2. Erase external pressure. There are two types of pressure—internal and external. Internal pressure is brought upon by expectations and goals you set for yourself. External pressure results from expectations set by anyone other than you. This can be your friends, family, co-workers, coach, training partners, media, sponsors, dog, etc. External pressure is the toughest thing to deal with because it looms large before every race and feels completely out of your control.
Before I head into a race I think about the pressure I feel, and identify which aspects of it are external. Then I say to myself, “External Pressure, you don’t matter to me, booyah!” Pretty complicated, right? Seriously, that’s it. It’s important to make the conscious realization that you’re racing for your own reasons, your own goals and ultimately your own fulfillment. The expectations of others shouldn’t play a part in your plan. You are on a path of individually driven self-improvement.
If I have trouble remembering that, I repeat to myself a few thoughts or phrases, like “I’m not doing this for those reasons. I have goals that I want to accomplish. I have a process that I am following. That’s my decision. That’s my plan. I am not subject to the plans and expectations of others!” If it sounds like you’re a whiny, self-centered teenager, you’re doing it right. Don’t be afraid to say this out loud, while blasting Justin Bieber!
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