Meeting Double Gold Olympian Lizzy Yarnold!

Today I was fortunate enough to be at a lunch hosted by the London Sporting Club with Lizzy Yarnold, the most successful British Winter Olympian in history, as their star guest.

I was really excited to hear her stories, to find out what makes this incredible athlete tick, and I don’t mind admitting to feeling a little nervous as I met her, this amazing gladiator of a woman!

I needn’t have worried. Lizzy is one of the most down to earth and warm people I have had the pleasure of meeting. And that was the thing that struck me, hearing Lizzy’s story, of someone who wanted to be a summer games athlete and happened to stumble upon a talent programme recruiting athletes for different sports….

Just regular people, who have worked extremely hard and have sacrificed an awful lot to be able to achieve what they have

Is just what a regular everyday girl she is, that really when I think about all of my sporting heroes that I’ve met, they all are. Just regular people, who have worked extremely hard and have sacrificed an awful lot to be able to achieve what they have. I often get asked, by young people in schools, who is the most famous person I have met or interviewed and what were they like? With eager eyes shining up at mine, and my answer is always…. Once upon a time they were exactly like you.

Now granted there are certain things that make all superstar athletes so good at what they do, whether it is was the endless tough choices and sacrifices or a physical or mental ‘talent’, most likely a combination of all of the above. And now you must be wondering… what is Lizzy’s super talent?

That right there says everything you need to know about an athlete mind set.

After hearing her stories I’d say without a doubt it is an extraordinary determination and work ethic, she tells a story where she first went down a skeleton track and finished up at the end shell shocked with tears streaming down her face. Asked how she found it, Lizzy replied “I think I could’ve done better on corner 3″… and there it is. That right there says everything you need to know about an athlete mind set.

When facing adversity, completely shocked and reeling from flying down a skeleton track at 80 mph for the very first time, her first reaction was ‘what could I have done better?’. It was an attitude that would go on to serve her well in the future, when faced with crippling illness whilst trying to defend her Olympic Gold medal at Peong Chang, when most people in her situation would’ve withdrawn, happy in the knowledge they had already won an Olympic Gold, she dug deeper, she went further and well…. we all know how that ended! It was truly inspiring to hear Lizzy speak, and I will certainly take a lot away from her attitude and mindset.

(Now if only we can get rid of the completely unnecessary, and quite frankly boring, sexualised comments in the room during Lizzy’s appearance we’d almost be there!! *huge eye roll*)

Success at professional sport? Its not all about talent and hard work……

Success at professional sport? Its not all about talent and hard work……

 

 

 

This week I played in my first professional event in 3 years, in the South of France, back at the venue where I had my first win….

 

It was an amazing experience, like seeing an age old and adored friend who knows you inside and out, who you love dearly but who also sometimes gets on your nerves when you’ve spent too much time together!

 

having come from professional sport my whole life, to out of it, to back into it but this time with a new perspective and under very, very different circumstances, I realised just how important circumstances are…

 

I won’t go into details as to why I played or if there are any more plans to play in future events, mainly because there are two very short answers to both questions – I don’t know and we will see.

 

But I did find one thing out this week, having come from professional sport my whole life, to out of it, to back into it but this time with a new perspective and under very, very different circumstances, I realised just how important circumstances are…

 

There are SO MANY different factors that equal success in sport, and all too often we are made to feel like its just down to talent and hard work, grit and determination.

 

If anyone is reading this who is in his or her journey of professional sports or has finished it without reaching all they felt they were capable of, I would just like to touch briefly on the subject of circumstance. There are SO MANY different factors that equal success in sport, and all too often we are made to feel like its just down to talent and hard work, grit and determination. The narrative we are told is that if you are talented and work hard, with patience and perseverance you will make it, and if not then you are either aren’t doing it right, you’re practice isn’t productive enough, you are lazy or you just don’t got it! Every single self improvement book I’ve ever read has been along those lines, creating the optimal environment for success! Inside and out. Well I’m sorry but I’ve been there, I’ve done it, I have 10 years of t-shirts and I CALL BULLSHIT.

 

Timing and circumstance, good or bad, count for an awful lot and I really feel strongly that it is something not spoken about anywhere near enough of as a factor, often because as athletes we don’t want to be seen to be ‘making excuses’ to anyone, even to ourselves in our own minds.

 

The cold hard truth of it, is that a huge amount of whether you are successful or not is down to personal circumstances and whatever else is going on in your life at any given time, whether it be financial, emotional, physical, family or relationship issues. It is often all of those things that you don’t want to, or even if you did want to say, don’t have the energy to, go around telling any and everyone who asks (whether that be fans, sponsors or even friends) that are the real reasons for why you are not performing as well as you’d like to or know you can.

 

Timing and circumstance, good or bad, count for an awful lot and I really feel strongly that it is something not spoken about anywhere near enough of as a factor, often because as athletes we don’t want to be seen to be ‘making excuses’ to anyone, even to ourselves in our own minds. And on the darker side often because sometimes it’s just not fixable, it’s not glamorous and it doesn’t sell self help books or hours in a sports psychologists chair focusing on ‘being present’.

Ultimately everyone’s situation is different and this is not to detract from people who struggle on a day to day basis with any issues who don’t play professional sports but this is written purely in the context of those that do

Don’t get me wrong, the Cinderella story does on occasion happen, it is often so widely publicised that it gets used as a poster story for the old adage ‘if they can do it… so can you!’ Well yes ‘maybe’ but it can also pile on the pressure and add to the damaging self woven tale that there is something wrong with you because you’re not doing it.

Ultimately everyone’s situation is different and this is not to detract from people who struggle on a day to day basis with any issues who don’t play professional sports but this is written purely in the context of those that do, sports people who have had difficult backgrounds (by that I really do mean anyone, inclusive of anything, on any number of different scales) who may be or have been incredibly talented, who were trained to be mentally strong, hard working and positive at all times, who are giving it or have given it everything they could under their personal circumstances –

This is to say to those people, if you are reading this, that

  • It DOES NOT make you a failure if you didn’t achieve or aren’t achieving everything you were capable of, you CAN go on to be successful at your sport or at other things in your life.
  • That you DO NOT have to explain yourself to anyone. 
  • That YES playing professional sports without anything going on personally is a completely different experience, and YES you would have been or will be a completely different competitor given half the chance.

 

Please be kind to yourself and know that success at professional sport… it’s not all about talent and hard work.

 

My New Years Resolution? To abolish New Years Resolutions!!

My New Years Resolution? To abolish New Years Resolutions!!

Why do we think that a personality trait is any less worthy of not being changed than a physical trait? Is that even allowed? We’re made to feel like it is most definitely not; one must go on in search of uber productive perfection.

 

Fun fact about me – I have a long torso – This makes jumpsuits and dungarees off limits to me unless I would like to sport a camel toe and a wedgie at the same time. No matter how many fashion magazines, websites or Kardashians wear said items I never will, nor will I try to make them work just because someone says it’s currently cool, something that my undercarriage thanks me for on the regular. I will not consider torso size reduction techniques, surgeries, squishing programmes or any other such nonsense to make myself fit into jumpsuits and or dungarees…. Now clearly this is just an analogy but it does make you wonder why on earth people try to change themselves for one month every year (and subsequently feel like a failure for the next 11 months) just to fit in with society’s idea of what is currently in vogue! I have used the example of my odd sized torso (which I love very much, thanks) because it is visible and my subsequent wedgie also visible and non-negotiable, but why do we think that a personality trait is any less worthy of not being changed than a physical trait?

 

We are inundated with information these days, which can be awesome and informative but it can also be harmful. Take the millions of self-help books telling you how to think differently, be more productive, get more motivated or have more willpower, yeah that’s cool…. But what if I don’t want to do any of that? What if… duh duh duh…. I accepted my flawed, sloth like, multi tasking ways and didn’t try to change them…like ever!!! I can hear the collective gasp of air. Is that even allowed? We’re made to feel like it is most definitely not; one must go on in search of uber productive perfection.

 

Well enough! I call bullshit! My foot is firmly down and I have accepted the fact that I am unflexible, I will never have the Instagram handstand picture because I have arms the size of a toothpick and spoiler alert, I don’t even enjoy being upside down! Walking quickly or doing anything at a fast pace offends my being. I love sticky toffee pudding and eating chocolate, every day. I like trying different things and not sticking to them! Sometimes I spend a whole day in bed, in my pyjamas watching films…. When I have things to do! I don’t meal prep; I like carbs – in all three of my meals and sometimes snacks too. I enjoy scrolling on Instagram, Youtube and Spotify and I’m not even sorry. I will not waste any more of my energy on trying to change those things at the New Year (ridiculous time to try and change things anyway, especially in the northern hemisphere where its dark and cold and miserable like ALL the time and all you want to do is comfort eat, wear pyjamas and figure out how to get your morning routine down to 15 minutes so you can sleep more…. Introducing 30 minutes of morning yoga and a new gym regime??? I think not)

 

We’ve become so obsessed with right and wrong and what we should or shouldn’t be doing that it is exhausting and debilitating.

 

The point to all these things is that they aren’t destructive behaviours, they neither hurt me nor anyone else – now some people might argue ‘they do hurt you because eating chocolate is bad for you or scrolling on social media is unproductive’. Well let me be clear, all these things are relative to the person doing them – what’s to say that chocolate isn’t good for my brain because it makes me feel better, I won’t waste my time trying to fight that just because that same piece of chocolate may bring about a cellulite dot and what if that chocolate with wine (what? Chocolate goes with wine perfectly ok…this is a judge free zone!) doesn’t bring about some late night inspiration with writing, or reading and what if…. What if I just enjoy it?? Productivity is also a very relative concept, one person’s productive is another persons lazy and what about productively resting? Ahhh not so black and white now is it! Also it is perfectly ok to not want to go to the gym… like ever… if that’s not your bag then it’s not. Let me ask you a question – what is worse? Living for 40 years doing you, if that is super unhealthy then so be it, but having a whale of a time OR living for 80 years being an anxiety filled, sometimes gym going because I have to, holding my nose while I eat kale, self flagellating mess? Those are obviously both extreme examples but you get my point, and I know which one I’d choose. We’ve become so obsessed with right and wrong and what we should or shouldn’t be doing that it is exhausting and debilitating.

 

We don’t have to try to be one perfect thing all the time and we certainly don’t need to judge ourselves or aspire to be like others because they are a certain way that we think is better, or even portrayed as better.

 

The thing is that some people just enjoy going to the gym, some people enjoy computers and computer games. Some people enjoy eating a kale salad and should not be shamed for that any less than the person who enjoys a burger and fries. Crazily enough, one person could like all of the above! Most likely the person who loves salads? That comes fairly naturally to them, and the person who is insane at coding and building the salad eaters’ health blog?? Also comes fairly naturally to them. We are all different and we don’t have to put ourselves into boxes or categories. We don’t have to try to be one perfect thing all the time and we certainly don’t need to judge ourselves or aspire to be like others because they are a certain way that we think is better, or even portrayed as better.

 

Now I am not saying that having goals is a bad thing, I have goals sure, they have been thought out over a long period of time, (usually during more inspiring summer months) tried on for size and aligned with my overall life philosophy. They are worked on slowly over a long period of time, sometimes years and they are part of my overall lifestyle. They are NOT concocted randomly at the start of a Gregorian calendar based on what I’ve seen on social media or some stat in the news. They are not based on anyone else’s lifestyle or what anyone else wants from my lifestyle and they are certainly not based around some random health trend.

 

So this year step away from the damn New Year’s resolutions and resolve to just be you! Not some super healthy, productive, happy cliché version of ourselves that makes the real version of us want to barf. While accepting the parts of yourself that do not offend anyone but ‘the ideal that isn’t even real’ (ooh I should patent that!) you will have SO much more energy to spend on doing things you actually enjoy, or absolutely nothing if you so choose, or doing an activity you’d been meaning to do had you only got your morning routine, meal prep, face routine and gym workout out the damn way! Putting it this way, you will actually end up doing more, pressure and guilt free without even having to try as hard, alllll while accepting yourself a little bit more…hey you may even end up starting to like yourself!

 

            So there you go, permission to completely ignore the classic New Years resolutions, keep being your badass, weird self and go forth to worry about more important things… because there is NO point sweating the small stuff just because people say it should be so. Who are these people anyway and why are they still making dungarees??!

Queen Quinoa Bowl

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I love cooking, it’s my time to wind down, put on some Whitney Houston, crack open the vino and destress, however… more often than not I am so busy that it turns out to be the cause of stress! Specifically…. what on earth am I going to eat that is nutritious, takes under 30 minutes to make and that I haven’t eaten 5 times in the last 10 days stress!

Well I can’t promise this one ticks the last box but it certainly does the first 2, here is my go to midweek ‘I don’t know what to eat bowl’…. oh and you can still put on Whitney and crack open the vino whilst making it (obvs!)

//Macros per serving

696 Calories / 56g Carbs / 31g Fat / 49g Protein

Bonus – Great source of Vitamin A and C

//Ingredients – (Serves 2)

120g Quinoa

2 Chicken breasts

2 Sweet Potatoes – peeled and cubed

50g Feta cheese – cubed

100g Broccoli florets

10 Cherry or plum tomatoes halved

Handful of sunflower seeds to sprinkle on top

2 spoonfuls Olive oil

Salt and pepper

//Dressing – My go to dressing for every salad!

2 tablespoons Olive oil

1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Wholegrain mustard

Squeeze lemon juice

//Method

First up preheat your oven to 180 degrees C – chuck your sweet potatoes into a roasting tin and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle some olive oil on top and get them into the oven. They’ll take 30 mins.

Next pop your Quinoa in a saucepan with 360ml of cold water, bring to the boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Leave simmering for 20 mins until all the water has been absorbed.

Then whilst frantically running round your kitchen trying to clean up the bits of Quinoa you spilt everywhere and shoving the sweet potato peel into the bin – try to find your inner Masterchef and butterfly the chicken breasts in half, season them with salt and pepper and put them onto a baking tray covered in kitchen foil (a genius way of doing less washing up) for 20 mins, turning halfway through.

Right broccoli – either steam for 5 mins or boil for 10 mins.

Whilst everything is cooking away time to make your salad dressing – lob everything into a pyrex jug or a glass and stir – easy!

Now when it’s all ready at about the same time and you have summoned your inner octopus to drain, remove and stir let’s start layering the salad bowls.

Quinoa in first, then sweet potatoes, followed by broccoli, tomatoes, chicken, feta on top and sprinkle it all with some sunflower seeds.

Pop your dressing on and voila! Enjoy…. until you have to do the washing up that is… siiiigh. x

 

My top 5 tips for aspiring young athletes…

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This week I was in Portugal for The Telegraph Vitality Junior Golf Championships. It is a wonderful week in which I get to see the development of new and exciting young players and which always reminds me of when I was a junior golfer myself. I got to thinking of what I’d have wanted my younger self to know as I was commencing my journey into professional golf and through golf in general …. So here goes!

My top 5 tips, not just for golfers, but aspiring young sports people.

 There is no such thing as making it

 

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but there is never that point that you get to where you think ‘Ah I’ve made it now, I can chill’ perhaps there could be but we, as humans, are conditioned to continually strive for bigger and better. I spent most of my youth continually pushing to get to that point which was the cause of much rushing, pressure and mostly pain for ‘not being there yet’. I can happily tell you that there, in fact, doesn’t exist, yay! Unfortunately that means the old cliché is true then – You just gotta enjoy the journey.

That’s not to say, by any means not to have goals, I am big advocate of them… just be aware that achieving that goal is just that and your life continues no matter what. Keeping things in perspective will stand you in good stead indeed and as there is never a final destination of ‘making it’ the pressure is off!

 

You are not a golfer, you are a person who plays golf

 

This is not a condescending philosophical riddle I promise!! By this I mean that it is excruciatingly important to separate yourself from your sport. When you tie yourself to your sport, when you become your results,, it means that every result, good or bad, every trial and tribulation of which, no doubt, there will be many, it will affect you deeply. Take the time to find out other things you like to do outside of golf, arts and crafts, gym, other sports, socializing with friends. Everything in life has a balance that is crucial to maintain and you are no different, yes you must be focused but you can only be truly focused when you have other interests outside of your discipline.

Golf is not the be all and end all of a successful life, no one is solely a golfer forever. You will retire at some point and you will also be a mother/father/friend/son/daughter/partner and if you can nail this bit of balance when you are younger you will find all of those relationships and transitions much more rewarding, as well as the relationship with yourself.

 

The best piece of advise I’ve ever received was from Sir Nick Faldo – 

“Listen to everyone, question everything, and only keep the bits you need” 

 

These words stuck in my head and I’m glad they did. I have lived by them ever since, whether I am having a lesson, reading self improvement books or listening to ‘experts’ I always keep in mind that it is only the perspective of one person who is different from me, it is not necessarily gospel. I listen to everything, I mull it all over and then I throw out what doesn’t fit me.

You can only over do what is right for you, whether that’s a way to swing the club, train or not train, think and ultimately play golf. This should all be YOUR way and will only ever work if it is so, for example you could never give Tiger Woods’ training regime to say Pat Perez, it wouldn’t work. You would never ask Bubba Watson to play golf like Justin Rose, it wouldn’t work. They are all successful in their own way and that is just the point, in their own individual way.

The trouble with over coaching and always doing what is right is that there is no such thing, and it doesn’t allow for individual quirks. So here is my permission for you to be a rebel! Question everything! Break the mould and do things your way.

 

‘What are you willing to give up for what you think you want to achieve?’

 

This question, posed to me by my sports psychologist and good friend, Dr. Chris Shambrook during an injury, has been written down mused over for nearly everything I have done.

Let me start by saying that it is a beautiful question because there is no wrong answer to it. It is just something that is.

Some people don’t want to sacrifice family time for practice, to watching that extra episode for an early night in order to get up in the morning. Some people do– and you know what? That is 100% ok either way when it is a choice you are making with some thought and mindfulness.

Asking and answering this question for things you ‘think you want to achieve’ will save you A LOT of struggle and berating of yourself in the long term, for how you feel you should be, instead of how you are. It is a sentiment that has been echoed by Jason Day in an interview I did with him this year at The Players Championship. He said it in relation to being world number 1 after I asked what his best advise was to young people was. His answer – exceptionally similar to the question posed above. “You have to think about what you’re willing to give up to get to that spot, or not willing to give up and either answer is ok”

Figure out what success means to you both in work and lifestyle and then decide on what you’re willing to give up to achieve that, the likelihood is it will require a bit of balance.

 

There is no substitute for grit, determination and hard work

 

One of the worst things I was ever told was that I was ‘talented’. Repeatedly. It was always said with great intention, but it implies that you don’t have to work as hard as other kids at it, because you have that natural ability.

On the other hand when you feel like you’re not as talented you have to work harder than anyone else to get to their level, it instills a work ethic, something that long term will stand you in much better stead.

The argument about whether or not talent exists will rage on but thinking of yourself as talented will lead down a path of what performance author Carol Dweck terms a ‘fixed mindset’. A fixed mindset is that you either have it or you don’t have it, which may seem fine for when you have it… but then it is capable of being lost. A ‘growth mindset’ is the opposite; this is the mindset that no matter what level you’re at right now, you can improve your skillset. That no failure is ever a failure but a highlighter on what to work hard on next, and if you can pair that growth mindset with some gritty, never give up determination… well then you’re on to a winner!

 

 

I hope reading this will be helpful to you in your endeavors and if you’d like to know more on any of these subjects then don’t hesitate to get in touch via the contact page!

 

Happy Golfing! Henni x

My Journey to Solheim Cup

Golf

Standing in my hotel room on the Sunday night of the Women’s British Open I complete feeling of relief flooded over me. I was in St.Andrews, at the Old Course, the site of extreme devastation for me twice, firstly by missing out on British Open qualifying at age 16 and secondly being forced to turn professional shortly before the Curtis Cup that was to be held there 2 years later and the full circle I had come since then was not lost on me. 11 years after my first heartbreak there I had finally become the woman I wanted to be. My path had been very different from the one I had imagined back then, but then life is never what it is planned to be.

I was convinced it was my mind; that I had lost it, whatever it was. I had tried everything”

I’ll start at the end. The end of my golf career. Sitting on the sofa in my first winter of retirement, and I was completely lost. I couldn’t withstand the pain of golf any longer; I thought anything would be better, yet this was a different kind of pain. My golf pain was a raw, gut wrenching heart breaking pain, that at times literally hurt my chest and had me crying in the shower, this one, this was empty, it was hollow and so painful that it was painless. What had I expected? A relief I suppose.

 

The full exact story of my golf career and retirement is one so long and harrowing it is for another day, perhaps another life time, so I’ll fast forward to the part after my worst injury – the slipped disc that left me unable to walk for 3 months. The doctor had given me the all clear in the March so I got back to playing as quickly as I could, I certainly wasn’t going to be one to make excuses. But sadly my body wasn’t the same, and it took 6 long months and countless excruciating missed cuts and mental demons for me to finally accept it. I desperately needed time out.

 

I was convinced it was my mind; that I had lost it, whatever it was. I had tried everything, the best coaches, psychologists, and performance coaches, practicing more and practicing less. In my mind – I was a failure, which was my entire thinking then. It took me nearly 3 long years to realise it was in fact my body and not my mind, but I didn’t know it at the time. Despite the fact that I desperately wanted to succeed in golf, things had all gotten too painful, it wasn’t fun anymore; I was overweight, lonely and miserable with an anxiety issue. I certainly wasn’t the woman I imagined.

 

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“I felt depressed, but I had no right to be depressed, I should be mentally strong, I was an athlete. The retirement was hitting me hard, in ways I could never have expected”

 

I had no idea who I was anymore; my life balance was completely skewed to golf, golf and more golf. Friends wise I was very alone, I had sacrificed everything for golf which due to travel also meant friendships and work wise I had nothing to fall back on, I had left school at 16 for my sport. I remember clearly when a police officer stopped me for speeding, at a particularly low point, and asked me what I did for work, it took me a few rambling minutes to answer that I wasn’t a golfer, I wasn’t a TV presenter I had only had a handful of guest appearances at that stage, was I unemployed? Who was I?

 

I used to get up at 6am, motivated, dreaming of those trophies, looking at my mood board filled with pictures of Seve, Ali and all the greats. Yet now I couldn’t get out of bed before 10, after all what was I even getting up for anymore? I had desperately craved this time off; I used to say all I wanted was time! Yet now I had it and I didn’t know what in the world to do with it. I felt depressed, but I had no right to be depressed, I should be mentally strong, I was an athlete, I had had years and years of psychology training. I should know how to be positive. I had heard stories of athletes being depressed after retirement, but I wasn’t one of them, I was firmly in denial.

 

My first port of call was to get back to the gym; it was something that I knew and always made me feel good. But when I got there I realised I no longer knew how to train…. everything to that point had been so golf specific, every rep, every set, I’d push harder and harder envisioning major tournament wins, Solheim Cups, I was driven. Now I just stared at those dumbbells not knowing what to do. This retirement was hitting me hard, in ways I could never have suspected.

“2 years later and I find myself with a wonderful job filled with a team that is like family, a deep knowledge and comfort of myself, a wonderful husband, a healthy lifestyle and workout routine and a tribe of brilliant inspiring friends all of which I am extremely proud of. How did I get there? I decided for the first time in my life to truly back myself”

I knew I had to start from scratch and feel out who I was and what I wanted to do, how I wanted to train and how I wanted to spend my days. I didn’t know how to do it exactly but I set myself on a path of learning; reading copious amount of books, articles, interviews of successful people, anything I could get my hands on to try and figure it out. I won’t bore you with the rest of journey through retirement, the purpose of this story isn’t to depress you, it is to give you an albeit brief snapshot into what retirement looks life for some, so I shall fast forward again to this year.

 

2 years later and I find myself with a wonderful job filled with a team that is like family, a deep knowledge and comfort of myself, a wonderful husband, a healthy lifestyle and workout routine and a tribe of brilliant inspiring friends all of which I am extremely proud of. How did I get there? It wasn’t without disaster and many a meltdown I can tell you that. To start off my work with the Dame Kelly Holmes trust charity, of which I will be eternally grateful, got me over that first hurdle of depression, talking to fellow athletes who had gone through similar things made me feel like less of a nutcase and fairly normal with what I was feeling. The rest of the journey – well that was a mixture of me being really willing to learn and work hard at the things that are hard to work on, mainly myself, and of letting go. Work wise I am extremely grateful for what was great timing and hard work, (more on that later) but I know I couldn’t have done any of it without knowing who I really was – and that? That was figured out with me, a candle, a notebook, a hell of a lot of questions and a lot of meditation. At times tedious and never glamorous but effective. Anyway I can go into more detail on that in another post, it certainly wasn’t by accident though.

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The reason I fast forward to this year because it has been a pivotal year so far for me, this year I started presenting for the first time. By May I had done a few voice-overs and one in vision studio presentation. They had all gone reasonably well, I’d gotten the ball over the net but I would say the challenges of presenting were unexpectedly different. It was learning a whole new skill set in itself. Being a studio guest I had gotten used to, I would research and talk about what I knew, so really in my mind presenting would be the same just sitting in a different seat right? Wrong. I didn’t really know how to practice it so I figured doing it more would just result in me getting better… until I had one particularly bad voice over presentation. I came home feeling down and the feeling stayed for a while, I knew what it was, it was that old voice and story coming into my head – I was a failure, this would be just like my golf, everyone saying I had a lot of potential, that I was a natural and and I was terrified that I would be mentally incapable of fulfilling that potential. My biggest fear. I had a big summer of golf coming up with a myriad of different roles and I was so worried that I going to let my team and myself down.

 

“I didn’t want to be saddled with the mental anguish of that belief about myself. I knew that pain all to well. I had a choice to make”

 

Luckily this time round I was much better equipped to deal with it, years of meditation had taught me to watch my thoughts and recognise those story lines instead of letting them control me. So I set to work, I realised that I was a novice at presenting, yet I was treating myself like I should be an expert. The many books I had read on success all had a similar story, they had told me that there was no such thing as talent, just hard work, grit and determination, something I firmly believe in. I had a choice to make and I didn’t want to be saddled with the mental anguish of that debilitating belief about myself. I knew that pain all to well.

So I heeded the advice of the books, I worked hard! I watched more golf than ever before, recorded everything I could get my hands on and practiced over and over again. I stepped up my research and organised myself better, I learnt from my peers and asked questions. There would be no excuses this time round. My goal was to be ready for July, where I had 4 weeks in a row starting with the US Women’s Open and ending with the Women’s British Open, I was taking on a few different roles, some new and this was the big test. This would answer the biggest question in my life could I perform under pressure and fulfill my potential? I had convinced myself after golf that the answer was no but now would be my chance of redemption.

 

I prepared as best as I could and decided for the first time in my life to truly back myself. I can’t tell you whether or not it was great, after all I’m not the viewer, but for me it was life changing. I’m not saying I was flawless, I probably never will be, but I had overcome my fear of failure by preparing properly and working hard. Something I long suspected I had shied away from in my golf, incase my best effort wasn’t good enough. I had done it, I’d overcome my nerves by being relaxed on air and most importantly I had had the confidence to just be myself and back myself. The mental relief, the blasting away of those doubts and that voice in my head; that was worth more than anything in the world. No matter what happens now I had answered the question, I had gone through the storm and come out the other side. Something that I honestly and seriously doubted that I could ever do.

 

henni golf sixes

So now I sit on a plane, on the way to this weeks Solheim Cup to do on course commentary for the first time in a full tournament week. I have no idea what to expect other than the atmosphere will be spectacular and the golf will be incredible, but whatever it brings I know this time, and every time, that I will be ready. Not because I am the finished article by any means, I don’t think I ever will be, but because I have learnt through my retirement that being open to always learning and persistently working hard; doing the very best I can and then when it’s all said and done, completely believing in myself will always see me through. All that is left to say now…

 

Vamos Europe!!!

Welcome!

Henni Zuel 2-04795

Hi! and welcome to my little space on the internet!

My name is Henni Goya and here is where I share my musings on my past life as a Professional Golfer, my current life as a TV Broadcaster and my passions of fitness, wellbeing, food and a genuine interest in this mad thing called life. I am certainly no writer but I hope that you enjoy reading about my experiences! Please do have a browse around, comment, share and feel free to get in touch. I hope you enjoy it!

Henni x