Today, we will be looking at Part 5 in our series dealing with Mental Strength and High Intensity Athletic Performance.
In the previous posts, we have explored the following topics:
• Being Aware
• Getting Back In Control
• Mastering Negative Thinking and Self Doubt
• Building the Self-Confidence of a Champion
Today, we are going to look at how we can use setbacks to help us to achieve peak athletic performance, while dealing with a high intensity training session or competition. For example, this can be done during a CrossFit training session.
When a top performer deals with a setback, they learn from the experience and understand how to push themselves harder in the process to achieve top athletic performance.
This does mean you have to lose to win and then learn from the loss in the process. This allows you to receive feedback about the performance and understand where you need to improve and take things to the next level. From there, you build up and push yourself harder, like when you are doing a CrossFit routine, to help propel yourself and to grow physically and mentally in the game.
To reach your peak levels, you first need to change your attitude about failing. Instead of being afraid to make the mistakes and to lose, you need to understand this mentality is holding you back from reaching your full potential.
When you perceive failure, there is also a seed for success. With each setback, we learn more about what should be done and what shouldn’t be done, this is where we improve. This can be a mental, emotional or physical improvement. No matter what we are learning.
For this to work, you do need to look for and find what you need to reach your peak level of performance.
Remember, that is in each of our failures on the field and even in our CrossFit sessions, there is the seed for success.
Deal With It
When you are dealing with any setbacks, mistakes and other failures, you will need to use your mental strength to grasp a hold of your emotions. This will help you to develop what is known as emotional intelligence. With this, you take a calming look at the results you achieved during any athletic performance and you then create an improvement plan for it.
Nothing constructive will come from the situation, if you spend the time to simply get angry, mad, upset or even frustrated with your performance. I mean absolutely nothing, so don’t even entertain these emotions.
In fact, you need to understand that this performance approach will do nothing more than to harm your confidence and create doubt. When you use the results to create valuable feedback though, they can help you to become a better athlete.
When you look at the results from the performance you had, be it on the field or during a CrossFit session, you will have the chance to determine what to take from it to help you reach peak athletic performance.
How to Stay Motivated
By now, you should have an understanding how powerful failure can be. So now you are likely wondering how you can stay motivated as you hit your setbacks.
This is a great question!
To be successful, you need to remain positive and motivated, while working on your internal dialogue. How you look at these setbacks with yourself, will help to determine just how motivated you remain and the level of disappointment you face, especially if you explore reasons to quit.
When something happens, you have a number of reasons you can cite and if you choose the supportive ones, you can actually propel yourself to that peak level of performance.
What follows is an explanation that comes from “Learned Optimism” by Martin Seligman
There are quite a few benefits when a person is optimistic. For example, optimists tend to achieve better results and have a better level of health. Pessimists however, are more common in life. These individuals give up when they see adversity and they may suffer from depression.
In the book, Seligman invites those pessimists to become optimists and to do this by thinking about the reactions they have to adversity in a new manner and take an optimistic approach.
Other differences exist between pessimists and optimists in terms of explanatory style:
Permanence: For the optimist, a bad event is temporary and it is possible to bounce back from failures. Others may struggle to bounce back and in some cases, they may never actually recover. Optimists also believe good events are permanent. In turn, temporary causes for negative events can also be pointed out where a pessimist will believe negative concerns are permanent.
Pervasiveness: An optimistic person will compartmentalize their helplessness, where a pessimistic person will allow it to run their lives. Optimistic people in turn allow good experiences to shine brightly in their lives, where as a pessimistic person will focus on the bad events of any given day or experience.
Personalization: Optimists will blame a bad event on a cause that goes beyond the person they are. However, a pessimist will assume they are the reason a bad event occurs. Because of this, the optimist tends to have a better level of confidence, while the pessimist will externalize problems and be consumed by them.
The optimist’s outlook on failure can thus be summarized as “What happened was an unlucky situation (not personal), and really just a setback (not permanent) for this one, of many, goals (not pervasive)”.
What you need to keep in mind is that it is not bad to make a mistake or to have a setback when you experience failures on the field and during your CrossFit routines. However, it is critical when you experience these items, that you approach them in an optimistic manner and ensure that you do learn from them.
Gregg Swanson is owner of Warrior Mind Coach and specializes in the development of mental strength to reach your human potential and achieve peak performance. He is also the creator of the Mental Strength Coaching Certification, providing the tools to help trainers and coaches get the most from their clients and athletes.