It’s not a million bucks. It’s more like Jeff Miner, licensed professional counselor and business coach, makes you feel like a billion bucks every time you have the distinct pleasure of encountering him. He rarely wavers, always bestowing hugs and smiles from a bountiful platter in his mission in wholeheartedly expressing his unconditional love for you.
Miner has had a varied career, including working for the Olympic Committee, working closely with some of the Utah Jazz, helping individuals overcome emotional eating disorders and his latest stint owning and operating his own practice. Miner now mostly blends athletes and CEOs with his aptly titled The Triumph Program, providing support, encouragement, and permission to love themselves unconditionally as well.
Love of Self is the Foundation
Lack of the love for self, Miner insists, is a huge recipe for disaster. It’s an essential component in one reaching their full potential and the foundation for everything that follows. His mission is always the same but his approach has changed drastically over the years.
“For the first ten years of my career, I want to apologize to all of those people,” says Miner. “I wasn’t as good of a listener as I should have been.”
Eventually, he learned his method of trying to give advice, fix and change people was not nearly as effective as allowing others to fix and change themselves.
Listening is Key
“When you shut up and listen and take them into their stuff, they do well,” says Miner. “It’s their journey. Take them on their journey. I’ve realized it’s so much more effective with athletes. They get told what to do all the time, but they don’t get heard. That’s where I’ve become better is shutting up.”
The proof is in the proverbial pudding, and he’s not allowed, of course, for confidentiality reasons, to disclose all the ingredients and resulting flavors, but his greatest joy is tasting his athletes’ and clients’ gourmet glories.
“When they reach their goals, I just smile inside so much,” says Miner. “I love it. I really get excited when I see them accomplish what they said they wanted to accomplish.”
Triumph then Struggle
Miner, a former elite athlete himself, grew up in Iowa as the town’s local star wrestler. He eventually earned a full Division I athletic scholarship to Utah State in Logan near the Idaho and Wyoming borders. Throughout high school, the athletic scholarship offers poured in, but Utah State won out because it was far, far, far from home and dripping in mountainous terrain. Before moving mountains in Utah, he was like Superman blazing through cornfields in Iowa. He was so good as a youth he went 534-0 before losing to a deaf competitor.
“That kind of freaked me out because I didn’t know how to lose, so I became even more obsessed,” says Miner.
The obsession continued to his freshman year in college where he clocked in at a healthy 225 pounds. The first assignment amidst the beauteous backdrop, the standout wrestler had to drop 75 pounds in as many days because coaches had recruited him at a much lighter Miner. The youngster had to somehow figure out how to lose a pound per day to get to his recruited 150-pound body, which he did by essentially starving himself. There was no dietician or sports psychologist early on to help him. Of course, the lack of food made it difficult to concentrate or even practice, lift, etc., taking a big bite out of both his academic and athletic performance.
“I quit for like three days, and I gained 26 pounds,” says Miner. “I ate everything in sight.”
He eventually leveled off with weight and could compete and concentrate better in school. But then, his junior season pinned him with a blown-out knee; an obliterated career; and an earth-shattering sense of loss, confusion, dejection, and utter devastation. Coaches allowed him to keep his scholarship in exchange for his tutoring skills to help the academically struggling wrestlers. When there’s loss, there’s triumph. Miner’s own marks improved along with his newfound freedoms.
“I was straight-laced; never tasted a beer until I was 22,” says Miner.
Counseling Takes Hold
That’s also when Miner savored counseling for the first time in his life to help him manage the pain of dealing with his new unappetizing average but soon-to-be-for-the-better-life-changing, nourishing knee injury.
“That was the start of this is what I want to do,” says Miner.
Not only did the tragedy result in victory, a career of a different kind, a livelihood, his passion, a changed yet improved menu but he still keeps in touch with the intercollegiate therapist who helped him pro-bono and has since been inspired to not just help others but continue to help himself too.
“I go to therapy religiously; I love it,” says Miner.
The Triumph Program
The Triumph Program offers a variety of services and modalities to athletes and clients including a system called Mindfit as well as Eye-Movement-Desensitization-Reprocessing or EMDR, which is the most effective, efficient way to help people recover from trauma. A gymnast falling off the beam can be helped by EMDR to overcome her fears and get right back on the same slippery 4-inch wide uncompassionate plank with even more gusto than before trauma and treatment.
He can’t help but wonder how much more he would have accomplished as a student-athlete had he experienced the buffet of offerings similar to the ones in which his high-school, intercollegiate, and professional athletes indulge. He’s deeply, sincerely mixed into the intricate recipe of the advancement of others by helping to release the explosive power stuffed into every individual’s unrealized, untapped potential.
“Part of my job is to get people to love the sport again and just play to have fun, not base it on winning or losing,” says Miner. “Base it on the moment, the play at hand, getting into the zone — the types of things that relax them rather than add pressure to them. Once you can get athletes to start loving sport and themselves again, my job is kind of done.”
But his smorgasbord of unconditional love never is.