Competing Pressure – Perception or Reality?


“I’m just going to do this competition as a run through before the major one in May” I heard myself saying and certainly on a number of levels I believed it.

The one thing I was about to experience, as I do with every competition and pretty much 100% of my sport and competing performance clients experience – was the “perception of pressure”.

As we come close to competition or anything we believe is a personal challenge we start to become more aware of areas we hadn’t taken conscious notice of before but they start to come into our thoughts as we progress nearer to the crunch time.

We also may be running an embedded behaviour or routine which at some point in our lives we believed motivated us or got us results we were not sure we could achieve. It then becomes a primary response in reaction to recognised situations like thinking about a competition coming up.

So, tomorrow I leave for Wales. There is a small competition I was supposed to be refereeing at but decided that I would bench as it would be a good run through for the major competition I have in May. Up until last week that was all it was…………………….I was just going to bench the weight I was training on in my cycle up to the mammoth bloody task I had set myself in the May Expo.

So suddenly I’m thinking about “what if I don’t do as well as I wanted” and “I don’t want people to see me fail because I have benched World Records and the 12 biggest ever bench across all weight categories for a woman” etc etc.

As soon as I started the whole thought process I knew what I was doing – and the reality is that that your perception of “pressure” which you react, mould and base your decisions around are not in fact real.

The one thing I work with so many clients on is the perception of pressure and we have to rationalise the entire list of external forces we BELIEVE are pressing down on us.

First of all – no one puts pressure on us, they actually cant. We are the ones that to create that feeling of pressure and turn it into something tangible so we recognise it. Again this is all down to association and US creating that feeling and all the meanings we add to it that no one else can do for us.

So when you start thinking about letting people down, not wanting to perform badly in front of people, losing respect of followers or fans, that you have to win or perform otherwise you wont be seen as the contender you once were – its all an internal world which you have created, it isn’t real.

The world you see through your own eyes and the meanings you put onto other peoples behaviour is all terribly good telepathy – but doesn’t actually tell us the reality of what other people think and the most amazing thing is that we dont in fact ask.

All those eyes you think are watching you – half it. And of the 50% percent that is left – ask yourself, if you were in their position, what would they be thinking about you? Would they be judging you? Probably not, they will probably want to see you do well and all they ask of you is to give 100%. Not giving 100% is when you do let people down.

And for the people who are “waiting for you to fail” – what percentage of those people have actually achieved anything and don’t have any self esteem issues? That would be a very large hairy Zero.

So as I sit here now, remembering all the conversations, late night and early mornings, warm up areas and changing rooms I have sat in with clients having this conversation, now its time to apply it, once again, to me.

And I sit here knowing that I haven’t organised my kit yet and need to check my competing bench shirts, chalk etc for the 27th time and go through the list one last time all I think of when I see in my mind the competition on Saturday is an auditorium of friends who have seen my competing career rise over many years, who remember the divorces, the heartache, the moments of total despair and who were there for me, wanting me to do well and in a way almost more of a family than my own has been in some ways. And the pressure is gone.

So when I hit the “publish” button and this links into all the various places back to my Ironpsyche site, not only is this an article for you and how our brains work with our perception of reality – it is also some of me as well.





4 Responses to “Competing Pressure – Perception or Reality?”

  1. 1 Phil Burgess March 16, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Love it, well said and came at the right time for me, one day out from my first ever strongman comp.

  1. 1 Techniques to Improve your Squat by Marilia Coutinho | Strongman Trackback on March 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm

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