Jan. 26, 2023

Real Talk with Tiya Misir - Ep.23

This week on Real Talk, I had the privilege of interviewing Tiya Misir, a basketball player for Toronto Metropolitan University. In this episode, Tiya teaches us how to navigate the mental game of being an athlete. Listen to  the full interview as we...

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This week on Real Talk, I had the privilege of interviewing Tiya Misir, a basketball player for Toronto Metropolitan University. In this episode, Tiya teaches us how to navigate the mental game of being an athlete. Listen to  the full interview as we cover the following topics:

  1. Finding balance in your athletic life
  2. Developing your drive
  3. Life as a D1 athlete
  4. Overcoming depression
  5. Evolving your athletic identity

Background on Tiya Misir:

Tiya Misir is a high-performing player on the Toronto Metropolitan Women’s basketball team who also played Division 1 basketball at Long Island University for 2 years. Being an undersized female athlete at 5 '2'' and one of West-Indian descent, Tiya continues to break barriers for the next generation of female athletes. Most recently, you can find Tiya in a Jordan brand commercial and playing in Toronto’s first professional Women’s basketball league.

Check out Tiya Misir onInstagram!

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Ep.23 - Real Talk with Tiya Misir

Rey Lambie: Hey guys. Welcome to Growth on the Daily, the personal development podcast for athletes. My name is Rey and I'm your host. Thank you for joining us this week. We have a real talk interview segment, which means I brought on someone who's super cool to give us their perspective on whatever they got going on in sports and their athletic career and their life that they want to share with you guys.

This week, guys, I have Tiya Misir. We kind of go way back. Went to high school together, back 2014 to 2018. Shout out to Bill Crothers Secondary School (BCSS). Long time coming. Tiya now has gone through the most man. She's probably, if you think about the hardest working athlete, Tiya's definitely the definition of that.

She's gone through the most, in her athletic, in her academic, and just her personal life and has somehow found a way to succeed in all of the above. So super happy to have her on the show. Just a little bit of background before we get started with the interview. 

She is 22 years old now. She's a woman's basketball player now at Toronto Metropolitan University, TMU, formerly known as Ryerson. She has recently finished her undergrad in Psychology and now she's actually currently completing a Certificate in Economics and that's right at TMU and she's later trying to pursue her MBA.

So academic scholar right here, not just got the athletics in the bank, so that's awesome. Outside of sports, Tiya also enjoys playing piano, listening to music and cooking. So just someone who knows how to succeed all around the plate here. So I'm super excited for this one, guys. Tiya, welcome to the show. How you doing today? 

Tiya Misir:Wow, thank you for that intro. I am doing well. I really appreciate you taking the time, to have me on the show and yeah, I'm ready. I'm excited. 

[00:01:55] Why did you come on the show?

Rey Lambie:No, that's great. Honestly, the pleasure is mine and that of our listeners. I know we've got a lot to talk about today. I know. a general idea is really the aspect of sort of the mental game and how that comes into play of being an athlete. Let's talk about why you wanted to come on the show, why you agreed to come on here and what you want to leave, behind in this episode. 

Tiya Misir: Yeah, I kind of want to just explain that, life is more than being an athlete and there's so many things that come with that. You have to be able to have good balance. Balance all around just with school, with your education, with your family, and find ways to really master that. That's been a challenge with myself for the last few years, but over time, I've really learned to find balance and just have joy in what you do, because that's really important and that's why I started playing.

[00:02:46] How have you found balance as an athlete? 

Rey Lambie:That's awesome. I'm super excited to dive into all of that. I think let's start from that mental health perspective, because we mentioned balance, right? And that's really the core of it. So why don't we talk about how you have found balance. If you have, I'm not even going to assume that you have. So let's talk about that. What does balance mean to you as an athlete? 

Tiya Misir: Yeah. I would say now, like I still do struggle with balance, but I've come a really long way with that. you remember me in high school, I was just like in the gym all the time. In the morning, 7:15am, I was there lunchtime. I would eat lunch before so that I could work out in the gym. Like I would work out three, four times a day in high school. And there was truly no balance, but I had a goal in mind and I was going to do whatever I felt I needed to do to achieve that goal. But with that being said, later down the line, I could see myself just hurting mentally.

I was missing out on family events and, missing out on social time, and I didn't realize how important that was to me. But now I feel like I'm taking more time for myself. And when I recognize that I need that mental space and that time for my own self, that I just do that because I think back to the time when I was hurting and I'm like, I need that space for my own self and just always trying to think about balance, and that's what makes me happy.

[00:04:08] Where did you develop your driven mindset? 

Rey Lambie:That's a lot there. Let's unpack that a bit. So first, let's start from the beginning. You talked about. crazy training in high school, I definitely remember that if I walked by like the plyo room, the weight room or a gym, I guarantee you Tiya was in there. So like where did that come from? Is this like a, your own mentality of I need to be constantly training or is this put onto you by other people? Like how did this work. 

Tiya Misir: I think that I saw how hard my parents worked at a young age, and I think that I took that passion that came home and tried to bring that into basketball.

Like I started playing when I was nine at recess, and I just had this drive. I don't know where it came from, but just to be the best at it. As I kept playing more and more every day. I just wanted to be even better and better, and I was going to do whatever it took. 

[00:04:58] Where did you want to take your basketball career? 

Rey Lambie:That's amazing. So in your head, high school, you're like, I'm just trying to go pro. is that what was in your head? Or like where did you want to take basketball? 

Tiya Misir:Yeah, I think in high school I was just trying to go as far as I could. I think mainly at the time my goal was to just get a Division one scholarship and I didn't realize how hard it was until maybe the end of grade 11 when, offers would come and go and I was like, damn, I can't hold down an offer. Like, why are they coming and why are they getting taken away? And I'm like, am I going to get a scholarship? I ended up getting that offer at my final basketball game. So it was really just like a fairytale ending, of my high school career. 

[00:05:39] Balancing life as a D1 athlete 

Rey Lambie: Reflection of the hard work though, for sure. It's funny how that kind of happens. You get your offer, you're now in the U.S. you're training, playing, and let's talk about now what balance look like while you're there.

Tiya Misir: Oh man, I laughed because there wasn't any balance when I was there. It was just, basketball all the time including conditioning, like weights, film and practice, and individual workouts. That was probably taking up like five, six hours of my day every day. And I would just be so tired coming home to do homework, gotta cook, gotta clean, and do it again.

And just come back with a big energy the next day, and there was really no balance. And that's part of the reason why I came home, is because I was really struggling with that. And I lost joy in what I was doing. 

[00:06:29] What drove you back home?

Rey Lambie: So let's talk about that. Let's talk about how that shaped you like mentally while you're there. What were the signs that you were like, I need to go home. 

Tiya Misir:Well, I was really sad for a long time when I was there. I think it was my sophomore year. I was depressed for the whole year basically that I was there. And, I think, after we played Cleveland State, I had a really bad game because I put a lot of expectation on myself and I just wanted to do so well that year.

Especially cause I had a rough freshman year and I worked really hard that summer. I just, had unrealistic expectations and a perfectionist mentality. And, the goals were just too high, I think. And yeah, I just, I was just really unhappy and after that game against Cleveland State, I played really bad because I think I put so much pressure on myself, that, that's kinda when I was like, okay, I really just need to take care of myself, cuz mentally I'm I'm not going to be okay if. Thinking like this, you know?

[00:07:19] How did you navigate depression and mental health support ?

Rey Lambie: Of course. Yeah. who would be, So that's a lot there. First of all, thank you for sharing because I know that's not easy. And having to go through that and just experience that and share that with others is definitely difficult. So thank you for doing that.

So you mentioned you had your mental troubles, you handled like depression and navigating that. So how did you navigate that part? Cause that's a deep part and a difficult hole to get out of. So did you have support with you? I don't know if this is like a school thing or a team thing or how did that work? Navigating that, that mental health support? 

Tiya Misir:Yeah. I'm not going to lie, that was really life changing for me. It was, obviously my parents were here and, I was really there by myself.

My coaches at the time, they weren't really supportive of me. In the NCAA it's really a business and they don't really care too much about your mental health, at least the program that I was at. So that was really tough for me cuz I was in this, and I really got myself out of it.

I was seeing a psychologist, I saw a cognitive behavioral therapist and they would just help me, give me advice, but really, at the end of the day, it took time. Like I needed to heal from being there for so long. And, yeah, they did help a little bit, like with exercises and stuff, but I just, I was the one that got myself out of it. 

[00:08:37] When did you decide that enough was enough?

Rey Lambie:And honestly I feel like I can relate to some of that sentiment because obviously I can't, empathize with their situation, but definitely have sympathy in the sense of what it takes to get yourself out of a bad place. I want to talk about what do you think was a driver for you getting to the point where you were like, enough is enough?

Tiya Misir: I want to say it was that Cleveland State game. I'll never forget that game. It was, December 16th. I remember 2019. I had six turnovers. I had more turnovers than I had points. After that game I was like, oh my gosh I just had such terrible self-talk. And that's when I was like, no, you need help, because if you don't, you're just going to end up falling further. 

Rey Lambie:A hundred percent. Yeah, I think that's a great way to put that because one, I could see how critical that game was you recall the game, the date you recall the stats of what's going on. 
Yeah. And you can really tell that was like a shaping moment for you I think it's interesting that the more conversations I have with athletes and even me under covering my own experiences, I'm realizing how much perfectionism is impacting athletes. 

Tiya Misir: It happens a lot with, especially with athletes. Like we, we are very, I want to say stubborn in a sense because we are just naturally hungry people and so what we do is going to be the right. When you said that, I just, I thought about, have you seen Get Out? Yeah. Great movie. Great movie. The scene where, Chris is falling into the sunken place. That's how I always remember being in mentally when I was there.

Rey Lambie:Wow. I can relate to that a lot. That's actually a great way of putting that. That's exactly how it feels, right? Because also as athletes, like you want to know when you can get back to training so that you can perform. Everything's a performance. So you're like, okay, cool, like I'll take this rest.

You treat it like an injury, right? A physical injury. They're like, okay, I'll take this rest. Okay doc, I'm healed up in six weeks and then we're back. Mindset, mental health, it doesn't work like that, right? Like time is completely different and it's different for everyone. How you get out of it is different for everyone.

I can imagine for you, that must be a struggle as well, because you're also saying, okay, like how do I keep performing on this team so that, I don't get cut or I'm like actually enjoying being here. Or like you said, you're reaching your own goals that you're setting for yourself, right?

Tiya Misir:Yeah. I actually, I ended up getting cut like at the end. They basically, they told me that I needed to leave because they didn't think that, I would mentally be able to get out of my... I guess like my rut. 

Rey Lambie:Did you agree with them?

Tiya Misir: No. I said, I'm going to come back and I'm going to be better than all your recruits. So you're bringing in a, and I said, I said that and then they said that, they still didn't want me, so I knew that they just did not believe in me and just did not want me. I can't be where I'm not wanted. So I made the decision. 

[00:11:21] What is the role of basketball in your life after your D1 experience?

Rey Lambie:And you also mentioned like NCAA is a business and unfortunately it is, right? And the thing with that is there's a difficulty in organizations like themselves, recognizing their role to support their employees because honestly, you guys are employees by, you give them the revenue, right? Yeah. Like their profit margin is dependent on your performance. That's exactly how it works. 

So you are employees to them and the fact that they're not putting in the resources or assessing the quality provided, instead of saying, hey, let's just throw in the towel here. And that gets you to think that it's a combination of both.

Regardless, you made the decision that's best for you and you decided to come home. At this point, What is the role of basketball in your life because you went from being basketball is my life in high school. I love it. It's my identity. I'm going to do everything I can to do well in it. I want to take it as far as I can. You get that scholarship now you're getting cut. Like how is basketball changing in your life? 

Tiya Misir:Yeah, it really is exactly how you described it. I feel like when you were even your tone, it was like a rollercoaster, how you were describing my, my past with basketball. I feel like now it's more of something that I'm enjoying because I'm thinking about why I started playing now, whereas opposed to before, I was just trying so hard to achieve this scholarship and just try and see how far I could go, but I also lost joy while I was doing that. So I'm also nearing the end of my career now and, I just need to make the most of every moment.

And that's facts because I'm not, there's nine games left in the regular season. After that there's no more basketball, so I'm just like enjoying every game, enjoying every practice, cuz I'm never going to get this time back.

Rey Lambie: A hundred percent. Trust me, as someone who's now former athlete, I, I can tell you to do exactly what you're doing. Yeah. Because when it ends, it ends. 

[00:13:18] Advice for next gen athletes 

Rey Lambie:As a takeaway for anyone listening that maybe they can relate to this story, and maybe they're going through this right now, or they've been through this before and they're trying to navigate these waters, what advice would you give to them for either getting outta that state or coming to where you are today? 

Tiya Misir: I would say that to the younger generation, especially like women of color, like you can do anything that you put your mind to and, just go at your goals a hundred percent. And don't listen to the critics and what everybody else has to say. In terms of like mental health stuff, I think that you should always try to implement balance in your life cuz that's so important for just having an overall happy life.
And my family would tell me that I needed more balance, but of course a stubborn athlete that I was set in high school, I just didn't listen. But like I said, we learned the hard way. I know that the balance is really important and, yeah. Balance is just super key, with being an athlete and going back to doing it because you love it and thinking about why you started playing whenever you, may lose hope. 

Rey Lambie: First of all love the sentiment at women of color. Any minorities, not feeling represented in their sport. Definitely that's a hard thing to navigate in the first place. Forget the mental health stuff alone. Then you tackle on performance pressure. You tackle on expectations, mental health. There's a lot to do there. So I think there's a lot of key takeaways from what you said that are going to help anybody who's listening to this.

I just want to say thank you so much, Tiya, for coming on the show. This is a great episode, great interview. I'm so happy for you for being here. I'm excited to see you know how your season turns out and how you end off your career.

But I know either way, it'll be on a great note. You've made a legacy for yourself and I hope you recognize that because you're always doing big things and I'm very proud to see that. So just thank you once again for coming on the podcast. 

Tiya Misir: Thank you so much for the kind words. I really do appreciate that from the bottom of my heart. And, thank you so much for having me on the show. 

Rey Lambie: Alright guys, that's it for this episode. Thank you so much for tuning in to the Growth on the Daily podcast. You can find us on Instagram @growthonthedaily or check out our website growthonthedaily.com. For more info. Check out the show notes you'll see Tiya's Instagram handle there and you can give her a shout. Let her know how much you love this episode and keep rooting for her as she's ending off her basketball career, and we'll see you guys next week.

Tiya MisirProfile Photo

Tiya Misir

Tiya Misir is a high-performing player on the Toronto Metropolitan Women’s basketball team who also played Division 1 basketball at Long Island University for 2 years. Being an undersized female athlete at 5 '2'' and one of West-Indian descent, Tiya continues to break barriers for the next generation of female athletes. Most recently, you can find Tiya in a Jordan brand commercial and playing in Toronto’s first professional Women’s basketball league.