that funnel idea also does is it helps kind of refocus our helps bring our focus in, in preparation and training into, into those areas. Right? So that's where, that's where I might, my advice would be is if what we're trying to kick out is we're not actually trying to kick out a really good, a really good performance.

What we're trying to kick out is posture, you know, staying in our frame or the keeping the rhythm. Is that what you said?

Samantha: Yeah, yeah Being on time

Jon: being, being on time. So that's, that's what I'm trying. That's where that's, those are the things that I'm actually trying to get out of this particular funnel. So if I, if I think about that, I th I think that changes the way that I prepare. Do you think so?

Samantha: Oh yeah. I know that my, my partner in college and I trained differently for Ohio, then we did other competitions because we just knew the size of the competitive field. And then if we made it out of round one, round two, and we were suddenly in quarters or semi's, then we switched back to, okay, now let's, you know, we've, we've survived. They found our number. We made callbacks. Now let's kick it into high gear and really go for what we've been training for.

Jon: Right. Um, and that, that's kind of what stands out to my, you know, in my mind, I remember when I was in seventh grade, we had a, uh, um, we had an assembly with like a self-made millionaire and he came and talking to our, our, our whole school.

So there were probably would have been like seven or 800 of us, I guess, ballpark number and we're all in our big auditorium and he, and he holds up a hundred dollar bill and he's like, I'm going to give this a hundred dollar bill to the first, to the first person that actually captures my attention. So he's like, just stares out into space, and so obviously everyone like jumps up, starts screaming like, over here, over here, you're trying to make this big.

Um, the guy who actually ended up getting it, he took off his shoe and threw it at him. Um, and yeah. Uh, but he gave us a good lesson, uh, that obviously is still memorable to me. Right. Um, in terms of like, what, what gets people's attention and that's what we're trying to do with the situation right. Is get, is to get people's attention. He talks about bright colors, they're always going to get people's attention, but, uh, you know, the, the, the fear of something being thrown at me, I'm immediately going to be like paying attention to that. Um, but again, I think in terms of like focus, like when he's looking at this group of 800 people and he, but he only has a, uh, you know, a searchlight, he only as a spotlight.

What's going to get his, his spotlight on the right thing. Right. And so it comes down to that from the judge's perspective, like what's going to stand out.

Samantha: Yep.

Jon: And so when we talked about presence, you know, we want to have presence on the, on the floor. What really, what that really means is I want to stand out and like what stands out? All these people are going to be really good at what they do. So me being really good, isn't going to stand out. My focus shouldn't be on being really, really good. You know, all of these people are going to be dressed very nicely. I'm assuming. So I don't need to worry about being dressed nicely. Because that's not going to stand out because I'm trying to stand out. Right. I mean, you can take that and flip that on its head. I'd be like, if I don't dress nicely, that's, they're going to stand out, but in the wrong way, right. And so I wanna, I want to stand out in the right ways. And then the ways that stand out is looking at, from the judge perspective, what is it? And then this situation would be our posture. You know, staying in our frame, and being, you know, being on time. Then those are the things that we focus on. The reason why I asked you is if they're in our control is because in our weeks and months leading up to competition, that becomes our judgment of our quote unquote success for each training that we went through is, you know, not hey this one felt really good, not, Hey, this we did really well, we would have scored really well, but did we stand out?

Did we have these three elements that would make us stand out. Because maybe you perform really, really well that in an individual setting, you would have graded really well, but that's not what we're actually trying to get to in this situation.

We're trying to stand out and we're looking at what, from the judge perspective, what is it that does stand out? So identify those three things and those become our benchmark. Hey, our posture was really good. We still are afraid, but we weren't on time. Great. Okay. We were two for three. All right. What do I need to do to be more on time? All right. We kind of take care of those things, the next day we were on time. We took care of that, but our posture wasn't great. All right. You know, we, we work hard on those, you know, those three things or those identifiable things, not to the point where, where we can't, you know, uh, you know, where we don't forget to do it, but we're, we, we, we practice it so much where we, can't not do it.

Samantha: Yeah, I would agree with that. Um, just another two very silly tips, but effective tips. Um, remember that the judges can't recall you if they don't know what number is on your back. So, so position yourself on a dance floor, where your number is the first thing that that judge sees and make sure that as you go past every single judge, because they tend to be spread out around the floor, that they can see your number, because if they can't see your number, they can't recall you.

Um, and then the second thing is if you're part of a large university group, have a cheering squad, screaming your number as loud and as frequently as they can. Because again, these judges and, and we've had them on before. Uh, I think one of the very early episodes I did with, uh, Kimberley Mitchell, she actually went into this. So if, if you are listening and you have questions about Ohio, go back to that interview. Cause I think she talked about this specifically.

Um, judges only have a minute and if there are 30 couples on the floor, that means every couple. If they tried to see every couple gets two seconds. So there is a good possibility that the end of the round comes and they're counting down their sheets and you know what, they didn't mark down enough numbers. So what are they going to write down? They're going to write down the number that they've been hearing yelled

Jon: right, oh yeah

Samantha: Bcause they want to then see what that couple is, who that couple is if they're not already on the sheet. So remember that your number is the ticket to get you through round one and round two, and make sure that you use that as frequently as you can.

Jon: Right. I like that. That's the relevant information, right? That's the relevant information, our number to make it through is our number. I think that, I think that's great. And a cheering section. I think that that's so cool. And again, I I'm loving having this conversation because I'm learning about ballroom right. And ballroom competition and the things that are involved because this will, this will benefit me for years to come to simply by knowing more and so I love this. You know, but we, I talk all the time about the great ones, the great ones know that it takes a team, you know, the great ones in an individual sport, you know, in individual competition they have, and they know it takes a great team behind it. That could be your coaches, your trainers, your sports psychs, you know, whatever, but they understand that it takes a team. And so in that situation, if you're, if you're, you know, you've come from a large group, um, yeah. Have that team behind you shout your number. So you come from a small group, man. Are you, are you allowed, you're are you allowed people to come, you know, as an arrogance is an aunt's, is it your best friend who's got the loudest voice. Would that be powerful if they were just, you know, from different areas, you know, like, Hey, nice job, 19 or whatever.

If I'm sitting on a, you know, a basketball court and I'm sitting watching it's I hear something, Hey, nice job, 19. I'm immediately trying to find 19. Right. You know, so if they, if they're spouting off, you know, and just calling my number, you know, I think oftentimes, you know, our parents particularly they're, they're like cheer us on. But this situation it's like, Nope, I don't so much need you to cheer me on. I need you to help me get noticed. I need you to help me get recognized, you know, so instead of Hey, go Jon, cheer my number. You know, cause judge doesn't know me as Jon. Judge knows me as number 19.

Samantha: Well, and, and I certainly have friends that, you know, hated when their parents came to watch cause they got nervous or anxious or, or whatnot. But for me, if the crowd is loud, even if they're not cheering for me, even if they're just cheering for someone else on the floor. But if there's energy in the room, that gives me an extra boost to perform a little bit better because it feels like the audience and the crowd is on my side. Even if that's not the reality. If the auditorium is silent, that's like the worst feeling as a performer. Cause then it's like, well, nobody's paying attention to what I'm doing. Nobody's appreciating what I'm doing.

Jon: Right. Yeah. It comes down to our arousal levels. Right? Cause I think they're probably and maybe you know, some, there are probably some performers that actually kind of love a quiet gym or quiet arena, because then from my perspective, all it comes down to our arousal, excuse me, our arousal levels. Sometimes there are some performers that they, they need their arousal really high, that they, they want that heart rate elevated. They want the, you know, they want the environment to really buzzing with energy. Then there were some performers that, you know, like, uh, they perform really well when things or like calm. And there, there isn't that like fear and that pressure of expectations.

So, um, yeah, kind of comes down to, I just think like there, there are people listening who hear your experience and they're like, oh shoot, I'm the opposite. Like when the, when the arena's going, like I start freaking out a little bit, you know, those of you out there, that just means that you, you prefer your arousal level to be a little bit lower, you know, taking some deep breaths in the middle during, before that, uh, you know, that performance that's going to help lower your heart rate, maybe to help feel a little bit, a little bit more calm, a little more in control of those moments.

Samantha: Yeah, absolutely. Well, Hey, I know we are, we are going a little bit late, but there was one conversation that I really wanted to have with you if you are okay on time.

Jon: Yeah, let's do it.

Samantha: Okay. So, um, we had talked a little bit before today's episode, just to kind of get a sense of each other, because this was kind of our first meeting. Um, and you had mentioned something that you were kind of passionate about talking about, and that I really think would benefit our listeners, which is the idea of figuring out what is helpful self-talk self-talk and what is unhelpful self-talk. So can you talk a little bit, uh, to me about that concept and what it means to have helpful or unhelpful self-talk

Jon: yeah. Thank you. Yeah. So powerful and, um, such a valuable concept to understand. I think if, if I could have any of your listeners to like, start on this path of excellence. I think the first step of excellence is self-awareness and what I, when I say self-awareness, that can probably be lots of different things, but one of those is what we're saying to ourselves, the tone we're saying it to ourselves in, and also the products of it.

Right, you know, so, so really kind of simply helpful unhelpful is just kind of looking at the products of this is, is we can, we can take a negative emotion, like frustration, let's say we, let's say let's think of like a frustrated statement. I might say of like that. I did. You gotta be better than this, right. Sounds really negative born out of frustration. But if that frustrated statement, if it helps me, if it inspires me to be better, if it motivates me to try more, that right there just became helpful self-talk. Whereas if I say, you got to do better and it leads me down a path of all the times that I haven't been enough or all the ways that I'm not good enough or that I haven't done better than that, then that same thought same idea of becomes unhelpful self-talk.

So starting with some self-awareness like, what are the things that I'm saying to myself and the, what are the products of that? You know, so many people in my field, and I'm sure, I'm sure I've done this time and time again, where we, we preach and we hit so hard on this idea of like, needing to be positive. You know, all the time when we face setbacks, we gotta, we gotta answer with positivity. Well, there, there are so many athletes who come at that immediately where they're like, well, if I made a mistake, I'm pissed. Like I'm mad about that, you know? And so like, so you just want me to like, turn that anger and be just like, oh no, everything's good. Well, Jon, it's not. Like I just made a mistake, possibly. I just made a critical mistake. So that's where I, like, I like this idea of helpful and unhelpful. It was like, okay, you're pissed, you're mad. You're frustrated the mistake. All right. So one of the things you're saying to yourself, you know, I suck, I'm not good enough, da-da-da whatever it is. Okay. Which of those statements are helping you, meaning that your, your performance is going to improve because of those? Well, let me tell you, I don't think the statement "I suck" has ever helped anyone improve their performance. So that becomes an unhelpful form of self-talk or unhelpful to our improvement. Right?

So that's something I've always tried to teach people is, is becoming aware of the things you're saying. And then is it productive? Is the thing I'm saying, is it productive? And sometimes that negative emotion that frustration, that anger, sometimes for certain people that is productive, and to those, I'm goof with it. I'm good with you being, I'm good with you being mad at yourself, you know, really, really hammering in on yourself, if it's productive.

But if it's not productive and you just like doing it because it makes you feel better, you know, or it makes it feel like you're, you know, I care a lot. That's, that's probably the one thing that stood out to me the most is people think people, people are saying these negative things to themselves as an outward showing to the, to the audience or to the, you know, the spectators, I want them to know how much I care. Like I'm going to sit here having a grownup tantra, because I won't ever know how much I care about that, you know, that outcome. I'm so mad. I let that goal in. I'm so mad. I missed that shot. I need to show everyone how much I care. But really like internally it's not doing anything in terms of being productive. You know, so, so that's, you know, that's kind of the question I asked. Like, as we become more aware of our, of the things we're saying. Is it helpful? You know, and if it is, great. Um, is it true that those are probably the two big questions? Like, is that true? You know, like, man, I suck at this. I can't ever do this. Is that true? Well, no, like, you know, we talked a power of yet. Like it's not true. You know, what's true is that you can't do it yet, but it's not very true. And then the second is is it helpful? Because even if that statement's true, like, man, I suck at this man. That's true. I really am not very good at this, but is it helpful?

No, if it's not true, if it's not helpful, then it's definitely not going to be productive. And so we want to know those are the statements that we want to, we want to change and reinforce. I'm perfectly okay with the emotion. You know, I think that's kind of the, the purpose of this idea of like acceptance commitment therapy is that it's okay for us to feel and experience whenever the good and the bad it's okay.

We don't need to, we don't need to judge ourselves. I think that's a big thing performers get into our way with is that we experienced something, and particularly with the negative emotions, I've noticed that like we get, we get mad and get frustrated and then there's a whole other layer that jumps on top of that because now we're mad and frustrated that we got mad and frustrated.

You know, I I'm better than this. I shouldn't be mad. I shouldn't be frustrated. Well think about if we just accept that it's like, yeah, I'm really upset about this because this one really mattered to me. Okay. I'm mad, I've accepted it, but what am I going to do from it? You know? So the idea of like embracing the suck, but not staying in the suck. Embrace, like I'm frustrated, what am I going to do with it?

Can we take, can we take that frustration? Can we take the anger and can we turn it into something productive? You know, if that means, you know, if that means more one-on-one time or more time training. Great. If that's what's needed. I don't, I, you know, personally, I don't think always the answer is to spend more time, right?

Samantha: Yeah.

Jon: Maybe, maybe what we need to work on is our routine next time thinking about our pre-performance routine, what we do to get ourselves ready, you know, maybe, maybe we need to work on our mental game, the way we think about ourselves. Maybe we need to spend some time rewatching some times when we've done things really successfully. Maybe I need to spend some time talking to coach more and becoming a little bit more coachable, but we can take all of those, you know, whatever it is we're feeling is okay. Just asking ourselves that question. Like, is it helpful? Is this thought helpful to me? Meaning is it productive? Is it going to lead to what I want?

And if the answer is yes. Great. We go with it. But at the answer's no, then that's something we want to cut off, but we want to try and change. You know, and, and or I guess not cut off. We just want to try and find something or say something to ourselves that is productive, you know, and that's where like the power of yet, or that motivational quote that you shared of like, you know, I'm, I'm not there, but I, I will be with, with time, with practice, with training, with opportunity.

Samantha: I want to flip that on its head real quick. I a fully agree that there, there are helpful and unhelpful comments, and I think you're, you're kind of guiding light of, is it true? Is it going to motivate, you know, the, the proper outcome? I think those are, those are two really good guiding lights. Does that also hold true with positive statements that can inherently be hurtful?

Um, one of your colleagues, Riley, uh, has a podcast and, uh, I think it was an episode ago or maybe two, he was talking about, um, positive thoughts and positive, um, emotions when it comes to an injury recovery. Um, and I, I kind of was listening to it and I had this question of, but is saying I can get through this. I'm strong enough to get through this, potentially also hurtful at a certain point? Or how can we distinguish between I'm strong enough to keep going and listening to our body and saying, no, I really do need to give myself some time to rest.

Jon: So nuanced, right? So nuanced, I think, I think about, uh, um, you know, something, something I read a while ago that talked about, um, uh, people, people put in like life and death situations, like particularly like, you know, stranded in an avalanche, or you go stranded at sea, you know, the, like the indicator of like whether or not, um, or not indicator, but, uh, their, their highest likelihood of survival was not positivity.

You know, there was actually the ones who were like, Hey, you know what, someone's gonna come save us tomorrow. You know, that, that type of thinking, where actually the ones that ended up dying because that, that, that disconnect from what is actually happening here, you know, is, uh, Is damaging and can be damaging in the long run.

Like if I'm stranded at sea, and I have, you know, a days worth of rations or 24 hours worth of rations. And instead I'm like, Hey, they're gonna be saved tomorrow. And I just burned through everything. Yeah. But Hey, they don't show up tomorrow, but I could have, you know, I could have spread this 24 hours worth of rations out over seven days and given myself some more time, right.

So, you know, I think it's a, a military phrase of like hope for the best to plan for the worst. Right. Um, of hoping that, that, you know, that I'm going to be saved tomorrow, but I'm going to plan with the event. They're not, you know, I think, I think this was, was really big and maybe this is where the idea comes from, um, from Vietnam POWs, um, that, uh, we're, we're putting some really rough and terrible situations so that if we just always think it's gonna, you know, tomorrow's gonna be great is that it's okay to have that, that you know, that frame of mind, but it's behaviors that come from that. Right. And I'm glad you, I'm glad you mentioned that because that same idea that I've talked about of helpful unhelpful can be exactly true for positive, you know, uh, positive statements, you know, it's like we have, we have a bad performance, like, all right, we'll get them next time. Great. Is that helpful or is it true? We don't know. Right. And that's perhaps competition. We don't know if that's true, but is that helpful? Is it productive? Well, if there are actually some things that I need to work on, but I say, oh, we'll get them next time. And I just, I don't work on those because I'm just thinking next time, is going to be the time that that became unhelpful and not productive.

Right. So that's where we can take, you know, some really critical statements can be set in a positive way. It can be really productive for us, even when things are always positive, we can at least be productive and it's like, Hey, today, wasn't my day. But, you know, if I, if I work on my posture, if I work on my timing, you know, I, I can be, I can be pretty good. Right. And it gives us, it gives us some productive things to actually look on some, actually some tangible, you know, some tangible items.

Samantha: Yeah. Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you, Jon so much for being a guest today.

Jon: Thank you, this has been awesome.

Samantha: I feel like we could talk for another like hour and 15 minutes, but

Jon: yeah. And when you, when you said time was up, I was like, not it's not. Oh, wow. Crazy. This has been so good.

Samantha: Um, any last thoughts or any last pieces of advice that you want to leave our listeners with today?

Jon: There's power in positivity, you know, but, but more importantly, um, there there's powered production. Um, you know, I think about, uh, I think about the excellent people that I know, um, and, and, and whatever craft they are and excellence is really kind of contagious. Meaning, you know, uh, that as we pursue excellence in one area of our lives, we start to see gains in those others, you know, so, so I think the final thing that I would sort of leave with is like, recognize the impact of these other areas of your life, you know, and try, try to become, you know, try and become a, uh, an A plus person, you know, on your path to becoming an a, a plus, you know, competitor, uh, because those other areas really kind of impact the way that we're able to perform.

Samantha: Awesome. Awesome. And if, uh, folks want to work with you or learn a little bit more about, um, what it is that you do, how can they find you.

Jon: Yeah, uh, it follow me on Instagram or Twitter by my handles and same thing. It's at Jozzypsych, uh, or they can find us on our website,, and they can learn more about our group. And like you said, there's a few colleagues and some people that, uh, can help out to make them get contact with me, uh, with me there. Um, but, uh, yeah, I'd love to, I'd love to hear from people who, uh, listen to what they, what they thought, or if there are any follow-up questions, send them my way. I'm happy to answer them.

Samantha: They're based out of Utah, but you coached nationally, correct?

Jon: Yeah. Yeah. We got, we got people we work with all over, you know, thanks to things like zoom or or phones, right, phones and email. You know, we work with people all over the place, but yeah, our office is here based in salt lake.

Samantha: Awesome. Well, thank you, Jon once again for being a guest today.

Jon: Awesome, thanks Samantha. Really appreciate ya.

Samantha: Thank you once again to Jon for being a guest on today's podcast. As we mentioned, if you want to find out more information or just follow him on social media, you can do so using the links in the description box below.

As always I'm Samantha, I'm your host with Love Live Dance. You can follow Ballroom Chat on all of our social media pages, uh, at Ballroom Chat on Facebook and Instagram. We also have a Patreon at Ballroom Chat, if you want to support the podcast. And you can find all of our videos, uh, video episodes at the Love Live Dance YouTube page, or you can find it Ballroom Chat on all of the podcast platforms. If you have not already done so, please do make sure that you hit the like button, subscribe, or follow depending on the platform that you are listening to this podcast on. And as always stay safe, stay positive, and we hope to see you again.