There is a common belief that the only way to improve performance as an athlete is to work harder than the competition. Unfortunately, most athletes will learn the hard way that hard work alone often isn't enough. The high performing athletes that I work with know that the physical side of their performance is just ONE piece of the puzzle. Mental performance is just as important. And as a mental performance specialist, working with my clients' and athletes' mental skills is a critical ingredient in the recipe used to create successful outcomes. I regularly remind my clients' to focus on mastering his or her mindset to unlock true potential.
Mindset is one of the most important yet most frequently overlooked aspects of performance. But what exactly does mindset mean? Mindset is another way to describe perspective. It is how you perceive your self-image; how you perceive the present moment; and how you view the world. A quote by Charles R. Swindoll describes mindset perfectly: "I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes".
When we are faced with challenges, our mindset will determine how we will respond. In my role as a mental performance specialist, I help my clients' develop strategies to redirect their focus when challenges arise. I work with my athletes' on developing an elite mindset so that they are able to win the game inside their head and ultimately achieve peak performance.
Now before you go ahead and start searching the internet for motivational quotes on mindset, I want to stress the importance of recognizing that mental conditioning is a skill that is developed and strengthened over time with consistent, intentional practice.
You have to be in control of your mindset before you can control your performance.
Amy Pope-Latham, LCSW is a clinical psychotherapist in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.