This episode is proudly sponsored by The CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute, offering comprehensive training for singing teachers and voice specialists. Dive deeper into the science and art of voice pedagogy with their unique programs. Visit to learn more.

This week on “A Voice and Beyond,” we’re thrilled to introduce our inspiring guest, Veronica Karaman who wears many hats as the founder of True Champion Coaching, a performance coach, speaker, and author of “The Champion’s Way.” Not only is Veronica a seasoned professional golfer, having competed in the US Open and achieved the title of TN Senior Women’s Open Champion, but she also firmly believes that each one of us harbours a champion within us. Over the past four decades, Veronica has dedicated herself to helping others unlock their full potential and perform at their best.

In today’s episode, Veronica shares invaluable insights on overcoming the obstacles that stand in the way of our success. She emphasizes that whether we’re singing or swinging a golf club, there is a champion residing within us. I love Veronica’s perspective that the only difference between singing and swinging is the “w” in between, and that singing and golf have much more in common than we realize.

According to Veronica, true greatness emanates from embracing our whole selves, and understanding that our worth is more than trophies or performance outcomes. True victory lies in the freedom to embrace both success and failure, recognizing that our value isn’t based on our achievements. It demands superior passion and focus.

Veronica describes her 12-week coaching program, offering insights into her strategies for empowering individuals to silence their inner critic and unleash their inner champion. She emphasizes the importance of finding one’s authentic voice and pursuing one’s dreams with unwavering determination, regardless of the challenges encountered along the way.

This is a beautiful and inspiring interview with Veronica Karaman, one that I’m sure will unleash the champion within you.

In this Episode

  • 00:00 – Sponsored Ad: The CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute
  • 01:49 – Introduction to Today’s Episode
  • 06:10 – Welcoming Veronica Karaman
  • 11:07 – Veronica’s Journey in Golf and Coaching
  • 20:45 – The True Traits of a Champion
  • 33:42 – Developing the Champion Mindset
  • 47:20 – Exploring the Champion Zones

Find Veronica Karaman Online


Putting yourself first is important because it allows you to prioritize your own needs and well-being, which in turn can help you be more productive, creative, and fulfilled in all areas of your life. By taking care of yourself first, you are better equipped to care for others and contribute positively to the world around you.



Visit the A Voice and Beyond Youtube channel to watch back the video replay of this guest interview or to see my welcome video.

Episode Transcription

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:00

If you’re a singing teacher or voice specialist with a keen desire to enrich your knowledge in an inclusive, supportive and caring learning environment, the CCM vocal pedagogy Institute offers a unique nine day in person training programme that combines science informed training techniques with a holistic approach to artists development. You will be guided through a carefully crafted step by step process of training techniques delivered by a group of dedicated educators, which includes singers, voice teachers, speech language pathologists and other integrated specialists all united by a core set of values and pedagogical beliefs. housed at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, the CCM vocal pedagogy Institute programme is delivered in person with access to online continuing education courses that focus on a wide variety of topics. All courses include graduate credit from Shenandoah University. So if you’re ready to join a warm and welcoming community that unites singers and teachers, irrespective of skill set and experience, enrol now and join the 2024 cohort at the CCM vocal pedagogy Institute. To learn more, simply visit CCM

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  01:49

It’s Marisa Lee here, and I’m so excited to be sharing today’s interview round episode with you. In these episodes, our brilliant lineup of guests will include healthcare practitioners, voice educators, and other professionals who will share their stories, knowledge and experiences within their specialised fields to empower you to live your best life. Whether you’re a member of the voice, community, or beyond your voice is your unique gift. It’s time now to share your gift with others develop a positive mindset and become the best and most authentic version of yourself to create greater impact. Ultimately, you can take charge, it’s time for you to live your best life. It’s time now for a voice and beyond. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode. This week on a voice and beyond, we’re thrilled to introduce to you our inspiring guest Veronica Karaman who wears many hats as the founder of true champion coaching, a performance coach, speaker and author of the champions way. Not only is Veronica a seasoned professional golfer, having competed in the US Open and achieved the title of ti n senior Women’s Open champion, but she also firmly believes that each one of us harbours a champion within us. Over the past four decades, Veronica has dedicated herself to helping others unlock their true potential and perform at their best. In today’s episode, Veronica shares invaluable insights on overcoming the obstacles that stand in the way of our success. She emphasises that whether we’re singing or swinging a golf club, there is a champion residing within us. I love Veronica’s perspective that the only difference between singing and swinging is the W in between, and that singing and golf have so much more in common than what we realise. According to Veronica, true greatness emanates from embracing our whole selves, understanding that our worth is more than just trophies or performance outcomes. True victory lies in the freedom to embrace both success and failure, recognising that our value isn’t based on our achievements, it demands superior passion and superior focus. Veronica describes her 12 week coaching programme, offering insights into her strategies for empowering individuals to silence their inner critic, and to unleash their inner champion. She emphasises the importance of finding one’s authentic voice, and pursuing one’s dreams with unwavering determination, regardless of the challenges encountered along the way. This is a truly beautiful and inspiring interview with Veronica caravan, one that I’m sure will unleash the champion within you. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  06:10

Welcome to a voice and beyond all the way from Charlotte, North Carolina. We have Veronica Kara, man. How are you, Veronica?

Veronica Karaman  06:20

I’m great. It’s so good to be here.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  06:24

I know. And I’m the first Ozzie to interview you.


Yes, you’re my first Australian podcast. So that’s that’s a claim to fame tonight.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  06:37

But the interesting thing is that 90% of my audience is American anyway.


Oh, my gosh. Well, that’s, that’s good, because then I also get to enjoy your accent.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  06:49

Oh, cool. So cool. Now, you have just recently moved to Charlotte, because you’re in Pinehurst before then. But I’ll get to what took you there? I’ll introduce you first as you’re the founder of true champion coaching a professional golfer, performance coach, and speaker. And you’re the author of the champions way. And you also have a new book, which we will get to later that you’ve just recently released. I love that. When we had our pre interview meeting, you said to me, the only thing that separates us is that you seen an eye swing. So you come from a golfing background for those who worry about what she means by swinging. You are a golfer.


I’m glad you explained that I said the only difference between the swing and the swing is the W in between. So there’s a lot more in common than you think. Yes. So

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  07:57

you’ve you’ve moved to Charlotte. Now you do involve yourself very heavily in the golfing community in the golfing world, still, you do a lot of coaching. Is there a greater opportunity for you in Charlotte?


Yeah, I think there is Charlotte’s a much larger city. But it’s interesting, because although most of my performance coaching, I’ve honed in the golfing world, I’m finding that really the principles and the system of the champion, what champions way is applicable to anybody setting and achieving personal goals. And, of course, when you apply that to sports, you know, sports is very actionable and implementable with with results. But whether it’s singing, or like we said, swinging or just somebody, you know, setting out to want to live their best life, to have a framework of thought. Because most people don’t have the railroad tracks. I call it the four champion zones, to really think about how do I create success from the start? How do I direct my mind, right? To a target or a goal, and there’s some very powerful and yet simple ways to get into the stream of peak performance, whether you’re trying to perform in sports or, you know, in music, or just in your life. Yes, and I find that, you know, now, being in my senior years, I still want to have a very active, full, vibrant life. And yet, you know, as you know, you start getting in your 60s and things start slowing down and you’ve got to be able to look at the season that you’re in and say how can I create the best version of myself and Mind life. And it’s so important to have a growth mindset to be able to do that, because so many people have a fixed mindset. And they think that their life just is what it is. And they don’t realise that there are always new possibilities for you. And I think one of the most profound images we both like outdoors in nature, is it in the last place I was living, there was a rosebush, outside my living room window, and I would look out at that rose bush every single day. And some of those buds were dying. Some of them were dead. Some of them just had little buds on them. And some of them were in full blown in October. And it just reminds me that there’s always something that’s blooming in our lives.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  10:55

That said, and also to there’s always a different season that we’re going through in our lives, I believe,


and to have the awareness of what that season is 100%

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  11:07

and acknowledging it and moving through the season with grace. And let’s talk about your golfing background. First up, because you had quite a successful career. So when did you start playing golf and tell us about your golfing journey?


Sure. Well, I often tease people saying that I didn’t come out of the womb with an umbilical cord, I came out of the womb, attached to a five iron, because I, I started in the game of golf when I was five years old, and my father placed a putter in my hand, and he’d go play golf for four hours, and I’d go pot for four hours straight at five and six years old, because he would enter me into these national peewee putting contests and it would be my summertime passion to go win these national peewee padding contests. And so my involvement in the sport actually, you know, was surrounded by this great desire to compete, and to win. And so I did that for nine years. And when I was 14, I was too old for the age bracket to put anymore for for these particular events. So I took up the whole game of golf just so I could continue putting. And tragedy happened when I was 15. My father unexpectedly came down with a bout of cancer and died nine months later, and I only got to play nine holes with him before he passed. And so that was certainly a very traumatising event in my life. But I played on the boys team in high school, I was the first girl from my high school to get an athletic scholarship to college. So it was the very beginning of Title Nine, in the late 70s. And I played for Duke University, I had a wonderful amateur career and turned pro and you know, played various tours I played in the US Open. And Golf has been such a wonderful sport, to meet people to travel to develop yourself. And when I was 40 years old, I knew that my Turing days were, were over and I was like, What do I do with all this extensive knowledge I have on achievements and competition and performance. And I had some people say to me, you know, there’s this life coaching certification that Regent University where I went to graduate school is offering you’d be really good as a coach. And I was like, Nah, and I kind of like blew him off for I think it was two years. And finally, I realised that coaching is a wonderful umbrella to bring all those tools into to be able to help people really see their potential. And so I went through the life coaching programme, and I, for the first time, like I knew how to set and achieve goals, but this is very different. This was about learning to relate to people. These were relational tools of listening, asking powerful questions, helping people to take personal responsibility. And so as a result of that training, I decided to combine the performance piece and the relational piece into a holistic system for peak performance, which I’ve called the champions way, because either you’re relational oriented, and you need to be more task oriented to go after something, or you’re very task oriented and performance oriented and you need to learn how to relate and love yourself. And so it was a very holistic way to approach peak performance and achieving your best from a place of love and acceptance, not finding your worth somewhere out there. But starting with a place of beholding yourself. And so it was very, very freeing. And I saw a lot of great results and success when I applied that approach to achievement. Well, okay.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  15:27

How much of that? Did you learn from your own career? So what were your career highlights? Your load times in your career? And what lessons did you learn throughout that personality?


That’s a marvellous question. And I, you know, Golf is a very individual sport. And so you have to have a great amount of self mastery, you have to have a great amount of emotional mastery. So you not only have to have the skill set, you know, of being an athlete, you know, back in the day, a lot of people didn’t think you had to be an athlete to be a golfer, well, you know, along comes Tiger Woods, and everybody’s an athlete now. And so, you know, there’s a great amount of skill that that is required for golf, because one, the terrain always changes, the weather always changes, it’s not like you’re playing indoors in a basketball court, you know, it’s just, the variables are always changing. And you have to be able to have a great amount of adaptability and flexibility. And then also the ability to focus to concentrate, to release the need to control outcomes. And so it was I call golf a miserable, wonderful sport. Because a wonderful part is, you know, you’re out walking, you meet great people. And it’s the one sport that is social, competitive, and personal growth oriented, all wrapped into one. But having said that, it’s the never ending striving for perfection and never achieving it. And so it’s very easy in the game of golf to beat yourself up. And so my biggest challenges or perfectionism and performance orientation, if I played well, I was great if I didn’t, don’t talk to me. And it became so disruptive to me, I mean, the very game that I loved and was passionate about, I made the mistake of trying to find my worth there. And without, you know, without the presence of a father’s love in that situation, I turned to a sport to try to give me that, and no sport can give you that. So actually, I had to lay it down for five years. And that’s when I went off to graduate school. And I was able to come to the realisation in that time that my worth had nothing to do with my score, but that I had a God that loved me unconditionally. And after that experience, I decided to go back out on the Golf Tour, and attempt to conquer that thing, which had almost conquered me. And so I learned to play from what I call a loved state, I learned to play free emotionally, or I didn’t have the need to control outcomes. But I could fully invest myself in the game. And so the very act of performance became so much more of an enjoyable experience, because I could separate my performance from my worth. And that is what I’m about teaching other players and performers that you are not your score, you have a score. And it’s a beautiful thing to fully engage, but play free. And I think that’s a really a missing piece in sports competition and performance across the board in general, is that we get caught up in, in what I call attaching additional meanings to things. You can see that when you work with teenagers, you know, it’s just like, like, I suck because I just had a bad score. I’m like, no you don’t you just had a bad shot. You had a bad score and so to be able to take particularly a young person and instil in them a wholesome, healthy view of themselves, sets them up for a trajectory of success that is healthy, versus destructive. And I used to think that it was the pursuit of excellence. That was the soil for greatness. But the older I get, and the more I do this, the more I realise it’s really the pursuit of wholeness. That is the soil for greatness, because greatness comes out of the fullness of who you are as a person. And if we can make those distinctions and get the root system right in the development of what I call it, a true champion, then you’ve done something wonderful. So

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  20:45

would you say that is the true trait of a champion?


I honestly think a champion is somebody who lives in such victory, that they refuse to quit in any situation until they get the victory in it. I love that. A champion is someone who does not quit. And in working with developing champions, and the beautiful part of working with young people, is that you get them in a formation stage, right? So that their minds have yet to be moulded, their spirits are yet to be shaped. And so you get to shape things. And so when they’re out on the golf course, and let’s just say they really screw up and then they blow up and then they quit. You get to see patterns, with what goes on in the psyche in the spirit of a competitor. And the number one thing if I was to take a young person, and let’s just say the very beginning of say, I want to be a champion, the very first mindset I will instil with them, champions, don’t quit. I don’t ever want to see you quit out there. From the moment you step on the first tee, till the moment you finish that final putt, I want to see fight. I don’t ever want to see you moping, quitting, giving up. You’re in the game 100% Yeah, you instil that in someone, you are often running in what I call their champ. They’re in their champion metre, they’ve gone out. The other thing that I always say, and this is actually module one in the Champions way. I don’t define champion based on a trophy or a score. It’s on who you are. So there’s two distinguishing features of a champion. One is superior passion. The other is superior focus. So you think about I think everybody could relate to the image of Tiger Woods. 100%. You know, I’m saying like the eyes of the Tiger superior past a superior focus, yes. But then superior passion. And so anytime you can open up somebody’s mind to a new possibility, what does that open up passion, but then help them take dead aim on a target at the same time, focus. So passion, focus, you do that concurrently, or together, you’ve moved them up in their CHambo metre. So I’ll give you an example. I was talking to a player’s grandfather the other day, this is how my mind works, because I’m always observing. His wife died a couple years ago and like the members of his Sunday school are dwindling. And he he would sit in the car for four hours while I took his grandson out on the golf course. So I came back and I was just like, Well, why don’t you go into the clubhouse? Why don’t you go shopping? Why? I can’t literally sat in the car before hours. And and when I got down talking to him, I realised that his world had gotten really small. And he had lost a lot of passion for life. But in his mind, he said, it’s just the way life is. It’s just like so

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  24:24

he had that’s almost like a throw in the towel defeatist attitude.


Well, it’s a fixed mindset. And so what he doesn’t know or what his mind isn’t open up to like a new possibility right his mind. He couldn’t open up his mind to a new possibility that there’s still more life out there for him. So I’m like, Okay, I’m coaching the grandson, but I got to work on the grandfather. Same time to say hey, what you need is a Buddy What you need is a lady come And yet, you know, I’m saying like, so I always believe that if you can open up someone’s mind or the possibility, and they can create some fresh passion, and then you help them focus on a goal within that, then you are bringing out their champion potential. And it doesn’t matter if it’s in sports, or life or business or our or whatever. Well, I

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  25:30

can definitely relate all of that to singing, and my teaching studio and my teaching philosophies, because I think first stop, that I love working with students that who are fearless, that don’t give up. And for those that aren’t, they don’t have that to start with. It’s working out why they’re, they’ve got these boundaries, and these limitations and these walls, and these mindsets around their abilities. So it’s always for me, creating a space of playfulness, where they can allow themselves to explore their full potential in a non judgmental way. They have to learn to get out of their own way. And if something doesn’t go the way that they planned, or wanted it to, that’s okay. Learn to fail better. And learn from that.


I always say, if you’re gonna shoot 100, do it with gusto, baby. Yeah,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  26:42

I say, now own it. You’ve just done it. Now, what I want you to do is to own it, go for it. And I say, How can I fix something? Unless you put it out there? You know, let’s, let’s just put it out there. Let’s just see what happens. Let’s just roll the dice, and then work with it from there. But let’s let’s be fearless. Let’s not put limitations on your capabilities here.


I think you’d make a great golf instructor, Marisa? I think you bring out some really incredible points. Number one, where does fear come from? fear comes from the need to control outcomes. If you don’t have the need to control outcomes, in golf, you just set up to the shot and you whack it wherever the ball lands is where it lands, and then you go hit it again, you don’t judge the shot while you’re in the shot, all you can do is aligned to the target hit it, it lands where it lands. So it’s the same thing. And then, you know, the the other piece of that is, you know, like you said, it’s the concept I call playing free is that when you allow yourself to do that, this is the point I wanted to make. Yes, you can’t take a person from where they’re not. You can only take a person from where they’re at where the starting point is, but you have to define and identify what the starting point is, right? Yes, then how do you know how to build some a skill or something if you can’t identify? So to help a person in a safe emotional place, like you said, just put it out there, and then not judge the outcome, but simply identify and evaluate, then you can build from that place. Exactly.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  28:55

Exactly. And with singers when you’re working with singers, and this is where I’m seeing all the parallels here. They are constantly in their heads. They are listening to every sound that they’re making. The inner critic is on steroids.


term. And I say in my training, and this is so great. And I think we mentioned this before. There are three voices talking to us all the time. The inner critic, which you mentioned is the one that points down at you that says why you can’t it judges you it puts you down it shuts you up. The inner coach, the coach that opens up your mind to a new possibility. For instance, I wonder where I could go if I could get Dr. Morris’s help with my voice with my say, you open up your mind your new possibility. And then the third voice which I call the champion voice, and the champion voice is the voice that says I can And I will, I believe it’s the affirming voice, it uses generative language, it’s future based, it’s action based, and here’s the thing, you will never get to your potential from your critical voice. Absolutely, you’ll only get to your potential from your champion voice. And then being a faith based person, I believe there’s a fourth voice, I call the voice from above the voice that speaks to your inner spirit that says, I love you, I believe in you, you can do this, this is my will for you, you know, for those who have faith in God, but but we have, we have to own the champion voice within ourselves. And it is the voice that is least developed, acknowledged, gotten in touch with because the critical voice is talking loudly. And I think that’s why it’s so important to what I say get still. And to allow the inner critic to subside, so that you can get in touch with your own thoughts. And choose the thoughts you want to think about yourself. So I actually have an exercise in my in my coaching, where we identify what the critical voices are, and we spell them out just like it’s talking to us, like, you suck, right, the game’s over, like, like to write it down. Because most people aren’t in touch with their own thoughts from a non judgmental observational place. Yes. And then we actually write down the opposite voice. Like, I suck, I just had a bad shot, I’m a champion in the making. And then we begin to intentionally declare, and speak the champion voice. And it’s just as much a practice as the skill part is, so you practice your swing, you practice your your skills and singing, like that’s the physical part. But then there’s the mental part of it developing that confidence, there’s the emotional part of playing free, non judgmentally. And then that spiritual practice of building yourself belief. So those four dimensions, the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual is the, what I call the four champion zones,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  32:48

which I have here. And I have filled out also,


yeah, we get to that in a second, that peak performance happens from a place of being fully engaged. So to be fully engaged, is to be physically energised, mentally focused, emotionally connected, and spiritually aligned. So in that champions sheet that you have, you’re laying out for railroad tracks, every performance, every result has four dimensions, four components to it. So when you define a process, and each one of those zones, and you do them concurrently, that’s when you take a leap. So you’re actually creating success from the start focusing on processes, rather than the result. There’s a couple of

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  33:42

things I’d like to comment on there. I love all of this. First up, is about that critical voice. Do you actually with your coaching clients? Do you work out where that voice has come from? Because I know with what I do in my teaching studio, it doesn’t reveal itself. Immediately. Sometimes it can take 18 months of having that that student come to my studio before they have an aha moment. And they’ll say to me, you know, when I was in sixth grade, I had the whole school laugh at me because I hit it a dud note in the middle of the song at school assembly. Absolutely. That’s and then once that happens, that’s just one example. And it’s amazing. Once we have those aha moments, the skill set of that student, and we talk through that their performance goes through the roof, and it’s like you have to break down those barriers and what’s holding back with the shackles that they’re putting them putting on themselves, and what firing and inspiring that inner critic to go off in their heads constantly. You kind of have to figure that out too, don’t you? Yeah,


it’s very interesting. Every person is different. Yes, and, and and now a lot of what the work you’re talking about even depends on, you know, the life experience. So a lot of my clients are teenagers and their life experiences, yet to be formed. But but other times not I had, in my latest book, God made me a champion I share the story of Carson, who came to me was 16 years old, severely depressed, he was so depressed that his parents pulled him out of the game. And yet it was his passion. And so it was kind of doubling up. But they were very concerned that of his mental state. And so they brought him to me. And I began to realise he had some really bad experiences in golf that caused him just to be kind of paranoid and fearful. And I just began to build in him what I call a surrendered athlete. And, and he just built a brand new identity in who he saw himself to be without the need to control outcomes. And he was faith based. So he was like, God controls all outcomes. And he began to play free and less than two months, Carson almost won the state championship, he only lost on the third playoff hole, because he got so caught up in all the media around him that he took his eyes off. enjoying all the people that were following him, he was checking his hair, there was a moment of glory, you know, that I had a guy who was in his late 30s. And he came to me and he was high 70s shooter. But he was stuck. And, and he was a great player, like he used to shoot in the 60s. And I was in the middle of one of the first coaching sessions. And sometimes I just have this gift of discernment that like pops out and I’ll ask a question. And I said, have you? Oh, I know what it was. He’d be in the middle of his backswing. And he’s in the critical voice would speak like he’d be get like the top of his backswing like, you’re missing it isn’t it’s not. And it was I realised that he was traumatised somewhere. So I said, Have you ever had an experience where you were traumatised in golf? And he said, Yes. And I said, Well, tell me about it. He said, When I was like 12 years old, and it was like one of my first competitions, and it was a junior competition, and I got on the first tee. And I actually kind of whiffed, my tee shot and it landed behind me on the padding grade. And all the kids started laughing, and me. And so here he was carrying subconsciously, the shame. From that experience for like 20 years. So I took him through a process to release that old story and the shame. The next three scores he shot for, like 6567 64, was totally set free, like he said, to release his potential. And I’m fully convinced that we really don’t know all the dynamics that go into a performance. There are so many factors that affect our performance, and that the more you can help someone become aware of their own wiring their own emotions, their own thinking, the more you help them achieve their highest potential because here’s the thing about a champion, this is very interesting. A champion is not afraid to go to the edge of his or her emotional or mental instability. In other words, a champion is someone who loves to press to the edge of what they think they’re capable of. Amazing. So somebody can naturally have that bent or you can develop them to go there. But in order to do that, like you said, they have to be emotionally free to succeed and fail. So I came up with this concept called total victory. total victory is The freedom to succeed, and the freedom to fail, because my worth has nothing to do with my score.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  40:12

So true. So true. And I believe too, it’s interesting through listening to you talk. And this is something that I’ve always said about the business of singing. And that is 20% is talent, and 80% is everything else. And so that physical and the actual skill set, it’s like 20%, because all the other stuff that emotional the credit that that fearlessness, if you don’t have that, you’re not going to be a champion. And in our industry, if you don’t have that other 80%. And the rest of our 80% is configured a little differently, there are some aspects that overlap. And one of those would be you have to be very authentic in your storytelling, you have to be vulnerable, you have to be willing to share who you are when you’re on stage, in the in the most authentic manner possible.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  41:17

So and there’s all the other there’s, you know, getting out of your own way, and, but it is like your talent is 20%. And you can’t develop that talent, or you can’t be successful, if you don’t have all the other attributes.


You’re exactly right. And I think the release, I love the term is like helping to release the inner champion in someone like that’s my passion in life. And what I’ve realised is, is that you don’t really get to that place that authentic place that you’re talking about. When you are so focused on the mechanics. Yes, of your talent. It’s not until you let go of the need to be perfect, that you’re able to focus on the game. Yes. And so like I had a young boy, Charles, he was 14 years old. And he came to me and he he wanted to improve, and he was shooting high 70s. And I said, Charles, what’s the first thing you do when you enter a tournament? He goes, Well, I go find out what my tee time is and who my playing partners are. And then I go online, and I research that. I was like, Boy, oh, smack you upside your head. Your focus is over there. Yes. Where it’s not. It’s not right here. I said, Why don’t you be the bar? Why don’t you be the standard? Why don’t you be the one the others look up to. And all of a sudden, this light bulb came on in his head, that he could be the star. And so we began to write down all these identity statements of what were true about him and his belief system, I call it connecting the head and the heart. So he was congruent with with why he deserved to be the ball, why he deserved to be in the Champions circle. So now all of a sudden, he’s not trying to get some piece of his worth looking outwardly. But playing out of the centre of who he is. That’s the authenticity. And I said, Listen, you have got one of the most mechanically sound swings of anybody out there, quit trying to be perfect. Quit focusing on all the mechanics, go play golf, go play the game. So he was able to take his attention often hear and put it out on the target. Within two months, he wins his first term. Then he wins his second term, then he wins his third tournament. Then he calls me up and says cut francha 80% of my scores are now under par, which means he’s shooting in the 60s, low 70s. And all he did was possess his own self belief, yes, and let go of all the mechanical focus and just was free to play the game. He freed himself.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  44:34

Stop comparing yourself to other people. That’s why before a performance, I always advise my students to go and have some quiet time on their own and focus on themselves. Move away from everybody have space and quiet and just reflect on who they are. And then get on stage and trust that they’ve got the mechanics or what we say the technique is instilled in them, it’s muscle memory. And it’s going to be there like a reliable friend, it will show up. And they don’t need to think about it, they can just go up there and do the job, and do it in the most authentic and vulnerable manner. Because they’ve done the work.


That’s beautiful. And I always say to my players, you don’t play from score, you play from spirit. And that’s what you’re saying. It’s like, it’s, it’s yes, you have to have the mechanics. But that’s not the source of your that’s not the source of your song. It’s not the source of your swing, your spirit is and you have to release that through the structure. Because you know, it’s interesting people say, your swing looks so easy, right. But what they don’t realise it only looks easy, because the golf swing, as I’m sure singing is, is a matter of both structure and motion. So their positions to the golf swing, there’s a dress, takeaway top, your swing, impact, follow through. So there’s positions to the swing, that’s the structure, but then there’s motion, you have to swing, right? So when you can have proper structure, and then allow yourself to swing. That’s when it that’s when it looks easy. So just as there’s breath, right, there’s breath and singing, there’s your spirit, there’s voice there’s the essence, the same the same with golf, it’s like, you have to trust your swing, to trust it enough. But then to let go and, and play the game. Exactly. And that’s when you win the game.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  47:08

Through. Yes. So we have this champion zone sheet that I had filled in previously.


Do you want to tell me what you filled in? Do you want to share? Okay, let’s

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  47:20

just break it down. We have the physical which is the skill set the fitness, nutrition, energy management, I gave myself an eight,


an eight in the in the physical zone, you gave like there’s a lot of different areas in the physical zone. So which one were you most focus on? Was it skill set? Was it energy management or just not

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  47:44

across the board? Okay, across the board. Overall, I why I gave myself an eight. I could have done better is because is I think that my nutrition sometimes because I have a little bit of alcohol from time to time.

Veronica Karaman  48:03


Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  48:03

on the weekends, I have a little drink. I’m only a lightweight, so I don’t drink a lot. But overall, I think I do pretty well, in that area. In terms of I’m looking at this, because I’m not a player of sport. I’m just looking at this as a player in life. Yes, yes. Gotcha. Yes. And then mental, the focus, the concentration, the champion mindset. I also gave myself an eight. Because I think that I’m I’m very disciplined. And I’m and I think discipline is different to motivation, because motivation can wane. But it’s the discipline that gets you there and gets the job done. Right. And if I see something on my to do list, it will get done. I don’t even have to argue with myself.


Once you’re in the system of discipline, you don’t need motivation. Right? Exactly,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  49:03

exactly. I don’t even worry about the word motivation. But for some people, they still need that. They need something to motivate them. And it’s usually an external thing, whereas discipline I think is an internal thing. And then the emotional and empowering and disempowering, that’s still a work in progress. Because I still, from time to time, suffer with anxiety. Usually it comes from an external thing that triggers me and at times, that can be a little debilitating. It never stops me and never prevents me from doing what I need to do. It never stops me dead in my tracks. Everything will always get done because I have that discipline. So have a very powerful mind. And, but the anxiety is something that I feel more in the physical.


So what number did you give yourself than the emotional, right? I

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  50:09

gave myself a four, I was pretty hard on myself in that one because I still feel I can do so much better.


Okay, I’m gonna come back to that. But let’s go into the spiritual zone, the

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  50:20

spiritual zone, identity values, higher purpose faith, I gave myself a six, only because I’m not highly religious. I was brought up in a Catholic church, I went through the Catholic school system. Yeah. But I do have really good values.


So this spiritual, let me just define the spiritual zone is actually kind of, you can look at it two ways. There’s the human spirit. And that’s where if someone’s coming to me, and they just want basic performance coaching, nothing. Faith Based identity, higher purpose and values, to what extent do you see yourself as a champion? What is your self belief, I’m going to give myself an eight. Good. So then the other piece, if you want to add the faith piece, that’s where you can add that extra dimension. So for you, it might just be the higher purpose, higher purpose, identity values, and you can add the faith in there. But that’s completely based on your own assessment of of that, well, I

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  51:32

can say, sorry, I can say that my values come from my religious upbringing. Okay. They’ve been instilled through family, culture, and religion.


So here’s a way, let me go back, since we don’t have a lot of time. So what I would normally do is I would go through the whole sheet, and I would say, Okay, the first two, you’re at an eight, what do you want to go to? You said, why would it go to a 10? And then you say, Okay, how are we going to get there. So once you self assess, then you can set a goal. But since you’re emotional is the lowest one. And this is great, because it’s a simple tool to self assess, right. And generally speaking, most people score themselves the lowest in the area of self belief, it’s, it’s highly unusual for someone to come on with that being the strongest. So let’s just say you’re at a four and you want to turn your anxiety into what the anxiety is the disempowering emotion. So what is the empowering emotion you want to you want to replace it with calm,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  52:48

calm and peace, calm, peace, acceptance, okay?


That’s beautiful. So now, since the spiritual part, is strong, in terms of your own self belief, and you have roots in a faith, then here’s, here’s one of the ways that you can elevate your, your emotion, from a four to a six and even stronger by a spiritual practice. So there’s a, there’s a scripture in the Bible that says, Do not be anxious or worried, but about anything. But in prayer, and supplication with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. So prayer, yes, and making your requests known to God is a way to enter into peace because you’re not carrying the burden anymore. So you can do whatever you want to do. But I’m just saying that by going through the the four champion zones, you can assess where you’re at, set your goals, and then decide what practices am I going to employ to go up my champion leader?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  54:19

Amazing, amazing. Love all that. So let’s talk talk about the champions way your book, your coaching programme, because you have the the video series as well as the book. So it’s a 12 module, training programme. Yeah, centred on peak performance. So tell us about that. Well, my


website is true champion It’s true champion And on there, I have it houses a 12 module video series, where I actually take the person through these four champion zones, and I go into depth as to what those are, show you how to put them together and show you how peak performance happens and create that framework of thought. I think it is absolutely foundational to anybody that wants to set and achieve goals because most people think that progress is linear. It’s not, it’s comprehensive. So let’s just say for instance, what good is it? If you have, let’s say, Great singing technique, but you can’t focus? Are you going to have a peak performance? No, let’s just say you have great skills and great focus, but you get fearful, are you going to have a peak performance? No. Let’s just say you have great skills, you have confidence, you have a piece, but you don’t have self belief, are you going to have peak performance? No. So you need all four champion zones in operation. And once you can identify those processes, then you can have what I call success from the start, because if you do the process, guess what happens? You get the result. Yeah, I was gonna say get the result. Yeah, there’s a self study programme there, where you can contact me for coaching. And then more recently, this year, I actually did write a book called God make me a champion, an athlete’s journey of faith into the power of surrender, where I go in and I tell my stories, my faith based stories of walking with God through 50 years of competition. And defining what I call who a surrendered athlete is because I think identity is the driving force, behind all performance. And so many people have a faith in God, and they love to compete and perform, but the two never intersect, they haven’t learned how to activate their faith in the area of performance. And so that’s really been my life’s journey. And training is hooking people up into the fullness of their power to release their potential. And that book is available on Amazon. And if somebody is listening here in the United States, I’m, you know, love to come speak to your group, or your school, or, or whatever, or talk to you about personal coaching, because all of this has kind of come in full bloom, it’s something that I’ve done for so long, it’s just a place of mastery, for me, and I was really delighted that I recently, just got to help an athletic director of a high school to implement this training into his girls volleyball team, amazing dance. So it’s great to see it go beyond just, you know, my of my sport, and to see a leader who’s you know, responsible than influence or to now be able to impart these processes and system with his girls. And he said to me today on the phone, his name was Bill, he said, Ronica, I’m totally left brain. I’m like this numbers guy, I’m like, here’s what we’re going to do and our training, and he said, but the other side, which is what you talk about, I really struggle with, and the whole emotional side and, and so now to have someone who’s so left brain get the right brain piece, you know, he’s going to be able to coach his athletes from a place of wholeness. And so that was very exciting. For me.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  58:43

I love how you light up, when you talk about all this work. It’s like, this is your legacy. And this is you. Sharing your life, your experiences, your journey, your pitfalls, your highlights, wrapping them all up and packaging them. And also wanting to give back. I think there’s quite a, there’s an element there of service in amongst what you’re doing. I know there’s $1 of value. But there’s also that that sense of service for you. You


know, it’s very interesting, and I really appreciate that. And I appreciate your observation, because I can’t tell you how many times there were so I have quit, and and God wouldn’t let me quit. And I’m like, the game doesn’t mean that much to me anymore. Like why am I still doing this? And I finally realise that he was calling me to put all of this together in a system. I don’t know any other coach who actually has a system for peak performance so that others won’t have to go through the pain, the heartache, the destructiveness that I went through to find wholeness. And the greatest joy in my life, was coming to know the love of the Father, in the absence of my earthly father in my game, because the title of that book was actually the cry of my heart, it was a prayer when I, when this sport were became so destructive to me that I, I decided to give it up. And I remember getting down on my knees, and crying out to God and saying, God, I will do anything for you, but make me a champion first. And with that, I gave up my sport, I gave up everything I knew myself to be, I think I was 21 years old. And I wanted to be a genuine Christian, I didn’t think I could serve God and play golf. And I later found out that, that God was less religious than I was, he just wanted me to be free.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:01:03

Amazing. So to


be able to impart these truths to people so they can play free. They can know it’s just the game they can No, it’s just an expression of talent. It’s not who they are, brings meaning to my life, especially if you can instil these things in a young person and create a crack free. I don’t mean drug free, I mean, free, whole person that’s like sending a rocket out into the universe, that’s, that’s full of potential and, and will have a much greater chance of succeeding without all the pitfalls that that I had to go through. And if, if that’s my legacy, then that will be that will be good enough. That’s amazing. That’s beautiful. Love that, Veronica. i You’re a shining light. And I have to say, I wish I could sing. I couldn’t remember I’d be driving down the road to a golf tournament, I might have 10 hours to drive and, and I turned my little car into this, like, this little workshop centre, because it was just me and my music, you know. And I never was able to really learn to sing on key and I thought, well, I can’t sing, but I can swing. So I’m only a dubbing your way.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:02:35

Well, if you want singing lessons, you know where to find me. We can do some online ones. How’s that for a deal? Yeah,


you’ll have to come to the States. I’ll give you a golf lesson. You can give me all I can

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:02:48

all learn to swing and you learn to sing.


Yeah. Listen, here’s my one song. And this happened at a tournament a couple years ago, it was a senior championship. I was leading by like, I don’t know, it’s either three or five shots after the first day. But I was staying at this hotel that was right on the interstate. And man, I couldn’t sleep where the wait that night with all the cars going by. So I get to the golf course the next day, my brain could not work. I was so fatigued. I literally couldn’t even think I actually had an 11 on a hole. I ended up losing the championship by 10 shots. Oh, I’m walking off the 18th green. And this little song comes flying out of my mouth. It’s just the score, and nothing more. It’s just the score. And nothing more. I play free. I have the victory. Bye bye.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:03:54

Bye bye.

Veronica Karaman  1:03:55

Bye bye that score


that was like, Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that I have total victory. Victory and winning victory and defeat because of the defeat came sliding right off my spirit like it. You didn’t internalise it? Yes, for sure. And I thought I was actually able to be grateful. Because there was a work completed in me that had that happened 10 years ago, 20 years ago, I probably would have gone and done something very destructive. But to see the work of God in my life to where I became whole on the inside, so that I could fully give myself to a performance or competition, but be free. In it is a beauty do full testimony of the love of God, because that didn’t come from me, that came from my heavenly Father, who loves us and will enter into the game of each of our lives in an intimate level, and will go to no expense to prove that we have divine worth. And there’s a personal God who loves us. So that’s, that’s my story. And it’s been an amazing, beautiful thing to share.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:05:36

But you know what, what, there’s one elements you’ve left out of all of this, what’s that you just said is willingness? Yeah. You have to be willing, whether it’s God, whether it’s whatever practice No, no one knows divine spirit, no body, no healer, no, anyone can heal you, or help you unless you’re willing. So I think you need to give yourself a bit of credit there to Veronica, you haven’t done that you must have been willing. Also.

Veronica Karaman  1:06:17

It’s the power of partnership. And it’s the power of surrender. It’s really the power of surrender. And I think I had enough pain. I think I was searching so desperately for answers. I have a great curiosity to understand things. And in the absence really, I had the absence of a father and then my mother, bless her heart, she, she had a fifth grade education, she had to quit school in the depression at 11 years old, earn a living. So I was never really parented. And I actually ended up parenting her at the end of her life. And this is a beautiful story. And at five years old, she was given six months to live with a terminal heart condition. And we were emotionally estranged for really much my whole life. I knew we loved one another, but there was no connection. And I couldn’t bear the thought of my mom dying and my not really knowing her. And so when she was given that death sentence at 85, I really knew that was my time to reach her before she died because you think you only got six months with someone you make your decisions very differently. And I remember I bought her dog I bought her cat but took her old folks homes, but everybody was too old for Mildred. And this was during the time I was going through that life coach certification. And so finally, one day out of exasperation, I just said, Mom, I’ve had to put your tennis shoes on golf on the golf course. She always thought the game was stupid because she was brought up Catholic and that whole suffering theology, you know, anyways, I had this little old woman and eight iron, and my mom takes a lag lag of the club. She goes, Oh, that’s our Tiger Woods does it? I said you’re watching too much Tiger Woods. So she takes a big ol backswing swings down and pop setting iron almost 100 yards on her first try. Oh my god. Mom, I’ve got I got it from dad like 40 years later. Anyways, by the third ball, my mom lit up with fresh fire in her eyes. She was like putting the ball down. And that started my mother’s golf career at 85 at 88 helped her start a house cleaning business. She had her first paid modelling shoot at 89. She started public speaking at 90 I told her it was time for her first golf tournament. So I organised the first grandma open and brought together the generations and at 91. That woman died my best friend and we’re not Oh,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:08:57

amazing. Oh, what a beautiful story.


I wrote a book about it called my shot of joy, a miraculous journey of redeeming a lost mother daughter relationship and you can can get it on Amazon. But it’s a beautiful story. And especially around the holidays, you know, when we’re with family and we’re with Uncle Bobo hat or whatever, and

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:09:22

he tells the bad jokes and where’s the worst jumper? Yeah.


But it goes in the book, I outline how to make a fresh connection with someone because like golf. Golf is just one authentic connection with the ball plus another plus another. So I show people how to set up what I call a shot of joy and make one authentic connection with another person. So that’s about all I got to say.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:09:54

Well, you know what you don’t have to say another thing you’ve said please it and I say that with love and appreciation, you’ve shared so much of yourself, and you’ve been very candid and vulnerable. And I truly appreciate listening to you and what you’ve had to say, and our listeners are going to be in for such a treat. So I just want to finish up by saying too, that all the links to all your work are going to be shared via the show notes. So we’ll make sure that the links are there to your coaching programme your books, or your books, to your website. And if anyone wants to connect with you, they can find you through those links in the show notes. And, look, I just wish you the very best and your clients are very lucky to have you. Thank you so much all I can say and I’m very fortunate to have met you and I truly wish you all the very best in the future. Well,


we’re gonna we’re gonna have to tee it up on the golf course because I want that singing lesson.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:11:09

Well, you know what, never say never. I’m actually going to California in February. I’m spending three weeks in California. And a couple of the people that I’m hanging out with the people I’ve met through the podcast, so you never know. So if I’m ever on the East Coast, yeah, which may not be next year, but never say never. This point of time. I’m doing West Coast and I’m going to Europe. But let’s never say never. How’s that for a deal?


Thank you so much. It’s been a joy to be with you.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:11:43

Thank you. Best wishes to you, Veronica. Thank you. Bye. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of a voice and beyond. I hope you enjoyed it as now is an important time for you to invest in your own self care, personal growth and education. Use every day as an opportunity to learn and to grow, so you can show up feeling empowered and ready to live your best life. If you know someone who will also be inspired by this episode, please be sure to copy and paste the link and share it with them. Or share it on social media and use the hashtag a voice and beyond. I promise you I am committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one every week. And if you’d like to help me, please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple podcast right now. I would also love to know what it is that you most enjoyed about this episode and what was your biggest takeaway? Please take care and I look forward to your company next time on the next episode of a voice and beyond.