5 Strategies for Athletic Success
As Gandhi once famously said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.” The man could not have only been a great civil rights leader, but also an amazing coach. It is imperative for athletes to understand how closely confidence is linked to success. The following five strategies are things coaches seldom talk about, but when they are applied to your daily grind they can make all the difference in your overall confidence and your long-term success as an athlete.
1. Choose Your Circle Wisely
Who you surround yourself with has a tremendous influence on who you will become and is reflective of who you are now. These will be the people who are either going to the gym with you to get in an extra workout or the ones egging you on to come to a party with them. The bottom line is for your circle of friends is: do they make you better or do they bring you down?
Action Strategy: Set several personal goals for practice or training with a trusted teammate or workout partner every day. They are now your accountability buddy and if they see you doing something that is not in alignment with your goals, they can call you out and vice versa.
2. Seek the Truth
It takes a person of high character to actively seek out information that they may not want to hear but need to hear. This is where your circle comes in to play. Surround yourself with people who care about you so much they are willing to tell you something you need to hear in order to help you, even if there is a risk it could make you mad or upset. Remember, it’s never easy to hear difficult things, but opening yourself to opportunities of humility will ultimately make you better overall person and athlete. Here’s the kicker though, you must be receptive to what they say and at all costs avoid shooting the messenger. You need to enlist the help of someone to give you a different perspective than your own. This is absolutely critical for your growth as an athlete and a person.
Action Strategy: List three people right now you can trust to honestly tell you something you need to hear. If you can’t, it’s time to start forming those relationships.
3. Stay Hungry
No matter how much or how little success you are having at this moment, do not stop working. You have to believe in your ability to reach your goals and that your hard work will pay off—it always does. There is a massive difference between believing in yourself and being entitled to an outcome because you think you’ve worked hard for it. Again, does your circle keep it real with you?
Action Strategy: Write down your goal, then outline the goals you need to accomplish in the next month, and then finally goals you want to accomplish this week, all targeted toward reaching your overall goal. By laying these out in reverse order you establish your vision and then pave the way to it with small, achievable steps.
4. Have Selective Hearing
The one voice you need to be listening to, even if you are not in any way spiritual, is the voice of faith. Faith, or believing in yourself, is the voice that silences the critics and fans because they don’t know your process. They don’t know the sweat, blood, and tears that you put in; they don’t know what you are working towards. And really, they don’t know you.
Action Strategy: It’s darn near impossible not to hear what people outside of your circle say, so instead of walking around with earmuffs and deleting all social media, strengthen your selective hearing and toughen your skin. In other words, hear them, but don’t listen, take it personally, or respond emotionally. Only you need to believe in yourself and your process. Actively work on positive self-talk so you begin to drown out the voice that tells you “I can’t” with the voice that tells you “I can.”
5. Trust the Process
If you haven’t noticed already, the four lessons before this are all interwoven in some way. Ultimately, these all constitute your process, and when you are confident that you are doing things the right way, which is in accordance with your values and vision, then you must trust that with persistent action and work, you will get to where you want to go.
There will undoubtedly be times you are tested on this, and your tests may come when you aren’t ready for them, that’s why it is so important to have good people surrounding you that you can lean on and will help you. They are there not only to tell you what you need to hear but to be positive with you when you are having a hard time doing that for yourself.
Action Strategies: 1) If your process ever starts to feel out of line with your values and vision, then re-evaluate and refine. 2) Build meaningful relationships. Be there for people when they need you because at some point you will need them as well.
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