Confidence is the #1 skill needed for mental toughness
As is evident with many attributes, confidence is the most important component of mental toughness. It impacts everything else from motivation and decision-making to focus. Without confidence the other factors are harder to develop and work on because they will always fall back on confidence. If you doubt yourself, it will be that much harder to motivate yourself to do the work that is necessary to reach the goal you have in mind. Doubt will pull your focus away from the task at hand and bring your focus internally to your negative mind and self-doubt. Sports rely on our ability to maintain focus on the cues around us, to the things outside of ourselves.
So what exactly is confidence? One definition of self-confidence relates to self-assurance in one’s personal judgment, ability, power, etc. To me that is very broad and makes it difficult to really know how to increase self-confidence. Obviously how things are going in our life or the results of our performance can help us temporarily feel better about our ability and judgment because we are getting a positive reinforcement that indicates they are strong. However, what happens when our environment is not going as we hope or anticipated? What happens if we are in a slump? Well, then self-confidence goes down as well because now doubt starts to creep in and we are not sure about our abilities or judgment.
This is how most people experience self-confidence, a roller coaster of a ride that is usually highly dictated by what is happening in their lives. This puts self-confidence out of our control and makes it very difficult to do anything about it. One of the first questions I ask clients is, “How do you increase self-confidence?” Their response most of the time is, “Play better or get the results I want.” That will definitely help boost confidence; however, often we need the confidence in order to play better and get the results we are looking for.
So how do we build that inner confidence? First, we need to look at our belief and trust in ourselves. Belief and trust are the foundation of confidence, and without them confidence will never be where it needs to be. One of the ways to help build trust is through building your reliability. When you follow through on the things you say you will do you will be more trustworthy to yourself and to others. Trust is trust and if you have more trust in yourself to do the little things from day to day the more likely you will trust yourself when it comes to bigger things. Without the foundation of trust there, then it will be that much harder to trust yourself to come through in clutch situations.
If you want to learn more about mental toughness sign up here for a free download of my first book Get Into the Zone. With the download you will receive emails with excerpts from my second book The Essential Building Blocks of Mental Toughness due out late summer.