Sport Comes to the UN’s International Day of Peace


The number one sport skill I use on a daily basis is visualization. What DO I want to accomplish today? How will I cram income-generating work and passion-filled hobbies and working out and eating Real Food into the next 12 to 16 hours?

Cooking is a great example of how vision works. How will this assemblage of squash and lentils and random pickings from the fridge become a delicious meal? If I don’t have a plan before I start heating the frying pan and dicing onion…all I can say is: Meh. It may be edible, but it usually doesn’t taste so great. But…when I have even a basic plan, I usually end up with something delicious.

This is how practiced sport skills get transferred to “real life.” I didn’t start out good at this stuff.

After I crashed at the track and started panicking on all my training rides, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I DIDN’T want to crash. Well, turns out, it’s far more useful to think about what you DO want to happen. Worried about cornering? How about focusing on weighting the outside pedal, driving the bike through the turn, looking for the exit rather than that bumpy piece of asphalt in the line you wanted to take….

Which brings me to an interesting conversation I had the other day with Olympian Marilyn King about what athletes and sport can bring to the table when it comes to fostering peace in the world. Perhaps a huge contribution may be the utilization of Vision.

Believe it or not, people DON’T want wars. Peacemakers want to STOP conflict. Anti-violence campaigns are abundant (and important).

But it is interesting to look at the language. What would happen if we could have the same conversation around what people DO want.

It’s like trying to get a swimmer to stop breathing on the first stroke of freestyle. 99% of the time, if I tell them to “not breathe on the first stroke,” they will keep on breathing on the first stroke. Because they feel like they need air! Naturally. And they don’t know what else to do. But if I tell them, “blow bubbles, empty your lungs on the first stroke,” that first breath typically comes on the second stroke.

As an athlete, a coach, a woman seeking success in business and happiness in my personal life (not necessarily in that order), I’ve learned to ask and answer the question: What DO you want to happen? It works!

So, if this kind of approach works for swimming skills, and cycling skills, and cooking, and email and….pretty much everything else that happens in my life…..kind of makes me wonder what would happen if we made a concerted effort to use different language around peacemaking and conflict-resolution.

Exciting then, that I will have an opportunity to be part of this first-hand. I accepted an invitation to be on the UN’s International Day of Peace NGO Sport sub-committee.

The co-chair with Marilyn King is a household name around the world, the sort of person that can get world leaders to stop what they are doing and answer the phone! Ah, but I can’t let that one go pubic yet…so stay tuned for more!

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