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Stress Reactions – The Confidence Killers

In Leadership by Walter Aguilar

“Confidence is contagious. So is lack of it.” –Vince Lombardi

We all understand that confidence is key to players and coaches performing at their best. However, when confidence is low, poor performances are the result. To understand why this happens we first have to understand what confidence is.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary uses these three phrases (among others) to define confidence as:

  • A feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something
  • A feeling or belief that someone or something is good or has the ability to succeed at something
  • A feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or reliance on one’s circumstances.

Confidence is essential to being able to tap into our potential in whatever we do. The more aware and mindful we can be in the moment, the more confidence we will be able to create. This is because confidence truly is, “an inside job!” In our thought world, resides all stories that create our emotions, feelings and levels of engagement towards what we do and who we do it with.

Stress is not the culprit by itself. It is how we interpret the stress and how it relates to us. When we are reacting to stress we are trapped in horizontal thinking (past or future). This is where fear, depression, anger, anxiety, and doubt live and thrive. To be in the past or in the future thinking requires energy. This energy is taken from the present moment, where the game (life) is actually happening and negatively affects performance.

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The following are six areas in which stress reactions may occur:

  • Spirituality – Love of what you are doing and all the intangibles that come with that
  • Mental – Too boring or too overwhelming task ; over functioning
  • Emotional  -Taking things personal and creating thought stories around that
  • Social – Being around people who are not optimal for your performance
  • Physical – Health; when your body is not functioning at its best
  • Environment – When the environment that you are in is toxic or not optimal for you

Confidence requires us to be able to summon up the emotion of certainty in the moment. That is why belief is necessary to be confident. When we are confident, we are more relaxed, creative and can access our intuition effortlessly. We are in the present moment on purpose and know that all that happens will serve us. It will either be a learning lesson for us or our confident, engaged, conscious action will deliver us the results, we desire. Either way, we always win.

Success, peace, and power comes from a confident mindset. An awareness that the moment is all there ever is and that is where we have our power. All other things are just past thoughts or future expectations. These can be the sources of what may be draining our present moment energy.

Learning to not to take things personally, will help in not creating the poor me or angry stories that are the root of many stress reactions. Finally, as we become aware of the story teller in our minds, we can create more conscious, confident, and successful performances, not only in our sport but in our lives.

-Walter Aguilar

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About the Author
Walter Aguilar

Walter Aguilar

Walter Aguilar – is a Certified Professional Coach and COR.E Performance Dynamics Specialist. Using the mind/energy connection to performance, he teaches a unique approach to peak performance. He specializes in teaching mindfulness for hockey using the COR.E Performance Dynamics energy leadership system. This is based on the 7 levels of energy that thoughts create. These affect awareness, confidence, engagement, creativity and intuition. His equation of Performance = Potential – Interference, provides a framework for success in hockey and life.


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