All athletes experience fear at some point. It is the primary reason for failure. Defeat and walking away from your dreams stem from avoidance. It is not whether you will face fear; it is the way you respond once fear arises.

First and foremost, all athletes experience doubt along the way. Eventually you will reach a level of competition which will stretch you beyond what you believe is possible. Is this when your inner voice of doubt kicks in?

"I can't do it."

"I am afraid to try."

"What will others think of me?"

"What if I fail?"

"I will be disappointed."

"If I succeed, then others will expect more from me."

By mastering your fear you gain the ability to reach your goals no matter which obstacles appear. Embracing this one characteristic empowers you toward success despite the fears which surface along the way to defeat you.

The opposite of fear is self-confidence. Achieving confidence, however, requires you to step out of your comfort zone, going beyond what you believe you are capable of achieving. You will have a choice, either walk away because you believe it is not possible or step forward despite the fear.

From personal experience, stepping beyond what I believed I was capable of doing was very uncomfortable. I knew I had a choice, either face my fears or succumb to them. My decision was to face them embracing the motto "if it is uncomfortable, then I ought to be doing it."

This one change in my perception was powerful. Suddenly the obstacle before me had altered. There was a way forward. As I progressed, taking one step at a time, I became comfortable with being uncomfortable. Sounds crazy. The results, however, were empowering. This mindset created freedom for me to now face what I had spent many years avoiding. It is the single, most important factor I contribute to my success.

Originally, I thought my beliefs were absolute truth. Yes, they were based upon my reality. We all possess a unique reality based upon our personal experiences. The cold, hard truth is the way you perceive reality is not necessarily based upon logic or fact.

I discovered the beliefs I held for so long, guiding my actions, were pliable. They had plasticity. Truths which I embraced for so long were actually holding me back. In order to succeed, I had to challenge my limiting beliefs. Pushing beyond what I thought was possible created the opportunity to form new realities, going beyond my expectations.

Building self-confidence is the same as strengthening a muscle. When you take the steps to push yourself out of your comfort zone, beyond what you believe is possible, the resistance will work to create micro-tears in your beliefs just like your muscle tears in order to strengthen it.

Taking action against your fears serves to train your self-confidence muscle. Alternatively, choosing not to push beyond your comfort zone arrests self-confidence. Atrophy sets in from inactivity, weakening your confidence. Instead of continuing to excel, you settle for what is comfortable and familiar.

Confidence develops from taking action. As you train beyond what you believe is possible your beliefs change. Instead of focusing on what appeared to be impossible, you begin looking for the way forward and the possibilities to make things happen. Actions affect confidence, stretching what you believe to be possible.

Frequently athletes focus on what is not possible, what they don't want. Safety is not taking any risk. When you remain in your comfort zone, you cannot move up in rankings. The highly dedicated, athlete is always striving to improve beyond their current abilities.

Steps to Self Confidence

1. Connect with your goal. Write it down. Commit to consistently taking necessary action steps toward your goal.

2. Visualize yourself having already attained your goal on a daily basis.

3. Read your goal on a daily basis, fully believing you are capable of successfully reaching your goal.

4. Develop a long-range game plan, mapping out the next five years. Identify the milestones and their time frames along the way.

5. Build your support team. Maintain integrity along the way, show respect for others and a willingness to support the people who are supporting you.

Top performing athletes see themselves winning their events. They have created a strong belief of what is possible, erasing all doubt from their mind. They were not born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Each successful athlete has taken the action steps to get to the top, embracing a no-excuses approach to be their best. They take quick, decisive action in spite of their fears.

Do you feel your performance can improve but self-doubt gets in the way? So you end up holding yourself back. You have reasons why you are not doing better. Sound familiar? Well, it doesn't have to remain this way. The Inner Game for Winning Athletes System is a series of 9 important steps to help you get past the fears, doubts and obstacles, providing the tools to successfully reach your goal. Ready to take action? Schedule a FREE Discovery Session with Loren. Contact her at

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From Loren Fogelman, the Sports Performance Consultant, founder of Inner Game for Winning