Sunday, September 23, 2007

Changing Your Self-Image

This article is from our October 2006 MENTALCOACH newsletter.

If you think you can beat me and I think you can beat me, it is all over for me! Self-Image, our opinion about ourselves, can determine our outcome in any performance. So, what can we do to strengthen our Self-Image and also our chances of winning? First, we will begin by reviewing just what causes the Self-Image to grow or to shrink and then we will get into practical things you can do to affect your Self-Image.

Of the three mental processes Conscious, Subconscious and Self-Image, the Self-Image is perhaps the most mysterious. The Self-Image includes your habits, attitudes and your comfort zone. When we perform within our comfort zone our Self-Image is OK with that but when we perform too well or too poorly the Self-Image tends to correct us to perform within the comfort zone. This can destroy a great start and create a crash-and-burn finish or it can lift you out of a bad start into a “score that is like you” at the finish.

When we perform well or when we imagine we are performing well our Self-Image grows. The opposite is also true. Every time we make a mistake or think about making a mistake we improve the probability of making that same mistake in the future. This happens because it becomes like us to perform in the way we are picturing, good or bad. Control the imprinting and you control outcome in the future. Remember, it is much easier to rehearse a perfect performance than to actually have a perfect performance because we can always determine the results in an imagined imprint.

One of the greatest contributors to a poor performance is to exaggerate the effect of a bad performance by thinking about it or talking about it. It is common in a competition to hear competitors talking about their mistakes. Every time they talk about it they imprint a mistake in their Self-Image and, in a way, determine their future performance through that imprint. Bad habits cost competitors titles. I believe that more competitions are lost by mental failure than by technical error. One of the chief contributors to failure is to reinforce a mistake by thinking about it and talking about it immediately after performing.

I encourage you to implement a new thinking pattern to your daily life and sport. I suggest that you decide today to choose to improve your self image by controlling your thoughts after a task. Instead of complaining about your poor performance and dwelling on it, trying imagining you performed perfectly. And try to spend more time thinking about the positives of your sport, business or life and less about the negatives!

With Winning in Mind,

Lanny Bassham

Recommended Tools to help with Self Image Growth:

With Winning in Mind

Freedom Flight

Performance Analysis

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