When I was in therapy, there were day when I just didn’t want to be there…days when I didn’t feel it was worth me sitting on the couch, simply looking at my therapist waiting. I am not sure what I was waiting for. Well, yes I was. I was waiting for her to talk so that I wouldn’t have to. I was waiting for the timer to ding, signaling our hour was up so I could leave and the repetitive voice in my head saying, “I don’t want to be here. This sucks.” would cease. However, once I started talking, it was in these sessions that I would have my biggest break-through moments.
This also happens with working out. It is usually on the days that I least want to get in the water, lace up my shoes or strap on my helmet that I have some of the best training days. It isn’t immediate. I have to open myself up to it. In the beginning it sucks, but when I stop thinking about what sucks and just accept that I am out there, then things change and I perform better.
This happened yesterday to one of my athletes…she DID NOT want to be at boot camp and made it very clear from the moment she stepped on the track. We did our warm up and when I said they were doing 800’s, there was a very loud moan followed by “well, they are going to be my worst 800’s”. I didn’t say anything and had them line up, said start and off they went. Sure enough. That first one was her worst 800.
I mentioned the possibility that it was her mind that was holding her back. That because she said it was going to be her worst that she made it her worst or that because there was just so much negativity, it was weighing her body down. She agreed that it was a possibility and opened herself up to being there – feeling more awake and ready to go. Her next two 800’s were the fastest she has ever run them and she felt good.
I have learned a lot from different things I have read on performance and working with Carrie Cheadle, and what we tell ourselves – good and bad – makes a huge difference in how we perform. If we constantly think about how bad something is, then it is going to be bad…it is the self-fulfilling prophecy – if we say we are going to be slow, then we will probably be slow. If we say something is going to be painful, we are going to look for and focus on the pain.
But, on those days of break through, we can look back on those days and use them again – whether just to get through a hard workout, or to get through our entire event. So, next time you don’t want to put on your shoes, helmet or swim goggles, just remember that you could be missing out on a break through moment.