Have you ever thought of your body as your greatest tool or as your equipment to carry you through the rigors of your athletic pursuits? I once heard a professional athlete share that she seeks to respect and care for her body in the same way she would a valuable piece of equipment. That illustration stuck with me. As athletes, it is so easy to slip into a negative feedback loop about our bodies. Sometimes that loop is highly predictable and significantly correlated with how you felt about your last athletic performance. When you perform well, you feel confident and happy about your body. When you under perform, you lose your self-confidence and become very critical of your body. The cycle can get stuck on replay all too easily.
The more I thought about it, the more I liked the illustration. If my body is my equipment and my greatest tool towards reaching my potential as an athlete and as a person, I have better treat it as such. Over-training, under-eating, under recovering, and sending self-confidence on a roller coaster ride is not the recipe to athletic or personal success. Yet so many athletes have taken this ride many a time.
What if you adopted the mindset that your body is your greatest tool, your most valuable equipment towards reaching your capabilities? The body is the vehicle for which we are carried through our lives and towards our goals. It is our greatest tool because it houses who we are, what we value, how we love, and what we strive towards. If we beat up our equipment, diminish our body and make it our enemy, how will we ever reach our potential? A large part of reaching one’s potential in the world of athletics involves taking care of the body, pushing its limits, and doing all that is needed to help the body heal between hard efforts and competitions. Developing a sense of appreciation and respect for the body can open the door to improved play and confidence.
The more this mindset is adopted, the more confidence will grow along with one other key component to long-term fulfillment and success, gratitude. Shifting our mindset from seeing the body as a barrier or hindrance to seeing it as our most valuable piece of equipment can improve our self-confidence and increase our gratitude. The body that is well cared for and respected for both its limits and capabilities is a body that can perform, improve, and sustain effort for years to come.