To dedicate your ambitions to becoming a professional athlete, it takes a lot of pieces coming together in the right way. Some of them are obvious, like a knack of talent for said sport, a bull headed determination, and most likely a part of you probably lives in the clouds.
There are the less obvious things that people do not immediately see or consider however.
I have, in the past, commented on my lack of strength to pull myself out of a mental rut. I’ve condemned this side of myself countless times, and while I do not regret saying the things I have said, (it was honestly how I was feeling at the time and I started this blog to let my audience into EVERY aspect of my journey, good and bad) I have finally started gathering the resources I need to strengthen this side of my athletic career.
In past years I have had countless people giving me advice like, I need to “get out of my own head,” or to “just ski and stop thinking so much.” The list of what I am sure to them sounded like solid advice, goes on and on. But see, what mostly all of them failed to understand is that you can not wipe all of your insecurities away with a single thought. You can not climb out of a chasm when you have no means of reaching the top. I agree, the mind is an incredibly powerful tool that is capable of amazing things, but some people need a hand to help pull themselves from deep places. Other people just need time to sort through their own thoughts so that they can build a ladder themselves and climb out.
I believe I am somewhere in the middle here. After so many years of competing, and something of a reflective personality I have made my ladder, but am still missing a few rungs. As I have mentioned before however, I take regular sessions with a sports consultant to help build those few missing pieces. I am not saying that you can’t do this on your own, I am merely saying that for me, it helps. Some people figure it out on their own, and some talk with friends or to trusted adults which can be just as therapeutic.
What I AM saying, is that if you are reading this, and nodding your head from understanding with similar experiences of your own, KNOW that you are not alone. I heard just today someone say, “Just ski like you do in training! Get your head into it!” Some more solid advice, but advice that only shows you the goal, rather than the steps to get there.
Everyone has their own path to get there. Different things work for different people. But what’s important to understand is that everyone has the ability to function mentally as greatly as they desire. All you need to do is commit yourself to training your mind as rigorously as you train your body. The physicality of whichever sport you are striving to conquer is only half of the equation. You wouldn’t cheat in competition, don’t cheat yourself in this.
Some athletes are born without this problem, some are not. But I do believe, that every single athlete that has achieved their own personal greatness, that has achieved their highest goals, are people who are in full control of not only their bodies, but are masters of their own minds as well. It is that puzzle piece that I am finally fitting into place myself.