It Isn’t Important What Others Say, Only What You Believe

Back in high school, I made really good grades, except anything that involved writing. Often papers would come back with messages such as “great content but you really need to work on your writing.”

One day I had a book report assigned for SR English and I told myself that I was going to spend time on this and show my teacher and myself that I can write.

The next day was a snow day and instead of playing in the snow I choose to really focus on the book report. I couldn’t wait to get back to school and turn in my report. For the next few days, I waited confidently and probably with a little smugness (because I knew it was good) to get the book report back.

Finally, the day came, and the teacher gave me my report back last -saving best for last right? Nope! Needless to say, I was crushed when I saw the big bright F with the message, “too good to be yours.” I don’t ever recall feeling so dejected. I was crushed. The teacher asked me to stay after class. She told me that she couldn’t prove it, but she just knew that I had copied, plagiarized or had someone write it for me. I was so mad and sad at the same time that I didn’t trust myself to respond at that moment.

What the high school version of me didn’t realize was the underlying message. Despite the result the teacher gave me, the message was that the paper I turned in (and did completely on my own) was really good. For years, I let this become a chain around me and a self-fulfilling prophecy that I couldn’t write.

As I became a mental game coach and would stand in front of teams and even on stages to an audience of hundreds, I refused to write- no blog, no book, etc. I had confidence to speak but not write due to a label others had put on me.

Finally, I had a coach I worked with call me out. He said if I wasn’t willing to get outside of my comfort zone as I often preached to teams, then why would he want to hire me. Message received and I started on a journey to write about the subject I felt most confident about- confidence.

About 6 months later, “The Confident Athlete” was born, and I became a “writer” (I still struggle with identifying as that at times). This past winter, my 5th book, “Challenger Deep: Athletes Rising Above Adversity” was coauthored with Jeff Heggie. And there are about 3 more on the backburner.

I share this because I want to help others learn this important lesson sooner than I did. What others say about you isn’t what’s true unless you believe it. What is important is what you believe. Additionally, a result (such as an F or a loss in a sporting event) doesn’t define you unless you allow it to. Recognizing short term results as learning opportunities instead of reasons to give your confidence away is an important component of success.

If you are looking to build confidence and/or overcome adversity (not only for athletes) check out my books on Amazon or send me a message and I’ll be happy to sell you a book with a signed copy.