Your burning desire to win
If you don’t connect with your inner drive, eventually you will give up, get injured, or claim that your dream was not “meant to be.” Quitting too soon is a red flag that you haven’t fully tapped into your burning desire to win.
For instance, if you have a coach or teammates who are critical of you, and you’re not connected to your personal desire to win, eventually you can get beaten down by the criticism, believe in their negativity and throw in the towel. On the other hand, if you are connected to what drives you, then you can find the fight in yourself to prove what’s possible.
Your burning desire to win can keep you going no matter what. Excuses fail to stop you. This is a pivotal moment when your true potential is unleashed.
Follow these steps to unleash your burning desire to win:
- List 3 to 5 reasons you’re now ready to take your game to the next level and improve your performance:
- Are the reasons that you’re driven to improve positive or negative?
It’s common for some reasons to be negative, things you don’t want to experience. Any reasons which include the words don’t, avoid, or won’t are negative. Now, instead of a negative reason, which leads to avoidance, let’s turn it around.
Let’s restate those as a positive. Instead of tuning into what you don’t want, connect with what you do want. This reframe, turning a negative into a positive, sets you up for success. Champion athletes follow this mental game strategy. If you’re used to motivating yourself in negative ways, positive motivators will be uncomfortable at first, but they will support you better over the length of your athletic career.
This process, which is adapted from Byron Katie’s The Work, helps turn a negative thought into a positive one.
- If your reason to improve your performance contains a negative statement, is it true? If someone is playing “not to lose,” an example of their negative statement might be, “I don’t want to miss any passes.”
- Is this the only way to look at the situation? There’s absolutely no other point of view?
- When you think that negative statement what do you notice? Is there a certain sensation in your body? Or a change in energy?
- What shift would occur if you didn’t have that negative thought? Spend some time with this question. Let yourself imagine all the ways.
- Now, rephrase your statement to make it positive. For example instead of your focus being something you don’t want to do, i.e., “Not miss any passes” you would make it a positive statement, i.e., “To catch passes thrown to me.”
- Then make your positive statement as specific as possible. Modify “To catch passes thrown to me” to “To know where the ball will go and push myself to go for each pass thrown to me during practice and games.”
Your powerful decision
Tuning into your burning desire to win raises your level of commitment. No one can take away your decision to win. It is an unstoppable force that gives you meaning, strength and motivation.
A deep inner drive to improve your performance propels you forward even when everyone else has given up or gone home.
Stronger dedication is next
When you connect to your burning desire to win, you become more dedicated to your sport, willing to make lifestyle changes, such as leaving people behind or modifying your social life.
Part of what kept me from transitioning from recreational to competitive rowing for more than a year was that I just couldn’t see myself getting up at five in the morning. Eventually, however, my love for rowing became stronger than my resistance to the sacrifices I would have to make, and I became willing to make the commitment.
Some athletes naturally connect to their burning desire to win; others decide to do so. If you haven’t already, will you make that decision now?
Challenge: Think back to when you first started playing your sport. What did you love about it? How did it feel when you realized what you were capable of doing? Why did you decide to give everything you had for your sport?
Or, think of a time when you faced an obstacle in your sport. Perhaps someone was opposing you or criticizing you. Perhaps you were faced with an uncomfortable decision to make. What did you tell yourself to keep going despite the obstacle? What was your motivation to continue despite the odds?
On the lines below, write down three to five of those things.
They are the makings of your burning desire to win.
Be honest, even if your motivation wasn’t positive. Sometimes an athlete is driven not by a desire to win, but a desire to not lose. For example, a golfer I worked with highly valued competing because his parents were very competitive themselves. He felt more loved when he won a competition and unloved when he didn’t win. Competing wasn’t about winning for him, but about not losing and not losing his parents’ love. He had the goal to win and often did, but because his motivation was not losing, a struggle ensued, and he eventually quit playing.
If you’re identifying with that story, it’s good you’re being honest. This is just the kind of mindset obstacles that I can help you clear out. Once you do that, you can connect to something deeper, your burning desire to win which can truly carry you to the fulfillment of your dreams.