I need to break down a fatal flaw athletes do leading up to and during a competition.
I just witnessed it happen while watching a race series showcasing the top trail runners in the world.
Between amazing drone shots of the course, surrounded by a panorama of mountains, the episode added post-race commentary from the athletes.
One of the top 10 runners, who placed 5th in that race, was asked about the winner and what she thought of her performance.
Here’s what the 5th place finisher said.
“If she wasn’t competing, I might actually have a chance at winning.”
Bam. And there it was.
The clue to that athlete’s mindset.
And why she didn’t get on the podium.
In just one statement, she showed her weakness.
That she wasn’t good enough to win.
It showed the deeper belief she carried with her every pain-staking mile.
She didn’t train hard enough.
She’s too slow.
She can’t keep up with the pace.
The other runner is better than her.
Frustration sets in.
Her body starts to ache.
Her energy tanks.
Then she gets complacent.
In her mind, no matter how hard she pushes, she is tormented by looking at the empty trail ahead, knowing her competition is out of reach.
She’s gotten so lost thinking about her competition that she’s already lost.
In her mind, that competitor had it in the bag the moment the start gun went off.
Losing sucks. Thinking about your competition winning sucks even more.
Fear loves it when you doubt yourself. It feeds off of it. It will nag you and it will ultimately crush you.
Before you know it, your competitor is taking up more space in your mind than anything you’ve done to get ready for the race.
You might think that focusing on your competition is going to help.
You might even think that thinking about beating them while training will make you ready when it’s go time.
But it won’t.
Because you are putting your energy and focus on them.
NOT ON YOU.
When you train to compete as if there is no competition, you set yourself up to win. When you train to compete as if there is no competition, you set yourself up to win. Click To Tweet
Because there is no room for anyone else at the finish line.
There is only room for you.
You don’t picture anyone else. You don’t read articles or stalk their training regimens on Instagram. You don’t waste a second of your prep thinking about them.
You are your own competition.
You train against yourself.
You don’t care what anyone else is doing.
Because they don’t matter.
You compare you against you.
That’s the difference between obsession about your competition versus obsessing about your performance.
If you want to build your inner competitor and rewire your beliefs, the only way to do that is to condition them. Join World Class Nation and get on-demand mental conditioning designed for athletes. Click here to start your free trial now.
Train hard. Show up, and dominate your limits.
That’s how you win.
Dr. Jen Faber, DC is a performance and mental conditioning coach, working with elite athletes, olympic competitors, sports professionals, high-profile individuals and more. She helps clients train their mind as hard as their body to create world class results.
Dr. Jen is the author of Know or Be Told: How Identity Defines Success and founder of World Class Nation, an online mental conditioning membership designed to help high-performing athletes gain a competitive edge. She has been featured on CBS, CW, TalentCulture, iHeartRadio, and more. Throughout her career Dr. Jen has worked with NFL players, Triathletes, The Lady Gaga Tour, Broadway Performers, The Washington Ballet, The Kennedy Center, National Geographic.
If you want to break through the mental barriers that stand in your way, apply now to the Achilles Advantage Private Coaching Program and see if you qualify.