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The self belief battle

Inspiration comes to us in many different forms. It may come by watching a great sporting moment on television or listening to someone recalling a personal battle to overcome the odds and achieve success. For others, it may even come in a quiet moment of personal reflection.

In reality it matters little how we are inspired, what counts is how effective we are at converting the emotional energy attached to inspiration into the action and the results we desire.

If we are inspired to achieve big, scary outcomes, the biggest single obstacle we face as humans embarking on a new journey into the uncharted waters of life is a lack of self belief. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new career direction, a new relationship or a higher level of challenge in your chosen sport, most people feel a sense of inner resistance in the form of discomfort and even anxiety.

This emotion radiates from a part of our brain that controls the “fight or flight syndrome”.

This part of our brain largely serves to anchor us in our current behaviour patterns thus avoiding feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. But such inhibitory action comes at the expense of the personal growth because we can only grow if we dare step out of our comfort zones into the unknown. These powerful restrictive actions manifest in the form of highly engaging negative self-talk such as “I can’t do that” or “What will they think”.

So what is the net effect of this self talk?  A reduction in our own self belief and self efficacy.

The great thing that research into sports psychology has shown us over recent decades is that using fairly simple techniques, we can significantly improve our levels of self belief and subsequently our chances of converting inspiration into positive outcomes.

In would be fair to say that most people, including you would have a history of achievements in one form or another, correct? Yet rarely do people give themselves the credit for what they have achieved in their lives.

The steps to eliminating our own personal self-doubt and belief is by simply reflecting on what you’ve already done in your lifetime. This can provide a significant boost to your levels of self belief. Try the following self-efficacy exercise:

Step 1

Relax in a quiet area, close your eyes and think of as many experiences as possible where you:

  • felt a sense of achievement and performed well at a task

  • you showed persistence and determination to succeed in the face of difficulties

  • you were totally committed to an objective

  • you received some accolade or praise for your efforts

  • any activity that you performed that would be worthy of praise if someone else was doing it

Don’t rush the process and it may be done over several sessions. The key factor is developing a sizable list of achievements rather than scale or size of the achievements.

Step 2

Make a written list and add to the list when you recall more experiences.

Step 3

In your minds eye, make a “movie” of all these successes and replay that movie over and over several times a day for at least a week.

Step 4

Reflect on the key qualities that you as the central successful person in the movie epitomised and repeat these affirmations several times with genuine emotion each time the “movie” finishes.  Eg “I am a genuine achiever” “I am capable of overcoming anything that’s thrown at me”.

By combining the use of visualisation with affirmations we are accessing both the creative and logical regions of our brain.

Step 5

Build the movie making and affirmation process into your daily schedule.

By choosing to focus on positive references from our past experiences, we are creating a positive emotional base from which we can more easily control our current actions and work towards realising those big, scary goals that previously seemed a lifetime.


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