Want a very simple formula for athletic success? Then, GET COMFORTABLE BEING UNCOMFORTABLE. If you learn to live by these four, very basic words, they will help you take your physical talent as far as humanly possible. Success comes to those who regularly practice stepping outside of their comfort zone.
What’s your “comfort zone?” It’s doing all the things that are really easy for you to do. That is, only working on your strengths; competing against athletes who you can easily beat; lifting weights that never push your physical limits; doing “conditioning” work that doesn’t even get you breathing heavy; only practicing under ideal weather/field conditions; In sum, staying in your comfort zone means that when you train, you just go through the motions. By staying physically and emotionally comfortable, i.e. staying in your comfort zone, you guarantee that you will stagnate as an athlete.
Getting comfortable being uncomfortable means that you have to get used to pushing yourself in every way possible. You have to get in the habit of challenging yourself physically, mentally and emotionally.
Challenging yourself physically means that you want to regularly push your envelope regarding your conditioning and strength training. Little by little, you want to train to your limit and once you’re there, you want to keep yourself up against the accompanying physical discomfort for a little while. By pushing yourself to stay with this discomfort, you will gradually get stronger and more confident.
Challenging yourself mentally means that you want to train under physically uncomfortable, demanding conditions. If it’s windy, rainy, cold or excessively hot, then you want to get yourself used to having to perform under these adverse conditions, especially if you really hate having to compete under them! When you regularly practice having to deal with these environmental stressors, they will not phase you at all when it’s time for the competition.
Challenging yourself emotionally means that you force yourself to work on your weaknesses. Not an easy thing to do, but absolutely necessary if you want to take your game to the next level. Emotionally challenging yourself also means that you have to step outside your comfort zone and both practice with and compete against better, stronger athletes than you. This is not an easy thing to do especially when most of us feel intimidated by going up against stronger competition. However, forcing yourself to raise the level of your own game will ultimately lead you to develop more self-confidence and the belief that you can perform at a higher level. Similarly, find specific practice partners and opponents who have styles of play which, in the past, have been particularly difficult for you to handle. By regularly competing against these individuals you will be systematically making yourself mentally tougher.
GET COMFORTABLE BEING UNCOMFORTABLE is your ticket to success. Take a piece of paper and write those 4 words on it and then post it in a place where you will see it multiple times a day. When you finish a training session, ask yourself if you lived those words.
Remember, if you don’t regularly stretch your limits, then you’ll set your limits!