Putting Champion Mindsets in Play


Moses Leos

Dr. Amanda Selking speaks to Johnson High School, McCormick Middle School and Dahlstrom Middle School staff members about how to win the mental game going into a new school year.

Ava Swanson, Editor

Becoming the best isn’t easy. It’s starting each day with the purpose of getting better than the day before. It’s staying on the right path while ignoring negative outside noise. It’s taking things moment by moment as you work to gain perspective on your life. And even then, becoming the best doesn’t necessarily come with a finish line — it’s more about the mindset. So with Johnson striving toward the goal of being the Best In America, an extra source of support is always welcome.

Last April, Principal Brett Miksch brought Performance Consultant Dr. Amber Selking onto the Johnson team. Selking’s role began with a special presentation to staff during professional development, and students officially met her at the beginning of this school year, when homeroom classes played a premade video of her encouraging students to start the year with the goal of building a champion mindset.

“If you don’t have the right mental game, you could really fall off pretty quickly in today’s day and age,” Miksch said. “So I believe that if we can get this part right, we’re going to create a difference right here, just from our own community. And I do believe that wholeheartedly.”

Having the ability to make a difference requires the support and enthusiasm of everyone involved. Luckily, Selking is just as passionate about Johnson’s mission as Miksch himself.

“I love working with big vision, high energy leaders who love to win,” Selking said. “That is your principal, Brett Miksch, to a T! I knew that he would not just bring me in to speak to the staff but could also create a sustainable system to truly help people be transformed by the renewing of their minds.”

Moving forward, Miksch and Selking hope to begin each week with a new video in order to establish Mindset Mondays as a consistent routine throughout the school year.

“It’s consistency over time that leads to true excellence and transformation, so I’m just excited to watch the process take hold over time,” Selking said.

This process depends on the use of Selking’s recently published book, “Winning the Mental Game.” The book is split into different mental “plays” that reflect plays made in sports.

“We’re in play number one, awareness,” Miksch said. “You can’t get to play number eight in Winning the Mental Game without number one, so that’s what we’ve really hit on. When you do become aware of negative thoughts coming in, learning how to rewire and reframe your mindset is how you start strengthening those pathways of positive mindset and positive emotions within yourself.”

In order to promote this awareness and positivity at Johnson, “Winning the Mental Game” is going to be used as a resource for teachers. Upon release, the book sold out across the nation, but Selking is going to make sure that every single staff member has a copy of the book by October.

“The videos are just little bursts of energy for everyone,” Selking said. “It’s your teachers, staff and coaches who are implementing the principles every day that get the real credit here and that I’m most excited about.”

These principles that Selking and the staff members are working to promote will help further Johnson’s goal of fostering resiliency in its students, which has been a main focus of the administrative staff since before the school’s opening.

“Resiliency is a very important trait to have that competitive advantage in life,” Miksch said. “This book and the scientific background of it is definitely going to help us in our mission to instill that in students.”

By helping students grow a more resilient, aware mindset, Miksch and Selking hope to set students on a path that allows them to focus on Winning the Mental Game and becoming BIA.

“If our message helps three out of 3000 kids, that’s three kids that are winning the mental game and that are going to be more successful,” Miksch said. “The ones that are going to own it are going to be the benefactors. Whether it’s three or 3000, I believe in the message, and we’re going to continue it.”