iNflating or deFLating confidence happens all the time. Do you notice how others can have such and influence on your own confidence, and that is not to mention how much your own self talk can magnify what others say and do. Over the last few days I have reflected on moments during my life when someone has said something that has boosted my confidence and when someone has drained me confidence with something they have said. To put into context I recall vaguely someone back in 1992 when I was in my final year of school saying to me, ‘you just like the guys in the Oarsome Foursome. Your have the same build as Nick Green and James Tomkins. You could be like them if you continue on with rowing.’ Now the thing is ever since that time that was such a powerful thing running around in my head. This idea that I could be like those guys inspired me. It filled me with confidence. In fact not long after the school season finished I remember deciding to row on in part because of this type message. I can appreciate that there was much more to it, but I vivid recall the feeling of swelling with optimism and a sense of purpose began to sharpen in focus. I share this because recently I have played many of the inflating messages over in my mind to better understand some of the triggers to enabled me to believe. I have like every experienced the opposite to with someone saying something that has flattened me. I do try to focus on the possibilities of what can be when we are confident though. The other big factor here is the self talk and it is one that I feel I have been intense with. From early days as a young kid with my Dad whispering to me before BMX races, ‘concentrate, concentrate, get a good start.’ From these early beginning I think I developed great strategies in using self talk to get more out of my self in a race or during a performance. That’s not to say I didn’t have time when the down spiral of negative self talk didn’t occur. It did and still does, but being able to recognise it and adjust it is the key. So the confidence balloon is something of an image I have and the influences on inflating it, or deflating it are many. Even over the last few days when I have been out riding, or involved in workshops or presentations I find the image useful in seeing where I am at and that triggers me to act or think differently when needed to ensure I get more out of my self.
Influence someone with a booster and enjoy observing what happens. Take note and when the time is right discuss with the person if you get the chance to find out what they noticed. I see this with my children all the time. One word, one booster and things they do take on more meaning, have greater and clearer intent and the joy is obvious.
Have an idea of something you would like to try. Give it a go and see what you self talk is. If at any stage you find yourself going negative, adjust the content of the self talk and find a way to focus on the positive, the challenge, the buzz of achieving. I get excited in advance on big bike rides, then always during the session I think what am I doing. I remind myself of the excitement I felt before and how I will feel once complete. If this doesn’t bring a smile to my face and then deliberately smile and almost laugh and find things change. Self talk or personal gestures are powerful drivers.