…Everything that I do to keep my body healthy and at peak performance is second nature. I have been doing this stuff so much for so long now that it’s just routine to me. I think being successful in any field takes repetition to make our muscles/minds/bodies do the right thing.
As a part of our series about “How Athletes Optimize Their Mind & Body For Peak Performance”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tiffany Bias.
Tiffany Bias is a WNBA Champion and alumni of Oklahoma State University. Born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, Bias was selected in the 2014 WNBA Draft. In addition to being a professional athlete, she is focused on launching two clothing lines and is passionate about fashion and her faith.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! It is a great honor. Our readers would love to learn more about your personal background. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Well, I grew up in Wichita, Kansas. Both of my parents, Francis and Judy Bias, worked really hard to get my siblings (Cierra, Dominique, Trey) and I where we are today. I am blessed with three amazing siblings that keep me grounded. Growing up, I was definitely a tomboy. I was always following behind my brother and his friends and wanting to do everything better than what they did, especially in sports. But I was also into fashion; I watched my mom sew growing up and my sister did competitive dance so I always used to admire their costumes. I just always knew i wanted to be in both of those worlds. Ever since I was a little kid, I knew I wanted to be a professional basketball player, and my dad and few other mentors definitely pushed me to be great on and off the court. This got me a scholarship to Oklahoma State University where I become an All American and had a great career. I was then fortunate to get drafted into the WNBA.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career as a high level professional athlete? We’d love to hear the story.
My dad loved sports and ever since I can remember, he put a basketball in my hands and I have loved it ever since. He’s been by my side through the biggest achievements and my biggest failures.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
I wouldhave to say my parents, My dad instilled this “dawg mentally” that is commonly used in the sports world of just being passionate and doing whatever it takes to be great. He was tough on me but that gave me the tough skin I needed to face certain situations. It’s the same with my mom. She showed me the perseverance that encompasses a working mom. She put herself back to school, graduated and now has started and built multiple successful companies along side my dad.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your sports career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
Well, it was a mistake, but in a game I was trying to get around a screen that was set. It was a post and I’m a small guard so when I reached around a player to push off I accidentally pulled her inches *means really long hair* and she turns to me and looked me in my eyes and said “I got you next time.” Now I don’t know if you can visualize this, but I’m a 5’7 guard and this is a 6’3 post player that’s considered a bruiser. A couple of plays go on and I forget the whole scenario but low and behold, she hits me with a blind pick and when I tell you she knocked my shoulder out of place I am not lying.
The moral of the story is lessoned learned. Maybe I’ll be less bite and more apologetic next time. I didn’t choose my battle wisely.
What advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your career?
Be you. Be confident and never let anyone tell you no, because all you need is one yes.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I am actually working on two clothing lines. One is Tees with a message, and the other is more of my style, which emphasizes how I like to layer and keep it comfy casual! However, at the moment I can’t say the names yet because we are going through the trademark phase. Watch my Instagram for an update on that! I think the Tees will be uplifting and positive. Especially during this time we just need to have faith and know that God is watching us no matter what! Also, I’m working on a YouTube Channel that shows more of me and my fashionista side because I am interested in the model industry! More than anything, I want to show people that you can be more than just an athlete.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. As an athlete, you often face high stakes situations that involve a lot of pressure. Most of us tend to wither in the face of such pressure and stress. Can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to optimize your mind for peak performance before high pressure, high stress situations?
- I am a visual person so I visualize myself achieving a task or thinking back to a time when I successfully accomplished a goal in high-stress environment.
- I also speak a lot of positive affirmations to myself. I am a big believer if you don’t believe in yourself then who will?
- I think I have an optimistic gene, especially in high-stress situations. I am more worried about the how can we fix it and overcome it than allowing the situation to overtake me and my mind.
Do you use any special or particular breathing techniques to help optimize yourself?
Not really. I usually take one deep breath, let it out and get busy!
Do you have a special technique to develop a strong focus, and clear away distractions?
I pray and let go. I let God take over.
How about your body? Can you share a few strategies that you use to optimize your body for peak performance?
– I’ve definitely learned over the years is that getting enough sleep is huge!!!
– Also, taking care of your body, whether that is stretching more or seeing a chiropractor to make sure everything aligned. I have the best one, Camille, who owns Reagan ChiroSport Center in Dallas.
-Even just eating better makes a world difference when it comes to performance.
These ideas are excellent, but for most of us in order for them to become integrated into our lives and really put them to use, we have to turn them into habits and make them become ‘second nature’. Has this been true in your life? How have habits played a role in your success?
Oh for sure, everything that I do to keep my body healthy and at peak performance is second nature. I have been doing this stuff so much for so long now that it’s just routine to me. I think being successful in any field takes repetition to make our muscles/minds/bodies do the right thing.
Can you share some of the strategies you have used to turn the ideas above into habits? What is the best way to develop great habits for optimal performance? How can one stop bad habits?
A big one for me is speaking positive affirmations to yourself during a situation. Instead of dreading or complaining about a hard task that you have to do or bad habit that needs to be broken. Speak positivity and light on it! This goes hand in hand with being optimistic more often and it will take you further!
As a high performance athlete, you likely experience times when things are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a mind state of Flow more often in our lives?
I think it is just being optimistic when you are in or approaching challenges. I have learned it does nothing for your mind to dwell and put negatives thoughts in your head that takes double the time to get out even when you put it in there that split second.
Do you have any meditation practices that you use to help you in your life? We’d love to hear about it.
- I definitely pray, pray, pray …all day everyday! I actually have also started to use a diffuser and different essential oils to calm my mind and body.
Many of us are limited by our self talk, or by negative mind chatter, such as regrets, and feelings of inferiority. Do you have any suggestions about how to “change the channel” of our thoughts? What is the best way to change our thoughts?
I have definitely been on that boat where I let negative chatter distract me. What I have learned through my own struggles is to really believe in myself and really make a mental effort each and everyday to speak life into me.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are by all accounts a very successful person. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
-I love kids so definitely any chance I get I’m speaking to the youth and uplifting them and telling them my journey and helping them grow! I also help run the children’s ministry at my church, One Community Church in Plano, TX.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
-Be you because God made only one you.
I think we live in a world of comparison, and that’s the worst thing to do. I have been guilty of it but comparing does nothing for you to be the best human you can be.