Friday, November 18, 2011

About Mantras

We all know that in sports the mental game is 90% of the battle.  And as they say, the other 10% is all in your head.  And we all know that this is so close to the real truth that it's almost scary.

We train for months at a time to improve our swim stroke and speed.  We train for miles on out to ensure our cadence is just where it needs to be and we hit the pavement for what seems eternity just to make sure our stride is just perfect.  But that, my friends, sad to say is not enough.

Over the past several years, I have mastered the use of the power of self motivation.  I've put it to good use in my professional world as well as my personal life.  I've had tremendous success in both, mostly attributed, in my opinion to the self learned ability to look for and find the good things in everything and to realize that with the proper attitude, just about anything is possible.

When I started running and competing, or rather participating, in triathlons, I found it very helpful.  I would "talk" myself through to the finish even when the cards were stacked against this.  As the years went by I found that the messages came from different sources, there was no constant to these, but they all seemed to work.

It was on the drive to Ironman 70.3 Steelhead in July 2010 when I began to discuss with my wife, as I often do, the concerns I had with this race.  Most everything I had created were issues that after further consideration merited no place in my pre-race preparations.  And this is when and where my personal mantra came to life.

"You have to have FAITH in your training" she would tell me when I expressed concerns about my preparation.  "You have to have FOCUS all day long" she went on to say when I explained the concerns over the bike portion of the event.  During Ironman 70.3 Augusta, the bike leg was mishandled and caused tremendous pain and discomfort during the run.  "You do this and you will FINISH with a smile on your face" she concluded.

So there it was,  "FAITH. FOCUS. FINISH."  My mantra.

During all events, of any length, I wear a necklace with a stainless steel pendant with these three words engraved.  Often, and I do mean often, I find myself grabbing the pendant between my thumb and index finger and rubbing it gently.  This serves as a gentle reminder of what I must do.  It hasn't failed me yet, and I don't expect it to.

I am very happy to share this with one and all.  I have sent it as friendly motivational messages to friends prior to races.  One friend even found it worthy of engraving it into her Road ID.

No matter the sport of choice, most athletes have a mantra they go by.  What's your mantra?    When and how did it come about?  Share your story by commenting on this post, or on this blog's facebook page.  We'd love to hear your story.


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