3 min read

David: Mindfulness from the perspective of a mental performance coach

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David Neithe is a husband, father and mental performance coach with over thirty years’ experience. He works with professional athletes, individuals, and organisations to create change by giving them the tools to become the best version of themselves. 

Dave learned the art of coaching and mental performance over his many years of life and formal education. Dave shares his own journey of change, the fundamental tools to his success and why mindfulness is an important factor.  

Dave describes mindfulness as being honest with yourself. It’s about taking the time to acknowledge the way you think, behave, react, and speak. In noticing those details, you might see things about yourself that are difficult to accept. This isn’t a bad thing. As Dave says, you can’t change anything you don’t first acknowledge. Once you do, it’s time to get into the work. It’s scary –⁠ but as Dave has learned, it’s worth it.  

At 12 years old, Dave began studying at Wesley College. Those first few years of high school became a breeding ground for his limiting beliefs. An undiagnosed condition of dyslexia meant he struggled with academia; and years of bullying meant he lived in a constant state of fear. Dave’s self-esteem was at an all-time low, and his thought patterns reinforced it.  

He remembers the day the school priest gave him the book Jonathan Livingstone Seagull. As he read, his perspective of the world started to expand. The book helped him recognise that change was possible. The book could not have come at a better time. One final experience of bullying really affected Dave. He was sick and tired of being in a state of fear. He wanted change and decided the best place to go was the gym.  

I remember making a promise that I would never allow myself to be scared like that again. I didn’t want to live like that anymore.  

The bullying stimulated me to start working on my physicality. I went to the gym to learn how to protect myself and become the strongest man in the country.

Dave went to the gym with a goal of benching 60kgs –⁠ and he failed. Like many first attempts at change, it was a humbling experience, and one of many hurdles to overcome. He had no choice but to keep showing up to the bench. Some days he’d win, and other days would be frustrating. It was a mental battle and all part of the journey.  

Those small steps added up over time. Eventually, Dave went on to compete in the New Zealand Strong Man competition multiple times. While he didn’t ever win, Dave says that what he learned along the way helped shape who he is today. His newfound success with physicality gave him the motivation to explore other avenues.  

He started by challenging his limiting beliefs in academia.   

Start with a vision and then methodically, with tenacious resolve, work towards it. Yes, there’s injuries along the way –⁠ that’s normal. There are also moments of magic where you nail it and that’s when you start getting more confident and see the change.

Dave began studying the psychology of life coaching. At the time he worked in a print store. He remembers a day where one of his managers pulled him aside and implied that coaching wasn’t a career path for Dave. Those comments triggered his limiting beliefs and could easily have sent him in a downward spiral. Mindfulness meant that Dave responded to the tiny whisper within him that said –⁠ show him that you can.   

Years later, Dave found himself at Golf Harbour with his client, Lydia Ko. He looked up to see that same manager from the print shop walking over. They shook hands, and Dave organised for some autographs. Of course, he also took great pleasure in reminding his manager of what he’d said to Dave all those years ago and who he had become.  

Sometimes a moment of doubt presents our greatest opportunity to take the leap.   

As you start to break through discomfort your world expands. You move away from being fearful to fearless and your whole filtering of the world changes. 

I could have easily conformed and become a relatively good printer and been miserable or I could have challenged myself and take risks.

Dave has found comfort asking and answering the hard-hitting questions. What do you really want? Are you happy? What are your limiting beliefs? Are your mates helping you to achieve the goals you have for yourself, or are they distracting you?  

Dave believes that change is possible for anyone, and mindfulness is one of many tools to get you there. There’s no right or wrong process. Build a vision so big that it scares you. Be unrealistic in your vision and realistic in the steps you take to get there. It is in the small, imperfect, and consistent choices that significant growth takes place.   

The only thing you need to create change in your life is one hundred trillion cells. Every single one of us has everything we need right now to make change. It starts in the mind and then, methodically, you move step by step with conviction.   

Dave has made a career out of working with world-class professional athletes such as Israel Adesanya, Lydia Ko and Junior Fa. Most people would say this was their greatest life achievement. While Dave loves his life and his job, he says his greatest success is his marriage. He is proud of the team he and his wife have created and the children they raise together. He tells us he’s really f%#king happy.  

For Dave, it’s not about being an influencer or becoming a multi-millionaire. His end goal and vision is simple: to be the best version of himself –⁠ always.  

Keen to learn more from Dave? Check him out on Instagram or visit  

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