Do you believe in yourself as a tennis player? Easier for some than others. Why is this such a struggle for some of us?
I’m re-reading Noah St. John’s book The Secret Code of Success. St. John talks about our “head trash” or the subconscious roadblocks that keep folks from acting on their real hopes and dreams. His “fun-house mirror” concept explained why some of my most talented athletes unconsciously sabotaged their own success.
Remember what it is like to look into a fun-house mirror? What happened? You’d see a weird, distorted view of yourself. It kind of looked like you, yet it wasn’t you.
Looking back at my coaching career I now see how some of my players were raised with fun-house mirrors. The self-image reflected back to them growing up was distorted. They failed to receive accurate information about who they really are. This negative reflection formed the basis of the “head trash” they are still carrying around.
It’s the little voice in their head that says things like:
- “You’re not good enough”
- “If only you had more talent”
- “What were you thinking?”
What’s missing for these athletes is a true reflection of their real self or what St. John calls a “Loving Mirror.” A loving mirror is a person who gives unconditional support – sounds like a good coach, team captain, and teammate. Nearly every successful person has someone in their life who believed in them when they didn’t believe in themselves.
St. John summarizes the evolution of success into the following stages:
- Someone believes in you.
- You believe in someone.
- You believe in you.
So instead of telling our players and our teammates to believe in themselves, we need to start with believing in them! Look for greatness within each of your teammates, find the things they may never see in themselves. Encourage them: “I know you can do it,” “I see a great player inside of you,” etc.
Remember, according to St John:
Human beings perform best in an environment of unconditional support. That happens when someone looks at you and sees your full capacity, potential, and greatness. That person knows that you can do it, and holds you to it!