What you believe to be true about yourself is very important, because confidence stems from these beliefs. You are more likely to be able to perform an action successfully if you have belief in your abilities – but I don’t need to tell you this, you already know! But did you know that you can confidently hold whatever belief you want to about yourself, even if you initially don’t think it is true? All you need to do it look for examples from your past. To explain better I am going to give an example from my own life.
According to Urban Dictionary (I guess it’s not official enough of a word for Websters), clutch means “to perform under pressure; doing exactly what you need to do exactly when you need to do it.” I had a meet this past indoor season where I faulted my first two jumps and therefore was only left with 1 opportunity to jump far enough to make it into the finals. Before my last jump I reminded myself that I had a meet last year when I only had 1 jump left to make something happen and I succeeded. Then I remembered another meet I had with similar circumstances. Suddenly my memory was flooded with times when I had clutch performances. These memories assured and comforted me in that stressful situation I was facing as I stood on the runway about to jump. Oddly I jumped to the exact centimetre what I needed to jump make the finals. After that meet I jokingly referred to myself as Clutch Caro (okay maybe I wasn’t joking, but it is kind of embarrassing to admit giving yourself a nickname..). A month later at the Canadian University Championships (CIS) in Edmonton, after 5 rounds of triple jump I was sitting in second place. Once again, I was left with only one jump – one opportunity – to do what I needed to do. Mentally, I felt myself breaking down and starting to freak out a little bit – why must I keep putting myself in these intense situations? Red heads go grey early as it is! One of my coaches must have noticed that I was letting the situation get the best of me because she came over and simply reminded me that I’m Clutch Caro. As soon as she said that, I felt a calm come over me because I knew she was right. I collected myself and walked onto the runway for my final attempt at the gold medal. A few minutes later I was crowned the CIS triple jump champion.
By remembering all the times that I’ve had a clutch performance, I have come to associate myself as somebody who is a clutch performer. This has a domino effect, because once I remembered one clutch performance, it gave me the confidence to perform another, and now it will just keep happening for the rest of my life (right? Isn’t that how it works?). I firmly hold the thought, “I always deliver; I always do what I need to do to win” in my head. This is a very useful unwavering belief to have about myself because the ability to perform under pressure is a pretty important part of sport.
So here is my suggestion to you. Sit down and write down something you want to believe whole-heartedly about yourself. For whatever it is, write out a couple examples from your life that back it up. Here is the great part: you don’t have to already believe whatever it is before you write it down, it just has to be something that you WANT to believe about yourself. For example you might write, “I always race really well when I am sick” when knowing darn well you’ve had some pretty terrible races while feeling under the weather. Just allow yourself to think about if you’ve ever raced well when you were sick. I promise you will find a couple examples, and once you do you will start to think, “wow, I really can perform well when I’m sick!”. The whole idea is that next time you wake up feeling sick on race day, you will hopefully be confident because you will associate yourself as someone who can race well when sick. Part of being a successful athlete is being able to deal with whatever circumstance you are placed in. Actually, that is part of being a successful person, period! Sometimes things happen that you can’t control. Sport and life in general is all about being able to roll with the punches, so you better make sure you are well prepared when the situation starts taking swings at you!
This is something that everyone should do – not just athletes. For example, you might want to believe that you are a strong public speaker, good at working under pressure, or a fantastic chef. You can choose anything you want to believe about yourself and actually truly believe it just by looking for a couple examples from your past. Once you know you have done it before, you will have the assurance you need to do it again!
That’s all for now. Just remember, what you think about yourself will manifest as your reality. This is a pretty powerful thing but unfortunately it works both ways – if you hold the thought “I am a terrible public speaker”, then you might as well warn your next audience in advance for the disaster that they are about to endure. “Thoughts become things – choose good ones!”. Now I am off to think of 3 examples of how I am a GREAT dancer!