Kona Mental Skills Tip #1: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Have Radical Acceptance

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Our backyard for the week! So blessed and lucky!

I have arrived on the Big Island of Kona with my dear friend, Marni Sumbal of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition for the 2013 GoPro Ironman World Championships. This meet up was 3 years in the making and it could not have been a more joyful reunion. I am beyond thrilled and blessed to share this experience with her. I got inspired by Marni to share some mental skills tips throughout the week. I am going to do my best to keep this up. So here we go.

Mental Skills Tip #1: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Have Radical Acceptance.

Little things are going to come up in the days leading up to Saturday’s race. For example, you may forget a piece of equipment (goggles, helmet, etc.), you may have a mechanical during a training ride, or you may get a cramp or strain in your leg, arm, etc.  What do you do? Well, if you allow those mishaps and niggles to stick to you then you start creating a “story.” If that story sounds something like, “Oh my gosh this (fill in the blank) happened, what if it happens on race day?” or “I just knew something was going to happen! It always does. Now what could happen on race day?!” See where I am going with this? When you start creating a story in your mind you will most likely start to have some strong emotions, once you get to that point you are more likely to carry that memory/ “story” with you long after the event or issue had been resolved.

What I am suggesting to you athletes is that you adopt a Radical Acceptance Mentality towards “the small stuff” this week and on race day. Radical acceptance does not mean you like or want the “thing” to happen, it means you let go of fighting reality, you let go of “this should or should not be happening” and you accept your situation for what it is. When you do that you are in a better position to assess the issue, decide the best course of action, execute, and then develop temporary amnesia to it. Refrain from creating the story and drama in the brain. It’s not worth it.

My challenge to you this week is to adopt a radical acceptance mindset towards the small stuff. Accept “what is” for what it is– a single event in time and space. Remember, my post on developing a Teflon mind, don’t let things stick to your mind any longer than need be.

“Radical Acceptance is the willingness to experience ourselves and our life as it is. A moment of Radical Acceptance is a moment of genuine freedom.” -Tara Brach

Happy Race Week Kona Athletes! Prepare to shine and make greatness happen!

See you around the beach,


My slice of heaven on earth, the beach.
My slice of heaven on earth, the beach.

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Dr. Gloria Petruzzelli

Dr. Petruzzelli is a clinical sport psychologist, triathlete, and certified mindfulness meditation teacher located in Sacramento, California. She works with elite athletes and sports teams across the country. She is a competitive athlete and enjoys practicing yoga, spending time with her family, and traveling.

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