“It’s all your fault. It’s all your fault. It’s all your fault. Sieve. Sieve. Sieve. Sieve. Sieve. Sieve. You just suck. You just suck. You just suck.” Such was the chant coming from the student body after each home team goal at a recent college hockey game. After getting scored on, this message can easily permeate into a goaltender’s psyche.
Whether from a crowd of thousands or from our closest friends and family, we get told that we’re failures. We get told that we can’t. We get told to take the safe route. We get told that we’re not good enough. Sometimes it’s direct and sometimes it’s subtle, but it always cripples us. If we open the door to negative messages, we allow negative self-belief into our mind. Negative self-belief leads to negative behavior, which results in further failure. So how do we stop this downward spiral?
Step one is to close the door to negative messages. Most often, the negative messages we hear are ignorant, manipulative, biased and false. They are based on that person’s fear of failure, low self-esteem and low self-confidence. Understanding this will help to minimize their influence. From there, filter the message. Simply don’t listen. In one ear and out the other. Don’t dwell on the message or allow it the opportunity to make itself at home in your mind. The longer it stays the more damage it will do.
The second step is to put positive thoughts in. Whether through surrounding yourself with positive people who encourage you and support you, through positive self-talk or through positive media such as books, audio messages inspirational movies, etc. Positive messages produce self-confidence, optimism and productive behaviors.
There is significant power in the ability to filter who we listen to. When we allow others to influence our attitude, we lose our ability to control how we handle failures. Earl Nightengale pioneered this concept of controlling what you think about. His speech, The Strangest Secret, is a powerful message and when embraced will change your life. It’s not all your fault, you’re not a sieve and you don’t just suck…despite what the crowd says.
“Goaltending is a normal job, sure. How would you like it in your job if every time you made a small mistake, a red light went on over your desk and 15,000 people stood up and yelled at you.”