A Change in our Mindset, can Change Everything.
Below is a blog post from a guest blogger, Gabi Smith, who has had such a powerful transformation in her mindset we thought we’d share her perspective, in hopes it may help you where you’re at.
People say that as an athlete you must watch what you eat, make sure you’re drinking enough water, and training the right way.
One thing most people forget about is mentality.
In the Spring of 2018, I had a mind changing experience which changed my thinking and attitude in both my athletics, the classroom and everyday life.
I had been training for the Districts swim meet season. Districts determines if I got to move on and compete at State. My hearts desire was to be Madras’ State swimmer and I was more than ready. Since I had been watching my competition the entire season, I thought for sure I was going to make it to state. I was making sure that I was faster than them, which I was. For this swim meet I wore a Tech Suit, which is basically a skin-tight suit that makes you have no drag. I purchased one for 2017 Districts and wore it that year.
When Reality Strikes
A few weeks before Districts I noticed the seams in the suit were starting to rip so I decided to order a new one. I ordered what I thought was my size and when it came in it was way too big. So, I sent it back and ordered a smaller one. I competed in my ripped up old tech suit the first day of Districts, because my new suit wasn’t supposed to arrive until after all my races.
The first day was over and I got best times in both races. I went into day two in second and third place, this meaning that I was for sure going to make it to State if I just beat the person in front of me.
When I got home that night I picked up my new tech suit and tried it on. When I put it on I thought it would be tight enough to get me to State, but I was wrong. My first race came up on the second day and I did much worse. I added a lot of time and when my second race came up I was extremely down on myself and I had basically told myself that I couldn’t do it.
I was prepared to lose before that race had even begun. It was the race that I thought for sure I was going to make it to State in. Instead I went down to fifth place and there was no chance that I was going to State.
After that one swim meet I was in the constant thought that I was a big failure and that I had disappointed a lot of people by not going to State.
What I didn’t understand until a few months later was that I already lost the race before I had even started the race. I was telling myself that because of the suit that was too big, I couldn’t do it.
Sadly, I was telling myself that because of my first race and how bad that race had been, I was going to do bad in my next one. After districts, I took a month off from swimming, had a little vacation. I even almost decided to quit swimming.
I was almost ready to give up my future in swimming all because I wasn’t fast enough and not everything went according to my plan. During my time off I read a book called “Chasing Excellence”. This book was about maximizing your effort, not in the mindset of beating anyone, but just seeing how good you can get personally with what you are doing.
When I went back to swimming, I was much slower than anyone, but that didn’t really matter because I wasn’t focused on those around me, I was focused on myself. When I competed in my first swim meet of the new season, I focused on making sure I was putting as much effort as I could in the race that was in front of me. That made me so much more successful. I got faster because
I wasn’t focused on beating the person next to me, I was focused on beating myself.
Our lives are just like any race, and how we approach each race is how we should approach each day. To the best of our ability and with the most effort in everything we do so that we can be the most successful.
I had the realization that not everything in sports is the physical part.
An extremely important part is mindset. I was missing that for a long time, and can now go into a swim meet without the worry that I am going to fail because I know that I have put in as much effort as I can in practice. Now, I go into tests with less nerves and worries because I know that I have maximized my effort in studying and doing my homework.
This was and still is mind changing for me because I know that I am not the best in the world, I know that I have plenty of room to grow and find new things that will strengthen my mind and help me be the best I can be every day.
If I hadn’t had ordered that tech suit that was to big and had that whole experience, I may never have found that I needed a stronger mind. It is an extremely important part of everyday life and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to experience the situation that I did for this all to happen.
2019 District Season proved challenging for all the swimmer as their District meet was changed from a 2 day meet, to a 1 day meet because of a snow storm. They were all faced with giving all they had, in a one and done race to see if their times would qualify for state.
This definitely challenged Gabi’s mind, but she didn’t let it paralyze her. She swam her races giving all she had.
Anything Is Possible
Things can change in the blink of an eye, and a great lesson Gabi learned is that anything, absolutely anything is possible. Gabi finished Districts giving her all, but a bit bummed because she didn’t feel her District placing would be enough to earn her a spot to the State Championships.
That all changed on Sunday afternoon after the meet when she received confirmation that she in fact HAD earned her spot to State. Not only did she make it to state in her 100 m freestyle, but her 50 m freestyle & her teams 200 m relay! “I Did It!” was the text she sent us. She had accomplished her dream of making it to State for swimming. Her diligence and hard work paid off. But the reality was, it was her choices in what she would allow her mind to believe along the journey, that made all the difference.
She reached her goal! She made it to state, even when she didn’t think it was possible! She reached a point in her life at this young age to do her best and THAT was good enough.
Gabi has given her verbal committed to swim for George Fox and is so excited for this next season in her life. She will only take these lessons she’s learned to the next season and continue to grow into all she is to become.
We ALL, can learn so much from this Change in Mindset.