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Your Three Selves of Mental Toughness

People have talked about near death experiences and how their life flashed before them, and I’ve had two near death experiences, which were falling off of a cliff and a car accident, but my life never flashed before me.

Before I signed up to compete in a ½ ironman in less than 2 weeks, my life was shown before me.

We all have our own experiences, setbacks, shortcomings, hang-ups, and doubts.  But, we also all have our own mental toughness, successes, motivation, level of fitness, and accomplishments.

Too often, we only focus on the excuses and limitations why we can’t do something. These limitations are usually focused on our deficiencies and proof of how we aren’t good enough. They are always rooted in the past as well.

Before embarking to crush any goal or big decisions, you’ll look at your past, your present, and your future. Where have you been? Where are you now? And where are you going?

Our Past Self

A funny thing about confidence it that there is a nosy neighbor with confidence named doubt. Wherever doubt lives, it does so, rent-free. Doubt is a squatter!  

 

Doubt always wants to hang out with confidence, but they simply don’t get along well. However, that doesn’t keep doubt from following confidence around wherever confidence goes.

It’s best to keep doubt as a neighbor rather than a roommate.

Everyone has doubts, even the best. This is normal, so just know that it is okay. What’s more important than the doubt entering your mind is that you determine how long you want to hang around with doubt. Do not allow the negative thoughts to stay around long right beside your confidence— rent-free.

The number one source of confidence is past performance. If we have done something before, then we can do it again. However, again, next to confidence is that awful roommate, past performance can also cause doubt.

Chances are that we have failed before. The failure provided feedback and an emotional connection to the pain. Perhaps that one failure or setback was so painful that it kept us from trying other challenges?

Or when we look back at our past self, maybe we see someone who has started things and journeys, but never really followed through or completed them.

Yes, you’ve had setbacks in your past, so what? Do you still let that event define you, or refine you? Does our past define who we are currently?

The answer is: only if we let it.

There’s one major question that we need to look at that will help determine our chances for success.

The question for your mental toughness is: Did you push yourself?

I believe that if you actually enjoyed working hard and pushing yourself (even if only a little bit) then you have what it takes to crush your goal.

I believe that everyone has the will to succeed; they just sometimes need the way.

If the past doesn’t provide the confidence and proof that you can crush your goal in two weeks, then merely don’t let it try and convince you that you can’t do something.


I’ve never competed in a ½ Ironman, so did my past provide the confidence I needed to finish the ½ Ironman with no training?

One of my strengths in my past has been the ability and drive to set a goal and reach it. I’ve run in a number of races before and have trained extensively for these. Some of my meager, yet personal accomplishments included a sub 20 minute 5k, a 3:23 marathon, a tough mudder, and a handful of ½ marathons and 10k’s. For a few years I also trained in the pool and managed to break 1:00 barrier in the 100 Freestyle. Since having kids, running my own business, and working with athletes, my priorities changed.  Oddly, these races often felt like another lifetime ago.

Again, our past may not always provide the confidence we like. However, one major setback and lack of confidence for me that I could not let define me was the bike. The reason I hadn’t signed up for these types of races previously is because of the bike. I biked as a kid all the time, but not as an adult. Heck, I didn’t even own a bike and haven’t ridden one in ten years. My past contained also a level of doubt.


Our Present Day Self

Next, we will have to check-in with and assess our present day self.

 Motivation lives here. The grind lives here- in the present. 

Your present day self is fraught with obstacles and distractions. Most of these keep us comfortable. The difficulty will be to answer and take action on the following questions:

Do we possess the will to go for it? Are we willing to put forth the effort and sacrifice to get it?

These are the questions that only you can answer.


Could I finish the ½ Ironman? Would I injure myself? And more importantly, did I want to do it?

Assessing my present day self raised more questions than answers about the race.

More current self revealed I was not in any type of racing shape. My runs were maybe three times a week averaging 3/4 miles a run, and my swimming has been limited to maybe 1x a week. I still worked out five days a week and either ran, swam, or strength trained, but with no immediate goals. Working out was for fitness, sanity, and fun.


Our Future Self

  We become whatever we are becoming!

Our goals are to improve 1% everyday.  If we focus on being just 1% better everyday, then we improve dramatically over a span of time.

One of the toughest things is being able to come up with a vision of who we want to become. Not what, but who? I want to become someone with no regrets and in the game. I don’t want to sit on the sideline of life and not go for it.


I once wrote down a list of 100 things I wanted to do before I die. Complete a full-Ironman was on this list. However, a ½ Ironman wasn’t on there. It was a mistake on my part because when writing down goals, most want to be President, but who wants to be Vice-President?  I also have an extreme love for my kids. I want to constantly model for them the importance of having a vision and the mental toughness to execute it.

Oddly enough, my future self may have been the biggest driving force for me signing up. It helped me answer the questions of: Could I do it? Yes, (I think so). Would I injure myself? (I don’t know). Did I want to do it? Yes, (I think so).


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 all the books on Mental Toughness


Mental Toughness to Stop in a 1/2 Ironman?

I finished a 1/2 ironman and was speaking at event reveals how we never know what or who will be our Hinge Moment. The question still remains: Would you have stopped?  This event changed my life and led to writing the new book: How to Crush a 1/2 Ironman in less than 2 weeks. 

 


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 all the books on Mental Toughness- 

smart goals are stupid

smart goals are stupid


I completely failed the first time as a young Sport Psychology coach.

I started working  with the a University baseball team. I had my mental toughness session all planned out and we were going to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. The word still makes me cringe.

Of course the team session went well, we did the song and dance, wrote them out, shared them and even had specific team goals. But, I quickly learned smart goals are stupid!

Well, one of the goals the entire team agreed upon was no errors for the upcoming weekend series. The very first play was a ground ball to 3rd base, which he bobbled and bam, there goes that  S.M.A.R.T goal down the drain.

Goals are exactly like fitness. We ALL know it is important and want to do it, but the first time we miss a workout, our goal now becomes a gut wrenching reminder about why we hate goals.

Goal-setting works, but SMART goals are stupid.

Shockingly, Some companies or teams still use this outdated method to motivate and hold you accountable for production? Are you kidding me?  Do people still drive to Blockbuster to rent movies?

Three reasons why SMART goals are stupid.


Imagine if Martin Luther King Jr. said ” I have a mission statement” Or “I have a realistic goal?”


First, SMART Goals do not offer any type of plan. Second, they inherently make you set goals that are “realistic or achievable.”  Third, they fail because there is no emotional connection to the goals. 

1:  SMART goals are apathetic.

They offer no plan, sort of like the gym teacher who just rolls out the balls at class time. These teachers simply have different things on their mind. SMART goals are bumpers for bowling. They don’t actually help you become better. As Mark Murphy posts in his blog, only 13% of people think their goals will help them maximize their full-potential. 

2: They make you put a ceiling on the goal. 

If we reached our goal in the past, (which we did, because we are achievers) then the goal just moves a bit further out next time. It produces an assembly line of goal setting, not a way to actually make a difference.  For instance, Improve your market share for the year by 5%. How is that creative or inspiring? Set Top Gun Goals Instead…

3: There is no emotional connection.

SMART goals are similar to packing for the vacation, there is a precise to-do list and set time to get them done. However, real goals are instead all about the vacation itself and what you want to do there.We need to make an emotional connection to that goal and vision about our why, our passion. Your why has to make you cry, if it doesn’t, it’s not your why.  Check out Gia Ganesh importance of the “why.”

Here’s what to do instead:

Step #1- Set a vision.

Who do you want to become?  Not what do you want to achieve, but who do you want to become? There’s room there for only 1 or 2 goals, everything else just becomes a distraction.

Step #2- Develop habits.

First we create habits, then our habits create us. We are what we repeatedly do, so begin forming routines and beliefs that align with your vision of who you want to become. 

Step #3- Focus on the now.

Become a Millionaire is your goal; great. But, you only made $85k last year?

Focus on the short-term objectives you have for your vision. These shorter-term goals are needed for momentum. When we ride a bike, we don’t need to pedal all the time, we just need momentum.  These short-term goals need to be delved into deeper and set for us to be pleased not satisfied along our journey.

Step #4- Look at them.

Look at your vision everyday.  They have to be places where we can see them and reinforce our vision. Tanya Patrice writes about the importance of looking at the goals every day and even posting motivational quotes alongside.

Obstacles and adversity will emerge along your process of becoming who you want to become. Don’t worry about that SMART goals are stupid, instead make the commitment that nothing will keep you from it, no matter what it takes. 


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-