Interview CECILIA DUBERG
Reg. Psychologist and mental trainer to olympians, creators, teams, leaders, other athletes and high-minded people.
She believes clear minds, meaningful goals and brave leaders are the ultimate frame for a brighter future.
How do you begin your days? What are of great value to you to stay centered?
I begin my days with deep breathing and setting intentions. I honour my cup of coffee as the mornings rise and stay with it for 8 minutes no matter what the day is about.
Most important of all, I spend a lot of time outside – hiking, running, playing, meditating, horse riding and playing in raw nature.
What is an early lesson/experience that has shaped your way of life profoundly?
1. As a kid: spending time with horses. A lot of time. Alone with powerful beings, bigger and stronger than me, more connected to nature. They raised me.
They taught me to be in the moment, more than anything.
2. Seeing the world. Reality hit me hard and showed me how privileged I am – being born in Sweden.
3. Giving birth to 3 kids in 2 years. Raising my three daughters through times of studies and poor economy.
What do alone time do for our mind and spirit?
When I spend time alone I get closer to who I really am. I get to face my own thoughts and see who and what I am about when no one is watching. I am originally an introvert, so I fill up with energy when I make space for my own thinking and breathing. It makes me a calmer, better person with so much more to give.
This far in life, what have been the most important/interesting subject for you to think about and to discuss with other people?
Basically, how to handle and thrive when faced with uncertainty. How to nurture the ability to be mentally present in the moment and handle frustration.
What have you learned about handle frustrations?
To notice and let go of things outside of my control and focus my attention towards what is. To always concentrate on what is in my hands, what I can do – even if it is the next best thing. It keeps my energy flowing and my mind healthy, to never become a victim of circumstances.
In challenging times, what can people actively do so that they can handle those times as skillfully as possible?
Prepare. Create a lifestyle that includes a mental practice. A daily routine of self-discovery, mental skills like focusing and setting intentions, making space for recovery and practicing mindfulness. Then, and only then, you are able to navigate through tough times.
Nurture the ability to be present. Focus on your breathing, your body and connect your feet to the ground. As often as possible.
Look people in the eyes and find rest there. Make space for relaxation. I love yoga nidra as a daily practice.
Get help. When faced with challenge: Know who can help you. Never stand alone.
Do you have any suggestion for a self-discovery practice?
Write down the answers to the following questions:
1. Who do you look up to and who inspires you?
2. What do your role models stand for?
3. What are your favourite words?
This tells you so much about your preferences.
Do you know your purpose? What you are here to do?
My purpose in short is to walk my talk. To live what I know.
By learning, teaching and leading myself and others to know our human strengths, how to organize our energy and how to stay in contact with inner resources. Mainly it comes down to being as mentally present as possible.
What are common things that take people away from their inner resources?
Stress and lack of self-discovery. If you don’t know who you are, you won’t create the life you need and love. If you don’t enjoy the ride you don’t feel like want to be present in it…
I know that you set a clear intention before everything you do – how does this routine look
The routine of setting clear intentions is:
Stop, drop the story and take a deep breath.
Releasing my body and mentally focusing on who I want to be in every setting, what I want others to feel and to always remember the goal of the context.
In life – what, in general, do you think are really high standards as a human being?
Optimism in every color.
And to really, really care; about your missions, other people and your precious gift of life.
In your life when you’ve decide to elevate, to take the next step, aiming for a higher level – what have been your tools for creating a foundation to build from? And what have been the strategies you’ve used to being able to stay in it?
Besides reminding myself that I can do difficult things and nurturing an optimistic attitude I make a case of COMMITMENT. Commitment to a vision. A mental picture that is challenging but not naive. And I make sure I know how my aim is aligned with my dreams and visions.
In a broader perspective, for most peoeple, how do we need to organize our lives to be able to elevate and to take the next step with the direction of a higher level, no matter domain?
We need to cover the basics of eat, sleep, exercise and LOVE. There is no way around it.
Then: Create a strategy for your energy by creating a clear vision based on your mission, and an understanding of what it takes to get there. Then practice the skills you need every day.
Presence for example. A daily practice of centering yourself, setting clear intentions, breathing, training calm and brave thoughts.
And make sure you keep a growth mindset; you are not there YET but willing to learn.
There are no shortcuts. It´s not a to do list – it is a lifestyle.
Most important: people create people. GET YOURSELF A MENTOR.
When you talk to yourself in a negative way with a tone that lower your curiosity and reduces your flow, joy and alignment with your mission – how does that inner dialogue most often sounds like?
I have a tendency to depression, so I have an old role / pattern of thinking it is no use trying. People won’t get me. I am too different. It won’t matter…. And so on.
How do you course-correct and work yourself back to a nicer, more focused and productive tone?
It helps that I don’t curse the old role. I don’t hate it.
I know that this pattern has helped me before. It make sure I don’t forget to listen and become to busy with myself that I forget my mission or step over other people. I know it isn’t helpful when it is holding me back.
So I center myself out of it. Focusing on what I know and become curious about what I don’t know. And I talk to wise people about it.
I try to stay open with soft eyes, strong back and a warm heart.
What are you afraid of?
What scares me? Not much. I guess something bad happening to my kids, or the world they live in.
How often, and in what way, do you get overwhelmed by your own desire, motivation and fire?
Working too much without time for recovery and love brings me down. I love working.
What are 3 standards that you go to when you have worked too hard without adequate recovery and really feel that you are on your way to a suboptimal state? What do you need to replenish joy, curiosity, vibrance, and your best state for your best performance?
I prioritize and set my world up for sleep.
I see a friend.
Go on an adventure, preferably in nature.
And then I prepare by reading a book, watch a Ted-talk or watch a movie that connect the dots and light little fires within.
Do you actively work to avoid such periods? How?
I am very strict about my calendar.
Clothes: Roberta Jacket
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is an attitude. A way of being present in the moment, observing it without judging. It is a method for presence and awareness.
Where are you in the spectra rigidity —- flexibility?
Adaptation is my middle name.
How does your physical training routine look like a normal week?
Physical training in a week is different every week, but best case scenario:
Yoga every morning.
Morning run 4 days / week
Strength training 3 days / week
And a lot of movement in everything I do.
What is required in another person to earn your attention and curiosity in a longer timeframe than 20 minutes?
Human beings with great love and respect for others, with a fire to reveal all of one’s potential and use it to be of service – what are 2 mental skills that you think are really important for those people to practice?
A structure and a routine for reflection.
What do you think are hindering people the most?
You have written three books about leadership. Leadership of self, of teams and now about growing through a crisis… In the coming 10 years, to be a powerful, influencial and successful leader (in the word’s most positive meaning), what are the fundamentals in form of values and mental skills?
The ability to connect – with oneself and with others. We are not separate. We are one. Leaders need to get that.
What will not work?
Management by fear and dominance.
Clothes: Francesca Top
Marcus Falk Olander