After some digging, I helped her uncover her underlying belief that she was “not good enough” that caused her to get overly stressed about the situation.
This original belief was formed from an incident that happened playing sports years ago as a teenager!
For years, I’ve worked with adults dealing with issues such as anxiety, addictions, and fears developed from youth sports failure. With almost every one of them, we end up identifying and clearing a belief that came from a bad experience during junior high and high school.
During those years, I was always the smallest kid on the team, but I made up for it by using my never-give-up attitude and mental toughness. I actually made our League All-Star team and of course, was the smallest on that team.
I knew I was smaller than the others, but it didn’t matter to me. I thought I was 6 feet tall, because my stats spoke for me.
As I kept playing as a 13 and 14 year old, everyone else got even taller and I didn’t. I began to think of myself as small. When the outfielders moved in on me, I started telling myself things like “I must be a weak hitter.” In practice, I would always amaze my coach at how I could hit the ball to the fences, but then I had this feeble little swing during the games.
I remember actually getting thrown out at first base with a solid hit to center field. It would have been a base hit by any other player, but the center fielder was playing in so close that he got me out… and I was totally embarrassed.
For years after that, I had dreams of running to first base like I was trying to run in mud or quicksand and the fielders would always throw me out at first. This stuck with me a long time. It did a number on my psyche in many areas of my life and caused me to have “small thinking.”
Flash forward 3 decades to a time when I’m managing a $50 million express transportation operation. I’m conducting a meeting with all of the employees to explain to them how we all have to overhaul the way we do things and adopt a set of “best practices” that came out of a consulting firm’s recommendations.
My employees were extremely unhappy, to say the least. They started heckling me, deriding the company and actually became disrespectful.
Right at that moment, I got those same exact feelings I had when I got thrown out at first base from center field 30 years earlier. I shrunk down in that same posture of embarrassment. I ended up losing control of the meeting, I stopped being a leader and I lost a lot of respect.
I went home that night and said to myself never again. The next day, I began a quest to learn about mental toughness, eliminate those old programs and to transform my life.
Participation in sports is an amazing opportunity for kids to learn powerful life skills such as: discipline, determination, focus, goal setting and achievement. I could go on and on!
It’s also a minefield of potential problems that create limiting beliefs that can haunt your child for a very long time and affect all aspects of their life.
Don’t leave it up to chance. Click here to get Mental Toughness for your athlete!
I’m Craig Sigl, the Mental Toughness Trainer for Youth Athletes
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