by Dale Trenholm

January 7, 2014 (ISN) – I believe in you, do you believe in you? The last article I wrote, “Seeing is Believing,” talks about how the first step to believing is seeing. Can you agree that once you believe in something it is challenging to either change this belief yourself or have someone change it for you?

This belief could be with your sport, a belief of someone or something, who you are, who I am, what your day is going to be like, your happiness, your bad luck – your good luck. However, others may believe something else with their sport, their happiness; they may believe bad luck is an opportunity or lesson for growth. Your belief affects your view within yourself, your results, others, and your surroundings.

What you believe, you will see – it is this simple.

Here is a good example I am sure we are all aware of. We believe that our Canadian men’s hockey team can win an Olympic gold medal, but do we believe a Canadian 1,500-metre runner can win an Olympic gold? I would bet on no. Why is this? One reason is our men’s hockey team has accomplished the Olympic gold; secondly, we expect and believe in the talent of our players and coaching staff.

However, no one has won a men’s Olympic gold medal in the 1,500 or 5,000-metre race. Why is this? Why can’t our Olympic athletes win more medals in track and field? Is it the excuses we make about not having the right facilities? Or is it the excuse that Canada has no talent, that Kenyans are born to run, or is it the following mindset: “I am just happy to be there” or “my goal is to be in the top 20.” Whatever the excuses are, they are right.

There is a quote that goes like this: “If you are training for second, why train?” There is of course a different mindset and coaching with the development of our young athletes, but as an elite athlete, winning should be your only goal, belief, and mindset. If this isn’t the case, what is holding you back? What is in your way? Most likely, you don’t believe you can be number one, and you follow this mindset with excuses as to why you can’t be number one. The thing is, I believe you, and you are right – just as much as you would be right if you did believe and had no excuses. You are right either way.

Years ago, a runner named Roger Banister repeatedly told people he was going to run under four minutes in the mile (four laps of a track).

No one believed him and some thought he was nuts to even think of trying this feat, but Roger believed and imagined with his whole heart he would do it. And in 1954, he accomplished his goal by running under four minutes in the mile. He defied all odds and all doubters.

Then, just 46 days later, other runners followed in his footsteps. Why? Because they believed that if he could do it they could as well. The people saw it done first, but Roger believed he could do it first in his imagination before he actually physically saw the results. If you look back in history, nothing was created first until it became an idea, thought, vision, and a strong desire and belief in oneself. Sport is no different; you can create the results and the belief you want by using your imagination, and then, of course, follow it with action.

Remember, the sub-conscious part of your mind doesn’t know what is impossible; it just wants you, the boss, to tell it what to do and where to go. What kind of boss do you want to be? Think of now or back with your sport: if you could be the boss back then or now, what would you do, believe, and think differently? My next article, “Setting up your sport’s GPS course,” will explain the next step to becoming an elite athlete, but only if this is the road you choose to follow. I will give you some tools to help you set up your vision, exercises to strengthen your belief system, and explain the challenges that will arise once you set up your GPS.