Self-confidence; that ever elusive necessity for peak performance. It gives us the courage to push ourselves to extremes, allowing us to achieve beyond our wildest expectations. How can something that makes such an impact be so fragile? Some days you feel like you are on top of the world and can do anything; other days you’re wondering if you can manage to get out of bed without messing up.
Self-confidence is a tricky concept. We need it to do well but we need to do well to have confidence! There are a number of factors that impact our confidence level both in and out of the pen. By learning what triggers our insecurities and what makes us feel indestructible, we can start to take control of how and when our confidence affects our performance.
Different therapists have different theories on how the human brain works. I tend to believe that our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are interrelated. Consequently, what you think has a direct impact on how you feel and how you behave. So theoretically, by changing the way you think, you can change the way you feel and act. Confidence is arguably a feeling, so if we change the way we think, we should be able to change our confidence, which affects how we act perform (behave). Have I lost you? Let me put it this way:
Thought————–> Feeling ————-> Action
I am a loser —————–> low confidence ———————–> Poor performance
I am a winner —————-> high confidence ———————–> Peak performance
First step is to work out how you are feeling. Then change the way you think to change the way you perform. How do you feel? Ask yourself the following questions to get a better understanding of your current confidence level.
1) When you walk into the pen, are you confident in your abilities to make your own decisions or do you rely entirely on those around you to make them for you?
2) Are you able to follow your ‘gut instinct’ if something unexpected occurs or do you immediately seek the advice of others?
3) Are you able to see failures as an opportunity to learn or are you concerned about what others may think of you?
4) Are you comfortable with your own achievements and wait for others to congratulate you or do you seek immediate approval from others?
5) Are you able to accept compliments graciously or do you dismiss them with self-degrading statements?
6) Are you willing to take risks and push yourself further in practice or competition or do you prefer to stay within your comfort zone for fear of failure?
7) When you are walking into the pen are you thinking about what could go wrong or are you thinking about the job you have to do?
Does your confidence need work? Next week we will look at ways to change the way we think but give me some feedback, how do you think your confidence effects your performance?