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Archive for the ‘basketball’ Category

This month finds many people in the U.S. watching the March Madness tournament of college basketball teams (and that includes a couple of people in my house, too).

In honor of the college basketball players who are serious students as well as successful athletes, I am sharing today a revision one of my favorite posts from a few years ago.  It is a profile of the exemplar athlete Steve Nash—a successful, astute, and articulate professional basketball player– who inspires many people, writers included.

This post ranks high in overall readership among all of my posts.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I usually don’t watch professional basketball games because while the players persevere, for the most part they show little sense of fun, and the only passion I notice is an easily aroused anger. But I will watch Steve Nash, the point guard from Canada who has played on several NBA teams and is the winner of the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award.

When Nash plays, he shows both perseverance and passion. Not only is he fun to watch, but it seems like he is having fun, too.

 

He has been on many talk shows, such as the David Letterman Show.  Nash is bright and personable, and on the Charlie Rose Show, Nash also revealed his leadership ability.

As I watched him being interviewed, I found myself wondering how does a 6’1” man, a self-described small guy, play in the midst of those very tall, competitive men with their sharp elbows and huge, muscular bodies. Regardless of how much money he earns, how does he stay committed during the training, the long season, the traveling, the pain from the inevitable injuries, and the endless tournament at the end of the season?

Nash knows what he has to do to stay committed. This is what he says:

1) Since he’s a small guy in tough territory, he is creative. He has to come up with new plays.

2)  He is mentally tough. When he’s jostled or intimidated, he remains “unflappable” because he has decided that “nothing will bother” him.

3) He has no fear. Without fear, he can charge into the midst of play.

4) He doesn’t give up because he’s committed “to stay the course.”

5) And he does it because it’s fun. He smiles when he says that, and you believe that he does have fun.

What does Steve Nash’s unflappable strategy in the face of intimidation say to you, the dissertation writer? Here is what I think is the take-away for the dissertation writer:

1) Even when you feel you’re out-manned or losing ground, dig deep to find the courage to be fearless. Decide that you will not be intimidated.

2) Like Steve Nash in basketball, you did not get to this level of writing by being a non-starter.  You were training for this long ago. You have everything you need to succeed.

3) Character matters. To be long-lasting, you work with both passion and perseverance.  Some people call this grit or stick-to-itiveness. I also call it mental toughness.

4) Keep your commitment to your team—even if it’s just a team of one.  Or add a coach to your team and have someone alongside of you who takes your commitment seriously.

5) And one more thing, Steve Nash plays hard and plays to win because the competition is fun. The fun keeps him engaged. You can make your work fun, too—writing is a challenge and challenges are exhilarating. Choose that perspective.

To stay committed for the long-term, even when the going gets tough, use your courage, grit, and mental toughness. Take risks and charge through tough places.

And then imagine how the wind feels in your hair as you run fast, dribbling the ball down the floor toward the basket.

Until next time,

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation and Academic Career Coach
nancy @nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com

 

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Many readers of Successful Writing Tips are looking for help with motivation.  And they also are interested in what mental toughness has to do with motivation.

As a dissertation writer, you may often find yourself in chaos, frustrated, with no easy way out.  You’re not alone.  Many other writers find themselves in a similar predicament.

A good way through such frustration is to rely on your mental toughness, your perseverance, and your determination.

Several years ago when I first wrote in this blog about mental toughness, I focused on Steve Nash, the NBA basketball player. Nash epitomizes mental toughness. A relatively small man in an aggressively physical sport, he has decided that he won’t let the rough play and attempts to intimidate bother him.  He remains unflappable.  I am sure that he likes the salary that comes with his job, but I don’t think a salary alone can give him the obvious zest and love for the game that he displays year after year.

 

 

I’m learning a lot about motivation and self-regulation from a class I’m taking from Heidi Grant Halvorson, PhD, a terrific teacher and also an expert in the study of goals and the science of motivation.

Mental toughness, like willpower and other forms of self-regulation, takes practice and grows stronger with use.  It can also be exhausted.  Halvorson says that you can “catch” mental toughness and self-control by thinking about or observing a person who has it in abundance.

Rather than feeling fearless and being motivated in part by their mental toughness, many ABD’s tell me that what motivates them is fear, particularly fear of failure.

If you don’t feel mentally tough now, can you imagine yourself becoming mentally tough as you write your dissertation?  I’d love to hear what you think.

In a future post I’ll write about two amazing people who exhibit incredible motivation, perseverance, and all-around mental toughness. I think you will be inspired by them as I am.

To my friends, family, and coaching clients in the U.S., Happy Fourth of July! 

I’m spending the holiday with some members of my family.  To those of you who I won’t see at this time, I hope to catch up with you soon. 

Warmly, 

Nancy 

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach
www.smarttipsforwriters.com
http://www.dissertationbootcamp.net
http://www.nancywhichard.com
nancy @ nancywhichard.com

 

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Gunter Böhmer: “Nightmare“, Indian ink drawing...

Image via Wikipedia

Most people I know speak of a recurring nightmare:

–Having to take a test you haven’t studied for

–Having to give a talk, but being unprepared

–Not being able to get to the location where your talk or test is to be given

–Feeling under great tension and wearing yourself out trying to accomplish something that you are unable to do

At some point, even if you’re still dozing, you realize it’s a dream.  And you feel incredible relief.

If you grew up in basketball state  in the U.S. or graduated from a university where basketball is a big sport, you may have watched some or all of the NCAA men’s basketball championship game a few nights ago.

The Butler University basketball team endured a nightmarish game where nothing worked for them.  It seemed as if the game would never end.

Whatever would have helped the Butler players— more preparation and practice on shooting two-point shots, less reliance on a star three-point shooter, an arena/ playing field more appropriate to the sport and the age of the players or . . . —  the Butler team lived a nightmare in full view of millions of people.

Their desperation was visible, as they played a high-stakes game that was not going to turn out well for them.

Over the years I’ve coached writers for whom the stakes are high . . . . Doctoral students who are panic-stricken at the prospect of writing the required dissertation, people who have given up their day job to write a novel, people who have made promises and commitments and still haven’t done the writing.

Some put off the writing for years, straining the good will and trust of family and spending the capital of advisors, bosses, or colleagues.  And now they are paralyzed with fear when they face the computer screen or empty page.

Writing, with its rattling chains, terrifies.

But in order for you to write, your goal is not to be fear-free.

The goal is to feel the fear and manage it. You don’t have to do what the fear says—you don’t need to flee or abandon all hope. Listen to what the fear is telling you to do and then ignore it.  Move past it.  You ignore that negative inner chatter of your being an imposter and that you don’t have what it takes. You tell yourself that you have everything you need to move forward with this work.

If you haven’t already, you will most likely someday have a nightmare of being unprepared for a test or not having written a paper (or your dissertation), but you can take the steps now that will make that nightmare nothing more than a dream.

How are you managing your fears and your goals?  I’d like to hear from you.

My best to you,

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach
www.nancywhichard.com
www.smarttipsforwriters.com
nancy @ nancywhichard.com

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This is the season when many Americans go crazy over their favorite college’s standing in the national basketball tournament, and my family is no exception.  As of this afternoon, we’re represented variously by the teams from three schools.  Our schools have made it to the Sweet 16.  Or at least the teams did.

I watch the games with mixed emotions.  The sport purportedly celebrates teamwork, but the sport is a star-maker.  What a thrill to see the lone basketball player ahead of the pack, leaping to dunk the basketball – “taking it to the rim,” the sportscasters say.  But behind that player is the team– four other players who never give up and who take the elbows as they guard their opponents. 

The sports lingo of “taking it to the rim” reminds me of another metaphor that a long-time friend and former college teacher uses in her email signature:  “I do all my own stunts.”  I don’t read her signature statement as one glorifying her work.  I don’t think she sees herself as a star.  She works part-time, and she’s a mother and a wife, plus she makes time to write. She doesn’t have a team backing her up.  

She’ll probably never hear the crowds whoop in her honor, but she does take it to the rim with her creative ideas and writing.  And she brilliantly juggles and balances family life and work. The basketball tournament and the perseverance and grit of the players, as well as the shining moments, remind me more broadly of college life– of friends I roomed with years ago, and, after that, of students, especially student athletes, I taught, and of office mates and colleagues.  I’m thinking of the hard, sometimes uncelebrated, work these people do.

As I note on TV the cheering fans in the large basketball arenas, I want to cheer today for my friend, who does all her own stunts.

And cheers for you, too,

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC

Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach

www.dissertationbootcamp.net

www.smarttipsforwriters.com

nancy @ nancywhichard.com

 

 

 

 

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The ABD Survival Guide newsletter reprinted a post that originally appeared in this space.  The post’s title is “Ask Steve Nash: How Can I Regain My Motivation?

I first wrote the article for this blog after seeing Charlie Rose interview Steve Nash.  The parallels between  Nash’s mindset that gives him success in the tough, competitive world of professional basketball and my dissertation coaching clients’ mindsets are striking.

One of my former dissertation clients emailed me to say that she had enjoyed reading my article in the ABDSG.  She especially liked “the notion of being mentally tough and deciding not to let things bother you when you get intimidated.”

Being mentally tough and unstoppable was the theme of the dissertation process for her.

The need for grit and courage struck a chord not only with her, but with many readers.

Remember:
1. Choose mental toughness and grit.
2. Choose courage.

Once you are using your mental toughness, grit, and courage, you will also feel motivated to continue working toward your goal.

What’s next for you?  I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC

Your International Dissertation and Academic Career Coach
nancy@nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com
www.usingyourstrengths.com

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I usually don’t watch NBA basketball because while the players persevere, for the most part they show little passion or even a sense of fun. But I will watch Steve Nash, the point guard from Canada who has played on several NBA teams and is the winner of the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award.

When Nash plays, he shows both perseverance and passion, and he is fun to watch.

He has been on many talk shows, such as the David Letterman Show.  Not only is Nash bright and personable, but on the Charlie Rose Show, Nash also revealed his leadership ability.

The focus of the Charlie Rose show was leadership.  As a point guard, Nash says he “mothers” the other four players on the team, thinking about what they need and helping them find ways to succeed.

But I found myself wondering even if a man earns the huge amount of money that basketball players receive, what does he do to keep himself motivated and at his best?  How does a 6’1” man, a self-described small guy,  play in the midst of those sharp elbows and huge shoulders?  And how does he stay committed during the long season, the training, the traveling, the endless tournament at the end of the season?

Nash knows what he has to do.  This is what he says:

1) Since he’s a small guy in tough territory, he is creative.  He has to come up with new plays.

2)  He is mentally tough.  When he’s jostled or intimidated, he remains “unflappable” because he has decided that “nothing will bother” him.

3) He has no fear.  Without fear, he can charge into the midst of play.

4) He doesn’t give up because he’s committed “to stay the course.”

5) And he does it because it’s fun.

He smiles when he says that, and you believe him.

What does Steve Nash’s strategy to be “unflappable” in the face of intimidation, as well to show leadership for his team, say to you, the dissertation writer? Here is what I think is the take-away for the dissertation writer:

1) Even when you feel you’re out-manned or losing ground, dig deep to find the courage to be fearless.  You will not be intimidated.

2) Like Steve Nash in basketball, you did not get to this level of writing by being a non-starter.  You were training for this long ago. You have everything you need to succeed.

3) Character matters. To be long-lasting, you need grit. Work with both passion and perseverance.

4) Keep your commitment to your team—even if it’s just a team of one.  Or add a coach to your team and have someone along side of you who takes your commitment seriously. 

5) And one more thing, Steve Nash plays hard and plays to win because it’s fun.  You can make your work  fun, too—writing is a challenge and challenges are exhilarating.  Choose that perspective.

You ask about motivation?  Having motivation is a choice.  You must choose to use your courage, grit, and mental toughness to tap into your motivation.

Take risks and charge through tough places. And then you, too, will feel the wind in your hair as you run fast in your arena.

Until next time,

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation and Academic Career Coach
nancy @nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com

 

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