Over the course of my career, I have had the pleasure of working with members of military special forces, professional athletes, and very successful business executives. For the last several years I have also had the pleasure of working with some of CrossFit’s most talented athletes. For all of these individuals, understanding “WHY” they do what they do, and what they are afraid of, is paramount in helping them attain their peak performance.
Not everyone clearly understand how to address their “WHY” and fears, so I would like to give you some concrete tools to help you. As always, take what works for you and leave the rest.
Addressing your “WHY”
Your “WHY” needs to be INTRINSICALLY based. The definition of intrinsic is: The motivation comes from the pleasure one gets from the task itself or from the sense of satisfaction in completing or even working on a task.
- An intrinsically motivated person will work on a math equation, for example, because it is enjoyable. An intrinsically motivated person will work on a solution to a problem because the challenge of finding a solution provides a sense of pleasure. In neither case does the person work on the task because there is some reward involved, such as a prize, a payment, or in the case of athletes, a title, fame, or monetary gain.
Make sure your why is a clear statement or statements. Then post it in a place where you see it daily.
- Example: “I thrive on the way the challenge of CrossFit allows me to feel! I enjoy pushing myself and hitting new benchmarks because it feels like I am growing, learning and improving, and this is what I seek in life. Therefore if I grew, learned or improved in anyway I count that as a win.”
When addressing your “WHY”, be sure to delve deeper than the surface to assess whether any of your motivation stems from a desire for approval, acceptance, validation, recognition, or a feeling of safety or support. Whatever sense of security or reassurance you may be looking for, look for ways in which you can satisfy those through your own means. Seeking reassurance, validation or approval from others is a common recipe for disappointment if you are unable to develop those feelings from within. (There is an additional exercise for this part that we can delve into if this applies to you.)
Addressing your “FEARS”
Learn to love your fears, embrace and start looking at them regularly. YOU MUST WRITE THEM DOWN! Doing this exercise in your head does not work.
* Get real and write down every fear you have, DO NOT CENSOR yourself- free flow (examples below)
- I am afraid that I will fail my lift when people watch me.
- I fear that my performance will disappoint those that support me.
- I am afraid that I will fall short.
* Turn your fears into positive affirmations (examples from above)
- I am empowered by people watching and supporting my lifts.
- I am unconditionally supported by my friends and family. They love and support me, not my results.
- I am always learning and growing, even when I feel less than.
* Visit this list monthly, or as needed, and be willing to re-evaluate
Fears are inevitable, necessary and a physiological response to uncertainty. The emotion, fear, has been hard-wired into almost every individual due to its vital role in the survival of the individual (it’s an unconscious processing of the amygdala). Fear and anxiety serve as early warning systems. Fear can protect you, anxiety is a flashing light that reads “uncertainty ahead” – be grateful for the systems, but be proactive and not reactive in your ability to respond.
If you have any questions, would like help addressing or clarifying your own “WHY” and “FEARS”, or would like assistance developing your mental game for peak performance, please contact [email protected] for more information about mindset coaching.