Today’s Topic: How to Stay Positive and Confident
Hi, everybody. Welcome to Q&A with Coach Rebecca. I’m Rebecca Smith, a high-performance coach and the founder and director of Complete Performance Coaching. What we do over here at Complete Performance Coaching is we line up coaches one on one to help young athletes get through fear, find their flow, and then automate peak performance mindsets and behavior.
We do this either through one-on-one coaching, or through the Perform Happy community, which is an entire online mental toughness training center that gives you every single course, every single exercise, that I have available to my one on one clients. Plus live trainings and a community that’s absolutely priceless. I’ve been in the Facebook community today with the moms and dads. It tends to just be a lot of moms, but generally talking about kids getting through fear.
Getting Through Fear
If you’ve been sticking around long enough, you know that that’s kind of my deal. That was my personal struggle, and that is what I specialize in helping people through. I’ve been talking with lots of moms about getting through fear. Especially in gymnastics in this competition season, because we’re starting to see some really amazing results in the community. People are posting videos, and there are these kids who have just had these horrible seasons so far, and are getting their skills back, and are starting to perform well.
And then of course, we have some newcomers too, who are still struggling, so I’ve got a couple questions from those moms that I’m going to address today. This gets moved onto the Perform Happy with Rebecca Smith Podcast.
Okay, so here are our questions from members of the Perform Happy community. Our first one had great news. Her daughter did her tumbling pass for the first time in a really long time, so this was huge progress. We were all really, really thrilled for her. She reached out and she said
Q: It was an amazing weekend for my girl. She’s on a high, she’s very confident and proud. Now, how do we keep her there?
She’s had this experience before, where she got her skills back, and then she lost them again. She got her skills back, and then she lost them again. Every time you lose them, the hopeless factor comes in and kicks in stronger ’cause you’re like, “Oh my gosh. Will I ever stop this cycle? Will I always be in this place where I have to worry about my skills going away randomly again?”
Anybody’s who experienced a mental block like this, gets it. Whether it’s in sport or in life or whatever, if fear just keeps coming into your life and taking over, you kind of become sensitized. Like, “Oh, am I going to get afraid again?” Even if you’re doing well, you’re like, “When’s that other shoe going to drop?”
Remember What Worked Before
Mom, good question, because a lot of people start having success, and then they forget how they got there. That’s natural. We humans aren’t going to do work that isn’t necessary unless we’re in pain and we’re struggling, and we’re like, “I’m in fear and I’m miserable. Tell me what I have to do, and I’ll do it.” And then they’re like, “I’m cool. I don’t need to do that anymore.” And then all of a sudden, things change and kind of go back, and then they’re like, “How did I get back here?”
My first thing I want to mention to this mom is help her to remember what worked. A big theme of my answers today is going to be all about reflecting. I am a huge fan of reflecting and keeping a mental toughness journal. For people who have a specific skill that’s their one skill where they’re really wanting to stay positive and confident.
Start a Journal
Have a tumbling journal, a bars journal, a beam journal. Whatever it is, have a journal where you go in and you’re like, “This was my progress today. This is what didn’t go well today. This is what I learned,” because in any of my work, whether it’s one on one or in the community, our job is to find patterns and clues. Nothing is ever random, ever. That fall that sets it all into motion, typically, is proceeded by a thought or an intuitive feeling like this isn’t safe, or this doesn’t feel right, or I don’t want to do this.
There’s usually something that the brain is sending to the body that’s like, “Whoa there body. I don’t know if we should do this.” Then, because kids are, a lot of the time, people pleasers. Or they got to get their assignment done, or they’re perfectionists and have high standards for themselves. They’re like, “Shush, brain. I don’t have time for you. I got to go for it.” Then their brain goes, “Ahhh,” in the middle, and then they freeze up, they fall, they feel out of control, and then it’s like, boom, right back in the beginning of the cycle.
What Happens Before you Bail?
What you want to be able to identify through finding these clues and patterns is what does it feel like before I bail out. Maybe even a couple of turns before. Do I start to have this uneasiness creeping in that I just don’t feel quite right, or I don’t feel comfortable, or it feels awkward, or I’m tired, or I’m mad at my coach, or I’m distracted. It’s different for everybody, but you want to just know your patterns.
Okay, now if this girl has gotten through, has rebuilt her confidence on this scary skill for her, she knows her pattern. She knows her clues and they’re fresh in her mind because she just broke through it. She knows her solution, she knows how to get herself moving it forward again, so she’s got to be really on top of going, “What works? What works for me?”
Document it to Find it When you Need To
Now’s the time to do some writing. Here’s what works. Here’s how I did that at that competition. This is what was on my mind and what I want to make sure to remember. This didn’t have anything to do with it. My coach said this and it was super helpful. My teammate said this, it kind of psyched me out, but I was able to get through it anyway.
You want to get all that information in a little place where you can find it when you need it, because your confidence is going to come up, you’re going to be able to keep moving forward and making progress. But then, what you really want to watch out for are those triggers. Watch out for “I’m tired,” or “I don’t want to be here.”
Don’t Be a Hero and Ask for a Spot
Anything that’s going to leave you feeling less than in control, and those days, don’t be a hero. Don’t be a hero. That’s what I always tell kids, “Don’t be a hero.” Ask for a spot right away, before you get scared, before you allow yourself to get your brain in spaz out mode, go to the tumble track, go try it somewhere safer, go do an easier version of it, go back to a low beam. Just do it before you need it, then your brain never has a chance to freak out. You build your confidence back up, and away you go, and there’s nothing wrong with you if you have to do that.
That’s the misconception. Coaches are like, “You don’t need spot. You didn’t need one yesterday, you don’t need one today.” You have to be able to go, “Hey Coach, I’m not feeling so confident today,” or “My ankle’s hurting today,” or “I didn’t sleep well last night. Would it be okay to start with a couple spots today?” Or “Can I go over to the tumble track?” Or can I whatever. But, that’s where the kids have to step up. Just give yourself one, and then you don’t have to go back into the cycle.
That is my advice for this mom, and then the next mom is in the other boat, where she just joined the community. Her daughter’s still struggling. She had a not so good competition, and she says
Q: How do you stay positive when goals aren’t being met?
Okay, I mean we all in life have times when goals are not being met, probably more often than when they are being met. This is really the foundation. What we talk about in that group all day, every day, is we praise progress.
Progress is the name of the game. That’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for effort, progress. That’s it. And now, I don’t mean like where you “should be,” quote unquote, where you used to be, where your teammates are, where anybody else is. Your progress is based on you in this moment, right now today. What can you do? Not what can’t you do, what can you do. Not what should you be doing, any of that, it’s what can you do, right now today, confidently or pseudo-confidently.
Then, a baby step forward from there is progress. What most people, especially perfectionists, high achievers do, is they compare themselves today to either past successes that are no longer happening, or future successes they feel like they should be having, or what other kids are doing, or what their coach expects of them.
Even if they make that little jump of progress, they feel like they’re failing, and that keeps them negative. They have their starting point, and they’re making all these baby steps toward the finish line, but they feel like they’re failing, failing, failing, failing, failing all the way there, which really beats down confidence, which confidence is the name of the game.
Build Confidence Slowly
You have to be building confidence slowly and praising yourself for it, which can be really hard for people who are not there yet. Don’t compare yourself to other people, and moms and dads, don’t ever, ever compare her to other people.
Now, I don’t mean that you’re like, “Oh well, she did really well today and you’re doing horribly.” I know you guys are not doing that, but even inadvertently, see if you cannot mention any other kids at all in the car ride home. Like, “she did a great job today.” Stab to the heart. That’s what the kid’s going to feel. “It was really nice seeing so and so,” and then they’re like, “And she’s doing so much better than me.”
Don’t Feed into Comparison
See if you can not feed into any comparing at all because that’s going to be a tendency that’s really just not helpful. Have your big goal of getting your skills back, taking those steps, and then just start walking. Just start walking on that path toward your goal. Every step you take gets a party. Every step. Even if it’s so stupid and you feel like that’s the stupidest step and I shouldn’t even have to take that step, I’m telling you, party to help stay positive and confident. Party time.
Then parents, you’re like, “Yes, oh my gosh. You’ve been working so hard for that and you made progress today. I’m so happy. Let’s go get ice cream.” And the kid’s like, “Are you nuts? I just did a back walkover on a low beam with 12 mats,” and you’re like, “Yes, and you could only do it with 57 mats yesterday, so let’s party.”
Be ridiculous, and even if they’re rolling their eyes at you the whole time you’re being positive, that’s your job. And they will, ’cause most of the kids I’m talking about are like 12, and when I was 12, I was the eye rolling captain of the world, and my Mom could say nothing right. So, just be positive no matter what.
Pay Attention and Reflect
Just like I said for the first question, if things are going well, reflect. Pay attention. Write it down. What’s working?
If they’re not going well, then you’re still in the detective phase. You’re still figuring out your clues and patterns, so you got to do some writing too. It’s never random. Make sure you’re figuring out what tiny little thing could it be, and then compare it to last time you lost it.
Find the clues, find the patterns, and then when stuff isn’t going right at school, you can know, you know what? My confidence is generally a little lower right now. I’m going to need a little extra help in the gym. That’s how you get to learn your patterns.
All right, you guys. Thank you so much for joining me today. Send me questions. Rebecca@performhappy.com if you want to get in and join us and get through the fear, start building confidence, find your flow, automate success, come find us at PerformHappy.com and join in the fun. I will see you again next week, Tuesday, 4:30 Pacific time, our new time. See you then.