5 SIMPLE WAYS TO BOOST YOUR CONFIDENCE
Do you have a re-occurring dream? I do, especially during the fall. We are in the thick of football season. Leaves are falling, the air is becoming more crisp, and our days are packed with pigskins and pumpkins.
Though this is one of my favorite times of the year, this re-occurring dream isn’t so positive. The setting is often different, but the scene is usually the same. I’m back in college playing football and I’m completely stressed because either my legs feel so heavy I can hardly move them, I’m missing a piece of equipment needed to play, or I’m stuck on the bench because I was playing below my potential.
Reflecting on my playing career, this re-occurring dream isn’t too far from my experience. Though I was a starter and contributor, my lack of confidence, consistent routines, and no recovery plan (I often over-worked myself), my true ability was not fully actualized.
Because of this experience, my passion is to help performers not feel the same way I did, but show them that there is a different way.
It all comes down to two factors: Behaviors and Belief. You need both for lasting success.
Behaviors, as in habits, and belief, meaning confidence in your abilities. Based off of my research in high performance and reflecting on my old limiting mindset, below are 5 behaviors and mental strategies you can use to gain confidence and a deep sense of belief.
1. ITS NOT ABOUT YOU
Rule number one is this: not everyone is looking at you or obsessing over your every move. People are more worried about how they look. There are other people on the court or field of competition too and all eyes are not solely on you. This reality is very freeing. No one goes to bed thinking about your mistakes. Remember it’s all about the team, and not you. If you are part of a collective unit, repeat this statement daily, “It’s not about me.” This gloabal perspective will help your performance...especially if you put your Instagram and Snapchat away too (reminder: social media is not real life).
2. STOP JUDGING
Being in a flow state means being completely present without judgement and in the zone. A hinderence of being completely in the moment is an over judgement of both good and bad outcomes. Remember to give yourself grace when you make a mistake...it’s part of the journey and inevitable. Also, if you have success, stop processing what people will think and how your future might change. Just keep competing and stay in the present moment.
Bad thoughts are bad. Good thoughts are good. No thought is best.
Excellence is not in the past or future...excellence is in the now. If you are judging your every move, you are robbing yourself the chance of being in flow (the place where ballers live and happiness reside).
Remember to talk to yourself, not listen to yourself. Make a list of your strengths, past successful performances, and how you have put in the work. Your brain can only process one thought at a time. If you allow it to just wonder, it will come up with many negative self fulfilling prophecies, past failures, and future fears. During down time, in-between plays, or competitive moments, advertise to yourself (through self-talk) that you have what it takes and that you belong.
Also, use imagery of the movements you’d like to execute. Create a movie of yourself in your brain and attach a positive emotion to it. Dress rehearse it mentally, then execute it physically. Quality thought = quality movement. Convince yourself and subconscious that you have what it takes by getting your mental reps in daily. Question: How can you become what you don’t believe? Increase your belief by visualizing your execution before it happens. When that moment comes up in real life, your subconscious and body will already know what to do because you have been there before. If you use imagery (all your senses) your brain cannot tell the difference...just like a dream.
4. ITS JUST A GAME
Each performance is not a matter of life or death. Your self-worth should not be directly tied to one thing (being an athlete, sales professional, or whatever it is that you do). You don’t need to do more to be more. Whether you go 10-10 or 0-10, your value to the world is the same... SO KEEP SHOOTING!
Excellence is found in authenticity and effort. Compete to be yourself...flaws, strengths, errors and all. Remember: person over player. Treat people the right way, work hard, improve daily, and be a championship teammate, family member, friend, co-worker...in the end, that is all that matters.
5. FOCUS ON THE ROOT NOT THE FRUIT
Reflecting back on most of my career, I would often focus on elements outside of my control: statistics, other people’s opinions, outcomes, etc. That is the fruit. Do not allow your attention to be seduced by the factors that are outside of your control. Instead focus on the root (which you can control): your habits, routines, fundamentals, and core values.
What you give your attention to, you give your energy to.
JUST DO YOU! It’s none of your business what other people think of you...you can’t control that or specific outcomes anyway. Stay true to yourself and your process and good things will come.
You are your only competition...no one else. I hope you want your opponent’s best, because that will help bring out the best in you. Judge yourself on growth, effort, and authenticity (did I have the courage and vulnerability to truly go for it?) . The rest is just out of your control.
You got this!
To learn and utilize other techniques to improve your confidence and performance, get a copy of the Flow Journal. This workbook will help give you the tool-kit (which I lacked) needed to turn your happy dreams (unlike my nightmares) into reality.
Collin Henderson is an author, speaker, and High Performance Coach. He helps athletes and business professionals have a winning mindset and championship habits to be their best.