IS YOUR FEAR OF FAILURE, STOPPING YOU FROM ACHIEVING YOUR SPORTING DREAMS?


Dreams and athletes go hand in hand. Some of us have had a sporting dream to play at the highest level for as long as we can remember. Others have developed different goals across their careers which they hope to tick off before they retire. There are many reasons as to why we all play sports. But those who have dreams, often play for more than just a bit of fun on the weekend.


Our dreams, no matter how big or small, are what drive us to continue to put in the work, train harder and make sacrifices. Some athletes have bigger dreams than others. Many athletes don’t express what their dreams are and when we do, people are often quick to tell us why we won’t achieve them. However, sometimes our own dreams can be the very thing that can hold us back. We look too much at the outcome, which can often seem so far away rather than breaking it down into manageable pieces. We can be so afraid of failing because our dreams seem so big, that it stops us from trying to reach them all together.


The fear of failure stops people from taking actions that could lead them to having hugely successful careers. How many people do you know who look back on their sporting career and say things like ‘I could have been anything, if only I had….’ or those people who blame all these outside factors as the reason as to why they never made it. In order to become as successful as you dream of becoming, you need to take control of your own career and put your destiny into your own hands. Learn to enjoy the process and love the journey.


So many of us put restrictions on what we think we are capable of. You come up with 20 different reasons as to why you could never achieve something before you come up with one reason as to why you can achieve it. Like a lot of us, maybe you’ve been told that some of your dreams are crazy and you couldn’t possibly ever achieve them. Nike came out with a fantastic video that says ‘Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they’re crazy enough!’


There is a great quote from Henry Ford that states ‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t - you’re right.’ What this is saying is that you will likely never achieve something, if you do not believe you can do it. Many people would prefer not to put themselves out there and try to achieve the things they have dreamed about for so long, out of the fear of what happens if they don’t succeed. To me, not even giving yourself a chance to succeed...now that’s crazy!


“THE CAVE YOUR FEAR TO ENTER HOLDS THE TREASURE YOU SEEK” - JOSEPH CAMPBELL

I once heard someone say something along the lines of Rafael Nadal beats 90% of his opponents before he even steps onto the court. What this is referring to is that the majority of people that he plays have lost before the match even starts because they don’t believe that they can beat him.


So many athletes don’t even show up at the start line to give themselves a chance of success. You can’t win a race if you don’t even start. They’re not willing to take the plunge and give themselves the chance of showing themselves and everyone else just how good they can be. You self worth should not be determined by whether or not you achieve your goals


Below are some strategies to help deal with fear of failure and change your mindset:


  • Start to look for the opportunities in everything -> there is always an opportunity to be found in any situation, even when you least expect it.


  • Focus on what could go right rather than what could go wrong -> start to think about how much more you have to gain and not look at what you have to lose.


  • Practice visualising your dreams and goals -> using exercises such as meditation, has shown to have a huge improvement on peoples likelihood of achieving success.


  • Tell someone your goals -> this is a great way to keep yourself accountable as now you have someone else who knows what you’re trying to achieve.


  • Celebrate the little wins along the way and enjoy the journey -> take time to celebrate milestones along the journey to reaching your goals. You can’t achieve a dream overnight, it takes time and effort, so don’t forget to reward yourself for what you have done up to this point.


  • Break the dream down into smaller pieces -> A big goal can seem so far away and often impossible to achieve. By breaking it down, you allow yourself to gain momentum and tick off the small steps along the way.

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Updated: Mar 18



Fewer than 150 young men and women were lucky enough to be chosen in last year's AFL drafts. That’s only 150 out of the thousands of football players around the country. So how come those players were chosen over the many others who were nominated for the draft? What makes those footballers good enough to be drafted while everyone else is thinking “why not me”?


Some of you might say that they are lucky enough to be blessed with genetics or talents which others just couldn’t compete with. While this is partially true, there are many amazingly gifted young footballers who have more talent than 99.9% of the population who never end up getting drafted. On the flip side, there are many stories of footballers with significantly less talent who end up on an AFL list. The people who are on an AFL list didn’t get there by accident. There are reasons as to why they are the ones getting their names read out on draft night while others are devastated that they missed their chance.


Genetics aside, there are many ways in which you can significantly improve your chances of getting drafted. Things that don’t require any talent at all and just require you to be willing to put in the work to get the most out of yourself?


7 Ways to improve your chances of getting drafted:


  • Improve your physical abilities - Everything from running, jumping and endurance can all be trained by working in partnership with a Sport Performance Coach. If you’d like help with your training or want a program click HERE.


  • Work on mindset - The mind plays a bigger role than you think, working on your mindset can have huge impacts on your performance. Ask us how we can help with mindset training.


  • Develop elite recovery practices - Recovering better means you can train and play better.


  • Seek feedback - ask as many questions as possible from coaches, athletes you look up to and those in your support network.


  • Sacrifice something - what are you willing to give up in order to reach your dream?


  • Learn as much as you can - “knowledge is power” and enables you to develop a growth mindset.


  • Develop habits of an elite athlete - good habits are what will help you supercharge your athlete career. Get our eBook “The Athlete Life - Top 10 tips for developing elite habits” HERE.


If you want to get drafted, and I mean really want it, then the biggest thing standing in your way is yourself. The limits we put on ourselves as athletes and humans is why so many people never reach their full potential. Just because you might miss out on being drafted at 18, it doesn’t mean that your chance is gone. More and more players are getting drafted at a mature age these days. We all develop at different rates and some people take a little longer to show just what they are capable of.


Don’t ever give up on your dream. Never take no for an answer. If you want it badly enough, then go out there and make it happen, because no one’s going to put in the work for you.


Join our NEXA Sports Performance Telegram channel HERE to get a whole lot of content to help you improve your football performance on and off the field.



Author

Ben Haren

Former Sydney Swans AFL Player

NEXA Performance Coach

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