[quote_right]The trick is to turn your setbacks into something temporary, specific and external[/quote_right]Ok, so last edition we talked about how to outwit the devil on your shoulder that makes continuing too hard and giving in too easy. Giving in might be not putting in that extra 1% in a TT, it might be pulling the pin during an enduro nightmare, or not hitting that gap at speed. Whatever it is, it is not getting your best ride on the table. In this post we are going to take a look at how to tune in to your, well, angel. Ok – that sounds way too soft. Let’s tune into our cheerleading drill sergeant. Yes. Let’s go with that.
So, as a reminder to where we are, the keys to the vaulted kingdom of resilience are Temporary, Specific and External. The trick is to turn your setbacks into something temporary, specific and external. Once you have this mastered you can use the same concepts to build your confidence and strength.
The focus for this side of confidence boosting equation is to make the good things that happen for us Permanent, Global and Internal. That means we want to make sure when we do something well we are paying attention to it and giving ourselves credit for it. This generally leads to a growth in confidence and mental strength which in turn makes athletes more resilient and more successful.
Let’s look at what each one really means.
Permanent means exactly what it sounds like. When something good happens we want to process it as ‘this is how it is now and forever’. For example, let’s say we had a good race result. The thoughts on this we should be encouraging are ‘this is what I am capable of’, ‘it is how I ride now’, ‘I am now one of the top riders, yeah I AM NEXT LEVEL’! You get the idea. It is a new, unchanging state. An ability that stays with you – not a transient state.
Global means we want to apply the positive outcome to everything we do. Say we had a good start in a race. The thoughts to reinforce here should be I am starting with the best athletes now, I am one of the best. Instead of thinking we are good at starts, we should just be thinking we are a good cyclist. Apply it across the board, not to a narrow focus.
Internal means we are attributing the outcomes directly to ourselves. We are taking the credit for the result we created. It is not luck, it is a direct result of something we did. I prepared really well and was able to bring it on the day. I raced well because I prepared correctly. I raced well because I had done all the training. I raced well because I know how to bring my best performance when it counts. I did that. You get the idea. It is not luck, or a one off.
If a rider can do this well they come out from their successes with increased confidence in their capability and can carry that forward as a key factor to improving on their performances each time. And it is linked, of course, to bouncing back from setbacks as this makes it easier to put the bad pile in temporary, specific, and external. That’s how you HTFU.
Let’s take a look at some scenarios.
Obviously we aren’t talking about total fabrication or denial here – telling yourself you are going to win the next crit because you only got lapped twice in this one won’t do much for you.
[quote_box_center]But subtle ways of viewing exactly the same outcome that reinforce the good will start to make a difference.[/quote_box_center]
Rider one places for the first time in the top five of a local crit. In reviewing their performance the rider reinforces the following ideas – I have built the strength to crack the top five now, and learned the race craft to be able to be there at the end and give myself a chance. I am now a top five rider. I can do it again. Not only was it a good result, but more importantly processing this way makes them feel that they have stepped up their overall capability. They have increased their confidence.
Rider two places for the first time in the top five of a local crit. In reviewing their performance they attributed their good result to external factors, and to a one off race specific context. ‘The guy that usually wins was away so I was able to do ok. I found myself in the break at the right time and was lucky. If it was a sprint I would have lost’. They feel it was a good day, but have missed the opportunity to take away the specific perception that they have improved or are better than their previous racing. They have missed out on improving their confidence and resilience and it will be harder to ride with courage.
When you first start to work on it, it might feel weird or unnatural. It will get easier over time and you’ll find the words that work for you. And if you do it right, this learned optimism will make you unstoppable.
See you on two wheels! – Rach