As a kid, in a basketball game, as I was approaching the free-throw line to score two crucial points, a timeout was called and I remember a well-intentioned team member said to me, “Whatever you do, don’t miss.” At this point, I was jumpier than a virgin at a prison rodeo! I pictured missing the free throw. Thankfully, in the huddle, post remark, my coach said to me, “You shoot 100 free throws a day for reason. Do what you do, you’re ready.” Immediately, a switch flipped and execution became my focus and I hit both free throws.
Bottom line is, if you concentrate on the outcome (not missing a free throw/lift, whatever) you can’t concentrate on executing the process. In sport or any goal-oriented activity, you need to detach yourself from the outcome and focus on the process of execution!
Picture < Words
The words you say are a means to an end! What really matters is what those words cause you to picture. This is self-talk 101 and why we included an entire section on it in Grounded in Gratitude. Tell yourself not to squat high and you will be thinking about squatting high, it would have had the same effect to just say to yourself , “Squat high.” Conversely, had depth been as issue, you can tell yourself, “Execute proper depth” and that will be your focus.
If I tell you not to focus on the pink elephant in the room, where does your focus go?
Your self-talk, the meaning of the words you convey, builds or tears down your self-image which is simply a summation of your habits and attitudes.