Hockey was my life from as far back as I can remember, but it was a challenging and wild ride. It was like a rollercoaster ride with many achievements and highs, but also full of fears and self-doubt.
I genuinely loved hockey and thought I was doing everything possible to develop as a player. My focus was on everything to do with my physical development, but I failed to take control of my mindset.
I played with the boys until I was 18 – mainly because it was my only option.
When I first started, everyone was always complimenting me on how good I was for a girl, but it was not long before I was told I sucked and should not play with boys.
I endured those negative comments for a long time and am so glad I did…
I Made It On Strength and Work Ethic
That experience taught me that my work ethic and strength were my superpowers, and fortunately, they served me well my entire career.
The environment I played in and the coaches I played for demanded that I push myself in order to keep up with the pace and physicality of the game. They pushed, and I responded… I knew I could not let myself fall behind.
I would describe myself as the “little engine that could” on all my teams. I worked and always went hard, whether we were up by 5 or down by 5 in games. I showed up consistently at practice, ready to pay attention and go hard until the whistle, and even when my teammates told me to cool it, I never did.
I dedicated myself to hitting the gym, got jobs to pay for gym memberships and personal trainers, and grew really strong.
Because of the intensity and drive, I turned into a highly effective power forward.
My strength and hard work are why I won a Canadian Championship with Team Quebec, gota an NCAA D1 hockey scholarship, was invited to the Canadian U22 tryout camp, and was invited to play professionally in Switzerland.
The problem was I didn’t own my successes along the way. Instead, my mindset was full of negativity, self-doubt, and fear.
Holding Myself Back
I had a knack for attributing any success I experienced to external factors rather than acknowledging my own role in it. It was never because of just me; I never owned it…
I attributed my team’s success and personal success to other factors:
“I got lucky today”
“It’s my team that is good, not me”
“Wow the other team played really bad”
I believed, as an elite athlete, you should never be satisfied…
I felt like I did not deserve to be where I was ALL THE TIME, which took an emotional toll on me, and the fear paralyzed me when I was on the ice.
As they say, I was my own worst enemy, and I never took charge of my mindset.
Overrun By Fear
The biggest downfall was that I played with fear. My mind was overrun by it, to the point that I would blackout when I had the puck.
There was so much tension in my body, that I panicked, and I held my stick so tight I could not make a play to save my life. In college, it was the worst. I managed to get about 0.5 points per game because I went hard to the net, but whenever I had a lot of time and space, I had the all-out “YIPS.” It was not pretty…
All this fear was because I spent so much time trying to prove myself and worried about what other people thought of me.
“Who is watching me today? What if they think I suck?”
“What if I make a mistake to upset my team?”
“Will my coach stop playing me?”
These thoughts were endless, and the overthinking was constant.
Every mistake I made weighed me down. I could not let go of them or accept them… I never owned my capabilities.
I put everyone’s opinion of me – ahead of my own…
Causing my career to fly by in a state of constant worry and disappointment.
The Next Chapter
Even though there was so much displeasure and discomfort during my career, I still loved hockey, and the day it came to an end was devastating for me. Luckily, I knew what my next steps were.
From the first hockey camp I worked in college, it was clear that coaching would be what I pursued when my career was done.
After playing in Switzerland, I got my first coaching job at a hockey academy, which ultimately led me to coaching in college for 18 years. Coaching became the avenue that allowed me to stay connected to the sport and it fulfilled me just as much as playing. I loved it.
As a coach, I could see that my athletes were struggling with the same things I did in my playing career. It hit close to home, and I felt like I had to help them. I used what I had learned in my psychology and leadership degrees, and read over 100 books in order to help with their mindsets.
This became my new passion, learning and understanding the importance of mindset.
After 18 years of coaching college, it was time to move on to my next thing, and I recognized that my calling was to be a Mental Performance Coach.
My Dream Job
The transition from coaching to being a Mental Performance Coach was a little bumpy at first, but once I connected with CEP Mindset my dream finally came true.
As I got to work with more athletes 1-on-1, I found myself drawing from the reservoir of my personal struggles and the raw frustrations I felt throughout my career.
My role as a Mental Performance Coach is not just a profession; it’s a passion that comes from my own challenging experiences as an athlete.
As part of the CEP team, I get to help athletes navigate their own journeys and, most importantly, not let fear hold them back, as it did for me. Instead, I help them embrace their love of the game and the process, which paves the way for them to achieve Consistent Elite Performance.