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Find Your ROAR!

Early this Winter the mountain lions near our house that normally eat the elk or deer, were repeatedly eating the dogs out of their fenced in yards. Consequently, every time I went into the woods to hike, mountain bike, horseback ride which is my sacred time to de-stress, connect to nature and feel one with everything I found myself instead, going into super HIGH PANIC STRESS OVERDRIVE!

Finding my ROAR as an athlete

My relaxation station of hiking in the woods to unwind was taken from me because I was always worried my dogs, horses or myself was going to be eaten at any moment. Then I remembered one thing that I did when I was an professional triathlete; something that helped me take my power back at the start of races that was totally transformative. I learned to tap into my own “lion power,” and that changed everything.

Wayne Dwyer said “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Even before I had ever heard of Wayne Dwyer, I was changing my perspective and thoughts because as an athlete you have to learn how to manage the demons in your mind and change situations pretty quickly during races. For example, the hardest part of the race was not even the race.. it was the pre-race, getting ready to go to the start line. I had to learn how to flight the switch from the negative to a more positive outcome. Flipping the switch with my thoughts changed how I felt on a physical and emotional level and that changed everything, including my enjoyment of the race and also, likely, the outcome of the race!

Here is how it all started, when I was racing I would totally be freaked out at the start of the race. I would even feel so weak from anxiety that I thought I would pass out or throw up. So what I did to change this was to re-program my mind and change my perspective about the race. I would pretend that I was on this wild adventure.

I imagined myself like I was Indiana Jones. True story: I would even sing that song on the start line. My competitors might have had an opinion or two about that but I didn’t care because I was in the mindset where I could, and would, conquer all. It might sound unbelievable but somehow imagining that, for example, there might be crocodiles in the water helped me to tap into my own lizard brain that is ever connected with nature and enabled me to just KNOW that I would survive and I would come away victorious. I became the hunting lion instead of the gazelle running for its life in fear. This shift in perspective helped me relax, but more importantly it gave me the mindset of going AFTER the GOLD and even though there may have been obstacles and unexpected things happening, I knew that it was an adventure that I was prepared for and that this race was going to be fun.
This shift in perspective carried over into other areas of my life even beyond triathlon. It put me in the position of going after my dreams instead of being afraid that my dream was not going to come true and that I may be letting people down. It felt incredibly freeing to not be held back by fear anymore and enabled me to do things that I would probably never have attempted if it were not for this shift in perspective of being the one to make things happen- not the one that things happen to.

When faced with the mountain lions recently, at first, I did feel afraid. But when I remembered this mind-shift I used in my professional triathlon career I was able to, once again, find my INNER ROAR. I immediately put it to use with the mountain lions in the area.

One day while walking my dogs and horses and following the lion tracks and feeling the hair on my neck stand up I knew I had to take my power back, take my woods back and become the lion, or become the one that was hunting and not be the one that was hunted. I had to BE THE LION AND NOT THE GAZELLE. So now in my life I had to choose a very strong boundary. I had to commit myself to becoming the lion hunting for my food to change the way my brain was working. I believe that this change in my thinking was bigger than just the neurons firing in my brain. Animals can absolutely smell fear on us and I believe they can also assess our confidence and when to leave us alone. I was able to connect with nature in a deeper way and respect the predator by learning to think like them and carry that same level of confidence. It got me out of flight or flight mode and I became more of the hunter and more in my power going after my dreams yet again.

The Gazelle is running for its life and the lion is running after dinner. Think about that change in perspective. They are both running but one is running out of fear and one is running for pleasure or for dinner. What are you running from in fear? How can you shift your personal race, whatever it may be, to be one that is chasing after the thing that lights you up inside rather than avoiding pain or letting your anxiety or fear of failure direct your path?

Once I became the LION, and set my boundary I was not afraid to be in the forest with my dogs or horses. It also helped me create stronger boundaries in my life overall. Everything comes to you for a reason. So even though I found myself saying a fairly mean mantra to the lion, “I am going to kill you and eat you”, despite the fact that it is not in my nature to want to harm anything at all; I had to find my ROAR!!! I had to find my focus and not let this wild animal, the wild world, the news, Covid or anything else take me down.

The ROAR brought up my boundaries which totally helped me find PEACE!

Is there a way you need to ROAR in your LIFE right now???