“Do Work” Series: Quality 2 – Believe

“You gotta believe” is a phrase that you hear all the time when you are striving to reach a goal, especially when you are facing a challenge and those around you are trying to encourage you to continue on. I think about all the times that I heard my family, friends and teammates scream that phrase to me when I was on the mound pitching or when I was nervously preparing for an exam in school. Now that I am a coach/teacher I find myself saying that phrase on a daily basis to my players and students.

As I think about this phrase and how it helped me during challenging times, I now ponder on how I was able to do just that, believe. What does it take to believe? Can you just believe and it will happen? or are there prior requisites that you have to tackle first? It’s easy to say to someone “you gotta believe….” but what gives them the ability to do so?

In Part 1 of this series I explained how hard-work and trusting your talents and abilities will help lead you to success. The next step towards success, which is the biggest step in my opinion, is believing in yourself. When people say or yell, “you gotta believe”, what they are saying is you got to believe in yourself and that you can succeed. The question is, how do you get to this belief?

My answer – from positive experiences or feedback produced by “Doing Work”; aka. putting in the work; aka. working-hard.

By “Doing Work” you are mentally challenging yourself to grow; to gain new information; to step out of your comfort zone; and most importantly you are allowing yourself to fail and learn from trial and error. By “Doing Work” you are building the instincts and affirmation that it takes to believe in yourself.

As I look back on my journey and career as a baseball player it’s very clear to see how putting in the work allowed me to believe in myself when the lights were on. From the hours taking ground balls with my dad, to the hours working on my pitching mechanics, to the hours working on my swing, I was able to practice the most challenging plays, work on perfecting my pitches and release point, and getting comfortable hitting curveballs without any fear of failure. It was in those hours of hard-work where I was able to challenge myself and produce positive feedback and where I learned the instincts and mechanics I needed to believe in myself.

When you’re in a game situation, or in the heat of the moment where there is competition between you and someone else, or your faced with a deadline, there is added pressure that creates internal feelings of anxiety or excitement. You are either anxious because you’re unsure of what the outcome will be or excited because you’re full of confidence knowing you will succeed, both of which are based on past experiences and how hard you have worked up that point.

When players and parents hear me talk about how hard-work helps build up the belief in oneself some come back at me with, “well you gotta have talent to believe in yourself also”. While part of that statement is true, it is also very false. I have witnessed, both as a professional and as a coach, players with all the talent in the world not live up to the expectations that their talent creates. More times than not, the reason these players don’t live up to the expectations is because they fail to put in the work like they should to develop their talents even further.  They simply rely on their talent to take them as far as it can as oppose to “doing work” and letting their hard-work combined with their talents, take them to the next level.

Putting in the work allows you to build new positive experiences and develop whatever talent you were given. It’s from the countless hours of repetition and “doing work” that helps you build the instincts and affirmation you need to believe in yourself.

Go out and “Do Work”!!

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