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Male Performance Staff: Emotions Are Our Responsibility

emotions men in sport responsibility Oct 20, 2022

Our personal sides are rarely discussed within our professional roles in elite sport. But whether we like it or not, they sit just below the surface and inform our every thought, feeling & action.

For me, this caused significant problems in my personal and professional life until I turned my attention within myself.

This is also true for many coaches I work with:

"I am very successful in my career and financially but I don't feel the happiness I expected, I have complained a great deal about my working conditions but have come to the realisation that maybe my problems are not my work - but within myself."


My father was tormented with emotional pain and as far as I can tell never worked on it.

That showed up within him as a barely functioning alcoholic.

He was paralysed by a severe stroke when I was 13yrs and then subsequently died when I was 16yrs. He was doing his best with the tools he knew.

I repressed my grief, my anger, my sadness.

Because I considered these as weaknesses.

My models of being a man were not set on solid ground, something I never questioned until my destructive patterns in adulthood became a problem for me and the people in my life.

This is what began my investigation of my shadow, a concept first coined by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung that describes those aspects of the personality that we choose to reject and repress.

Through seeking to understand these unseen layers I learned what it truly is to become a man.

How to own my anger without shame, open to my emotional wounds, show up authentically in my integrity, stand true to my values, and hold space to understand who I am.

Without checking our default habits I believe many of us in senior performance staff positions are led by an out-of-date map of what it is to be a man.

I certainly was affected by my unconscious thoughts & feelings that led me repeatedly to behave in ways that resulted in significant emotional costs for me, and the people in my life.

"What we've spoken about today has made me understand a little more of why I'm yet to really find happiness. I don't know who I am and where I want to go, something that I've only thought about through the lens of my career. Never from the lens of me as a person.”


  1. How much energy have you spent trying to bring your shadow traits into the open?
    What effort do you make in understanding yourself as a human being - away from your profession?

 

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