Yesterday was deadlift day. We were to perform a 5x5 @ 70%. Typically, 70% isn’t all that heavy. I mean, it’s heavy, but it isn’t HEAVY. Usually I get super excited for deadlift day. I love deadlifts. Not today. When I calculated my percentage and what I was to lift, it felt daunting. I was actually nervous that I wouldn’t be able to finish my work. I considered dropping the weight down. I considered asking for more rest in between sets as we (Eric and I) have recently decreased our rest/recovery between sets to improve our conditioning.
I was getting pissed at myself. I was freaking out about a number that I knew I could do, but felt anxious about. Negative thoughts were rushing through my mind. “What if I fail? What if I injure myself? I can’t get hurt. Do I really want to be strong? Is it worth it? Do I really want this?”
How could I be asking these questions and having this doubt? This was not like me, at all. I have never back down from a chance at personal growth. I have never been afraid of a challenge. But I was.
Before we began, I asked myself “when was a time when I felt powerful? When was a time when I felt fearless and confident?”
My answer: Basketball.
|Me hoopin' it up in 1982. I was 3 years old.|
If you were to ask me to describe my childhood and adolescence in one word my answer would be; basketball. Basketball was my entire identity in my youth. Before I started making stupid teenage decisions, basketball was my world. I ate basketball. I breathed basketball. I dreamt basketball. I was head-over-heels in love with basketball. It was my first love.
When I played all I wanted was the ball. I wanted to shot the ball. I wanted to pass the ball. I wanted to rebound the ball. I wanted to steal the ball. My focus was to play ball. My focus was playing basketball relentlessly working to be my best.
I never backed down to a big moment. In fact, I wanted the ball the most during the big moments…when everything was on the line. I thrived off of pressure situations. I wanted to guard the best player of the opposite team. I loved competition. I found joy in risk-taking. I got lost in the rush of working to be my best in hopes of being victorious with no guarantee to victory.
I stepped up to any challenge. I would play anyone, no matter how big or tall. I was a beast, and I wanted a chance to prove my ability and skill. I believed in my ability. I trusted the hours and hours that I spent practicing skills and visualizing details of execution. Even if I didn’t come out the victor in each game situation, I was hungry for the next game and the next encounter I would have with an opponent to prove I was the best. I was never scared.
I decided to create a mantra right then and there. “Give me the ball! I got this!” I repeated this mantra, silently in my head again and again. “Give me the ball! I got this!” “Give me the ball! I got this!” I said this over and over until it turned into, “Give me the barbell! I got this!” “Give me the barbell! I got this!”
I started to embody and embrace the feelings that I had as a basketball player, confident, strong, and competitive. I literally got fired up thinking about lifting the heavy barbell off the ground. I wanted that barbell in my hands! I wanted to lift! I actually started to grin when it was my set, because it felt like when I would step up for a free throw shot in my youth. I was ready. I was pumped! There was no question in my mind. I knew I would crush it.
I know I’m not the only one that gets a bit anxious when attempting something difficult and challenging. I know I’m not the only one that second guesses my ability when you are called upon to perform. I am not alone in this battle of the mind.
For that reason, I encourage you to create your own personal mantra that instantly transforms your mind from meager thoughts to a super-confident mindset!
Think back to a time, a situation, or competition where you were confident. Recall an instance where you had a flawless performance. Remember all the details and embody how you felt. Embrace the confidence, joy, and personal power that exhilarated you. Were you playing a sport and have a near perfect performance? Was it a presentation that you were well prepared for? Did you make a really good impression during a job interview that led to employment for your dream job?
Whatever that moment was or memory was, I ask you to tell yourself NOW what you told yourself THEN to get pumped and confident for that particular situation. Now imagine you are there. Imagine you are about to step on the court or take the stage, how does it feel? Feels great, doesn’t it?
Now that you have that memory fresh in your mind you can develop, create, and rehearse a mantra for yourself that you can apply to present day pressures or challenges that you face. For example, Simply interchange words in order to give your current situation the appropriate energy and focus that is needed to supercharge you with belief in your abilities.
I used basketball as motivation for lifting a barbell. I changed “Give me the ball!” into “Give me the barbell!”
If you have great memories with of a performance you had in theater, for instance, you could take “It’s show time!” and replace the word “show” with “it’s lift time!”
There are no rules when it comes to finding inner motivation and drive to take on a challenge. Be creative. Have fun!