This post and the next post discuss confidence. Today, read about confidence vs doubt, and how doubt holds us back from our best. Next week, we will discuss the areas that I consider paramount for healthy self-confidence in any endeavor.
Confidence is a huge component of determining our success in sports and in life. Everyone has the ability to be confident, and everyone knows what it feels like to have doubt and struggle with confidence. The biggest pitfall with a lack of confidence is that it hurts our performance and lessens our enjoyment of the activity. In sport, this can be the difference in an athlete pushing themselves, learning life lessons, and having a great experience over many years, or not getting much out of sport and burning out early.
So how can we nourish this mindset and build confidence in ourselves and others? How do we quiet the doubt? First we have to have self awareness and understand where our doubts come from. Are we scared of not being as good as the competition (comparison)? Are we scared to let people down (playing for someone else)? Do we fear rejection (value placed in outcomes)? Are we expecting perfection (perfectionist attitude)? Are we negative from the onset (pessimistic)? Once we identify the reasons we doubt, we can change our preparation or our self talk to battle against that doubt.
Confidence is self-trust. Doubt erodes that trust because we fear not being what we want to be or what we think is required. Our belief to be able to execute a skill or perform in a game must become strong enough to remove this doubt. Everyone struggles with doubts. The most confident people have doubts. But it’s the courage to push through this doubt with belief in oneself that allows us to build confidence.
There is a lot of freedom in the world we live in. We have rights and safety and opportunity in the United States. Not that everything is easy…but for the most part, we get to decide what we want to pursue, and then go chase it.
If you want it, you can likely create a plan to go after it. You won’t attain everything you want, and it won't be easy. But I believe we will come up short with our effort to attain something more often than we will fail to attain something after trying as hard as we can after it.
What is something you want? Are you pursuing it in a way that you will have a realistic chance to get there? Ask these questions! Otherwise you are only fooling yourself. Because if you really want it, you can probably come pretty close to making it happen.
(Making a team, having a greater role on team, better, deeper relationships, healthier decisions, more money, etc.)
Enthusiasm is something I truly believe you must bring consistently to be great, to be together with others, and to reach your best. The eagerness and excitement to be working hard and becoming brings so much energy to your task and to those around you. We struggle too much hiding behind “I’m tired” or “we do this everyday” or “that’s just not my personality”. But I call bluff—I think we make excuses because it’s simply hard to maintain a high level of enthusiasm.
And that’s what it takes. Getting outside of our comfort zone, boosting the energy within the groups we work, waking up excited to attack the day. That sounds like someone who is driven, who is after big things. I heard a coach say this: “It’s impossible to be special at something if you’re not having fun doing it.” True. We just have to have a realistic vision of what fun is and define that for ourselves and our groups (fun does not mean easy).
We talked about enthusiasm with our younger athletes at Junior Academy. A few of them didn’t know the word so we tried to define it as a group. 4th and 5th graders said things like: being happy, showing you believe in yourself and others, energy, noise. We compared it to being at a birthday party, not being at the library. Kids naturally have energy and enthusiasm when they are at a birthday party, enjoying what they are doing. What a great reminder to take that mindset in our other pursuits: work, basketball practice, parenting… Show up and bring an enthusiasm that says this is important, this deserves great positive energy, and this is highly enjoyable. Show up like it’s a party. Every day. This, I guarantee you, will become contagious.
"Get Better" is our PEAK blog, providing you with content to help enhance your game, your mind, and your relentless pursuit of the process! Enjoy.
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