The mind can be a dangerous place. It’s either your greatest sanctuary or over-flooding with your darkest fears. We’ve created this habit of punishing ourselves with losses that haven’t even happened. Nerves consume the mind and trap the body. It’s literally a psychological brick wall — stopping us from fulfilling our potential.
Oh the nerves, the nerves; the mysteries of the machine called man! Oh the little that unhinges it, poor creatures that we are! — Charles Dickens
Fight or Flight
All athletes, regardless of sport or discipline know that nerves & worrying can royally screw things up. One whisper of, ‘you can’t’, ‘that’s not good enough’ and ‘they’ve worked harder’ can lead to that hideous feeling: throat choking & palm sweating worrying. Under performing. Falling short. Choking under pressure. Call it what you want, nervousness can completely undermine all of your hard work.
So, what’s the difference between the guy sweeping up all of the gold medals & the others that scrape their way into a final?
What do ‘winners’ get right?
They translate practice to competition. Beyond the outcome, it’s about execution.
Don’t get me wrong, they don’t turn up to a championship trying to come 2nd! But they do understand that they need that authentic self belief in order to be at their best. They need to trust their body to replicate what they practice everyday, when it counts.
Whatever your 100% looks like… Give it…
Outcome rarely becomes an issue if you concentrate on performance. No ‘what if’s, ‘maybe’ or ‘oh shit they’re ranked higher than me’.
Winners embrace the ‘now’. What happened before that point is irrelevant. They aren’t complacently relying on old victories or consumed by past defeats. It’s all about this moment.
Today’s race. This game. One chance.
Think About Laying One Brick… Not Building a Wall
You’ve worked hard. You’ve put in the time. Made the sacrifices. Been on the grind. Believe me, you’re perfectly able.
Now, instead of focusing on the grandness of the task at hand (aka. The Wall). Think of the steps you take to achieve it (aka. the bricks). When you lay one brick at a time, you’re not overwhelmed with constantly thinking about the end result. Instead you can constructively channel you energy into manageable chunks. By turning the mountain into a series of hills, you’re in a much better position, mentally, to progress.
One of the most hindering walls is the fear of embarrassment. Thinking about what people may be whispering, letting down your friends, family or even your coach. This is for you — not them.
It’s all noise.
Focus on execution.
Breathe, Stretch, Shake… Let it Go
What do we do when we get defensive? We tense up. Movement is restricted. In short… it’s going to be pretty hard for you to go anywhere.
Be prepared — not tense.
Let go of expectation. Embrace the ability within you. And turn that nervousness into an overwhelming buzz of ‘I can’ & ‘I will’. Whatever the situation, every opportunity is a fresh start. Last week isn’t today.
Do your best in this moment.
Dream. Believe. Achieve.