“In order to be the best, you must first believe that you are.”
I have heard that quote a million times, and I fully trust its accurateness. It’s something I constantly preach to younger athletes who want to know the secret to success because I have learned over the course of my career just how important the belief in self truly is. It matters more than talent or ability, and is far more reliable than luck. And when you aren’t quite there yet, when the confidence you possess hasn’t quite reached the level you need it to, well then you fake it til you make it. Believe me, this is a useful tool. When you start acting a certain way, your mind will catch up. But if I’m being completely honest, there is still a difference between an act of believing, and that knowing that resides deep down in your gut.
Yesterday I competed in London, against some of the greatest jumpers in the World right now. It was probably a mini preview of what the finals will be like in Berlin. I didn’t jump that well, but I’m not beating myself up over it. I learned a lot and even though I’m capable of much better, it’s still an improvement for me that my bad days are not reason to hide my head in shame. And my biggest lesson learned is that I need to believe. I can rattle off the technical things I did wrong…my inconsistent approach that kept me jumping behind the board, blocking, not finishing my landing…but if I’m doing an honest gut check here, I know that most of those things would not have been an issue if I believed more.
I have to stand on the back of that runway and believe I can jump whatever it takes to win (on this particular day, 7 meters), and believe that I am just as talented as any jumper out there. I have to realize that someone could very well have a PR that is 60 centimeters further than me, and not be rattled by that and focus my energy on myself and what I’m capable of. And for all the armchair quarterbacks out there who swear that must be the easiest thing to do, stand on the back of the runway and then tell me. It is not easy, but I know I must do it. This may be more of a journal-type entry but being that I have never in my life written in a journal or diary, I’m writing it here so that I force myself to acknowledge that I need to expect better from myself.
There are plenty of things in life that we will strive to be better at. Athletics is one of the huge things for me at this point in my life, but all of us have something that we really want to improve on. It’s not enough to hope or wish for it. You must actively pursue success and engage not only your physical talents but your mind as well. You have to anticipate the greatness you want to achieve. I know enough to not expect perfection in anything I do, and that life will always bring you good days and bad days, but I do expect to be able to give my best in accordance to what I truly believe I’m capable of. And right now it’s important for me to believe that whenever I’m jumping and whoever I’m jumping against– I have what it takes– so that every time I step on the runway I am competing with that belief.