Self - Doubt
James Tomkins is one of Australia's most successful Olympic athletes. He's represented Australia as a rower at six Olympic Games.
I was lucky enough to be at a speaking function with James recently and heard him tell the story about how he'd had four years of preparation for an Olympic final and on the starting line of the final, after they'd won their heats and semi-finals, etc. As the crews were being announced, he was hoping, wishing that the race would be delayed by five minutes because his mind was having these visions of all the things that could go wrong.
Now this is an Olympic athlete who has self-doubt. So, let's not kid ourselves. There's going to be self-doubt on our success journey. When does self-doubt stop? When the race starts. It's only when you're stationary that the mind starts doubting your ability to perform. When things get underway, it all falls into place. That's why it's important to keep on moving. Keep moving forward.
I take the boys from Toogoolawa hiking annually, sometimes biannually, in the mountain ranges near the Gold Coast. I know the area pretty well, but it's still a map and compass job. I remember being on a hike once where we'd set off in the morning of day two with just enough water to get us through the day because we'd had to ration ourselves coming from the creek the day before. We had to make a particular location and I estimated we'd get there by around 2pm. You could imagine my concern when at 4pm and we'd been walking all day, it was starting to get dark in the mountains, we still hadn't reached our location. The decision for me was whether to keep walking or whether to stop.
I felt I had to ask the group to stop. Whilst I was briefing them on the possibility of us having to stay to set up camp where we'd stopped for the night, given that we were running out of light, there was all this self-doubt going through my mind as to whether we'd passed the water hole, whether we were actually lost, whether we were actually on the right track. I started worrying about hypothermia and dehydration. I let the kids stay, but decided I needed to spend whatever light hours were left searching the area for water. I went no more than 200 metres and found the water hole.
You know, we all have self-doubt. The important thing is to keep on moving. When you're stationary, that self-doubt monster can really be something to wrestle with. As I reached the water hole, I smiled with relief and remembered a saying one of my mentors gave me years ago. Ninety per cent of people give up ten per cent prior to their goal. If you have self-doubt, keep moving forward. Self-doubt is part of your success journey.