By the time we are 17 we have heard, you can’t, you shouldn’t and you’re wrong, around 75,000 times.
Ultimately our internal thoughts about ourselves are either limiting or empowering. They either help us, or they hinder us. Trap us or transform us. You get the picture. Our subconscious mind, which is about 96% of our mind, is where our behaviours and beliefs come from. We may not even be aware that we are being guided by a bunch of thoughts and beliefs about ourselves that are limiting us in our sport, relationships, finances, health and general well-being. Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. The power of self-belief and overcoming limiting thinking. This isn’t just the power of positive thinking, it’s being realistic about the possibilities and focusing on them. Self-belief is critical and a player’s self-belief, comes from the key influences in their life, parents, peers, team mates and their coach. Our thoughts actually have the power to either lift us or limit us in life. We all have thoughts that limit us, therefore by creating awareness and change around these thoughts, we can strongly empower ourselves.
Tony Robbins says, “All personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs. The moment we begin to honestly question our beliefs and the experiences we assign to them, we no longer feel absolutely certain about them. This opens the door to replacing your old, disempowering beliefs with new beliefs that support you in the direction you want to go.”
Confidence is just as critical as skill, not the over confident “I am better than everyone else”, but confidence to play and give their best. You can see when a player at the highest level loses confidence, how much it affects their game. Most of our limiting thoughts are formed before we are seven years of age, and then tweaked, developed and established by the time we are fourteen. As adults, the limiting thoughts we developed as children become the filter, and belief by which we see life, love, relationships, success, money, conflict, communication and happiness. Some of these beliefs are empowering and resourceful to us, but many become limiters that stop us from truly flourishing in life.
Here are some limiting thoughts I have encountered in young people I have coached and journeyed alongside, and some in myself: I am not good enough, I don’t deserve good things, it’s always my fault, I am stupid, I can’t do that, I won’t succeed, I am not smart enough, I never get chosen, I can’t do anything right, I am always wrong, I am too sensitive, I don’t belong anywhere, I will never make it, my feelings don’t matter, I can’t be loved, I am a bitch, I am the black sheep, I am too weak, I am too shy, I am not worth it, I am not creative enough … and so on and so on.
Often we walk through our lives with no real awareness of the limiting thoughts we carry, and that’s one thing I am passionate about, helping young people become aware and then creating change around the internal thought patterns. So empowering and so freeing.
So what thoughts could you be carrying that might be limiting you? Any of the above feel familiar or maybe you have your own to add to that list. How can you as a coach reinforce positive and empowering beliefs in those you are coaching?
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them”. Albert Einstein