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men behind sport my why Dec 13, 2022

As performance staff, our success is so often solely defined by external results, such as win-lose, KPIs, and other objective markers of success.

But underneath these external measures are our own stories within us. And that story is governed from day one of our life, childhood, and our experiences up until this moment that we are in right now.

My personal stories were about very low self-worth, which I only realized after grief forced me to look at myself. This showed up in trying to prove myself through results, and prove myself through the next role. I was never satisfied. I was over-critical of myself because I didn't believe I was worthy enough.

These challenges in my career have led me to this point. I’m grateful for all of it because it’s given me the focus, direction, and clarity with my purpose to do what I do now - coaching the coaches.

This clip is taken from Nick Ruddock's Gymnastics Growth Show. Listen to the full interview here.

Nick Ruddock: How can we help coaches with that and basically separating their identity in the same way that we'd ask an athlete to do that as well, wouldn't we?

Richard Husseiny: Two things that stand out to me when you ask that question. The first is, a performance staff, a coach aspect in the sense that so often we are governed by results, win lose, KPIs, objective markers of success.

On one hand I agree with and I think it's nice to be able to see the direction that people are going and the development and what's working, what's not working. So I don't for a minute think it's all bad, I don't.

But there's such a gauge of success and failure versus results, which is so often down to many other factors that we can't influence. So there's that. And then on the other side, what's the story? What's going on within us? And that story is governed from day one of our life, childhood, our experiences up until this moment that we are in right now.

And I've learned this through my own process of going through this journey of eight years now. And the sense of, for me personally, I was very, very low self-worth, which I only realized after grief forced me to look at myself. And I call it a very powerful spiritual understanding of myself and what I mean by that is asking questions of myself all of the time. Why do I think this? Why do I do that?

And being inquisitive and diving into that, very uncomfortable areas. And so for me, low self-worth showed up in trying to get validation from my peers, from my social networks. Trying to prove myself through results, and prove myself through the next role. I was never satisfied. I was over-critical of myself because I didn't believe I was worthy enough to be. And all this blueprint was formed in my childhood and it's specific to me. And everyone's childhood, everyone has a blueprint and some people have horrendous experiences.

And I'm grateful that I had what I had. However, I did have my experiences, shaped me in the way I did and the man who I was. And I've done some work now to shed some of that. And with the understanding, I still have more to shed.

And I think my point is saying all of that is that we have these blueprints under the surface, man or woman, that guide our thoughts, feelings, and actions. And until we bring that to the surface through various different methods, they're guiding us through life.

And that self inner talk, 95% of our awareness is unconscious. Only 5% is conscious. And I think one of my shortcomings as a coach was to be too focused on the objective, rational, logical side of things. Which I hold in value, but I didn't take into account the reflective wisdom type of traditions that, and not to be assigned to one dogma or another, but kind of beginning to understand myself as a human being. So yeah, I think that sits under the surface of, and that's what I mean by the person under high performance or results or whatever it is.

Nick Ruddock: It does. And it's just very deep, isn't it? Like all of this work is very deep. And I think that we as a society end up at surface level a lot of the time. We're just thinking about what are our surface level emotions rather than what you're talking about here is we lack consciousness.

We probably lack time and patience to do that work. Maybe some of us will lack the coping mechanisms to even go to that deep place because certainly resonate with a lot of what you've said about feeling low self worth, seeking external validation.

I'm in that place as well. And so I'm working on that. But I also know how challenging that can be to unravel some of that, to bring that to the surface from a deeper place. And so coaches being so busy, a lot of it is as simple as, well, when are people reflecting?

When are people allowing themselves to get beyond surface level thoughts, feelings, and emotions to even explore what the narrative is that people are playing over in the head? You mentioned even the word narrative or story. What's the story that we are playing about ourselves and who we are as individuals?

Because really we are the starring role in our own movie. And the way that we play out in that movie is based on how we perceive ourselves in our own mind, isn't it?

Richard Husseiny: Exactly that.

Nick Ruddock: I certainly would love for the coaches in the audience that are listening to really be thinking about what we're talking about here and start reflecting it at a deeper level for their own wellness. Because I see it and you've done the research to prove it that coaches are not fulfilled, they're not happy right now.

Richard Husseiny: Just say about my research, it's not assigned to a university. It's something that it so deeply affected me in my life that it's just something I've taken on board myself. And I began this in December last year, and it's just turned into this thing. I didn't see this coming.

And so you mentioned coping mechanism. I think that's a really good place to start because coping mechanisms are a way of us not feeling. And so that shows up in so many different ways. Addiction shows up in so many different ways.

Everyone's bound in some form by social media. That's a distraction. It's taken our awareness away from our thoughts into something else relevant, what that is. And it could be binge watching. It could be of course alcohol or substances. It could be, there's so many different ways to distract. And I think noticing that distraction is a good place to start.

One description someone said to one of the coaches I've spoken to said, overworking is a distraction. When he gets home, he got time, he starts to think. And when he starts to think he feels lonely. So then he puts himself into work when he's at home.

And I think overworking is such a prolific problem in the sport and I think in culture, but I think through the lens of sport, it's such a prolific because it's disguised as better, never stops. That was the motto of when I worked for British Diving at the London 2012 Olympics and I was so aligned to it.

But now I'm like, well, who defined that? What is better? And of course I know there's creativity, innovation is part of being a human. We're built to do it. And how do we accept who we are in this present moment? How do we accept what is right now? And I think those two polarities need to be considered as one.

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