The first step toward mental toughness is to become aware of our internal dialogue – how we talk to ourselves. The next step is to challenge any negative self talk and change the stories we tell ourselves.
Changing our inner game is what changes our outer game and our mind is the ultimate playing field. We can’t transform ourselves if we don’t transform our story.
I wanted to share with you my story and why helping youth athletes is so important to me.Life was good. I was one of those lucky kids growing up, who was part of the “in” athletic crowd. I was a gifted player in almost every sport. Then I reached junior high and everything changed. Everyone grew except me. At 13, I was only 4’ 8” and the shortest boy in the school. I no longer was one of the first picked and ended up on the “leftover” teams. My whole identity as an athlete was gone. I was crushed. It seemed like overnight my entire life changed. Soon after I quit sports altogether. But I refused to give up on myself. Somehow, even at my lowest point of confidence, I was still able to hold on to a belief in my own personal power. I knew I was smart, so I decided to put my energy into getting good grades. I also was interested in making money, so I set my mind to learning about the business world. I found I had a talent for creating entrepreneurial ventures and started learning the ins and outs of business. Every “A” on a test and every dollar I earned was a step to building my inner strength. I went on to graduate from high school and college and got my first job never losing my belief in myself. But that only got me so far… I realized I still had some limiting beliefs that were holding me back. I had not fully confronted the “small” thinking that I had developed in junior high. When situations called on me more and more to be a leader in the corporate world, I re-experienced those feelings of being small and having a lack of confidence. This made me mad and that propelled me forward. I began observing my thought processes even more closely. I became a student of my own mind and began a journey of personal development. I watched. I questioned. I discovered. What I realized was that “small” was just a way of thinking that I chose. It wasn’t reality. It was my choice. I was carrying around someone else’s ideas about me. Understanding that changed everything. I realized I had the power to choose. It was like a 100 pound weight coming off my shoulders and I decided right then and there to choose to think big. That choice is possible for each of us. And it is particularly powerful if we realize it when we are young. Thinking big meant that I could now focus on what I do right and not beat myself up over making mistakes. It meant being able to call on my determination to overcome any hurdles or adversity. I now know that mental toughness is adopting an attitude of never giving up and knowing that YOU are in charge of building your own confidence. Knowing how our mind works, and changing it, changes everything. The athletic field can be a place that powerfully forms our idea of who we are. Using the lessons learned by playing sports, we can train the mind and open up new performance possibilities, new levels of self-confidence and new levels of self-satisfaction. I wish I had this realization when I was a student athlete. I didn’t, but I do now. And I want to share that thinking with young people who are shaping their sense of self. When I was 14, I looked up to sports heroes like Freddie Patek, the shortest player in baseball, who was only 5’ 4” tall. When I quit playing sports, I thought that I did not have what it takes. I now know that I do…and always have and so does your child.
I’ve done this for myself and hundreds of other athletes. All long lasting change must take place in the inner mind and this is what we do for our athletes at the Mental Toughness Academy and what makes us unique.
I stand strongly today to help kids develop a “never give up” attitude and boost their confidence so they can reach their highest potential in sports and in life.Craig has personally worked with thousands of professional and amateur athletes on the mental side of their game.
He is an author and creator of 7 mental toughness programs sold in 28 countries and writes to over 16,000 athletes in his emails and on his blogs.
He has over 3000 clients worldwide from United Arab Emirates to Ireland and all over the United States using his programs and services.He has been featured on NBC’s Evening Show on TV, written about in major newspapers, and interviewed on numerous radio programs.
Craig is the parent of two athletic boys, lives everything he teaches, and regularly plays his favorite sports developing new methods. He loves hearing from his young athletes that write to him about how the work has positively changed their life.
Click here to learn more about working with Craig – Mental Toughness Training
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