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I was told early on in life to use “I” statements. I was also instructed to use feeling words like frustrated, upset, and agitated. Yep, those seem accurate descriptors when I am pissed. The key is to train and remember this linguistic skill during stressful times especially when having arguments (growth moments) with my wife.

However, I was never properly instructed on how I should talk to myself.

We rarely talk negative to ourselves when we are thriving and doing well; frankly that’s not mental toughness! When we are on track, we can basically say anything to ourselves that will help us focus.

Mental Toughness however occurs when we are struggling, when things are not going well. The inner chatter, inner voice, and dialogue that we have can take a dramatically different tone.

We are also poor at diagnosing our own self-talk. So, check this out and let me know if you agree.

YOU idiot, YOU suck today, YOU should know better…You, You, You…

These dominate the negative thoughts. I think the YOU statements occupy about 80% of the negativity.

The YOU voice can also ask rhetorical, outcome-based questions. “Are you sure you should be here?” ” You think that is correct?” “Suppose you fail?”

It doesn’t mean we don’t use negative I statements, but if we had a negative parent, or a negative coach, chances are, the YOU negativity, are the statements we will hear. I’ve even heard pro’s at the end of a season just berate themselves, and say things like “you’ve never had it.” Who told him that?

When we hear that inner voice utter YOU, it’s a red flag. The YOU voice is accusatory, its judgmental, and it saps our confidence and focus. It is the same reason why we don’t use it in discussions with our spouse.

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   

 

There’s a Huge MYTH about Trust

The best part about sports is that it is NOT like life. In athletics, A team or player won or lost, period.  Wash and wear. There is little ambiguity, because the Ball Don’t Lie.

Life on the other hand has tons of ambiguity to it. It is not as clear cut, nor clean. In fact, it’s messy.  In Life, there is a lot of gray.

Trust is the most important mental skill. (e.g., confidence) for success because it impacts all the other mental skills, but we automatically think in all or nothing terms…We have trust or we don’t. There’s the huge myth about trust. 

Trust is a continuum, It’s not ALL or NOTHING! Addicts think that way, ALL or NOTHING. I am either the best ever, or I am a horrible loser and no one is there for me.

I trust my pastor, but not for him to cut my hair. I trust myself with helping high-performers and athletes, but not for me to fix my own deck or garage door.

It’s not a question of IF I trust, it’s a question of HOW MUCH do I trust?

Trust is a process… HOW MUCH do we trust our coaches and loved one’s?  Trust affects everything because the more we trust and have confidence, the better focused, relaxed, and honest we become. Think about it, if we give a task to someone and know that it will be done, it frees us up to focus on something else.

How much do we trust our gut, and our own instincts?

Life teaches us that we are going to struggle and also be under pressure moments. When we mess up, how much of our trust and confidence is left, and how do we continue to build and work on it.

Proverbs 3:5-Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding

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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   

Glenn South 40I really had little clue of the importance of details.  I’ve heard it and lived it many times, but it finally hit home. While shooting the mental toughness film titled No Fear- A Simple Guide to Mental Toughness. Did you know that if one can accurately roll the A/V cables, then you’ll have a job in the movie/video/MTV business. That’s it, and always show up 15-minutes early.

Media production classes even have rolling up AV cable as part of the final. It’s that important. The cables are 2k a piece (on the low end) and in the midst of tons of expensive equipment, the cables can’t ever be compromised. Any kink in the cable can cause the slightest volume fluctuation or disruption. It all starts and ends with how they are rolled up. In large moving sets, the cables must be thrown out so that they will roll successfully and fast.

Now, I take great pride in everything I do, but I admit, I neglected the rolling up piece. I know how my christmas lights are stored away and even my ear buds in my gym bag. I run into kinks all the time!

How we finish is important, like stretching, writing out to-do lists, cooling down, and checking over our work for errors. But when you’re finished, it doesn’t matter until you start again…Maybe that’s the key, finishing strong and going over the details helps us when we start again, because there is no finish line.  If it made a significant difference, would we actually pay attention to it or just hope for a job in the movie industry?

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The Hinge-The Importance of Mental Toughness Dr. Rob BellDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology coach. DRB & Associates based in Indianapolis works with professional athletes & corporate athletes, coaches, and teams building their Mental Toughness.  His 2nd book is titled The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness. Follow on twitter @drrobbell  or contact drrobbell@drrobbell.com

Why I Am Doing an Ironman

 

build mental toughness.

“The Hangover,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Stay with the PAIN to Build Mental Toughness

  • I once fell off an 80-foot cliff and lay at the bottom until the EMS unit craned me out. I had a broken wrist, my head was gashed open, and my lower back was in an extreme amount of pain. I had to take a daily regiment of Hydrocodone and still could only make it through half the day.
  • At another low point, I was in a car accident and struck the windshield so hard that it broke my jaw and my collarbone. They had to wire my jaw and 8 weeks later removed the wires from my mouth. It felt like razor blades slicing through my gums.
  • As a sophomore in high school, I was the starting second baseman and made an error to lose a game. I felt like such a loser that my head was in my hands the entire bus ride home. I ended up losing my starting position.
  • As a caddy, I even dropped a golf ball during a professional event and cost my player two shots during the tournament!

These four instances surfaced as either physical or mental pain. However, no physical pain is without mental pain. In all of these, I had messed up, and although the physical pain soon passed, what remained were the beliefs and feelings about myself.

The residue of not feeling good enough weighed more heavily than any trophy and that does not build mental toughness. 

If you have broken a bone or failed, then you understand how bad it hurt at the moment.

However, the most interesting part about pain is that it fades… that pain becomes generalized. One cannot go back and recreate just how bad or painful it precisely was, we just remember that it hurt. That is why they say, “time heals…”

Now, time does not heal completely. Pain leaves scars. But, we have a choice in how we move forward; we can choose either the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.

Hold onto that pain to help your mental toughness.

Yes, we must move on, but try to never forget that pain completely.

Addicts, we call this remembering our rock bottom! In order to build mental toughness means being able to stay in touch with the pain and still not be consumed by it.  Pain can help us with our gratitude, because we realize we are no longer in that state. It also assists with our focus and motivation. We are now driven toward another goal and way of being.

Click here to subscribe to my Friday Mental Toughness newsletter..

 
dr rob bell

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & Associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out all the books.   

Please check out the podcast 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment.

redskins

Kenya’s long-distance runner & two-time Olympic Champion, Kip Keino uttered these words so athletes would consider performance enhancing drugs. “When you stand on the podium, you must ask yourself, did I win this medal?”

I heard Hall of Fame coach, Joe Gibbs, speak recently. (He is in both the NFL and Nascar Hall of Fame.)  He told stories and talked about his faith and gave everyone a copy of his new book, Game Plan for Life.

He had his 1st Superbowl ring with him and announced that everyone could put on the ring and take their picture with him. I was about 10th in line and sure enough, everyone was putting on the illustrious ring and posing with coach.

When I shook his hand, I told him I grew up in Maryland and was a life-long Redskins fan. He proceeded to give me the ring and ask if I wanted my picture with it.

I told him, “Coach, I know what that ring represents and I didn’t earn it, I can’t put it on.” Joe Gibbs, said “ I appreciate that or respect that” and I had my picture with him while the ring lay on the table. Joe Gibbs & Dr. Rob Bell

Anything worth getting in life, we have to work for. Last time I checked, they don’t give championships, scholarships, high-paying jobs, or Super Bowl rings away!

Maybe that is the issue with motivation in general?  We are given too much, feel we deserve it, and don’t really appreciate it. Or worse, we expect it to be easy to earn.

Click here to subscribe to my Friday Mental Toughness newsletter…

Rob Bell revised slide3Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology coach. DRB & Associates based in Indianapolis works with professional athletes & corporate athletes, coaches, and teams building their Mental Toughness.  His 2nd book is titled The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness. Follow on twitter @drrobbell  or contact drrobbell@drrobbell.com

Check out the new film & e-book, NO FEAR: A simple guide to mental toughness .

 

 

 

Light Bulb Graphic

 

hate ourselves to success


Can We Hate Ourselves to Success?

Yes, It works! And it is powerful!

Although I don’t have research to support this notion, HATE is probably the strongest motivator of all… Many successful people were driven and consumed by this over-arching motivation to prove others wrong! 

The hatred manifests itself with a belief that “I’m not good enough,” or ”It’s never good enough.” All perfectionists have this mentality. 

Future Hall of Fame linebacker, Ray Lewis, was driven by bitterness because his father was never around. As a kid, he would do push-ups and sit-ups until he passed out, as a way to deal with the pain.

This mentality of “never being good enough” and hatred is driven by a rage and burning desire to be successful, no matter what. 

Work Harder! Strive Harder!

Unfortunately, this hatred is toxic and it will never lead to happiness. We can’t hate ourselves    and live our lives successfully. 

The sad part is that to hate ourselves to success is temporary and WILL easily turn upon itself and become directed inward. It leaves hate lingering around and doesn’t go anywhere until a new target shows up. It ends up like a torpedo shot from a submarine, which starts looking for any target.

Anger directed inward becomes depression.

The motivation it takes to hate ourselves to success is skewed. The unquenchable desire for success is that we just don’t like ourselves and we are not good enough. Our belief is that the only way we can become good enough is through our achievement. Life teaches us that we are actually going to lose more than we are ever going to win, and when we win, it’s not for very long.

Even the best athletes at the pinnacle of their success, winning a super bowl, Masters, or US Open can feel lacking…Bernhard Langer after winning the 1985 Masters stated, “I had just won the Masters, I’m driving to Hilton Head with my beautiful young wife, and I felt empty.”

Now, not many will admit that they don’t like themselves. It requires too much rigorous honesty.

The alternative is more difficult and actually requires more work, because we hate ourselves for not being good enough our entire life. It’s all we know!

We are often the hanging judge after mistakes and setbacks would pass sentence, “off with our head.” I mean we would never talk to our loved ones the way we would actually talk to ourselves and that’s because we still hate ourselves. 


The only way to not hate ourselves is to not judge ourselves and know our true identity! 

The solution is the realization that we are good enough, we are sanctified, and we are righteous. Not by anything that we have done, but through the love of God for us and allowing his son to accept all of our shortcomings, past, present, and future.

We can then begin to operate from a different set of beliefs. It doesn’t mean the striving ends, but the motivation now stems from a different place and one where we can make a lasting impact and one of significance.

Which mentality are you?


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 books on Mental Toughness- 

one way to be confident

One Way to Be Confident


Let’s face it, Everyone faces adversity, encounters struggle, and goes through dry spells.

Mental toughness is how we handle, deal, and cope with these setbacks. and adversity. 

It’s simple, but it’s just not easy.

Confidence is the most important part of mental toughness and a true indicator of how we handle the struggle…

Confidence is simply the belief that it will all work out.

Trust in our own team also means we believe that they will get the job done as well. A result of confidence is that the best remain relaxed and don’t freak out when the outcome is not going their way. The way to be confident is to not let anything bother you! 

So, here is one way to be confident.

Nothing Bothers You!

The best simply let nothing bother them. They believe in their process so much, that they refuse to let setbacks affect their mindset or their team.

It’s amazing to see, but the best manage to keep their poise and focus. Nothing bothers them! They keep their head when others are losing theirs. It is the major impact of trust and the true test of one’s level of belief and mental toughness.

Now, we all get stressed, but what is our level of confidence during these times?

The Little Things

It is common for the major changes or setbacks to bother us…

However, ever notice when we get stressed that everything seems to bother us, like the person next to us in traffic or our family? When we are confident, these things don’t bother us at all, however they become the first thing to annoy us when we lose our belief that things will work out.

“Nothing Bothers You” is one way to be confident!

We can actually make this mantra a goal to be achieved rather than just an outcome of confidence. The only way we can achieve our goal of “nothing bothers me”, is if we are confident!

What we are really agreeing to is the belief that “I don’t need everything to go my way in order to be successful. I believe it will work out and I am going to act as if.”

Check out this Golf Channel clip from PGA Tour player Ryan Blaum on his mantra of “nothing bothers him.” It’s the one way to be confident. 


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 books on Mental Toughness- 

Injuries suck!

They are one of the toughest things an athlete will handle. Often, athletes do not deal well with injuries either. The way athletes cope with life issues is through their sport. If they are playing well, then everything is okay. However, once an athlete is injured, their source of coping is removed and issues can become severe.

Most athletes that are injured and can’t play, experience some sort of depression. They have lost the most precious part of their identity, so they will grieve and not know how to deal. They will become angry, sad, and feel isolated. They immediately become a lesser part of the team; heck even their rehab is done away from the team practice.

Here are a few things I’ve noticed.

Timing is everything

Injuries cause stress and when it is an important part of the season, it is way more difficult for an athlete to handle. In 2008, future Hall of Fame running back, LaDainian Tomlinson was injured in the playoffs and couldn’t play. He was criticized for how he handled the situation as a leader, but this is often what happens when athletes become hurt during critical parts of the season. They simply don’t know how to cope.

On the other hand, injuries that occur in the off-season, or pre-season can be dealt with more care. Depending on the prognosis, there is more hope that they can return, which can provide a motivating fuel for rehab.

Sport Psychology is needed

Coaches are focused on the team and personnel they have, so there isn’t much time to devote to an injured athlete. Thus, Athletic Trainers and Sport Psychology coaches are crucial when an athlete is injured. Athletes on the sidelines are more than willing to talk and this is where real support takes place, helping an athlete cope in healthy ways and channel their focus in positive directions.

Return at 100%

Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports

RGIII of the Washington Redskins made it public that he was going to return for week 1 of the 2013 NFL season. He did, but he was not healthy. I am not certain he was healthy at all last season and he lost confidence and performed poorly.

Athletes almost always return from their injury too soon. In the athletes mind, they feel close to the same as before the injury, however after returning too fast, they soon discover that they are off. They may feel fine for 9 out of 10 plays, but that one play where they can’t cut, accelerate, or move like before causes doubt. Physically, it causes them to muscle guard and protect the injured area.

Doubt, which has never been there before is suddenly present. Doubt causes slight hesitations, over-thinking, or even trying to do too much. As a result of the doubt and less than stellar play, they lose confidence!

It takes a village. Teammates, coaches, and loved one’s all need to support the athlete to return when completely healthy and in game shape.

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   

confidence

Why Confidence is Just A Feeling


I have had a few head coaches that I really respect disagree with this statement that “confidence is a just a feeling.”

Folks on twitter have messaged me with their own arguments about confidence. Even some mental coaches disagree with this statement.

But, I’ll defend it…I’m stubborn.

It is the most important part of mental toughness, because it’s the most difficult and it  affects all other skills.

It’s second tier on the hierarchy of Mental Toughness because we do things and attempt things we’ll be successful at and believe that we can do. Belief & trust are also the same concept. So, why is it just a feeling? 

Research has shown that there are four sources of confidence. Physiological states are one source. How we feel!

  • When athletes or musicians perform at their best, I ask them; what were you thinking about? Their answer………” nothing.”  They were in the moment, in flow. 

  • Have you ever finished a workout or a run, looked at yourself in the mirror and thought, “Hey, I look good.” Honestly, you look absolutely no different from when you began, except you now feel different. 
  • Elite performers all stress that when they are playing their best, the event actually slows down. They feel in complete control.
  • The first thing that goes when an athlete starts performing poorly is the lack of FEEL. Their play or technique may look fine, but if they don’t feel confident, they will search to get that feeling back. 
  • Our prayers are not automatically answered, but we feel better after doing so, or even meditating. We feel at peace. 

Body language doesn’t talk, it screams.

Mental coaches, myself included, teach ways to become confident by changing our physiology, our body language, and how we feel.

If trust wasn’t a feeling, then why stress focused breathing, becoming centered, or getting B.I.G.?

What happens when we lose confidence however is that our feeling now turns into thoughts. We just begin to think too much. We no longer trust our instincts, our gut. Instead, we get stuck inside of our own head and try to think our way into right acting.

The real key is still finding a way to win when we are NOT confident! 


Dr. Rob Bell Mental Toughness

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out all the books on Mental Toughness 

 mentality

The Toxic Mentality

I have bad days, I get down.

I lose belief and I’ll feel like I am not good enough. I also have days where I do well, but for many reasons, I just didn’t perform up to my own standards.

I don’t like feeling like this way, so what occurs when I get like this however is I develop the toxic “at least” mentality.

“AT LEAST” I ran today, “AT LEAST” I am not as slow as that person, “AT LEAST” I showed up, “AT LEAST” we played well.

What I am really saying to myself is “at least” I am not a loser… But, I am also saying, I am not a winner…The “at least” mental state is dangerous and systemic. Once it enters our vocabulary either within ourselves or our team, it can easily seep into our core beliefs.

The “at least” attitude means we chose to make an excuse. 

Settling was okay. Mediocre wasn’t all that bad.

Going through the motions became an option. We chose to live inside the comfort zone. I basically valued my self worth as a “maybe” rather than a “yes.”

The toughest part of winning is the will to prepare.  Committing  to everything that is needed to win, means developing a winner’s mindset as opposed to an “at least” mind-set.  We must instill the belief that we deserve what we are going to achieve because of our preparation, because at no point did we settle.

However, what lacks is the belief…We develop an “at least” mentality because we wanted, we just weren’t willing… We weren’t really willing to sacrifice, willing to develop the needed focus, or willing to work on our weaknesses. We looked around us and said “I’m not all that bad.” Preparation and motivation involves the belief in oneself and that our goal or vision can be reached! Setbacks, adversity, and struggle are going to happen, but it is how we overcome these obstacles.

The bottom line is that losing happens way more than winning ever does. There is always a runner-up finish, a 2nd place team, and second best in show. The question must be asked,  is “at least” mental state an acceptable option for you?


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- 50 Ways to Win: pro Football’s Hinge Moments