Athletics has lessons for everyday life - Albuquerque Journal

Athletics has lessons for everyday life

Former West Las Vegas basketball and volleyball player Vera Jo Bustos has started a new business aimed at improving the mental aspect of life to help people succeed in athletics and business. ( Courtesy of Mentality Solutions)
Former West Las Vegas basketball and volleyball player Vera Jo Bustos has started a new business aimed at improving the mental aspect of life to help people succeed in athletics and business. ( Courtesy of Mentality Solutions)

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Local basketball legend Vera Jo Bustos is never one to sit still for too long.

The former West Las Vegas basketball and volleyball star was a standout at Adams State University in Alamosa, Colo., before playing professionally in Greece. It was announced this week that she is going into the Grizzlies Hall of Fame and she also launched a new business venture Wednesday.

Mentality Solutions (www.mentalitysolutions.com) – a three-tiered program aimed at integrating confidence and positive thinking into athletics, business and everyday life – is an offshoot from her first business, VJ’s Elite basketball training.

Bustos, 30, who is also the director of operations for the University of New Mexico women’s basketball program, has been putting the new business together for some time.

It’s an outgrowth of her basketball training, Bustos said.

“I guess it’s kind of been something I’ve been working towards without even knowing for the past year,” she said. “I’ve been doing mentality training at VJ’s Elite, starting about a year ago. After training sessions, I’d sit and talk to the kids for five or 10 minutes and see what the kids can do mentally to improve.”

With a bachelor’s in sports psychology and doctorate in real-life experience, Bustos said it just made sense to expand what she was doing into a regular format.

“I know about what players are going through because I have been through it myself, or else I know somebody that’s been through it,” she said. “I started working with basketball players. But people are starting to realize that mentality training is something anybody can get value from.”

Indeed, while one part of Mentality Solutions program focuses on youth athletes, Bustos is also striving to reach out to others who can use a mental boost.

“What I’ve realized, and what other people realized, is how much anybody can benefit from something like this,” she said. “Everybody needs somebody to hold them accountable. Just like a very serious athlete has a coach or somebody to hold them accountable, businesspeople and employees need the same thing.”

When a person is confident in themselves and develops a positive mindset, the end result can’t help but be positive, she said.

“That’s something that I’m trying to develop,” Bustos said. “My motto is ‘Challenging aspiring minds to achieve peak performance level.’ ”

It dates back to her year of playing professionally, she said.

“I know I was the only D-II athlete in Grece and maybe one of the only one or two in Europe. And I would see all of these D-I athletes and think, ‘What am I doing here?’ But once I realized that was something in my own head, I was able to overcome it and play with confidence and belief in myself. I had to find that inner strength and belief in myself.”

So the goal is to help others achieve that same success in whatever walk of life they happen to stride.

“I want to share that with others,” Bustos said. “I want to help others to believe in themselves. Everything they need is within them already. They just need somebody to shed a little light to lead them out of the darkness.”

In addition to individual and small group sessions with athletes and businesses, Bustos is doing keynote and motivational speaking through Mentality Solutions.

“The topics are confidence and team dynamics and shaping yourself in teams, learning how to create a winning environment and performing beyond expectations,” she said. “I’m trying to cover the confidence gap. It’s so relevant but people don’t understand where confidence comes from. The secret behind confidence is understanding the mentality behind it so I want to share some tips and tricks to learn how to have that burning belief within yourself.”


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