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Some athletes believe the rules don’t apply to them. In their minds they justify crossing the line to become a rule breaker. Their actions are selfish, affecting everyone on their team, whether they realize it or not.

Melky Cabrera, outfielder for the San Francisco Giants, is the most recent addition to the list of bad boys. He’s been suspended for a whopping 50 games after testing positive for testosterone. He gambled on his sports performance, and lost. A post season opportunity to sign a multi-year contract for $50 million is now off the table.

One thing I give him credit for is that he owned up to his actions once confronted, unlike Barry Bonds, a previous Giants player, in a similar situation. Now that the damage is done, it’s too little, too late.

With so much going for him you’ve got to wonder, “What was he thinking?”

The answer is similar to one shared by many other athletes risking their careers by turning to steroids. He wanted to be better, seeking optimal sports performance. Maybe he could get there on his own with time and effort, but a quicker, easier way existed. When so much is at stake, the short cuts become very appealing.

The simple truth is Cabrera believed the risk was worth it. Now why does someone who is already successful go down this path? It’s a common struggle many athletes experience. The answer, as well as the solution, lies with your ego.

Consider a time when you had doubt, fear, or anxiety. Although you might know what to do, you begin to have a conversation in your head questioning your abilities. Without the right skills to deal with those troubling thoughts a seed of doubt gets planted.

Unaware of what’s happening your focus shifts from internal to external. What does that mean? Well, instead of internally trusting your abilities you place greater value on external solutions. Maybe it’s new equipment or changing your trainer. Those things are important but they’re not solely going to help you improve your sports performance.

Ego is the part of ourselves which separates you from me. Basically, it’s your identity. Your ego drives your beliefs, emotions and thoughts. Those perceptions influence your actions.

Think about a time when you had an opportunity to do something, but then you took a little too long because you began thinking about it. Those thoughts slowed you down. And it was during those few moments of thinking that you lost the window of opportunity. In that split second you didn’t trust yourself, the risk was too great. The intrusive thoughts which created the hesitation came from your ego.

Read how much you personally agree with each statement by giving it a number rating from 1 to 5. Then add the values for your score.

Response Value:

1                                  2                                  3                                  4                                  5

Strongly disagree    Disagree                     Neutral                         Agree                  Strongly agree

1. I’m the only one who can do the play or the skill.

2. I can do better than my friends.

3. The others can’t do as well as me.

4. Others mess up and I don’t.

5. I score the most points/goals/hits, etc.

6. I’m the best.

Key: 6 to 10 is low external influence

11 to 20 is moderate external influence

21 to 30 is high external influence

What does it mean if you rated moderate to high on the scale? You’re strongly influenced by other people. The higher your score the more importance you place on how people see you. There’s nothing wrong with seeking other people’s approval or the desire to please someone else. It becomes a problem when your actions are mainly influenced by others opinions of you.  

Melky didn’t trust himself to be the best on his own merit. He believed testosterone was the solution. Now he let down his entire community, including his team, his fans and himself. The Dodgers are in a pennant race with the Giants. He was the All-Star Game’s most valuable player and a key player in the Giants offense.  Those achievements now possess a tainted history.

His ego clouded his judgment. Don’t compromise your values, and your true potential, by making a similar decision. Just because steroids are available does not mean its acceptable. You don’t need to look too far to see the short or long term consequences due to steroid use.

If you’re thinking about cutting corners, seeking the easy solution, then take an honest look within. What is the problem you are trying to avoid? Is there a better way to deal with this?

Remember, how you do anything is how you do everything. If you’re looking to cut corners by doping for better sports performance then there’s other areas in your life where you’re probably cheating as well. Crossing the thin line from right to wrong is dangerous. I’ve seen the high price paid for faulty thinking. No one ever goes down this road expecting it to be a problem. The first time you compromise yourself is the hardest. The more you compromise your ethics the easier it gets to justify your actions.

It’s unacceptable for any athlete to use banned substances. The best way to avoid the problem is never to consider it as an option. Know yourself, believe in your potential, be willing to do the hard work to get results and stay true to your values. The more effort you put into your sports performance the better you’ll feel about the results.

Challenge: Are there short cuts you’re taking now to improve your sports performance? There’s a consequence whether or not you get caught. It begins with justifying your decision to yourself.

Do whatever’s necessary to correct the problem. Regain control. The solution lies within you. Frequently, however, we need the right support to help us achieve our highest potential.

Do you wish you were bigger, stronger and faster? You know you can play better but you just seem off, not performing up to speed. Poor performance affects confidence. The Expert Sports Performance System is an easy step-by-step process helping you to get out of the struggle and get back in the game with renewed energy. Winners act with speed. If you are reading this and it feels true for you, then get in touch with Loren for a FREE Discovery Session at info@expertsportsperformance.com

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