killing your mental toughness

Three Things Killing Your Mental Toughness

We can’t connect the dots in our lives moving forward, we can only connect them looking backward.

That means we don’t know how things are going to turn out.

In our lives, there will be these small moments that make all the difference. These Hinge moments will connect who we are now to who we become. We need to be ready and we need to be confident.

Confidence is the foundation of your mental toughness. When I lose confidence, I isolate, and only mushrooms and mold can grow in the dark.

Here are the three things killing your mental toughness

1) Expectations-   

Growing up, my expectations were simple, Be The Best.

Except, I added two words to that mantra, at everything. I wanted to be the fastest, smartest, funniest, best looking, etc. Heck, I wasn’t any of those things even in my own class.  I can’t even be the best Rob Bell, A pastor holds that title.

Tiger Woods used to say, “ I expect to win the tournament.” 

Expectations are not confidence, but we confuse the two. Expectations and confidence are just cousins.

We can have confidence in the things we can control, but we hold no control over how we want things to work out. Expectations are out of our control and they turn into tomorrow’s resentments. Continuing to have the highest of expectations means we will struggle when we have to adjust and troubleshoot. We basically only control, our effort, our attitude, our confidence, and how well we let of mistakes and re-focus. 

2) Doubts-

I just thought that the very best didn’t have doubts.

Whereas, I bumped my head continually on self-doubt.

It was only after I spoke with Olympic Gold Medalists that they confessed they too had doubts. Things go wrong and bad outcomes happen, but these champions believed in their preparation and more importantly they believed in themselves. Fear grows on our doubts. I hate listening to the doubt inside my head, so I have to recognize it.

When things are bad, remember it’s just temporary and your mental toughness will return.

Make adjustments, breathe, let it go and if that doesn’t work, do it again.

3) Drugs, Alcohol, Sex-

The better we get, the more important mental toughness is off the field than on the field.

James Banks was the best college football player I saw live (outside of Randy Moss).

This James Banks later stated after getting kicked off of Tennessee’s football team, “All because I wanted to have a good time.”  Examine the BEST in our area who didn’t make it, chances are, one of these three was the culprit.

All three of these things derailed my short baseball career in college. Off the field, issues will kill your mental toughness.

top mental toughness coachDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & Associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent books on Mental Toughness- 

dominate that fear

dominate that fear

5 Ways to Dominate that FEAR

Fear takes us further than we want to go and keeps us longer than we want to stay.

Fear underlies almost all emotions, disappointment, sadness, motivation, anger, even fear of getting angry. Because fear dominates our lives, this list is 5 ways to dominate that FEAR.

It was the impetus to produce my latest film & eBook NO FEAR: A Simple Guide to Mental Toughness.


If we can’t identify where the fear is coming from or what it is about, how can we possibly begin to challenge it? One way or another, fear stems from the belief that “it” won’t work out how I want it to.

Romans 8:1 states, there is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus. If you believe in that verse, then any thoughts of fear, self-ridicule, or not being good enough are certainly not from God, the source is coming from someplace else.

Hint: it’s not ourselves


Think of fear as a person, not an emotion. He will try to show us why we should be afraid! That individual will direct our attention to the outcome, the result, and something out of our control. Fear wants us to become obsessed with some event or person in the future, a year, a month, even a day. It also wants us to look backward not at our successes, but our short-comings and our failures.  Fear losses it’s grip when we stay in the now. It’s one way that we dominate that fear!


Fear is not all or nothing. Yes, your son or daughter may get injured, not play DI in college, or get in an accident. Yes, we may fail. 

If we take a game-winning shot and miss, it will hurt. If we attempt a change in our business, we may get stuck! All truths. But fear does not stop there. It keeps going and going; fear catastrophizes.

It takes us down a road of imagining the worst-case scenario. Imagining that if we try and fail, well not ONLY will it suck, but also my friends will think I am a failure and I will lose my job. We can dominate that fear by ranking it from 1-10, if it’s higher than a 6, go to the next step. 


We keep our biggest fears to ourselves and when we do that, fear can grow legs.

Most people share with their friends, hairdressers, or bartenders so why not share fears with them? They aren’t experts and won’t be able to provide quality solutions,

but a problem shared becomes half a problem.

Once we verbalize aloud and can hear our own voice, the fear actually diminishes instantly. Try it!


Mental toughness is not about doing it alone, it is about surrendering to the things out of our control. Having worked with many successful high achievers, I am convinced the biggest fear is simply not being good enough.

The expectations and pressure to succeed often become overwhelming and even if it is good enough, it doesn’t last for very long.

The fear returns, knocking on our door, saying, “remember me?” When we let go of the fear, it let’s go of us…

For more in-depth strategies on dominating that fear, check out my film & eBook. NO FEAR: A Simple Guide to Mental Toughness.

Henry Rollins photo by

It is what is. It’s only uttered by people who experienced a setback or are just miserable. I’ve never heard it by someone holding up a trophy. Although, my goal is to have an athlete hold up a trophy and is so consumed by the process that they say, “hey, it is what it is.”  

A focus on winning doesn’t lead to winning, a focus on the process does. However, our thoughts are often directed on the result and the outcome. When we do this, we welcome the ugly guest of FEAR into our game. Here’s 10 ways to forget about the outcome.

1) Talk to a teammate or competitor- Get outside of our own head, we are behind enemy lines. Andrew Luck actually congratulates guys who sack him! 

2) TELL yourself what you’re going to do next!- don’t ask questions in competition, it only brings forth doubt.

3) Make the picture big- When I focus on going on vacation or that dinner date next week, I get happy.  One of my players loved eating so much, he would talk about where we were going afterwards. Make the picture even bigger, we must know that it all works out, because it has so far.

4) Make the picture small again- Focus just on making one play, the next one!

5) Breathe- Breathe and look for the opportunity. 

6) Rock, Paper, Scissors- If you’ve got a sport with some down time, play a quick game! It reduces the tension. check it out here…

7) Repeat your mantra- hopefully you have one… what refocuses you?

8) Think about your family- I get happy when I think about mine, but it also kicks in the drive.

9) Think about your behind– You know, your past successes. If all we had were good memories, how would you play?

10) Act as if- Before I take the stage or work with a team, I act as if I am Henry Rollins or Bobby Jones. How would someone better than me act?

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kid: Build Their Mental Toughness