As I watch these 2012 Olympic Games in London, I'm always amazed by the professionalism, poise and athleticism of the athletes from around the world. Sometimes I wonder how these sports were invented
in the first place. I am most amazed when I look at the gymnasts. The U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team is full of teenagers facing more pressure and competition than most of us ever sees our adult lives. How can a sixteen year old keep it together and perform? More than that, how do these athletes come back after making an error like stumbling or falling all together?
I always think of the Chumbawamba song that says, "I get knocked down, but I get up again. You're never going to keep me down." Unfortunately, the rest of the song isn't about facing a fear factor, but the chorus gets the point across. When an athlete falls in the Olympic games, she gets back up and keeps going.
I'm a trained opera singer, and sometimes I don't hit every note perfectly. What happens when a musician makes an error or a singer cracks a high note? You keep on going.
What is harder than continuing on is suppressing the voices of fear that enter your mind once you screw up. It's the ones that tell you how humiliated you'll be if you do it again. They tell you that you aren't good enough and a myriad of other negative things.
So how do you face the fear factor of overcoming a big mistake?
The first thing you have to do is acknowledge it. Separate yourself from the incident. Then you must trust your training and past history of performance. With time and practice, you can develop the mental prowess to suppress the negative voices and concentrate on only positive ones. You can envision yourself succeeding, and mostly, you press on.
I won't lie that time can erase some of the hurt, but we don't always have the luxury of time. So as I face any voices of fear or doubt that enter my brain each day, I like to think of the Olympic athletes and follow the encouragement of watching them perform time after time.
Face your fears today because you can!