When we think of performance, we usually highlight what is seen on the outside, the outcome that happens.
This could be the win; outperforming your opponent by making that crucial interception; gaining a personal best by lifting that little bit more; seeing the improvements you are making by following your fitness program, or whatever it might be for you personally.
Yes, these achievements are important to note and celebrate, but there’s so much more that happens before reaching those moments.
There are the physical things we push our bodies to do, to get stronger, fitter, and faster. However, I don’t know about you, but there’s times where I doubt myself and/or don’t have the motivation to do what I know I need to. When I’m in that space, I notice the impact it has on what I can actually achieve or push myself to try and achieve.
We spend so much time training our bodies, that often we forget the power that training our mindset can have on our performance. Sometimes even more than our physical attributes. What I want to do through this blog is bring attention to more of the mindset attributes that help us reach our potential and be our best version.
Therefore, I want to take our attention to the beliefs we hold about ourselves that can help or hinder us, our self-belief. It has been shown that self-belief is one of the biggest predictors of success and is critically important at sustaining performance. We see this every day, not only with athletes but also within the workplace. It is the same human qualities required to reach high levels of performance, no matter the arena, or boardroom.
So, what is it and how can we start building this for ourselves?
Self-belief is made up of two attributes, our self-confidence and self-esteem.
Self-esteem is made up of longer-term successes and achievements taken from a wide variety of elements of our life (e.g. work, hobbies, family, education) and tends to be more stable. There are less fluctuations on a day to day or month to month basis.
Self-confidence is focused on specific tasks and can fluctuate more across different tasks. I am confident as a driver but not in my ability to speak a foreign language. It also can get rocked more. For example, if I was to have a car crash my higher self confidence in driving a car might be damaged somewhat.
Now we know what it is, how do we build it, so we have it in reserve for when we need it?
There’s two parts, firstly recognizing and celebrating our successes and achievements, big or small, tangible and intangible. This starts to help build our confidence in our abilities and build competence. We can be our own worse critics and easily find the things we don’t do so well. If we are to push ourselves and take on more challenges, having the confidence to do it is the first step, instead of thinking of all the reasons we can’t do it and not even try.
Our successes can come and go so it is just as important that we take the time to build the second part. Looking at those successes, ask yourself; what was it about me that helped that happen? What value underpins it? What attribute or characteristic did I apply that meant that success came to fruition? These are the things that we can use daily, if we consciously know what they are. Our successes and achievements will change over time. The value, attribute or characteristic can be applied every time we take on a challenge.
It’s the consistency and discipline of doing this regularly that starts to build our belief and in turn, impacts our performance. This may be hard at first but like with most things, the more you do it the easier it becomes and the stronger you get.
In honor of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi, who sadly passed away, I want to leave you with a quote from Kobe Bryant:
"If you don’t believe in yourself, no one will do it for you."
(Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020).
Let’s take a page from his book and start doing this for ourselves and seeing the difference it can make.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions or if you would like further 1:1 support.