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Part 1  

I recently had a couple of girls at a race ask me how they could overcome competition anxiety and gain confidence. I wish I could give them a one-worded answer but instead, I gave them the wise surfer dude talk “Just have fun man, let go and enjoy the ride” I’m so sorry to whoever I talked too but I had one minute to sum up an entire life lesson and it came out in word vomit.

Truth is, I really want to help you figure this out! I take it very seriously and I myself have dedicated my life to studying what it takes to become great. So, I created this blog with some challenging questions for you to work through and access at any time! 

People ask about confidence like there is a way to wrap it up in a pretty package and give it to someone like, “here, here’s your confidence”! But it’s not a specific drill and it can’t be wrapped up in a pretty “one size fits all” package. 

Confidence is a choice you make. 

Confidence is trusting what you can control, keeping things simple, and letting go of the things you can’t control.   

One thing I hear people tell others is “it comes with practice and time”. I say that’s half true, but it’s not the practice you’re thinking of, And it doesn’t come with time. It comes with experience from placing yourself in pressure situations. 

Barrel racing is a muscle memory sport. Everything is happening so quickly, you need to be able to instinctively react, I get it! People misunderstand the practice advice and they go home and over-drill their horse. Side note: Humans may need to practice things over and over but horses don’t. In fact, too much drilling can blow a horse up. Heck, I make my lessons run the pattern on foot to save the horse. That’s a whole different subject, let’s continue. 

Half of the confidence comes from trusting your abilities and the other half comes from knowing how to handle pressure and vulnerability. Being comfortable with uncomfortable. 

I can’t give you a specific way to receive confidence. I don’t think it’s something you wake up with one day, I think it’s something you choose daily. However, I can ask questions to help you discover for yourself where you need to focus. Just know that as you grow, things will get uncomfortable again. Most times, you have to fake it until you make it. But having confidence in your ability to learn and handle pressure will make all the difference.  

Discover where you are lacking confidence: 

  • Do you trust your horse, if not why?!
  • Do you trust yourself? Your athleticism? If not, Why?
  • Do you trust your equipment? If not, Why?
  • What is losing to you? What is the worst that could happen and why is that important? Do you know how to fall and get back up?
  • What is vulnerability to you?
  • Do you allow yourself to be vulnerable, if so where? Why or why not? 
  • How can you be Vulnerable in your run? Again, what are you afraid of happening? 

I want you to write down every thought or fear that comes into your mind when you think of failing or being vulnerable. Now look at each one and ask yourself is this true? Is this going to serve me? Do I have control over it? If answered no, then cross it out, crumble it up and throw it away and don’t ever think of it again. What is left (if any) usually are things you’re able to fix. 

Now I want you to write the opposite. What if you win? What if the best happens? What does that look like, what does it feel like?! 

Your mind is a powerful thing, and you’re more in control of your world than you think.

If you can make up the worst scenarios that are mainly false accusations or opinions, then you can also switch your brain to focus on the truth and the possibilities of greatness. 

In a race, you go where you look right? Well, thoughts become things so watch what you’re choosing to focus on. Is it true, does it serve you? 

Choose confidence, it looks good on you;]  

PART 2 Clearing your mind on race day

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