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Can mental skills change performance in athletes and overall balance in our lives? Neal Palles, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Mental Performance Coach based in Longmont, Colorado, holds a master’s degree in applied sport psychology, so it makes perfect sense that he joined me on the podcast to unravel some fascinating – and familiar – concepts with us.

We explored everything from harmonious versus obsessive passion, emotional regulation, imagery, and self-talk to mindfulness. Whether you’re an athlete or simply striving for your personal best, this conversation is packed with practical mental skills that can elevate your well-being and performance.

Embracing Uncertainty: A Gateway to Mental Growth

Whether we like it or not, uncertainty holds a profound space in our lives, which makes embracing uncertainty all the more important. We often find ourselves resisting the unknown, fearing failure, and seeking control. However, as Neal beautifully articulated, true growth lies in our ability to dance with uncertainty. When we allow ourselves to step into the discomfort of the unknown, we open doors to new possibilities and opportunities for learning and development.

Neal emphasized the significance of understanding our emotional landscape, recognizing our triggers, and developing strategies to manage emotional highs and lows. This skill empowers us to respond thoughtfully to challenges rather than reacting impulsively, fostering resilience in the face of adversity.

The Joy of Living and Performing Well

Having a compass to guide our decisions becomes crucial when experiencing struggle. Neal underscored the significance of clarifying our values as this guiding force. When we’re clear about what truly matters to us, decision-making becomes less daunting. Our values act as a North Star, providing direction and purpose, thus allowing us to more fully embrace joy in our lives.

Though it often seems fleeting, joy appears in many forms. Neal introduced us to the concept of ‘Type 1 Hedonic’ and ‘Type 2 Fun Eudaemonic,’ providing a fresh perspective on joy and fulfillment.

  1. Type 1 Hedonic represents the immediate joy derived from pleasurable experiences
  2. Type 2 Fun Eudaemonic involves the deeper, more profound sense of well-being gained from challenges and personal growth

In this quest for living well, we also discussed passion and the impact it has on our energy. Neal introduced the difference between harmonious and obsessive passion. Harmonious passion involves engaging in activities that align with our values and enhance our well-being, fostering a healthy and sustainable relationship with our passions. In contrast, obsessive passion can lead to burnout, as it becomes a compulsive and uncontrollable force. Finding the balance between the two is key to a fulfilling and enduring passion pursuit.

The Periodized Mental Skills Triangle

So, now that we know all of this, how can we make it actionable? This was one of the coolest parts of our conversation: Neal introduced us to his Mental Skills Triangle. This pyramid includes three essential components: the base of well-being and self-care, the middle layer of mental skills, and the pinnacle of performance. By prioritizing our well-being, honing essential mental skills, and then focusing on performance, we create a solid foundation for sustained success.

To clarify, in this conversation visualization involves envisioning a desired outcome, such as achieving a goal or overcoming an obstacle. On the other hand, imagery focuses on the process, vividly imagining the steps and actions required to reach that outcome. Both tools contribute to mental preparation, offering athletes and individuals a comprehensive approach to achieving their aspirations.

Unlocking Your Mindset Potential

Remember that your mindset is a powerful tool that can shape your reality. Embrace uncertainty, clarify your values, practice self-compassion, and view failure as a catalyst for growth. By letting go of the need for perfection, we free ourselves to learn, grow, and truly enjoy the journey. Whether you’re an athlete, a creative soul, or someone navigating the complexities of daily life, these insights from Neal provide a roadmap to unlock your mindset potential.

Here are our key takeaways:

  • The difference between harmonious and obsessive passion, and how to balance multiple goals and values.
  • Using imagery to rehearse challenging scenarios and build mental resilience.
  • The importance of emotional regulation and redirecting emotions productively.
  • Clarifying personal values through examining goals, sources of anger/passion, and life themes.
  • Differentiating terms like mental performance coaching, sports psychology, and psychotherapy.

Listen to Neal Palles’s episode

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Episode Chapters

  • Integrating sport psychology and positive psychology in a master’s program. (0:00)
  • Prioritizing values and balancing tasks. (2:31)
  • Self-compassion and resilience in athletes. (5:22)
  • Mental performance coaching and sports psychology. (15:04)
  • Mental preparation for sports performance. (24:26)
  • Self-compassion and prioritizing values. (30:43)
  • The psychology of chasing after thrilling experiences. (40:35)
  • Emotional regulation in athletic performance. (43:59)
  • Imagery and visualization for performance and overcoming challenges. (51:12)

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Transcript

Sonya Looney 0:02
Neal, welcome to the show.

Neal Palles 0:04
Thank you. I appreciate you inviting me. I’m excited to be here. I’m excited to chat about your stuff here.

Sonya Looney 0:10
So funny. It’s always hard to press record whenever you start a podcast because you want to chat with somebody, but then they start talking about things that you want them to say on mics, you have to like pause and say, Wait a second, we’ll hit record. And okay, let’s go. So right before we hit record, we were talking about your master’s in applied sport psychology. And I was talking about my master’s in progress, a master’s in applied positive psychology and how positive psychology is a module in applied sports psychology. So if anyone else is confused, it’s a big part of applied sport psychology. So I’d love to hear more about that. Yeah,

Neal Palles 0:46
I mean, it was it was a huge component, our director of the program, went to the University of Missouri, and their program was really focused on positive psychology and positive coaching. And that was definitely interwoven. I think it was an integral part of our program. And it was talked about in different parts. And then we had an opportunity to take a course in positive psychology. You know, it was exciting, you know? Yeah. I mean, I had read about positive psychology long before I’ve gotten into that program, it was exciting to see that you’re going to a program, the Program in Pennsylvania, to learn about it, you know, from the from the people, you know, Dr. Seligman and other folks out there that it’s super exciting. I mean, I just remember digging into his books. And learning about that program is really cool and started looking into that and like, Okay, we can’t go for a third bachelor’s right now.

Sonya Looney 1:41
I know. It’s so hard. There’s just so many things that like when I saw your master’s in applied sport psychology, I thought, Man, I like to do that one too.

Neal Palles 1:49
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah, no, I mean, I keep thinking, oh, actually get a doctor. But um, yeah, okay, just gotta settle down. We’re on that and be happy and be okay with it.

Sonya Looney 1:59
Yeah. So this is I want to go back and ask how they how sports psychology and positive psychology has been integrated in your program. But the things that we were just talking about the pursuit of more, I want another master’s degree, I want more expertise, I want to continue learning that comes up in in any achievers life, whether they are academic, whether they are an athlete, I want to do every sport, I want to do every discipline of every sport. So how do you help people manage that that kind of tension between wanting to do everything?

Neal Palles 2:31
Yeah, well, you know, I think that’s a good, that’s a great question. You know, me it was it was interesting, as you start talking about it, my brain went to positive psychology and went, Well, this is some value learning is of value, you know, and but there’s other values I’ve got, and there’s a lot to be a lot of conflicts with those values, right? Because you got to, and so really, it’s really trying to figure out what that balance is, and how, okay, you know, I can’t learn everything. You know, I was thinking actually thinking probably just a few minutes before this podcast that I’ve got all these books I want to read. And, you know, and it’s so hard to focus on that one thing. And so just picking those things out helping people to, you know, identify, Okay, what is taking priority right now? You know, is it that you Okay, in six weeks, you’ve got, you know, a championship that you’re you’re focusing on or you know, a major race series that you’re focusing on, okay, that might take priority over something else. But oh, wait a second, there’s a family event, that that’s really important too. So we got to refocus, and it’s as a constant balance, you’re never going to be perfectly balanced, you know, moving things around, to focus on the things that you value, you got to take a look at your time, what’s you know, what’s realistic? You know, what, you know, I’ve got to sleep eight hours a night, maybe longer, you know, I’ve got, you know, still have my workout to do you know, how am I going to do that. So, you know, we write it out, you know, what is going to take priority for you right now. And balance it out and make those decisions and stick with it. That’s the hard part. You know, I mean, you know, for a lot of us, we see the shiny things, the squirrel running by and go, Hey, look at that. We need to chase that right now. And so, all right, take that deep breath, come back to, you know, what’s important. What’s the value right now that I’m focusing on? And, and stick with it? That’s our part. Yeah. You know, and I think, you know, things that I would add to that is just kind of becoming mindful of it. You know, you know, practicing mindfulness, practicing taking those deep breaths, coming back to where you are here now and going alright. Here, my mind pulling me over here. I know that’s important. But right now, I gotta focus on this and redirect your focus on to what you’re supposed to do. It’s good. It’s hard. It takes practice. It takes practice, a lot of practice. I gotta know that because I’m still struggling with it myself.

Sonya Looney 5:06
Struggle is the practice

Neal Palles 5:09
struggle is the practice. Exactly. You know, you just go yep, here we go, come back to the center.

Sonya Looney 5:16
Yeah. First of all, you mentioned strengths and values, which is a huge part of Positive Coaching. And knowing what those are and being able to apply them. And the second thing that you said was that we often have conflicting values. So you might have a value or a goal of I want to do well at this event, and you also have my have a value around relationships, and you want to be able to exercise both simultaneously. And there’s times in our life where you can’t like you either go to the family event, or you go to the championship, and you have to choose, and you said, you know, using your values to determine what that priority is. And while you might determine that priority, there’s still some regret that comes from that choice, because there’s an opportunity cost of making these decisions. So how do you help people or like, what advice you have for people who have to sit with that opportunity cost and accept that they had to leave one thing behind that

Neal Palles 6:09
they can say You said it right there. I mean, you know, so I practice Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and it’s interwoven into my coaching, and it’s interwoven into my practice, so good, is so powerful, and it flows neatly with, you know, positive psychology, and self compassion. And, you know, really, it’s learning how to sit with that discomfort. Because every value you have, and you lead into those values, there’s got to be some discomfort coming up, you know, and, you know, it could be you know, exactly that I’m going, Okay, I have to lean into this, but now this discomfort of making this choice is coming up. How am I going to deal with that, you know, and it’s, it’s being compassionate with yourself holding yourself kindly, being mindful of these feelings that are coming up, naming them and noticing them, kind of doing this, you know, emotion, emotional intelligence, really, you know, acknowledging, noticing this stuff, hey, this is this is anxiety, this is regret, that’s coming up. It’s okay. And I tell people, you know, help people learn to hold themselves kindly. You hold yourself, you know, feel the emotion to, you know, notice it, it’s, it’s put, it’s gonna push you around, it’s gonna, you know, you’re gonna be conflicted, you may be distracted by it. That’s sort of the mindfulness piece comes back in. Okay, take that deep breath, come back to where you are right here, right now. That’s not to disregard this other stuff. That’s important. You’re human, right? That’s it, these emotions are going to help you no matter who you’re, you know, Superman or Superwoman, or whoever.

Sonya Looney 7:54
Yeah, and the self compassion piece is so important. And I’ve actually had Dr. Kristin Neff on the show a couple of times to talk about, Oh, sweet. Yeah. However, you know, I think especially athletes think that self compassion is going to make them weaker, it’s going to take away their edge, if they hold themselves, you know, I’m physically putting my arms around myself saying, It’s okay. Like, you’re okay. You know, you don’t have to do everything. You know, you’re lovable the way you are, and things like that, like, people who are highly competitive and driven might cringe when they hear that and yet, oh, yeah, the criticism doesn’t make you perform better. So, you know, what can an athlete say to themselves, to reframe this, so that self compassion as a superpower instead of a weakness, so,

Neal Palles 8:39
you know, one of the one of the pieces, the piece that I love about it is, it’s allowing yourself to be okay with falling down. Because if you didn’t fail, you’re not going to learn at all. And you know, and you give the basic example of a baby falling down, toddler falling down, they are okay with that, they get back up, and they struggle, and they get back up. If they were not okay with it, they would never walk. You know, it is a matter of how many times did you learn something by missing the basket? How many times did you learn something by falling on the mountain bike? You know, how many times did you learn, you know, by not getting where you want it, to say, Okay, this is a different direction. So you have to be compassionate with yourself, you continue to beat yourself up with that, you’re not going to grow, you’re not going to move forward. And that is the power of self compassion, it allows you gives you space to, for lack of a better word, really fail and be okay with that and realize that this is just this is part of the process, right? This is that is the part of learning that’s where we’re going to work. So we’re gonna grow, you know, and that’s the hardest part for people to accept to, you know, but you know, then we give them examples. What’s up? Well, let’s look at what do you learn by not having that success? You know, what did you learn? I just talked to somebody, you know, who struggled at a race, you know, they they ended up, they did, they actually did pretty well, and one of the toughest mountain altroz in the country. And then they got sick at the end, and it was really tough, you know, and then I got sick, and I actually went to the hospital, you know, and I was like, okay, you know, first of all, it was a fantastic, you did incredibly well, but you learn all sorts of things about yourself about your body, what you can do, what you can’t do, and, and possibly how we can fix this next time, if you get a doctor’s clearance. You know, and it’s, so that was really powerful for her to got to learn to, you know, think about that. Yeah, you’re right. You know, this wasn’t a last race, this was something you could learn, you’ve learned along the way here, you know, and if every athlete that I’m coaching or doing mental performance work with, or psychotherapy, I think it’s really important to be able to grasp on to that concept. And it takes work though a lot of people are like, Hold yourself kindly. What do you mean, you know, I’m not going to do this is too fluffy.

Sonya Looney 11:15
Yeah, it’s funny. So I did this, I attempted this 40 mile trail, or a troll trail called the Grand Traverse, and it was part of the dual sport. And it was just, I guess, like a month or a month ago, or a few weeks ago. And I didn’t get to do the work leading up to the race. Because there was many things that happened, I got COVID, there was like childcare problems. So I didn’t get to actually do the races to prepare me. So it’s just in training that I got to try to prepare for this event. And I knew that it was going to be a stretch. And I’m telling people this story, because I want them to relate with the hero story of positive failure. So you know, I knew that it was going to be a stretch. And the reason I signed up for this race is because I knew that there was a high percentage likelihood that I could fail at it because I wanted that type of uncertainty. And I think first of all, people don’t want to sign up, people get anxiety around their races, because there’s uncertainty. But then I remind people that we sign up for the race because of the uncertainty. So uncertainty, yeah, so So long story short, you know, my body basically shut down like I couldn’t, I couldn’t use my hip flexors, or in my like hamstring tendons. I couldn’t like move my legs back and forth anymore. I just was like, barely could walk. So I had to drop out at mile 24, which was like I had. And, you know, I wasn’t sad. Like, I wasn’t beating I mean, I was, I wanted to finish the race. I was disappointed. I didn’t get to finish the race. And it was a goal. And I thought that I was capable of it. But something happened and I wasn’t able to. And because I’ve done work and self compassion and setting process oriented goals and worked on a positive mindset, I was able to look at this failure and say, like, with a smile, like I failed at the race, not, you know, my life is over. And I was able to say, you know, I did 24 miles of this. I did all the hardest parts of this race. I had a great time, I got the most out of myself that I learned a lot for next time. So whenever people are talking about failure, I think a lot of times people say with a frown on their face as if it’s this horrible thing that happened. But it’s a process like you said, to learn how to view failure failure in a positive light and self compassion is a part of that.

Neal Palles 13:19
Yeah, exactly. You know, I had very similar experiences this past, actually at Leadville. Okay. So I full disclosure. I’m also a coach for Carmichael training systems, I coach and dirt, ultra runners, and marathoners. And I, this was my fifth time doing lead man, a lead man his or lead challenge. And it’s his whole series. It starts in June, you do the marathon, you do the 50 mile run or bike, and then you do the 100 mile bike, and then a 10k. Right after that, we always forget about the 10k. And it was just and then you do 100 mile run the next week. And this race series, I’ve struggled that I was actually coached by Travis that’s how I met him years ago, you know, we struggled then. And the mountain biking is the section that I just like it’s this thing that I don’t know about. Maybe we should talk to you a little bit about that. But it’s but yeah, I go and do this race. And I struggled on the mountain bike again, didn’t get to the finish. And the 100 mile run, which I’m used to doing the run, something happened where I wasn’t well, it was really hot that day, it was 80 degrees. And I got a little dehydrated and under fueled and just slow down to a crawl and wasn’t going to make the final cut offs that I needed to. And so this would have been the fifth time if for whatever reason I didn’t finish all the events. And I mean I could be hitting myself beating myself up but I keep coming back to it. Look cause of that uncertainty because of that challenge that it presents itself. Am I learning along the way? Heck, yeah. am I reviewing what I’m, you know, what happened over the last couple of years, you know, actually, over the last three years, how COVID played into this whole process of COVID? And how we did that impacted my training and how that impacts my mindset. Yeah, really interesting. And to be able to say, and finish it, and just, you know, alright, yeah, ponder the next, I’ll do it again. And I’ll do it again next year, you know, and it seems like whatever, it you got to have that, you know, that compassion keeps you going. That’s how you finish. That’s how you reach your goals. You know, if you don’t have that compassion, you know, that’s where those goals are going to struggle. So yeah, it sounds soft. But it’s still, this is how you keep going, you got to have that for yourself. Yeah,

Sonya Looney 15:55
and along the same lines, you know, when people experience failures, and it’s funny, I don’t even like using the word failure, because I know people have a negative like constructive feeling. When people have setbacks or things that go wrong, it can impact their confidence in their, in their self effort and their self efficacy. And also it can impact their self worth, because they tie finishing the event or doing well at an event to how good and worthy of a person they are. And their ability to do it again next time. And that also ties into self compassion.

Neal Palles 16:24
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. You know, I mean, it’s, you know, it’s a, I kind of think of it as a tree, you know, with self efficacy out here and confidence coming inwards, and then, you know, the root of the core or, you know, that self worth, and really, to make that self worth strong is, is incorporating going back to that what we’re talking about character strengths and values and bringing all those other different pieces of you in that. Why am I doing this in the first place? Well, it’s because a challenge, and I like challenge was a challenging task. Yeah. The challenge isn’t adventurous. Oh, yeah. Every day, every time I’ve gotten up to the top of Hope pass, it’s, you know, it’s worth it. You know, is it adventurous? You’re riding my mountain bike down? Powerline? You know, some of the technical I love it, you know, because it’s scary. And, you know, and I don’t know, you know, I’m pretty certain now that I’m not going to fall, but you never know, you know, it’s like, there’s that uncertainty. And there’s all these values that are playing into that, guess what, I can use a set of values in other areas of my life. I don’t have to make it just this, but I got to, I got to work on those pieces, too. I got to work on those other pieces. Me too. And sometimes I’ll take a lower you know, there’ll be lower on the food chain for a while, but you know, bring them back up. Because, you know, when you get injured and injuries happen, that’s where you can focus on this other stuff, too. That’s equally as important. It hurts. That’s that’s not to not acknowledge that it doesn’t hurt. Because if that’s really important, that’s a tremendous piece of that acceptance is just opening up to that. Yeah, this thinks if I don’t finish, I mean, I don’t look at a lie to myself. Oh, yeah, it was great. I finished for 50 Yeah,

Sonya Looney 18:12
it was,

Neal Palles 18:13
you know, is I have to accept that discomfort of failure, you know, and that sadness and be okay, with the sadness that comes up in frustration as I got, you know, what happened with my trading? What I do, you know, you know, recognize is, you know, putting blame on the areas, different parts, you know, and recognize, okay, this is gonna take responsibility, here I am. Let’s work on some things here.

Sonya Looney 18:44
I’m gonna change gears. And this is what kind of a personal personal curiosity but I’m sure other people would like to hear it as well. What’s the difference between mental performance coaching and sports psychology as like a psychotherapist?

Neal Palles 18:59
Okay, so, yeah, that’s a great question. So I even though I’ve got a degree in applied sports psychology, I can’t in my state, and it can be state specific. Or it can, it can be even country specific. I can’t say necessarily, I do sport psychology, because I’m not a psychologist. It’s a protected term. I’m really doing applied sports psychology, and mental performance coaching. It is really taking the skills and the mindset of an athlete or an entrepreneur or whoever do enhancing those skills and helping develop and well and make them well rounded and the Guide to perform better. Sports Psychology also has an overlap to in a clinical portion where psychologists and social workers to a lot of social workers work on the mental health, specifically of athletes, and so there’s this kind of general overlap but I applied sport psychology refers to that mental performance piece. But I can’t use it in any of my language because it’s a protected term. And I’m really clear with people they had. In fact, I just had a blog that was put up on Carmichael training systems, about something about my running of lead man are doing lead challenge. And they put me as a sports psychologist, and I’m really clear with people do you know, mental performance coach? So you got it’s protected term? That’s why

Sonya Looney 20:32
Yeah, and I’m also wondering, like, if sports psychologists are working with pathologies, whereas because like as a coach, you’re not working with pathologies ever, you’re always working on like goal setting, strengths, values, things like that forward momentum.

Neal Palles 20:45
So some are, some aren’t. So there’s doctorates in sports psychology, who have no clinical background at all. And it which makes it in there, they can’t, they don’t even call it and can’t, depending on the state can’t call themselves. sports psychologists, even though they may have a doctorate in psychology, which is so it’s so it’s because it’s a protected term. You know, and it’s it really depends on the state. They will say they’re doing mental performance coaching. My the director of our program is, he has a degree in sports psychology, you know, but his emphasis is mental performance coaching, because he’s doesn’t have that clinical degree, though. Yeah. And I think it’s state by state to some state fair like, okay, that’s not even we’re not going to worry about that. But I’m not going to, you know, yeah, it depends. So, does that make sense? For

Sonya Looney 21:40
sure. Yeah. And then also, you’re a psychotherapist. Correct? Exactly.

Neal Palles 21:44
So I’m a licensed clinical social worker. So there’s that clinical degree where I’m working with pathologies, mental health, depression, anxiety, trauma, you name it, and it’s, that’s that piece of it. But I’m a clinical social worker. And psychotherapist, I’m not a sports psychologist.

Sonya Looney 22:03
I think it’s clarify all these terms, because a lot of times people don’t know what they mean. And like I even have, I’m in this field. And I have confusion around some of these terms. Sometimes. Yeah.

Neal Palles 22:13
And I’m sure people will call you, you know, a sports psychologist will see your doctor. Yeah, you know, you know, you do this mental performance coaching. And so your must be a psychologist, right? No, no, like

Sonya Looney 22:22
no psychologist, and then you know, as a coach, you have to know when to refer out to a psychologist,

Neal Palles 22:28
exactly. Psychologist or psychotherapist, or, you know, it’s really, and that’s where it’s confusing. Because a lot of people will say, Well, I’ve got to send them to a sports psychologist. Well, if you have a psychotherapist, a clinical, clinical social worker, who is trained to work with athletes there, they’re going to work as equally as well, that psychologists, psychologists can do more testing. Now that’s, that’s a big difference there, they’re going to do psychological testing. That’s another difference where psychologists are going to be, you know, be able to do a little bit different stuff. But you know, if someone has depression, you could send them to a psychotherapist, it’s nice to send them to someone who have that background now. It can be really confusing. It can be really confusing. I tried to clarify once, and it was like, Oh, I’ll listen, buddy.

Sonya Looney 23:18
Well, on your website, you have this periodized mental skills pyramid, basically, that you’ve created. Yeah. You created this, right? Because I see it’s copyrighted to your business. Yeah, I

Neal Palles 23:31
can’t, you know, I created that, you know, I’m just kind of thinking about Ultra running and how to create a periodized plan for ultra runners. And when I did that, I was like, Okay, what am I going to do? We’re not going to put things and so I did copper, right. I put a you know, put it under you. Hey, this is my, yeah. There are so many other pyramids out there. In fact, I saw one the other day that looks really similar. And I was like, Wait a second, you know, and it’s like, there’s a little difference there. But yeah, you know, you could see that, you know, there’s a lot of things on there. And you’re welcome to the show that you know, on your show notes. There. Yeah. Where do you want to go with that? Yeah, so yeah, so

Sonya Looney 24:22
I’ll read kind of just some of the words on here. Yeah, and all started. So self compassion and harmonious passion are at the very, very base. Then you have motivation, mindfulness skills, emotional regulation, imagery, self talk, focus, optimism is on the very tip of the point. And then along the sides, there’s arrows pointing up each side of the triangle saying resilience increases in resilience and increases in confidence as you go up. So, sports psychology and applied sport psychology, there’s many elements of sports psychology. So how did you land on these specific elements for this period? it.

Neal Palles 25:00
So it the way the pyramid works the the corners of optimism, you know, to put optimism at the top, you know, being a central focus, but also self compassion and harmonious path and, and needing those things is integral parts of this but at the base, you’ll see motivation, right? You have to have some basic motivation to do what you’re doing. Now, you know, they say you don’t have to be motivated to take action, you know, and that’s true. But you also have to know why you’re doing. Yeah. And so when I think about motivation, and some people are, you know, and I was just talking to my mentor about this the other day is motivation. Sometimes it’s just intrinsic, right? We know that, that motivation is there, especially at a high level that motivation doesn’t play a lot, sometimes will play into it. But you have to have that at the base. The next piece of that being the next step of that mindfulness is being mindful, being aware of where you are in the present moment. That takes precedence over self talk, and imagery, self talk taking precedence over imagery, because you, a lot of people can’t have difficulty with images. And so we have to start with self talk, and the imagery. And then ultimately, the focus is, the focus is the top of this pyramid, where that is allowing you to direct your attention to those specific tasks that are important to you at that time. But again, the base, I use it, you can almost use it as an assessment that said, Where is this person right now? You know, okay, well, they’re motivated, this isn’t a problem. Let’s let’s move it. What do they have some sense of mindfulness going on? Yeah, some people don’t even call it mindfulness, right? You know, because my mindfulness brings up all sorts of things like meditation sitting in a lotus position, they might be very mindful. And, you know, that’s not that’s not an issue. But what about the self talk? What about being able to focus on the things that you need to focus on, and that’s usually one of the biggest pieces. Now, optimism has to be some has a central piece of that, right? You know, that is, again, that’s a piece of positive psychology too, you know, and, again, building on resilience on the side, and confidence inside, when you work on all those things, those things, resilience builds up confidence builds. When I talk about harmonious pattern jumping around, you know, and when I’m talking about harmonious passion, is that idea that I’m not letting these things control me, you know, I am passionate about this, but it’s not controlling me and pushing me around. So this is the focus of my life. You know, when I was first got into Ultra running, nothing could get in the way of my Ron, you know, my wife still talks about that. And then it’s like, wait a second, you know, we got to be a bit more harmonious here, you know, in the whole big picture, and that I can be passionate about something. Yeah, but not obsessive about it, you know, so that contrasts with this idea of now, I’m going to be obsessed with this. And nothing’s off, who’s going to get in the way of this, and might lose out on these other values that I have. The other piece, the other corner was self compassionate, which we talked about, which has to play a role in it. Yeah. And I use this pyramid to do a six week training in for ultra runners. We started out motivation, and we moved up the line to focus. And we actually meeting again, we did that six weeks, or six weeks in May, April in May. And now we’re moving to a follow up session next week to see how the race is went. And just having some follow up. Because I think follow ups really important when you do things like this.

Sonya Looney 29:08
Yeah, a lot of times people don’t take the time to reflect. Exactly,

Neal Palles 29:12
exactly. And the goal is, in fact, I’m going to next time I do this is actually have more self reflection as a piece of this, because it’s so important.

Sonya Looney 29:24
So I’m gonna grab on to the harmonious versus obsessive passion, because this is something that I am thinking about all the time. And it’s something that we were talking about at the very beginning of this learning. And you know, that could become an obsessive passion taking over your entire life needing more certifications and wanting to learn everything because you love it so much. And yet, it can be damaging. And so I was thinking about character strengths, and sometimes our character strengths. We often think of strengths has been a good thing, but sometimes when your strengths are on overdrive, they can actually be detrimental to your life. And I think that learning, totally learning and you know, love of learning could be an obsessive passion that takes over your life. So, you know, an athletics like running, I can say mountain biking has definitely been an obsessive passion for me in the past. Yeah. Well, how do you help people back away from the obsessive passion and come back into that harmonious zone?

Neal Palles 30:20
I think part of it is that values clarification. Right. You know, so looking at what, what? So actually you almost using a bull’s eye and putting your values down along around the circle? And how much time are you spending, focusing on these other things that are really, really important to you right now? Well, family, it’s just a little dot right here. That’s not good. You know, let’s, but really sitting with it, you know, and taking your time with us and focusing on Okay, education, wow, you know, that’s getting you know, 60 books, you know, in there, all these different books and? Well, exactly, you see mine behind me, and, you know, you see things ranging from biochemistry to, you know, cognitive behavioral therapy. You know, and it’s, it’s constant learning, which is something to fulfill your contract fill that need, but at the same time to be able to get back. And, again, we’re going to come back to this acceptance of okay, acknowledging that, oh, maybe I have to focus on this other piece of A, and there’s gonna be discomfort with that, right. And so we’re opening up to that discomfort. This is really hard stuff, you know, I’m just talking about it. I’m like, Yeah, I want to, I want to learn, there’s also that idea of looking at it as an idea of perfectionism, right? Or even that idea of why am I continuing to learn? Is there self doubt that’s going on here? You know, is there a phenomena? Exactly the imposter phenomenon? You know, and I’m glad you called it a phenomenon. It’s not a syndrome. You know, it’s, you know, there’s that feeling of being an impostor. You know, why is that abolish that self doubt? It’s under root? Maybe I’m not, you know, okay. Well, maybe I am really good at what I’m talking about. Maybe I’m not, you know, and someone will give me a feedback. And I’ll learn something from that. And that’s okay. Oh, we’re going back to that idea of self compassion.

Sonya Looney 32:23
Act to that corner of the triangle. And

Neal Palles 32:26
back to that corner of the triangle. And so, yeah, I mean, to be able to look at all your values, look at that as kind of a dartboard. Fill it in, you know, as a pie chart, you know, how much time am I really spending with my family? How much time do I want to spend with my family? Some people that want to spend time with their families? You know, that’s, that’s a different story. But, you know, what about this other piece of this education piece? All that’s taken up a lot of time, you know, what, where else do I need to bring this focus to? And again, having compassion for yourself, you know, think about athletes who have, you know, you might experience this yourself in full, full time job, career, family, you got kiddos, you got all this stuff going on? How much energy are you really able to spend on training right now? And that’s okay. Yeah, that’s

Sonya Looney 33:13
been realization in the last well, since March of 2020. When my son was born, for sure.

Neal Palles 33:19
Yeah. Oh, yeah. I mean, it’s, you know, it and it goes in flux, you know, in different CIT your different times in your life, and it’s like, okay, all right. I gotta be okay. You know, how am I going to be okay with it? Yeah, how am I have to be okay, how am I going to be okay, with that control and things you can, you know, I talk to athletes to say, Okay, well, you can’t run 30 minutes, can you run 20 minutes? You know, you can’t run an hour, bring it down to 45. But about 30? What about 20 minutes? What about just being okay, and just going on to the next one? Let’s let’s do that, you know, and that’s okay. You know, then I’ve got athletes who will do absolutely everything, you know, and then you too much of it might what does my ankle hurt? Because you didn’t tell me? So, yeah, that’s that’s how I would address, you know, how focused on that is, with these values clarification and how it kind of flocked in between that idea of acceptance, and, and diffusion from all that self talk to that’s going on that, you know, could be criticizing, you know, that which is sometimes normal, you know, you all it’s all you know, it’s normal, we’re humans, we’re going to say things to ourselves that maybe, you know, aren’t true, you know, not It’s not to argue it is sitting there with that and going Yeah, I hear myself saying that, let’s go back to where I need to focus and refocus on that control will stop.

Sonya Looney 34:44
So just as an aside for you guys listening, I’m going to put a link in the show notes to a couple of X psychologists that we’ve had on the podcast talk and you can learn a little bit about some of the core processes, I think, believe their six core processes of x because we’ve been actually talking about them in this podcast and I’ll give you more context. Last, but for now, for now, I have a question for you here. Values, right? We’ve talked about values a lot today. And in my coaching practice, I’ve noticed this, most people have never sat down and written down their values, they’ve thought about them, but they’ve never actually written them down. And the act of writing them down was actually very challenging for them. They thought they knew them, but then they would have actually defined, you know, five to three to five to seven values. How do you help people clarify those values?

Neal Palles 35:26
I think, you know, so a couple of things is one is I love having a checklist, look at the checklist, you know, what stands out to you, you know, and I can go through a checklist and check all of them. Yeah, okay, what what are the what are the six ones that stand out to you? And then rate them one through six? You know, which ones are most powerful? Okay, that’s great. Now, let’s look at your goals. What are your goals in your life, not just running, not just biking, but other goals? You know, well set, you know, to have a nice house in the mountains. Okay, you know, what, what is underlying those goals? You know, well, house in the mountains, well, beauty being among in the wilderness, Oh, those are values. And so you start looking really closely at your goals at the things that you do, even writing out a narrative. You know, what, you know, what, tell tell us your life story, you know, what are the themes that are present in your life that are taking, you know, okay, well, education has taken a precedence in wildlife. It’s like, you know, what do I have, you know, well, I just did a training, you know, I’m learning, I’m taking a training on mountain biking, you know, I’m taking the trading on perfectionism. You know, okay, there’s a theme of learning, and I’m constantly, that’s the value, you know, what other themes, you know, are taking precedence in those goals. So look underneath the look underneath the hood. You know, here’s, here’s the shiny car, what’s underneath it? Okay. Oh, wow. That’s a strong engine. Okay. Help is a precedent. Right? You know, I mean, that’s, those are the little pieces of it. That’s how I would go about doing that.

Sonya Looney 37:14
I want to add that I learned actually from Dr. Diana Hill, who’s like, she’s a friend of mine. She’s also very prominent X psychologist. She says, look at things that made you angry? Because oftentimes, that means one of your values. Oh, yeah. And?

Neal Palles 37:28
Absolutely, absolutely. You know, look at the things that you get passionate about. Yeah, that, you know, we’re, you know, something grows throws you off. Like, then, you know, not, I think just angry where you reacted to it, but also, how you react on a daily basis to life, you know, look at closely look under the hood, what’s one of those things that are driving? I think that checklist helps a lot too. Because then that puts words to it, where people may not be able to identify the words, what is courage? What is, you know, compassion? Oh, yeah, that’s compassion. You know, I’m thinking about this is a mindfulness. Well, there’s other words for that, too. And you could, you know, and I haven’t done this, but you could actually kind of make this chart and it’s outside wheel with wheels, you know, names of different things coming in, we’re just to kind of okay, what are the core things? You know, I don’t know if you could envision that. But just like, what are all these things that are attached, which is courage attached to link that together? Okay, this is what it’s all about? What is lead man doing lead challenge all about what is doing the Grand Traverse all about what’s underneath that, you know, why are we doing that? And then that leads you to those things, when you get when you feel hurt or slighted what is underneath that, you know, that can help figure those things out. And then you can identify, once you’ve identified, then you have an area to focus on to

Sonya Looney 39:13
jump around for a second here that just came up. So you’re talking about lead man. And then I started thinking about my coach Travis Macy, because he’s, like, previous record holder for that and all around amazing, you know, Coach, so, you know, I was thinking about 100 mile racing. And he says, well, the race itself, yes. But like, think about what your day to day would look like. From a goal setting perspective. If you were training for 100 mile race, you’d have to run a lot more than you currently are. And apparently, I need to run a lot more than I already am for a 40 mile race. But then it brought me to thinking about 100 mile races and about hard races in general where people are doing it and while they’re doing it, they’re thinking I’m never doing this again. Like that’s it’s kind of like a running joke that if you’re doing a race and you think I’m never doing this again, and you’re actually doing like the right race. Yeah, you Why Why does this happen? Why are we in a race thinking? I never want to do this again. And then a week later, or maybe even like an hour later, we’re like, when’s the next one? Like, what is that? I

Neal Palles 40:11
was just talking to an athlete about this because the race he was in yesterday. I mean, she was, I mean, just suffering. And it’s like, there’s no way I’m ever going to do this again. Yes, ends up in the hospital. And, and here we are, we’re talking about it. And she’s like, Yeah, I’m kind of thinking about doing another.

Sonya Looney 40:35
One? I think

Neal Palles 40:37
it has, you know, I think one of the things is, first of all there is we have a very short term memory when it comes to discomfort, but we have this really long term memory. And this is evolutionary, I believe, that we want to remember these good, exciting things. And, you know, these little dopamine hits, right, you know, where this chase that we’re on that build up for the race is exciting, right? You know, and there’s a little hits of dopamine, you know, I think, you know, probably, I would guess, Steven Kotler would agree with me, he’s done a lot of talk about flow, and just how that process is and how we can be addicted to that. And that’s probably part of the process of learning to this little hit of dopamine, right? Where you’re just like, oh, this thing, and it comes back to this is the stuff we remember, we remember the good stuff, and that pain slowly fades away. Now, it might be that strong enough that we decide, you know, this probably, and we go on to these values, and like this probably isn’t gonna be really good for me if I do this, again, where we start focusing on our health, long term health and maybe there is a long term health issue that I can’t be doing this again. And that’s a very strong react that’s a reality for a lot of people. But there is that he’s the disappears, you know, where it’s like, you know, I was climbing a fourteener yesterday, and it would be like, dizzy I have just hypoxic is all get out. And, but I could look at the mountains up above me or I look across into the Sawatch rain, the southern southwest rain was full of snow where we were wasn’t. And it was just as real stark contrast, like we were looking over at Himalayan peaks or something, and it was just as really cool. That’s what I remember. I don’t remember that feeling of like hypoxia, I mean, kind of sorta remembered a little bit, but I remember that joy that I felt being high up in the mountains, that joy of like, looking down at this valley below that was just so ideal, like, those are the rewards. You know, that’s why we, you know, get attached to our babies really quickly. You know, it’s like, don’t keep us up all night, you know, but there’s this, you know, the, the love drug, you know, the, you know, forget the horror vote already. It’s like that you see Towson? There you go oxytocin. Thank you. So brave. What does that like? The hypoxia from yesterday? Yeah, but yeah, you get the oxytocin. Right. And that gives you that attachment, you know, to, you know, to the beauty out there, you know, and we’re going to be attached to that and talk to that. And that’s why we repeat these. That’s why we chase after this difficult stuff. Sometimes. That Chase, sometimes the training itself is the reward, the journey is the reward itself. Sometimes the chase that uncertainty, which is exciting, you know that you talked about that Chase five drives me to lead yet when I think about lead challenge, he’s like, Yeah, ah, I’m really excited to do this next year, you know, even though I have not finished this, it’s still exciting. Yeah. Yeah,

Sonya Looney 44:00
I was thinking about this. So, you know, as I’m doing this, this map program, like, that’s the acronym for the Masters, I’m excited to see how it’s gonna integrate more into my coaching and into my podcasts. And I’m not going to be recording. I’ve recorded a lot in advance before I started this, but a lot of the things that I’m learning are like, in my mind, like forefront of my mind, you know, I just wrote a huge paper. So as we’re talking about these two types of things, I started realizing, okay, he Donek happiness, which is about pleasure seeking and feeling good. And then you demonia eudaimonic happiness, which is about meaning and purpose and doing things that matter. And then I started thinking about the question that I asked you, and I think that these things can actually be related. Because in the moment, you know, you’re not experiencing that he Donek happiness, and I’m screwing it up. But it was something about like how, like, you could you could be doing something and there’s a memory of the thing that you were doing of like if it was pleasurable or not pleasurable. But then there’s like the unironic piece, which is about meaning and, and mattering. So you know, when you’re done with the race, this eudaimonic portion is is very much in your mind, and the hedonic piece doesn’t matter as much. Whereas in the in the moment when you’re not experiencing that pleasure, you feel maybe unhappy that unhappiness associated with with the hedonism. So yeah, I was just thinking about that I’m kind of it’s probably like a tangent. But

Neal Palles 45:24
yeah, well, you know, me, I think there’s all sorts of connections there. When you start thinking about flow to write and you thinking about all that, you know, the chemistry that happens, it’s like, I think you are gonna have some of that attack, you have that attachment to that chase of that, though. That dove i like call it a dopamine hit, you know, it’s really a multi hormones review and neuro chemistry that going on? Yeah, yeah, that’s, you do feel that you do remember it, and you crave it, too, which is also a danger too, right? Because that’s where that of stuff some of that obsessive passion comes from, you know, and it’s led to some people chasing a lot of dangerous things, which, again, you’re coming back to your values. God, okay. What is that, that hedonism, some of that hedonism out there that’s like, so pleasurable, but what’s the meaning behind that? Yeah, that’s powerful stuff. Oh, yeah. There’s like to read your paper

Sonya Looney 46:27
on my paper was about but I was just, but those two topics are on my mind. And I thought how this might apply to this exact scenario here of, you know, you’re doing a race, you’re like, not happy, you don’t want to do it, you want to quit. I’m never doing this again, and then being done and saying, Well, actually, I do want to do this again. And it’s like, kind of a conflict between those two things. It’s

Neal Palles 46:48
totally conflict. That’s totally, yeah. But, but it’s a short term, you know, right. Because we kind of that fades really quickly. For a lot of people. I mean, you know, just like this athlete I was talking to today. It’s like, we’re, you know, you’re talking from a hospital bed. She’s like, Yeah, I think I might want to do one of these again, it’s like, I really hope your doctor doesn’t hear you.

Sonya Looney 47:16
Yeah, it’s like, type one fun. Is he? Donek fun and type two fun, which is the type of fun that’s fun afterwards, like eudaimonic. Fun. Yeah.

Neal Palles 47:22
Yeah. Yeah, it was fun. Yesterday, as we were climbing, and scrambling, you know, my friends are going this is really tied to fun. And they weren’t having a lot of fun at that moment. You know, and I was having a lot more fun, because it was like, this is something I’m really used to is climbing. And it was like, Yeah, this scrambling piece is what it’s all about. Make it more challenging for me.

Sonya Looney 47:44
Yeah. Okay, so for the last 10 minutes here, I want to talk about emotional regulation, because people have heard a lot about imagery, self talk flow, mindful, you know, a lot of these things on this podcast, but emotional regulation is not something we’ve talked about a lot. So can you define what emotional regulation is? And how that is? imperative for mental skills?

Neal Palles 48:09
That’s a good question, I think, you know, may get a variety of different definitions. What I liked, I like to kind of compare it, I like to put it into this idea of being able to take your emotions and being open to them at the same time, redirecting them to where you need to go. So coming to this acceptance piece, you know, being able to Okay, noticing that my, I’m getting really anxious right now about this race, you know, and maybe breathing really heavy. And, you know, I’m getting really excited, you know, for example, the start of a race, 100 mile race, you know, you’re gonna feel a lot of excitement levels really good for this, because and I’ll get you really pumped up and excited. And you’re out there, you’re getting pumped up and you run. Great, you know, straight down the boulevard, you burn all your matches in the first. You know, Travis talks about this when you know, when you’re cycling, and you go and you’re leaving Leadville and going up St. Stephen’s and people burn all the matches, it’s because all that excitement, how do you regulate that emotion, that excitement that’s coming up for you, and being able to redirect it into ways that are going to be constructive for you. So this is kind of my definition of it. I’m sure there’s some more technical psychologists definition of it, but how do you redirect some of that into something that’s gonna be more helpful for you, being open to that stuff that’s coming up, recognize it’s coming out? Okay, what do I need to do right now? Thinking about it on a spectrum? Okay. Well, you know, if it’s football game, I need to be a little hyped up right. You know, I need to you know, I am getting towards the end of 100 mile race. It’s two o’clock in the morning. I’m really tired. I need to be a little hyped up more energetic. I needed to be Bring that down at the beginning of the race, how am I going to do that? You know, and that might be taking slower, deep breath, re centering myself, focusing on what’s around me right now, or might be taking a little caffeine, pumping myself up taking some quick breaths, you know, and then okay, now I gotta move, you know, in refocusing, picking that and moving it around, but you got to be aware of where your motion is right here right now. And that awareness itself, awareness pieces underlying that emotional regulation piece, right. And so noticing, naming, becoming aware, being accepting of it, and then redirecting into those controllable things that you can control, it might be using self talk, might be using some imagery, you know, and so might be using any one of those things to kind of get yourself to a place where you need to be right now.

Sonya Looney 50:56
And in terms of imagery, sounds great, no, in terms of imagery, I was just thinking about this as well, because that’s, that’s something else that we’ve been talked about a great length, but I have a mindset Academy course that I created with a bunch of these things in there. But then I do it my coaching, but then I realized, like on the podcast, I haven’t really talked about imagery, either. So can you talk about imagery and how people can use that for their performance?

Neal Palles 51:17
Oh, yeah, that’s a long topic, but, but I’ll dive into like a

Sonya Looney 51:21
summary of what imagery is and how people go, just thinking

Neal Palles 51:24
about it. As creating, using all your senses, you know, from smelling, tactile, you know, to, you know, noticing what’s around you to noticing the temperature where you’re at to visualizing it, I don’t call it visualization, because that’s just the visual part of that imagery brings in all these other senses of it. And so creating a vision, creating a picture or a story, if you will, script, if you will, of that scenario, of where you want to be in what you want to be doing, and really bringing in all these other senses. What does it feel like outside? What do you smell? What do you see? What do you hear, bring it all together? To create that storyline? And you could use it and you know, you could use it Oh, yeah, you know, finishing this time, or whatever. But you could also use it when those challenges come up. So creating a situation scenario in your brain and write out a script for this is, you know, what is going to be like, when, for lack of a better word, when shit hits the fan? Right? You know, you forget your jails, you know, and you’re, you know, two miles away from a, you know, 10 miles away from a and you don’t have any gels with you, you know, okay, I’m going to be uncomfortable here for a little bit, I might slow down a little bit. But how am I going to adjust to that, and you create this image of yourself in that scenario of getting through that situation? You know, I fell on my bike, what am I going to do? How am I fixing my bike? How am I getting through that situation? Creating that complete image, not just that visual image, but the complete image of everything, all those senses going at once. That’s kind of my short definition of it, short description of it, I love it. You know, I love to use it in preparation, you with athletes. weeks in advance, you know, if you could practice, you know, a couple times a week, five minutes, you know, get your script, practice your script script doesn’t look good. Rewrite it, you know, and let’s, let’s add things to it. You could add that self talk piece to it, you could add that mindfulness piece to that sometimes mindfulness is going to be a big portion of that. Yeah. That’s how that’s how I like using imagery.

Sonya Looney 53:50
Yeah, thanks for clarifying the difference between visualization and imagery. That was a really great description of how they’re differentiated. And also, something that I heard you say was that imagery is not about imagining, it’s not only about imagining unwanted outcome, or getting a certain place, getting a time, it’s about a process and the actions that you will take in the moment and recreating that moment, and using all of your senses. Exactly,

Neal Palles 54:15
exactly. You know, you know how to tell people the story, I learned to roll a kayak by watching a video and then sitting down and going through the motions on dry land. And then I get into the, into the pool into the lake. And it takes one or two tries. And then it was but I had this whole picture of moving through the water of physically moving through the water and being able to roll the kayak. And it worked, you know, and that’s one of the powers that I use one of the powers of imagery, you know, being able to do that. I also did that. Preparing for Leadville, I was able to watch video of powerline it ever Without power line, which is somewhat technical, you know, he’s moderately technical section and it watching video of it helped me relax. And I just practiced over and over again just kind of relaxing going through this technical section, I’ll watch videos and mountain biking through and learn to relax in that video and then I play it through in my head, what is it going? What’s going through my head when I’m doing that? How do I relax? How did the comm get into that flow of the mountain guy, which is so cool. And

Sonya Looney 55:31
there’s actually a lot of research behind that too, which I’m sure you’ve seen about people like imagining, and then their muscles are actually firing as if they were doing Yeah,

Neal Palles 55:38
well, they could do it, use it, when you’re injured to write, you know, and it’s, you know, it’s hard to get endurance down, but more technical stuff down, like, you know, mountain biking, you know, going through those visions is that imagery in your head, you could spend time practicing doing that, you know, doing more technical things, you know, in your head while you’re injured, you know, which is kind of kind of cool and kind of keeps you going, what am I going to do today? Well, I’m going to do my physical therapy, and I’m going to do five minutes of imagery.

Sonya Looney 56:12
Yeah, something that I think is interesting is that people can perform the practice of mental imagery, say, like, for riding a downhill on their mountain bike, when they’re actually on the downhill riding their mountain bike, they’re picturing themselves falling down. And it takes practice and discipline in order to get to a point where when you’re actually starting to feel the fear, going to the mental imagery of you succeeding instead of your default mode of going towards the negative. Yeah,

Neal Palles 56:35
oh, yeah, it takes so much practice, right? You know, it’s because because, you know, and this is kind of going back to that evolutionary idea is that our brains are trying to protect us, right? You know, we’re, you know, oh, don’t fall, you know, you know, you know, we, it’s, it’s a caveman mentality, you know, we don’t want it, you know, you know, there is a saber toothed Tiger out there. So, we should probably go out there, you know, and it’s, and that’s okay. You know, and that’s, and that’s normal for it to protect us being accepting that it’s normal. Okay, now, what am I going to do with that? How do I need to adjust to that, okay. I’m okay, here, I know how to do this, you know, I can get through this little piece right here, I can get through this next piece right here. But it takes a lot of practice. And that’s one of the things with, you know, I mean, just kind of looking at that, you know, that periodized mental performance piece. It takes time. I mean, I took six weeks, I think it even takes longer, I’m going to actually get to run that program again next year. But we’re going to start in January, you know, and I’m going to run it over a longer period of time, because I want people to practice this over and over again.

Sonya Looney 57:48
Well, I think that that’s a really great place to wrap it up that we have all of these important skills that will help us both feel better and perform better. But it takes practice and it takes intention, and it takes mindfulness. And thankfully, there are people like you and also like me that can help people through these processes. And, and like this podcast and many other podcasts out there that learning is a big part of this.

Neal Palles 58:11
Yeah, absolutely. You know, deep dive into it, you know, and, but don’t even read it. Don’t just listen to it. Do practice. Yeah, get out there and do

it. You know, and that’s and do be intentional about it. You know, that is one of the most important pieces of all this stuff. I mean, you know, I’ll talk to people, you know, people will call me a week or two before a race, you know, and that’s okay, you can get something out of that. But I always tell them, you know, it’s gonna take some it takes practice, you know, and this is you may or may not get the results you want. But at least you know, here’s some tools, but start practicing now.

Sonya Looney 58:51
Well, Neal, thanks so much for coming on the show. I loved our conversation, and I feel like you and I could geek out about many things for a very long time. Where can people where can people find you?

Neal Palles 59:01
The long version is WWW dot Colorado psychotherapy and sport.com. So, or at your uninstall Instagram, Colorado psychotherapy and sport. And yeah, that’s where you could find me. That’s places to find me there.

Sonya Looney 59:21
Okay, great. Well, thanks so much for sharing this. And yeah, congrats on this periodized mental skills. Like I know, I have an idea of how much creativity and thought that had to go into this and to have a copyrighted like, that’s, that’s a huge accomplishment. So congratulations.

Neal Palles 59:34
Well, thank you. Thank you very much. Appreciate the time

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