Understanding ourselves and our thoughts better is at the heart of an athlete or person with a strong mindset. A mindset that allows them to perform to the best of their ability under extreme pressure, and face the challenging circumstances and environments that sport and life throw at us!
So who is the “I’ in motivation? A huge part of understanding ourselves, what we are about and what we stand for, comes from realising what motivates us… The importance of understanding what motivates you is huge. The realisation and understanding of your motivation is what gets you up every morning for training, what drives your desire to succeed, what stops you from falling into the trap of going through the motions.
You see, too often we make the mistake of not differentiating between what motivates us and what our motivation is. This is very important because things that motivate you will come and go. You’ll have experienced times of greater and lesser motivation. Everyone does to some degree, even those with the strongest of mindsets. Some days you’re more motivated than others.
Often what motivates someone is the things they’ve seen or experienced, or what they believe others expectations are of them. This can also potentially de-motivate us if they’re negative. External things and experiences can dictate your motivation if you let them, rather than you understanding your own motivation. Your own motivation can and should be a constant not something that changes based on good or bad experiences and performances, or the expectations of others.
This is the key to staying motivated and on top of your game. Understand your motivation and what it is for YOU!
Success isn’t achieved overnight. Hard work over a long period of time, months, years when no one else is watching is what breeds success.
Some time ago we wrote a blog about the aggregation of marginal gains: Inch by inch. The inches are all around us.
Being and staying motivated for a long period of time is therefore one of the challenges of working towards success.
Let me ask you a simple question; why do you do the sport you do, what motivates you to do it? And before you say ‘because I’m good at it or I like winning at it or beating others’ you can’t use that as an answer. You being good at something is a result, it’s the end product. It’s not why you do it or what motivates you.
Perhaps not such an easy question to answer, is it?
Now, I’m not going to try and answer it for you, but rather encourage you to take some time out and actually try to understand yourself better and what your motivation is. Why do you do what you do? We all like things we are good at, it’s a reason why we keep doing it, but it’s different to your motivation to actually do it.
What I want you to think about and explore is what’s the thing that’s deep down in you that spurs you on to improve. The thing in you that would keep striving for excellence in your chosen sport even if there were no medals, no competitions to win or even other people to beat. If it were just you, why would you keep doing it?
Don’t rush the process; mull it over in your mind for a few minutes, hours or even days if you need to. When you start to formulate some ideas, write them down!
Having them written down means you can revisit them and never forget them. It’s a very well worth process to go through and the place we start with all our athletes when we look at performance mindset in sport.
Understanding this motivation allows you to take ownership. No longer needing to be motivated by external things or de-motivated by negative experiences or poor performances. Your motivation is personal to you. It’s yours and you own it. No one has given it to you and no one can take it away.
Having your motivation written down and clear in your mind is a great tool to have as a reminder to yourself, particularly during difficult periods of training and performances that every athlete goes through. Rather than being motivated by things that come and go, take charge and control of your motivation. You have it in you; you just need reminding of what it is.