Just Keep Showing Up

Contributed by Tami Matheny - Founding Partner of Success for Teams, Owner at Refuse2Lose Coaching and author of "The Confident Athlete".

Confident athletes keep showing up believing that one day it will be their turn.   

Desiree Linden, the winner of this year's Boston Marathon exemplifies this very belief.  As she tweeted last month, “Some days it just flows and I feel like I’m born to do this, other days it feels like I’m trudging through hell. Every day I make the choice to show up and see what I’ve got, and to try and be better.  #Keepshowingup”. After her 5th try (she was leading and caught at the end in 2011, losing by 2 feet), she became the first US woman to win the historic race in 33 years.

Several factors related to confidence aided Linden's victory.  First, was her preparation. While many of the runners said that this year’s Boston Marathon had the most difficult conditions they had ever run in, Desiree was prepared by her training in Michigan during the winter. This preparation allowed her to embrace the difficult test in Boston that sent 81 runners to the hospital. In addition, she made sure she knew the course well, running 18 miles of it on Monday, 14 miles on Tuesday, and 20 on Wednesday.

She also prepared mentally.  She envisioned the race and what winning would looe like.  “I haven’t looked past Marathon Monday,” she said. “I think about it every day. I bring a winning attitude every day. I picture being a winner every day.”

Linden also took control of her self-talk. She admitted that she was thinking about dropping out of the race because she just didn’t feel it.  However, she was able to get past that feeling mentally and finished strong.

While preparation and one’s self-talk are critical to maintaining confidence, helping others is important as well.  When we assist others it intrinsically makes us feel better therefore boosting our confidence.  Linden told her good friend and fellow American runner, Shalane Flanagan, that she would do whatever she needed for her.  At one point, she slowed her pace to help Flanagan catch back up to the lead pack.  In doing so, Linden fueled herself as well.

Confident athletes put in the work; mentally and physically. They keep a strong mindset and they see themselves winning and being a winner. Most importantly, they keep showing up. On Marathon Monday Linden showed up and achieved a major victory. 

What do you need to keep showing up for?

Failing Your Way to Success

In case you missed it, Nick Foles (Philadelphia Eagles QB and Super Bowl LII MVP) gave some insight into the role failure has played in his success during the post game interview. At Success for Teams we have great appreciation for the role failure plays in an individual's ultimate success. Foles words are an invitation, almost, for us to embrace the humbling reality of NOT achieving what we initially set out to accomplish because of what that failure does to bring us closer to greatness.

Studies have consistently shown that as human beings our greatest fears are failure, death, and public speaking.

Recently I came across a quote by Marie Curie that read, “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.”

The Mount Ida design college in Massachusetts featured an exhibition in 2015 called Permission to Fail. "The curator asked a group of 50 prestigious designers and illustrators to send in their mess-ups, rough drafts and preliminary sketches so that they could be put on display.” The point is to teach students that the process is messy and that the "great ones" are repeatedly imperfect before creating a masterpiece.

If we can understand the valuable role that failure plays in our success, could we then embrace it instead of fear it? Can establishing a radically different relationship with our own failure truly open up a new world of success for ourselves and our student-athletes?

We think it can.

How do you build failure into your practice plan? As strange as it sounds, we wish you much failure in the weeks ahead and look forward to sharing in your inevitable success.