To reframe a moment is essentially taking where you are in a certain moment or situation, and shifting it. This technique is applicable to your physical, mental and emotional states. Once you master “reframing” – it will likely become your greatest gift to yourself and to your level of success in the athletic world, and in life.
This is probably the most important question to answer. Where you are physically, mentally, and emotionally tremendously effects your performance. If you’re having a “bad” day where you feel fatigued and sluggish, where it is hard to run and you’re easily out of breath, most likely you are mentally feeling down and lacking the will to continue to train or to perform. This situation often starts with the physical, and quickly shifts to the mental, and finally, your emotions are also effected. It is critical in these moments to be able to shift to a new state of being. By creating a shift, a whole new world opens up for you, a world where you can be positive and successful.
Let’s say you go on a run and you are tired and sluggish. What do you normally do? How do you feel about yourself? Do you start to feel upset, disappointed, or discouraged? Do you start to doubt yourself? Do you stop and give up? As these feelings begin to surface, think about how you deal with the situation.
Next time you feel this way, try a new approach. Try to find a place where you are feeling good. This may be as simple as acknowledging the fact that you are running. This in itself is great and worth feeling good about! When you are able to shift from a negative state to a positive state, not only does your experience in the moment change, your life changes.
The HOW starts with your awareness about how you are feeling: first physically, then emotionally, and finally, mentally. If it’s not good, the WHEN is NOW! Why now? Because you just became aware. You are now conscious of how you are feeling and this is truly the best moment to shift your attention to find something good in the moment. It can be a very simple, positive thought, such as: “My breathing is at ease, my arms and feet are happy today.” Find something positive to focus on. Then that “something” will become everything, and will become your focus.
WHY do this? Because if every run, every training session, every experience could be amazing… how would your life be, let alone your performance? This approach, this shift gives you the ability to change and improve. Having this powerful tool to use in the moment allows for excellent outcomes in your life as well as in competitions. On a daily basis you can learn to find goodness and happiness no matter what is in front of you.
Think about what a day, a week, a month, or year of your life would be like if you knew you could shift things from dark to light. Take a moment to imagine what your world would be like if you had both the awareness and the power to make this change in every area of your life. Perhaps you can begin now. Start today by becoming aware, find out how you’re physically feeling, then how you mentally feel, and take note of your emotions. Find the moment where you can make a shift. Through awareness you can make the changes to make a positive impact on your life.
I remember growing up that one of the worst things someone could say to me after a stellar performance was, “You got lucky!?” I would always think, “Lucky? That performance had nothing to do with luck, I trained hard to play like that.” As I grew up I began to run into quotes like, “Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity”, and “The harder I work the luckier I get”. I started to look at luck with a different set of eyes—maybe it’s not such a bad thing. Additionally, as an expert in human performance, I have seen numerous studies done on the benefits of having a lucky charm, meal, routine, or even underwear.
So what can be so dangerous about luck? The fact is that this illusion of luck can also undermine your confidence, decrease your motivation to train, and even hurt your performance!
Luck becomes dangerous when an athlete sabotages her performance before the race begins because she forgot a certain water bottle; or when a swimmer believes that the only reason he was successful was because the other swimmers had a bad day. Luck becomes dangerous when we attribute a great proportion of our success to it. You undermine your confidence when luck becomes your reason for success because you take away the most important thing you can have as an athlete: control.
I’ve worked with athletes and non-athletes a like who fell prey to this illusion of luck. Here’s are two things we did to shift their mindset:
Purposeful Practice. We put a tremendous emphasis on training. When the pressure to perform increases you will revert to your dominant thinking and behavioral habits, and those habits are forged during training. Dedicate tremendous effort to training on purpose, with purpose so that you don’t rely on luck but high-level training.
Autonomy. You want to have control. Before any competition you should already decide what you are going to think, how you are going to feel, and what you are going to do. To take that one step further, you should decide how you are going to respond to adversity rather than wait until the moment of frustration to decide. You are in control; refuse to allow your thoughts, emotions, and actions to rely solely on whether or not you are feeling lucky that day.
Don’t get me wrong routines are necessary, that special charm can be helpful, and sometimes a lucky bounce is the difference between victory and defeat; however, remember that attributing a great proportion of your success to things outside of your control doesn’t strengthen your confidence.
Justin Su’a, M.S., is an expert in Performance Psychology and works with athletes from the NFL, Dancing With the Stars, and Soldiers in the U.S. Army. He travels the world speaking to audiences in the field of sports, academics, and business about peak performance; teaching them how to enhance their performance through mental skills training.
Don't worry, this is not an article about New Year's resolutions. This is about knowing that you are enough and it is enough. It refers to anything you do in your life. The amount you exercise each day, how hard you exercised, how fast you ran and the work you got done. Also, the chores you finished and the love you provided your children with. When do you decide? How do you decide it's enough?
Recently, I attended the Woman of the Year celebration in Park City. As I listened to all the accomplishments of the winner, I couldn't help from thinking, I could never do that much. I could never achieve so much. It seems almost impossible to do so much so well, and from there a sense of failure began to enter my mind. I challenged myself to continue to listen, to support her, to think good thoughts about myself. I found myself continuing to think, "Is this what we are about? How would my daughter feel right now in this room? Hopeless? Incapable? Do we focus on expectations so much we end up missing the moment? Are our standards or expectations so high that we are never able to obtain them? If we do obtain them do we really experience happiness and fulfillment?"
I left full of mixed emotions, wondering how I feel "It's enough." I've been pondering this question now for a few months listening, thinking, feeling and sensing. During this time I've come to wonder how many of us are lacking self- love and acceptance for whatever we did that day. Often I hear friends and colleagues say, "Oh, I should have run a faster PR. I should have been first in this race. I should have trained harder. I only ran 16 miles today. If I sleep in that's too lazy. I should add in another marathon because I only did five this year." These are just a few examples I witness daily.
Many of us are living with expectations and demands that cause us to miss out on the moment. How often have we heard or read the message of 'being present'? I'm speaking to the depth of the presence, which is to love, to accept and to embrace whatever you have done as perfect and good enough.
Trust me, I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't have goals or dreams. By all means they are truly important. They provide us with a sense of direction and determination. But even in a goal, when do we feel it is good enough? As I head out the door to run I'm given once again the opportunity to feel, to be present, to witness, to enjoy all that I am in that moment.
Over the past couple months, I have come to realize that one of the most precious gifts I received from The Feldenkrais Method, and in my training is discovering and developing self-image which includes self-regulation, knowing when to stop or back off or when I can go further. It's trusting my ability to know what is right for me at the moment and that what is right for me, is all that matters. It takes presence, awareness and a desire to be connected with one's self.
Perhaps you can begin discovering how you know when it's enough, how you self-regulate and how you honor and love yourself in the moment. It's enough.
"Don’t let what others are doing or saying distract you from what you are striving to accomplish. Stay inside your own head and stay focused on your goals."
When I do my two triathlons a year it’s not uncommon for me to hear, “On your left!” or even “Watch out!”
While I may be one of many people who clog up the street during your triathlon this article will help you identify the person hurting your performance the most: Yourself. Performance psychology consultants call it self-sabotage, or in other words killing your performance by what you think, what you say to yourself, and how you act.
How do I know if I’m suffering from self-sabotage?
Answer the following questions to yourself:
• Do you attribute your success to your competitors having a bad day?
• Does your self-confidence hang on how well you perform?
• Do you constantly complain about things?
• Do you hate hills, wind, open water swims, transitions, etc.?
• Do you use phrases like “I can’t…”, “I have to…”, “I must…”?
If the majority of your answers are “yes” then you are more susceptible to self-sabotage. That doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you, you’d be surprised to know that many of the elite or professional athletes I work with are also hard on themselves, so you’re in good company. For those of you who answered “no” to most of those questions don’t finish reading the article! You might find something you’ll want to share with a friend.
Self-sabotage is a fancy way of saying that you are getting in the way of your own performance. Many of your worst performances were not only due to equipment malfunction but an untrained brain.
How do I get out of my own way? Studies show that elite athletes think differently than less successful athletes. I have addressed thousands of individuals during speaking engagements and have spent numerous hours one-on-one with athletes training them how to get out of the way and perform freely. Here are three strategies that can help:
The fact that you are reading this article will help you get out of your own way and minimize the adverse affects of self-sabotage. The reason people are getting in their own way is because they don’t realize it! They don’t realize that a simple negative thought, an innocent complaint about how they feel, or a seemingly meaningless comparison to another racer will hurt their performance. Beware and be aware.
#2- Focus on what you can control
I tell this to my athletes all the time: Refuse to allow tomorrow’s worries and yesterday’s failures hurt today’s performance. We get in our own way when we begin to give emotion to things that are outside of our control. Focusing on what you can control empowers you; it ignites confidence, and fuels motivation. Worrying about things outside your control is like increasing the weight of your shoes, it will bog you down.
#3-Have a plan for when you mess up!
You’re human so you’re going to have a bad thought once in a while. You’re going to complain occasionally. Chances are very likely that you will have moments where you will get in your own way despite reading this article. Now, what are you going to do about it? Chances are you have a back-up plan if your tire pops, you know what to do it you start cramping up. Why not have a plan for when you notice you are sabotaging yourself? I develop focus plans with all of my athletes. It’s simple; you decide right now what you want to think and how you want to act when adversity strikes. Be specific and consistent.
Elite athletes do things on purpose that mediocre athletes leave to chance.
There you have it, three tips on how to get out of your way. Best of luck on your next triathlon and remember, trust your preparation and let it happen don’t try to make it happen.
Justin Su’a is a performance consultant, key-note speaker, CEO of Su’a Sport Psychology, LLC and is a member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). Justin’s Masters Degree is from the University of Utah in the Psycho-Social Aspects of Sport with an interest in the nature of peak performance and confidence enhancement. He is a former Division I All-American pitcher from BYU, and currently teaches elite athletes, celebrity performers, university teams, and business professionals how to think and perform at a high level.
For daily tips and insight to enhance performance you can follow Justin on Twitter and Facebook