This year I agreed to work with my first triathlete.  She is 28 years old, started her own business and is a bundle of energy.  She also happens to be a very talented athlete.  We first started working together about 8.5 weeks ago.  I asked her to stretch her boundaries a bit and come over to the “data” dark side. 

It turned out to be a very dark side for her.  Way too dark.  She is not comfortable using data as a parameter and was soon frustrated and discouraged by the process.  How did she express this frustration?  She disappeared.  I stopped getting updates and thoughts on her training.  I realized that I was not the right fit for her and offered to step aside for a plan that better suited her needs and travel schedule.

She immediately responded with a resolute no and an explanation about what had happened inside her head.  She asked me to reassure her.  I realized this is one of those moments of truth for her and for me.  I responded the only way I knew how.  I wrote two lines:

It is not my job to reassure you.  It is my job to teach you how to reassure yourself. 

How do I teach her to reassure herself?

*I help her to learn to read the signals of her body.
*I help her to understand the difference between work and stroking our egos.
*I help her to successfully push her limits just a bit farther away.  All those bits eventually equal bytes of improvement.
*I help her to understand that backing off is about getting ready to do more work.
*I help her to understand that training is not just a piece of your life but about how you are going to choose to live your life. 
*I encourage her to find the strength from a session well done and use that strength to build a pillar from which to leap.

Reassurance is really about embracing the confidence of having done the work and being prepared for the challenge.  I am happy to say that she is starting to find the confidence and embracing the bits.  Today I saw a more confident woman and a woman with a big byte.

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