I am doing some work this summer at a local gym giving the athletes working out there some mindset skills. There are several hundred athletes that come through the gym on a daily basis. They are coming from all different walks of life and are athletes from a myriad of sports. Some of them are not involved in any sport and are simply looking to stay fit.
My role at this facility is to chat with the athletes about a mindset skill each when when they are done working out for the day. The athletes I am partnering with are either in high school or college. We are trying to get these athletes to see the value in applying mindset training to their physical training in order to be a more compete athlete.
On this particular day I was able to add a life lesson that I did not foresee. While the athletes were working out in the gym on this particular day, there were also 4 National Football League (NFL) players, working out at the same time. They were occupying the same gym, doing the same exercises as the young athletes were.
When the athletes came to me for our chat, I used this situation as an example of how our mindset can make such a huge difference in our performance. Firs toff I asked the athletes as a whole if they knew that there were 4 NFL players working out alongside them. The majority of the athletes said "yes", although a few of them said "no". I then began to ask the athletes a series of questions.
I asked the athletes if they NFL guys were wearing shows, many answered yes. I asked if they had shorts and a shirt on, many of them answered yes. I then asked if they 5 fingers on each hand and 2 arms, to which the athletes answered yes. I began getting weird, confusing looks. Many were starting to wonder where I was taking this.
I then played off of those athletes that did not know that the NFL players were in the gym. I began to ask those athletes why they didn't know. Was it because they don't watch enough television? "I mean how could you guys not know that they are in the NFL?:, I said. Then I drove the nail in the coffin. I told the athletes it was because they look just like the rest of us.
These NFL players are human just like we are. They were working out in the same conditions as the rest of us. They were performing the same drills. Some of the young athletes began to make comments about their abilities and the fact the NFL guys are faster and stronger than them and that's how you could tell who they were.
My rebuttal to this comment was that their strength and speed was completely out of their control. As an athlete you cannot control anyone's strength and speed but your own. To focus on others is a waste of mental energy. Here's what I told them was in their control however, their own effort level.
I was not working out, and so I was bouncing back and forth between the NFL group and the young athletes group. What I noticed was that some of the young athletes were matching the effort level being put out by the NFL group, but not all of them were. "Effort level, that is where the playing field is level", I told them. "You have the ability to give 100% just like the NFL guys are, the question is are you?"
I loved watching the NFL group work out. Not because of who they were, but because of who they were and what I was witnessing that it takes to get there. The last thing I told the young athletes was this "if you want to insult those NFL guys walk over there and tell them the only reason you think they made it to that level is because they are extremely talented. After all, they were working out in the same gym that doesn't have AC as you are."