One day while training in our small group session, my trainer Dooley yelled at us, "We are a performing arts gym; perform!" With sweat rolling down my face and exhaustion plaguing my entire body, I laughed. I thought it was comical the way he said it, but in that instance, I knew what he meant as a coach.
All sports are physical, and all games are mental. Our job as an athlete is to block out everything that is happening to our bodies, withstand the pain, and perform to the best of our abilities. Whether it’s our fifth hour into a marathon or our third day into hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro, mental toughness is the defining factor between finishing at the front of the pack or not finishing at all.
Sports psychologist Sylvain Guimond says, only 20% of raw talent will dictate success, the remainder is coming from the player’s mental resiliency. When the physicality has left you, you have to be able to pull from something more profound within you. The brain must accompany the talent.
Championship athletes visualize themselves winning long before they ever set foot on the field. During training, they see themselves crossing the finish line, scoring the winning goal, and holding the trophy at the end of the game. What separates the good from the great, is not what’s on the outside, but rather what’s between their ears. How you see yourself, and how you communicate those messages to yourself will ultimately determine your success or failure.
Your feelings will never cooperate with your dreams. Of course, you don't want to go to the gym when the weather is terrible, but if our success were contingent upon the weather, most people would never be successful. Discipline is your willingness to beat your feelings into captivity. Understand wholeheartedly, you can’t have it in your hand until you first have it in your head.
We often laugh about that moment in 2005 when Destiny’s Child performed on the BET show 106 and Park. During their performance, Michelle Williams took a severe fall on the stage in the middle of their dance routine. As the audience cringed; bandmates Kelly and Beyonce kept going without missing a beat.
When you are locked and loaded in for success, you will watch as many of your counterparts fall, keep going, or never return to the game at all. Your job is to continue to maximize your performance no matter who falls beside you or what the circumstances are.
Dennis Waitley once said, "The winners in life constantly think in terms of I can, I will, and I am. Losers, on the other hand, concentrate all their waking thoughts on what they should or would have done, or what they can’t do.”
Life is destined to throw you many curve balls along the way. You will face obstacles, pain and personal hardships that will make it difficult to keep your head in the game at all times. The journey BEYOND begins the moment you lock in on your mental game. Wishing doesn’t garner success but working for it does. Get out of your way and get your head in the game. It’s time to perform.