I’ve watched a lot of Olympics these past few days and there have been some exciting moments! From volleyball to swimming and gymnastics many of the USA teams and individuals are doing well. The USA is second behind China in medals. So why all the glum faces? I understand wanting to be the best in your sport but I have seen so many sad and frustrating faces in athletes who have not taken the gold. I get it! You expected the gold and didn’t get the gold so you are rightfully frustrated but your other hat is as role model for other young athletes. As a role model it seems like you should be practicing the ‘well I didn’t win the gold but I won a medal face’. I have seen that face in a few of the USA athletes but when I say few I mean 15%, 20% maybe.
Since my practice is made up of a lot of athletes I can respectfully say that many athletes do not know how to deal with losing. Losing is an art form and something that all athletes need to learn to deal with. I help athletes figure out how to deal with losing. One way I help them deal with it is to redefine it. I’ve written several blogs around black & white (http://drmichellecleere.com/2012/mental-moment-black-or-white/) and winning vs losing (http://drmichellecleere.com/2012/winning-or-losing/). I also help athletes realize that if they are focused on the gold medal it will be pulling their energy away from the process, the moment, their event; the place where their energy should be.
Even though the gold medal may be your goal if you don’t win the gold you can still feel like you are a winner. You set the stage for how American’s feel about how well you do. Even if you don’t win the gold, American’s will feel good about you winning the silver or bronze if you feel good about winning the silver or bronze.
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