Disclaimer: I didn’t take much time to review this post, so excuse what errors you may find. This issue was very pressing to me as an individual, so felt the need to share to whomever may find it useful for their own journey in life. Enjoy.
This week, I head to Portland, OR to compete in the Indoor World Championships, representing the country of Samoa, but more importantly, representing myself. Being that I only ran one indoor competition this season, confidence will be the theme of this meet. I head to compete, and I aim to compete well. It would be a complete waste of time to myself and everyone involved to say that I aim to do anything less. I train hard every single day in order to be the best, so why would I discredit all that work by heading into this world championships with a mindset of settling for anything less than success. So where am I going to find this confidence if everything on paper points in the direction of failure?
Before any big time race, the television cameras would scan through the field of competitors one by one, usually showing their best time for the season and even their lifetime best. Before the era of Bolt, competitors would show a determined face, focused and filled with every intent to destroy whatever and whoever steps in their way of glory. You can see the scowls in the eyebrows, the clenching of the jaws, the soul piercing eye gazes, everything you would expect a person of great confidence to display. Each person in that race stepped on that field with every intention to win. If I do a word play and say that every competitor stepped on that field NOT to lose, then that would give a completely different definition.
We do not go out to prevent a loss, we are supposed to go out to gain the glory and win, right? Then why does it seem like we are just going to survive and live another day, only to return and repeat those steps?
The Bible never points to or discusses self-confidence as a way of life. To be so self-involved that you begin to believe that you created yourself is a false way of thinking. However, it does seem like everything we read about confidence in oneself is based on something outside of ourselves. Interesting concept, especially since we can only control our own actions and shouldn’t rely on the events outside of your power. But digging deeper, that would only show that fate is our destiny, and no matter what we try, we are already destined for one thing or another. That is not what I am saying.
Instead, I am simply saying that our focus, whatever it may be on, is what makes up our confidence. And whatever that focus may be, should be something of great stability. This focal point becomes the foundation of all that you are and do. When we are at a point of pure focus, everything around that point becomes obsolete, blurry, unrelated to anything that has to do with the desired result. However, by some weird chain of events, everything around, the blurs and chaos, seem to all line up when the focal point is the main character. Easy enough, right? If I maintain focus on one particular item that is deemed constant and stable, walking to the end goal is nothing but a straight line…. Easy stuff.
Still… if it were really that easy, I would not be writing this post. If you are like me, 9 times out of 10, I often gain a severe case of ADHD and the focus quickly becomes lost in the events occurring around. Where the sunny beach was once the focal point, soon turns into a pictured framed in the office of the DMV filled with crying babies and high school teenagers failing driving tests left and right. What happened?
The second step in building and maintaining confidence is found in the support staff that surrounds you.
For long in my track career, I looked only to myself and the belief in myself to build confidence. This confidence I built was then used to battle warriors in the world of elite track and field. Nonetheless, although admirable in itself, the problem lied in the fact that I was one warrior looking to battle armies. I went into war with a shield I built on my own, knowing that my main skill was not to build shields, but bow and arrows. Although my confidence had every intention to do great things, it failed due to its weak support. I was an elite sprinter that was only able to put together amateur races. It wasn’t until I joined my current training group (Altis) that I realized where my strength was built, in the support from others.
There was a theme around this group of superior Olympic athletes that went, “BE LIKE JD.” I constantly laughed it off, thinking the group was just doing so to be nice. Little did I know, my group knows nothing about being nice (joke). I constantly deflected the compliments because I felt I did not deserve the attention. That was the exact definition of not having confidence. The support, however, did not cease, and continued to the point where my confidence rose like a phoenix in the hot Arizona sun, spreading its wings to span across the Pacific Ocean (sleepy wordplay haha). What I am saying, is that MY confidence was built by the hands of OTHERS.
I now can say, even with the bare minimum amount of racing this year, in a race that is rumored to be too short for a runner of my type, I am looking for something great to happen. I can say that because this focal point that I hold onto, that was built by the hands of my support team, is speaking louder than ever before. I am no longer afraid of success, but am, from now on, trusting that success is inevitable.
"As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Jeremy Dodson is a Track & Field Olympian who struggles with the idea of perfection, hoping to break the barrier we place on ourselves so that genuine living can take place for everyone.