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The Mindset of Confidence

"Confidence is simply that spiritual space where you feel free to focus on only those things you can control.” - Jerry Lynch, The Way of a Champion

When I was a younger athlete, I believed that my accomplishments would lead to confidence.  That if I did this or accomplished that, I’d walk around with confidence all the time. I remember looking at college athletes, and later, Olympic athletes and thinking, “Wow, they must never doubt themselves or get nervous in a game. They must not mess up during a play they’ve done correctly 1,000 times in practice.” I assumed that if you were ‘that good’ or had accomplished ‘that much’ you were past having to struggle with confidence.

But it’s not that way at all.

What I’ve learned from playing with and against some of the best players in the world, and also from being around multiple high-level athletes from several Olympic sports, is that your confidence...

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Embracing failure: The clumsy, embarrassing (and usually ugly) path to success

A guest blog, By Tyson Hartnett


It was my first game on my high school's varsity basketball team. I was a rising junior and the starting point guard after being on the JV team the season before. What do you know, my first game is against a crazy-athletic team that full-court pressed the entire game. Great, I thought. Just great. As the point guard, it was my responsibility to catch the ball and organize our attack against the full-court pressure.

At that moment (after my fourth straight turnover), I wanted nothing more than to hide and never touch the ball again. I was humiliated and embarrassed. But, even more so, I was scared. I was afraid that if I got the ball, I would fail yet again.

Clearly, it wasn't going very well.

At that moment (after my fourth straight turnover), I wanted nothing more than to hide and never touch the ball again. I was humiliated and embarrassed. But, even more so, I was scared. I was afraid that if I got the ball, I would fail yet again.

But, I...

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The surprising thing about confidence

Imagine you possess all the material success you’ve ever dreamt of. You have a career full of accomplishments, you live in the house you’ve always pictured, and you hold the respect and admiration of your peers, colleagues, and friends.

In other words, you’d expect to be wildly confident in yourself, right?

Well, not exactly…. While we all picture a future where we ‘arrive’ at our most confident selves, the reality is that’s not how confidence works.


How does confidence work?

When I'm working with athletes, it’s easy for me to look at the ones who have been successful and think, “Now, that’s confidence!”

However, many times I don’t know the backstory of how they got to that point. So while, at times, I'm witnessing true confidence, the result of hard work, failure, and perseverance other times I'm seeing mere “surface confidence”, or an unsustainable, skin-deep confidence that doesn’t...

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Confidence and female athletes: Haves or have nots?

Men overestimate, women underestimate.

If only I had a nickel for every time I heard that from a coach when they were asked, “What’s the difference between coaching men and coaching women?”

Which brings me to a question that has literally been nagging me for years:

Do women naturally have less confidence than men?

This question is really tough for me because I have this knee-jerk emotional reaction that screams ‘Of course NOT!’

But then a quieter voice asks, ‘Hmm. Do we? And, if so, what can we DO about it?’

In my work with male and female athletes of  all ages, I will say there are clear differences between the two. And two things stick out for me: Men somehow know that appearing confident is beneficial, even if it’s just a façade, and the ‘fake it till you make it’ principle really does work in regards to confidence.

Sometimes.

But, that’s just my opinion.

What do smart people say about this?

We did what...

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Losing to Win: 6 Sports stories that will change how you see your next loss

No one wants to hear about


Sports stories don’t end in loss.

Athletes like YOU have amazing stories of struggle and loss. Stories that make the greatest difference don’t always come from Olympians. Take, for instance, the story of the sophomore offensive tackle, Jonathan Meldrum, who battles depression and “remembers the scrimmage drill that had him considering suicide.”

That’s a REAL story that might help the 31% of undergrad students who suffer depression feel less alone and more hopeful.

And I know you have a story like that: one that can make a BIG difference to someone out there.

Likewise, you have amazing lessons you’ve learned from your experiences. If you can share those with each other (maybe not right after a loss, but after a time), you can help one another...

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Creating change for better performance: Distinguishing between fixed & growth mindsets

Change happens on a cellular level. The gist is this: we all get hooked on hormones. For example, if you are used to being stressed all the time, your cells not only adjust to the high levels of cortisol (that’s the “stress hormone”) in your system, but you actually begin to like it, and then need it.

In short: you get “addicted”.

Ever feel weird while or shortly after relaxing, after experiencing a lot of stress? It’s because you’re on withdrawal; your downtime has literally become your rehab.

The same thing happens when you workout a lot: you get used to working out, your body produces and gets used to “consuming” dopamine and serotonin, and then proceeds to whine about not having those hormones when the workouts stop.

Personally, I've always had a hard time taking a real vacation (to the complaints of my wife). Going from high stress/high stimulation environment to peace and quiet was unsettling.

I was programmed for stress...

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How fear impacts performance

In this article:

  • Learn what fear is, and what it isn’t.
  • A CLOSE-UP LOOK AT 3 TYPES OF FEAR.
  • Understand how irrational fears affect you.
  • Learn to control your fear by finding your Zone.

 

Control your fear


I work a lot with athletes on fear. Unfortunately, most believe fear is a weakness. It’s not. Our bodies are designed to feel fear. The problem is that we humans commonly lack the mental tools necessary to deal with fear, thereby allowing fear to run our lives.

I had three experiences lately that made me reflect upon fear in a more personal way: two were in the ocean; the last was on a flying trapeze (yes, that’s me in the photo at right).  

Fear experience #1: Powerlessness.

I was in Hawaii over the holiday. While i was there, my boyfriend and I decided to go snorkeling...Terrible idea.

We had just traversed the rocky shore and immersed ourselves in the water when the tide shifted. We were caught in a washing machine of currents. The waves threw us...

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