As a Hypnotherapist and Mental Trainer, I offer mental training with a hypnosis suggestion to help clients achieve inner peace and improve their performance. One way I do that is by helping them believe in themselves, trust themselves and have faith in their abilities. I help them change their perceptions and belief systems that affect their sport performance, as we identify the true underlying problems they experience in their sport. When we identify those difficulties and work on their belief systems, people really begin to see positive improvement in their sport performance.
What do I mean when I talk about your belief system? Your belief system includes your ability to trust yourself and your abilities, and your level of faith. You might ask: “What does faith have to do with playing a sport?”. There is a level of faith in recognizing that whatever is happening, first of all, is actually happening. It is not something to be upset about or frustrated with. Faith helps you to actually accept the outcomes of your performance; not from a place of complacency, but to simply recognize your reality for what it is, without judgment, and then go from there.
So the suggestion I chose for this article, from my mental training product for athletes, is really pretty simple. As you look at it you might wonder what it has to do with golf, clay shooting, boxing, tennis, or with any other sport. You will see that this suggestion would serve you well in life as a whole, not just in a particular sport. If you have read other articles of mine, you already know that you can practice all of what I teach in life, and therefore gain a great deal of mastery over it prior to going out and attempting to perform in an event in your sport. The more you put it into practice, the greater it will help you improve different areas of your life and sport performance.
The actual suggestion is: “I believe in myself and my abilities, I trust myself, I have faith.”
Think about that for a moment. How often do you say those types of words to yourself? How often do you say: “I believe in myself.”, “I believe in my abilities.”, “I trust myself.” ,or “I have faith.”? It is pretty likely you say just the opposite a large majority of the time. Rather than saying: “I believe in myself.”, you probably say: “I am not very good at this; I don’t even know why I bother with this; I won’t get any better at my putting; I won’t get any better at tournament performance; I cave under pressure.”. All of that is quite the opposite of believing in yourself.
What if you try believing in your abilities? Where is the realistic look at the fact that you have been practicing your mechanics for a long time, or you undergo regular times of repeating and building on your skills? Where is your belief in your abilities? Do you give yourself credit for the amount of time, diligence, sweat and tears you put into building your skill sets? Or are you chewing yourself out most of the time? How often do you say: “I trust myself. I trust my club choice. I trust my interpretation of where to shoot this bird, or where to hit this ball on this particular hole. I trust the shot that I just took and the knowledge I used to make that decision.”? Or do you maybe say: “Oh that was a stupid decision. That was a dumb choice of clubs. I should not have tried to break it there. Look at what my opponent is doing; maybe I should have done that instead of what I did.”? All of those are examples of having a lack of trust in your abilities, and affects your sport performance.
So you can see that there is a lot of evidence pertaining to this idea. It all has to stop. All of that negative talk, putting yourself down, not believing in yourself, being frustrated in your performance…it is all holding you back. So what are you going to do about it? You can decide to put an end to that chatter. In a very purposeful, diligent, or a focused intentional way, you can start changing the kinds of thought patterns and conversations you have with yourself in your head and with others. Put an end to those conversations where you put yourself or abilities down and encourage a lack of trust in yourself. Begin to have conversations in your mind and with others that encourage a strong belief in you, how far you have come, what you have done with your time or your level of progress. If you stopped right now and thought back to day one in your sport, you would see that you have made some great strides and progress. So believing in yourself and trusting yourself will not come from anyone else other than you, and there is no better time to start working on it than now.
Granted, it would have made your life a lot easier if you grew up in a home or were surrounded by people in school, relatives, neighbors, parents or friends, who spoke encouraging words, believed in you, encouraged you and saw great abilities in you. As they pointed them out and trusted themselves (and you can see that trust in their behaviors where you could model that), it would also encourage you to trust yourself. Life would be a lot easier if that had been your reality. But for a lot of people, that was not their reality in their younger years. Maybe you experienced the negative conversations that were encouraged, not only within yourself but around you for many years. Even if that was you, you have got to discourage the negative conversations and encourage the positive ones if you want to improve your sport performance. It is possible, if you believe in yourself and your abilities, trust yourself and have faith, as my suggestion says to do.
It is just like raising your own children now. Knowing what you know now, and what you are learning right now, how would you speak to your children today? Would you encourage them to believe in themselves and help them to notice what is unique about them and to see it in themselves? Would you help them blossom and build upon their uniqueness and teach them to trust themselves, their intuition and instincts, and release themselves from doubt and fear? This is what you would do, right? If you understood what I am teaching, you would not want to decrease the opportunity for your children to believe in themselves and their abilities, to trust themselves and have faith. You would want to encourage that belief system, to ensure they achieve the greatest success possible in their lives.
That is the same thing I am encouraging you to do for yourself right now – starting right now. You have that inner child that might have been taught differently and needs to be re-taught; but the energy and determination must come from you. You must decide right now to purposefully and deliberately fight and take action on building a belief in your ability, to trust yourself and have faith, if you want your sport and life performance to improve.
The last part of the suggestion about having faith falls into the same category of conversations you have with yourself. What conversations are you engaging in around you regarding faith, from your upbringing or the way that faith was brought into your life (or discouraged/role-modeled for you)? All of these things are identical to what I said above. I want to address it separately, though, because it might seem strange to say I need to have faith on the golf course or while I’m shooting sporting clays, while I’m performing in tennis or in any other sport, in order to improve performance.
It is important to bring in faith at this particular time. This last year, there has been a lot of controversy about bringing faith into sports. For instance, there is a football player who prays and thanks his higher power whenever he performs well, and it has raised a lot of questions. But he is also doing really well. Even Tiger Woods, in the midst of the dilemmas in his life, had said he wanted to go back to his Buddhism and Buddhist roots and bring it back into his life more like it had once been. There is a reason for this. The principles of having faith are identical to the important principles you need to apply to your sport to have greater success.
So faith really has to do with the level of inner peace I talk about in a lot of my articles and teachings. Mastery, presence, and inner peace are the three most important elements to peak your sport performance. Inner peace comes from having faith and knowing that everything is exactly as it should be; trusting and being grateful for how things are right now – exactly as they are. But it is also accepting that there are larger things happening then what you may see with your own agenda and ego. You can see that if you just step back a little out of your life or sport. You can see that even those things you thought were the most awful or traumatic can have the most amazing outcomes or lessons attached to them. It is in recognizing those lessons that you will build your faith, and you need faith to perform well.
The more you can reflect on those types of examples, the more you will learn to have faith. To know that in any given moment, even if things are not going the way you intended or the way your ego wanted them to go, you can have faith that there are important lessons or outcomes that are really fabulous and about to come from them. You can bring that down to the tiniest moment…the moment when your ball goes in the water or you missed a few birds, had some bogies or did not perform as good as you would like in tennis. All these examples are the same principle, and all can increase your faith, inner peace and ultimately your sport performance.
So begin the process today of increasing your belief in yourself and your abilities, your trust in yourself and your level of faith, and bring it all into your sport. You will see rapid and consistent success as you do. If you have trouble applying this and getting rid of some of the old negative stories, I am here to help so please reach out to me on the web or my email. I wish you much luck and success in your pursuit of believing in yourself, trusting yourself and having faith, in order to improve your life and sport performance. Have an amazing day!