The first step to absolutely crush any race
Our preparation matches our commitment.
This is the first step is actually quite simple. It is so simple in fact, that it rarely gets mentioned as a possible barrier, but I have used it as a barrier and so have most other people.
It’s signing up!
If we don’t go all-in then we are in the way. And we remain testing ourselves .
We have to sign up. Then, we begin training ourselves for the event. It is a lot tougher to de-commit to something after we have invested time and money. We prepare because we are committed to the race.
The sign-up page for races is a science. It stares at us with a timer clicking down and asking us to enter our information and our payment details. It is at this moment that the game is sometimes won or lost. It is like waking up in the morning and either hitting the snooze button or just getting out of bed.
The many, many excuses about “why” we can’t sign up are most likely valid as well. But, after we sign up, the entire game changes. It is odd how our whole attitude and outlook changes the moment we sign-up for something, the moment we actually commit.
However, if we don’t sign up, we continue testing ourselves.
Commitment is the first step to crush any race.
Burn The Ships
In 1519, the Spanish explorer, Cortês arrived to the Yucatan peninsula. He landed his 11 or so ships with 500 soldiers and about 100 sailors. He then ordered his men to “burn the ships.”
He did this because there were a few men who were rumored to be conspiring to steal a ship and sail back to Spain. Cortês knew the only way they were going to conquer was if they had no other choice but to conquer. If they wanted to return home, then they would have to use their enemy’s ships. Cortês needed everyone committed to the goal without reservation or chance of retreat. He allowed no easy out.
This “burn the ships” analogy is important because the registration sites simply offer you an out, a guarantee.
They offer you an option to recoup your entry costs (for a fee of course) if you cancel.
At first glance, we may think that it is a great deal; I mean what if I get in a car accident a few days before or tear a hamstring?
Surely, being able to guarantee that I don’t lose money is good. Except, it is not. First, if you look closely, in order to retrieve most of your money you’d have to bail several days before.
If the race is less than a week away in most cases, your race costs won’t be refunded. Second, and most importantly, these race guarantees are appealing because we are geared toward protecting ourselves and avoiding danger. So, we mistakably choose the path of less resistance. If there is an out for us to take, we will take it. However, when there is no safety option for us to take, it forces us to commit.
Registering is the first step to crush any race. The only way out is through. When it comes to signing up for a race, burn the ships.
Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens.
Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly.