As you look for ways to improve your sport performance, I would like you to consider the following suggestion from my golf product: “I am assured in my ability and know I can accomplish a task even in challenging situations.” How often would you say that you speak to yourself or others like this? Is it common? Do you view yourself as assured in your ability? Do you know you can accomplish a task, even in challenging situations? I believe many of you out there would say yes to that, but many might not.
Through your life experiences and your unique personality, maybe you have been able to build a level of confidence and self assurance that you can face any situation or task and feel that you can handle it. But there are also many people out there who are not assured in their abilities. Those who waver when it comes to having confidence in accomplishing a task, and who crumble in challenging situations. If you are in the former category, how do you address that?
One thing I love about working with athletes and folks that are involved in a sport of some kind, is when they are under pressure in their sport, all of their little personality quirks, character imperfections or parts that can easily be hidden come out. For these athletes, a challenging situations is a prime breeding ground to work on character limitations. This does not just apply to a sport; it also applies in life as well. There are people who have high-stress level jobs. When presented with a problem, how they react can make a world of difference not just in their mindset, but physically as well.
For example: Let’s say you face a challenging situation in life, such as disagreements with, or just being in the presence of, personalities that conflict with yours. Or maybe circumstances in life unfold in a way that make you unhappy. Are you able to stay focused and accomplish a task at hand, or one that may be presented to you, even if challenges are going on in your life? For most people the answer is no.
If you lack confidence or self assurance in your abilities and you go into a challenging situation with that limitation, then you might strongly waver in your belief that you can accomplish whatever task you seek to accomplish. Look at this from a golf perspective. Are you assured in your abilities with golf? Maybe overall you could say yes, but what if I asked you specifically about putting, driving the ball, or chipping? If you waver in those areas, then as those situations arise you will find your performance suffering due to your lack of confidence. If you are a sporting clay shooter and overall you feel assured in your abilities, but when you start breaking it down you struggle with ‘left to right’, then you may believe that you can’t hit your marks. When that situation then presents itself, you will likely have a decrease in performance as a result.
Let’s say a challenging situation unfolds. In golf, maybe you had several bogies in a row or your ball just went in the water on the last hole. And let’s say that you were in the lead but because of your recent performance, you dropped several positions. That is a challenging situation you must overcome. Take sporting clays, maybe you missed several pairs of birds in a row and you are moving into the next station. Maybe the trap wasn’t working or you witnessed someone lying who did not really smoke a bird, but the scorekeeper wrote down that they did. That is a challenging situation as well. How do you handle situations like these? Do you continue to believe that you areassured in your ability and know you can accomplish the tasks you need to accomplish? Or do you find your blood pressure rises, your mind becomes unfocused, you feel your heart racing, your breathing changes, your strength or your hands may feel different, or your vision may even get blurred? These are all reactions to your thoughts, not reactions to life or the challenges themselves. They are reactions from your thoughts about those challenges and whether or not you are self assured and feel confident in your abilities. This is true in any given sport and in life.
As a real life example: Let’s say you have a task of presenting in a meeting and you need to print some documents for it, but your computer is not cooperating and your printer is not working. Then when you do print what you think you need, it ends up being the wrong information so you have to go to the meeting unprepared. Then on the way, you spill coffee on your pants. These are common challenging situations in life. Do you waver and crumble and fall apart when they happen? Are you able to stay focused and accomplish the task even in challenging situations like these? If I rewind a little bit in this example, are you even assured in your ability to present information in that meeting?
In looking at my examples above, you can see how challenging situations come up in all areas of your life. We all have strong areas where we feel confident in our abilities, and others we can work on and progress in to maintain and improve performance. It is up to you to notice and decide for yourself what you want to work on and put your energy into. What areas can you begin to focus on and put energy in, to have more self assurance? Unless you are gifted with a wonderful, positive, confidence-boosting family environment, you are likely struggling in some area. But you can become assured in your abilityto know you can accomplish a task, even in challenging situations. It is possible.
I suggest that you look and decide right now where you can focus some energy to boost your self assurance in your life, or your sport. Stop the negative self talk, begin to see more positive in yourself and put in the effort to learn and improve your skills in that particular area. By focusing on certain areas of your life that you choose to become more confident in, you set yourself up to step into a task or situation with greater ease and ability to accomplish that task, no matter what challenging situations arise. You become like a freight train on a course that is hard to stop.
You can have that level of understanding, confidence, perseverance and conviction that no matter what is going on around you, you have the strength and ability within you to succeed and move through. But as I tell so many sport professionals that I work with, I highly suggest that you work this understanding and mental skill into your life, not just wait until you are in your sport. Time in the sport is too limited. You cannot just rise to the occasion and think you are going to be self assured and accomplish a task no matter what challenge is going on. You need to practice and perfect this skill in all areas of your life, and then it becomes a part of who you are as you step out into your sport. If you would like more help with this, I am here for you. I hope you have lots of success applying this new mental skill this week. As you do, you will be able to say: “I am assured in my ability and know I can accomplish a task even in challenging situations.” Thanks for reading. InJoy your day!