Last week, in Part 1 of this article series, I detailed out the story of a conversation I had with an Olympic hopeful about performance and how we isolated one major thing that was holding him back. Click Here to Read Part 1.
To continue the story. Once he asked the magic question, "How do I overcome this?" I gave him some simple, yet powerful things he can do (and has already said they are making a difference). First, I asked him to tell me what he really believed about his ability to succeed. I asked him deep down if he really thought he could be an Olympian. He told me that up until recently, he wasn't sure, but he had done some serious soul searching and truly believed he could do it. This is step one to overcoming issues with the subconscious. What you believe becomes your reality, so if you don't believe you are destined for success, you simply won't succeed. And it needs to be a deep unshakable belief. So, first, get clear on what you believe.
Because, he had already done the deep work, the next part was easy. I asked if him if he was able to determine what he believed, if he realized that that means he can control what he believes and thinks. I told him he has all the power. He stopped for a second and said, "You are right, but how do I make it a habit." "Easy," I said, just practice Stop, Ask, Choose. He looked at me a little confused. I asked him, "When you start to feel anxiety, you know it right? It doesn't just happen and you don't know it is going on. You are conscious to it." He said, "Of course I know." To which I said, "Great! When you feel it happening, Stop yourself in the moment, Ask yourself if this is the feeling or belief you want to have in that moment, and then Choose to keep it or change it to the feeling you want to have." That is how you begin to re-train the subconscious to replace the negative response with the response you want it to have.
He thought about it for a minute and then said, "I get it and it totally makes sense. It is so simple. But, how do I make sure it sticks and creates a new response from the subconscious all the time." My answer was that he would need to continue practicing Stop, Ask, and Choose and eventually over time, it would change the response. But, in the meantime, he will still feel some anxiety, even though he can now recognize it and change it. I told him the other thing he could do is create a trigger that associates the feeling of calm that he has before his best races. It could a phrase, a simple thought, or even a physical gesture (except the one you are thinking about right now!). Every time he is in that place of calm, he needs to recite the phrase, thought, or gesture to associate it with the positive feelings and success he has in that state. So, for example, if when he is his calm state, he decides that he wants to fold his hands, that will be his trigger. And he will fold his hands every time he is in that state to associate folding his hands with it.
Then, when or if the anxiety feeling shows up, all he has to do is fold his hands in that specific way to trigger the feeling of calm. Triggers are a secret of many top performing athletes, but they can be used just the same for you in all areas of your life and business.
At that point, things really clicked for him. He realized the following:
At the end of the day, all that was needed was for him to get out of his own way and put his mind in check. Together, we figured that out in about 15-20 mins. And you can do the same for yourself. Follow the same process: Determine what you believe, Choose the thoughts you want to have, and Associate the positive to something you can use to trigger it in your life. Once you learn this process, you can continuously coach yourself to higher levels of success and achievement.
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