Many athletes chase the evasive feeling of confidence. No matter how much they have practiced, how significantly they have sacrificed and how many experiences of success they have had, confidence seems to leak faster than it can be replenished. Just when you feel as though things are moving in the right direction, you find yourself questioning and doubting yourself again. After working with thousands of athletes over the years one question always seems to take center stage…
How can I feel and stay confident?
What I have observed over 15 years is athletes have come to base their confidence on others approval. This source of approval could come from a parent, coach, teammate, or simply their own unrealistic sense of what success looks like, often grounded in perfectionism.
When the approval of others is the primary source of confidence then it is going to leak at a faster pace then can ever be replaced.
Here is why:
True confidence is cultivated through establishing skills that are tested, refined and deepened through the process of challenge, mistake making guided by a mindset focused on learning rather than constantly proving oneself.
The most confident athletes are those that invest themselves in the mastery of a variety of skills connected with the success they seek. This process consistently repeated is what leads to mastery along with a deep belief in the skills associated with success. In fact, you could say that disappointment (which is often the result of being tested and challenged) actually plays a vital role in growing confidence rather than destroying it as many people seem to believe. Believing that the cultivation of confidence happens through only the approval and acceptance of others, as well as, continual success puts the individual on a roller coaster with little to no control to experience a deep belief in themselves especially in the face of competition and challenge.
Confidence, therefore, is the by product of a deep belief in skills developed through constant competition and testing; not the fleeting words of approval or even encouragement offered from others.
For this purpose I offer these tips to begin your confidence-growing process.
HERE IS HOW YOU GROW ABUNDANT CONFIDENCE AND STOP THE LEAKS:
1. Know with absolute certainty what skills are needed to be developed to experience success.
2. Work diligently at becoming more accomplished at each of these skills.
3. Test your skills through competition. (If possible against others slightly better than you) Embrace mistakes as platforms for growth.
4. Commit yourself to learning from your experiences, staying clear of the obsession to over evaluate yourself.
5. Be fearless in your own self assessment while being able to notice what you succeed at as much as what you need to get better at.
6. Invest yourself in mastering skills verses playing “perfectly”.
If you want to have an abundance of confidence then invest yourself in mastering the skills.