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Hazel is a professional climber, mental training coach, and mindfulness enthusiast.
Hazel Findlay was brought into climbing by her Dad at the age of 6. She has built a lifestyle and a career around her passion and is now one of the world’s top female adventure climbers.
“I’m really interested in the psychology of climbing and how to manage your psychology when you're scared, which is what inspired me to be a mental training coach and think about concepts like flow and fear.”
“I don't know where I first heard the concept of flow, but it was something that I personally understood and communicated with my friends. We might have used the phrase ‘in the zone’, or something like that. I was definitely conscious of those mental states being one of the main reasons why I climbed and I was conscious that if I could find those mental states more often, I'd get more out of climbing. So I started doing my own research into psychology and understanding these concepts better.”
After seeing Hazel in a movie, it was a match made in heaven. We contacted Hazel to see if she wanted to learn more about flow and begin some coaching, and the rest is history!
“I started off just having a few sessions with Cameron around my individual climbing. Then I got more and more interested in it. I ended up doing the Certificate, Diploma and Coaching Diploma… Everything I was learning about flow wasn't just helpful for my own climbing, but also for what I was teaching my coaching clients.”
“I've done so much with the Flow Centre that it’s hard for me to narrow it down, but the main takeaways are that you really learn what flow is, what the research says about the science behind flow, and how it can improve your performance and your life. You delve into what is actually going on in the mind and body when we're in flow states.
“The first part is really understanding the concept, then it's about how to access flow. You’re taught the Pathway to Flow that has various different domains or steps. In these steps, you learn about the right mindset to better access flow. You learn about managing your psychology and your mental states, so that you can drop into flow and maintain flow. It's a really clear and comprehensive pathway. I think it's a really nice way of learning, it's quite an easy step-by-step process that I use with my clients as well.
“A really good specific example of a takeaway is my understanding of the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. And how if we're intrinsically motivated, we're much more likely to be present and focused and feel positive about what we're doing, which means we're much more likely to access flow. This has helped guide my decision making around goals in my climbing life and in my professional coaching as well. I've tried to maximize intrinsic motivators, for example, instead of doing a climb because I think other people would think it was cool, I now climb because I really want to have the experience of being on that particular climb. The same goes for my coaching; I also like choosing coaching projects that are more in line with my values, versus monetary or financial reasons.
“Another example that really helped me in my climbing was this concept of letting go and not trying to control too much. One of the final steps in the Pathway to Flow is to ‘let go’ into a flow state. It really helps me every time I go climbing. Just trusting my body, trusting my own psychology, and giving up that need to control. I really love that concept and I think that's something that has really resonated with me. What's so cool about all these ideas is that they help you in this athletic performance space, but then also in personal relationships, career, and life goals. Just letting go and letting things happen sometimes is preferable to trying to control everything."
I was already working as a coach and very familiar with flow, but I was struggling to be the coach I knew I could be. I lacked a robust coaching framework and support system…Hear other stories
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“Yeah. So, in 2019 I did probably my hardest rock climb ever. And it really felt like everything that I'd learned, my own personal learning, but then also a huge chunk of what I learned through the Flow Centre, all kind of came together.”
“I started the mental training months and months in advance before I even got to try the route. And it just really helped me stay present with the whole process and access flow when I needed to. It really helped me to let go of the fear of failure. It certainly helped me enjoy the process rather than just focusing totally on the end goal and being really worried of what might happen if I didn't achieve that end goal given how much work I'd put in. So, I think that was a clear example of how all of these ideas that the Flow Center teaches can come together; not only to improve performance but also just improve my experience the whole way through the process of working towards a big goal."
"One of the main reasons I would recommend The Flow Centre is you might come to the Flow Centre or an institution like the Flow Centre looking to improve your performance, but what you come away with is just so much more than that. Really, it may shift your entire direction in life or how you perceive what's happening in your life, or how to orientate yourself in relation to your values. If you come to the Flow Centre, say looking for athletic performance, for example, I think you'll come away with just so much more.”
Hazel is now a Flow Centre coach and if you are interested in being coached by Hazel click here.
This is a flow story to highlight real experiences from real people; sharing their stories for others to understand the impact flow has had on their lives. Personal experiences are conveyed in the hope of providing insight into what the Flow Centre is about, and demonstrating the value in what we do and why we do it. Please see other flow stories here.