Tennis, more so than any other game is a game where mind-set is as important as talent. You are alone on the court, just you and your belief, no team talk, no coach whispering tips from the side-line, no half time management huddle up and no phoning a friend! If you do not hold your nerve, harness your courage and believe 100% in your ability to win, your talent will never get you to championship point. Talent is not enough.
During the ebb and flow of most matches this is evident. The players that win grand slams display amazing resilience and ‘bouncebackability’ when they are losing or struggling with their flow. There are lessons here for us all. It does not matter how good you are at your job, or how efficient you are at the detail, in the big scheme of life unless you belief in yourself and in your ability to achieve your goals you will fall short every time. Amazing things do not just happen because you have talent or academic prowess or because you show up.
My self-belief monitor has good and bad days, just like everyone else, but the measure of my enlightenment is recognising this and doing something about it before it takes hold, digs roots and beds in for the long term, as in tennis, if you allow the negative self-talk too much space it will be game over before you know it.
So here are a few of the things I do to keep my ‘bad cop’ at bay.
- I get my daily inspirational thinking fix from Seth Godin’s blogs and Ted Talks – they never cease to lift me to another level.
- I keep a list of achievements in my gratitude journal that I update regularly, this lists everything I am proud of from childhood to today – from learning to swim, drive, dance; to achieving an MBA, publishing 2 books, effecting the lives of so many women and girls; to attracting love and friendship and everything in between. I read this when I need it to keep me focused on my internal strengths and limitless potential.
- I reconnect to my big picture by finding quiet time to visualise my life 3, 5, 10 years from today. I picture it in all its richness and abundance and wake feeling calm, realigned and positive.
- Gratitude – writing soothes me so I sit with my gratitude journal every night before I lay down my head and write at least 5 things I am grateful for that have been present in my life on this day. Staying in a state of gratitude feeds my soul and aids peaceful sleep.
- I have many confidence anchors from a certain piece of music to a favorite smell, (basil) uplifting colour (purple for me, every time) inspirational poetry, books and quotes that speak to me and all of these are present in my library – A place where I work and create – my nourishing space.
I am sure you can add to these and I would love to hear some of your tried and tested approaches to harnessing your self-belief.
Know for sure that what you feed and what you focus on becomes your reality. So having tools to guide you away from the negativity speedily and efficiently is a key life skill.
Now back to tennis…….