Profile of Perseverance: Danelle Kabush, PhD

Today, Danelle Kabush, is sharing her experiences of perseverance with us, as she is a professional athlete and mental performance consultant. Danelle combined her love of psychology with her other lifelong passion, sports, and completed her doctorate in Sport Psychology from the University of Ottawa in 2007. Along with competing, she works as a mental performance consultant to many different athletes in various sports. You can check out her website at Keep up the great work Danelle! Thanks for encouraging me to persist. I'm really glad I connected with you! Read Danielle's interview below!


What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Who did you receive it from?

Follow your interests and passions, and you'll find a job that you enjoy. My parents always gave me this advice, and I remember it most clearly from when I was deciding what to study in University - I took courses that I was interested in and now I really enjoy my work as a mental training consultant and as a professional triathlete.

How important is mentorship in terms of your success?

Athletically, I've had some great mentors, and they were usually coaches I've had over the years who have trained right along side me, and literally "walked (or in my case "ran" or "rode") the talk". In work, sport, or life, finding mentors who've been there, who have wisdom to share, and who you can emulate can really accelarate the learning process!

What has been the best moment in your life so far?

The births of my two children; they have been such a joy to have around since the moment each of them arrived!

What tips would you have for living a healthy life?

Do something physical everyday, embrace challenges that continue to push your comfort zones (physically and mentally), eat at least six different colours of food per day (this doesn't include candy :)), and maybe most importantly, be true to your heart in figuring out what your ideal work-life balance is and live it here and now!

How do you motivate yourself to persist despite setbacks?

Through remembering that setbacks and adversity are a part of life, and by accepting them when they come! We learn the most from these setbacks, and we get stronger if we're open to the lessons they can teach us!

What has been your biggest setback? How did you deal with it? What did you learn from it?

Athletically, the biggest setback that stands out to me is the year I lived in England with my family when I was in grade ten. I'd competed as a runner since the age of 12, and I had run my fastest times on the track the previous year. Once in England, my performance really dropped, and I'm sure no one over there believed me when I told them what my personal best times were from the year before because I was so far off. I thought maybe it was because I was growing and it was just a plateau. I persisted with all my training and racing anyway. At one of my last track races over there, I was so frustrated that I ran an 800m full out fueled by anger. I still ran a few seconds slower than the year before, but at least my time was in the ball park. I remember vomiting afterwards from the effort. It turned out I had an iron-deficiency, probably in part to drinking all that English tea, which can deplete iron stores! Upon returning to Canada it was a relief to find the reason for my huge drop in performance, and get on some iron supplements. What I learned is two things: 1) The mind can be incredibly strong and determined even when our body is not 100% healthy! and 2) When dealing with myself or other athletes as a mental performance consultant, we should always rule out major physical reasons for under-performance first! That said, mental and physical (and even emotional) components of performance are not mutually exclusive either!

How do you deal with critics?

Accepting others' points of views and not taking anything personally (easier said than done of course!). If I know I've done my best in any situation, then I'm in a better position to handle critics and learn anything I can from them, even if it is tough to hear. It is important to keep a mindset of growth and openness to learn from others, instead of digging in and becoming fixed in our ways of doing things and seeing the world. As an athlete, I'm often my own worst critic so I try to follow the motto of focusing on the positive kinds of thoughts that I'd want to hear someone cheering me on out loud say!

How important is social support in overcoming obstacles?

VERY important. Anything I've done in life has been due to social support: my mom's guidance during the crazy teen years, my dad's support of all my racing goals, my brother, coaches, academic supervisors, teammates, peers, friends, my husband, colleagues, and my employers.

What advice would you give others about goal setting?

If you are mindful every day of what your biggest life goals are, then getting there - the how, what, when, where, why, with whom - of how to reach them will fall into place - daily action steps will get you there! And overall, the most important part of goal setting is to enjoy the journey!

What life lesson have you learned that you would like to pass along to others?

Discipline is freedom! This is something my dad always said, and there is a lot of truth to it - most of life's most meaningful and satisfying things take hard work and persistence such as pursuing career goals, athletic goals, long-term relationships, and raising a family.

Thank you, Danelle, for your insight!All the best in your upcoming races! :)

Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.

See you at the beach!

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