Does confidence bring about success or does success bring about confidence? As you learn specific ‘mental training’ skills for success for your sport, you should really apply them to your every-day life as well. They will help you live a more peaceful, loving and accepting life, which will then help your relationships to be healthier. As you become more peaceful and accepting, you will also be able to see what you can learn from different people and
experiences in your life. Openness to learning is key to becoming more confident in yourself, improving your sport skills, and achieving greater success.
There are many things you can do to build confidence in yourself and your game, in order to achieve success. In this article, I will focus on the following suggestion that I took from my ‘golf product’ (available for sale on this site). It is:
“I encourage myself by recognizing my successes, both big and small – success breeds confidence. I find it easy now to reflect on my successes in an instant.”
As you read that statement, think about a skill you feel confident in your ability to use, in achieving success. One thing I have found in working with many athletes, is if you think about an area in your life in which you feel confident in your ability, you will find the reason you feel that way is because you have gathered evidence over a period of time that you are good in that particular area. You believe in your time-tested ability, which helps you feel confident in your success with whatever skill it may be.
So confidence does not necessarily come from others saying that you are good or successful in a particular area; you have to believe it yourself. If people tell you over time that you are good at playing the piano but deep inside you say to yourself “no I am not”, than every time someone says you are good at it, you do not really accept it as truth; so it does nothing to help your confidence. Confidence really comes from finding your own evidence that you are good in a particular area, based on your belief of how your abilities led to achieving success.
If you were lucky, you may have grown up with many years of reinforced belief that your skills in certain areas led you to achieve whatever successes you experienced. If someone gives you kudos for your skills or success in certain areas and you already have a belief system within you that you are good in those areas, than positive comments from others about them will feed your belief and encourage and strengthen your confidence in those areas. So what you see, then, is a foundation of confidence that is built from successful experiences and positive reinforcement.
This does not mean that you have to have had perfect experiences all along, like a golfer winning every event from a very young age. It just means that you were able to view every experience in such a way that you still saw something good in yourself or the experiences, and that is what your foundation of success and confidence was built upon. So as you review your past experiences, say to yourself: “I encourage myself by recognizing my success”.
If you did not grow up with people reinforcing your beliefs about your skills or success in certain areas, it is never too late to start. In sport or life, it is not like the old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. It is just not true. At any point in your life, you can look at old habits or patterns or some of the ways you have been programmed through yourself and others, and make a very deliberate and conscious decision to change. You just need to look for your past successes, and begin building a new foundation.
When it comes to your game, take a look at the areas where you feel confident in your skills and success (visualize for a moment and let some images flash through your mind), and get a good sense of how it feels when you do have confidence and a belief system that you are good and you have been successful – in golf, say at putting, your long game, your drive or chipping. Take a moment and go there right now in your head and say: “how do I feel when I imagine, envision, think about or play this particular aspect of golf?”. The confidence you felt in the original moment will come back to you, and as you pay attention to those moments going forward, you will begin building your foundation in confidence on those little successes.
Since I just gave you a few examples of how to envision successful moments, some of you will likely experience a lack of confidence in some of the areas I mentioned, and some of you will experience confidence – depending on how successful you saw yourself in your minds. Right now if I say: “how confident do you feel about your putting?”, some of you will feel weak and have very little confidence and some will feel strong and confident; same goes with chipping or driving the ball. You want to get a good idea of what area of golf you feel confident in and have had the greatest success, and see how that feels in your body.
Now if someone says: “hey, you are pretty good at putting”, and you already have a belief within you that you are good at putting, see how that strengthens it and creates a really good feeling inside you. On the flipside, let’s say you are struggling with putting right now, and imagine you have a belief system that says you are struggling. When somebody says: “hey, you are really good at putting”, you reject it because deep inside you say to yourself: “no I am not, they don’t know what they are talking about”. It creates a whole different feeling inside you. The foundation you have built within you says you are not good at putting, so that is your belief. That makes you lack confidence in yourself, but you can change that belief in order to achieve success in that area.
As you encourage yourself by recognizing your successes, you must realize that you are the one who has to gather the evidence of your successes, in order to acquire greater confidence in yourself. That is possible no matter how you have played. Let’s say you walked away from several holes in which you had several bogies. There will always be something good that you can see in those experiences. But what happens if you speak down or negatively about yourself after several bogies is, you reinforce and strengthen that weakness within you. If you had several bogies and you decided to look at what you could learn from each of those holes or the skills you need to work on, and you know that you can work on those skills, then you walk away from those bogies with a whole different perspective. Therefore, you end up encouraged and strengthened not only from the success you had and progress you made, but you will feel energized to continue making progress which will lead to greater confidence and even more success.
So encourage yourself by recognizing your successes, both big and small; that success breeds confidence, and it is up to you to see your own success. No one else can tell you, especially like I already said above; if you have a bunch of old negative programming in your mind, then you will not accept someone else’s comment about how good you are. Success breeds confidence, but you need to teach yourself and train yourself to look for the successes. By default, most people look for their weaknesses and their lack in something; but the opposite really exists, and it is a matter of what you choose to look at. As you make that choice to look for the good and you recognize your successes, no matter how small they may seem, you should find it easier to reflect on your previous successes in an instant. When you can do that, you will know that you now have a more positive belief system in looking at areas you are good at, and your success and confidence will grow. Success really does breed confidence.
So the work for you to do is to purposely look for your successes and what you are doing well, what you have done well, and the progress you are making. It can be from one hole or one aspect of your game, a whole event, week or month…whatever segment you want to look at. See purposely the progress and successes you had and are continuing to have, whether they are big or small, and know that you are purposely and diligently building your confidence. You will see how it not only gets easier and easier over time, but you will feel your confidence growing and you will be able to recognize more and more successes with every shot, hole or round you play.
Please be aware that I am not talking about becoming arrogant, here. That level of success comes more from ego rather than actual skill and is completely different. I am talking about a genuine recognition and confidence that comes from gifts and skill sets that you possess, and that does not have to become arrogance. It is just an understanding or a knowing and feeling good about yourself, that comes from a loving place. Arrogance comes from a fearful place, which is a whole other topic.
So as you hit the links this week, remember my suggestion: “I encourage myself by recognizing my successes, both big and small – success breeds confidence. I find it easy now to reflect on my successes in an instant.” Really give this a shot and see how it improves your confidence and success. If you need any extra help, please contact me. I wish you much success as you work on building your confidence. Have an amazing day!
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