I was chatting with one of my former coaching clients the other day and he told me a story I need to share. This particular gentleman is a “former” coaching client because he is one of those types of people that like surpassing his teachers. And that makes me one proud coach.

This guy took it upon himself to study martial arts and new religions, read countless articles and books, listen to audio recordings, and change his diet — all in the name of self-improvement. And improve he did.  He became a master of himself. It was really awe-inspiring.

But back to his story.  He participated in his first fight through the martial arts group he was studying with.  And I was very curious to know how it all went. What he told me reiterated something I knew but somehow lost. He told me that when he got into the ring he was really nervous. The room was full of hundreds of other boxers and martial artists and he felt really small. When he saw his opponent, his nerves kicked up a notch. A few uninspiring things went through his head, such as, “Why am I here?” and “What the hell was I thinking?” Before too long, the sound of the bell put his internal voice aside for a few moments while his body dealt with the blows he was receiving. And then it happened. As if by magic, all the voices from all the self-development work started coming into his mind.

“Keep it simple.”
“You know what you’re doing.”
“You’re ready for this and anything else that comes your way.”
“You’ve got this.”
“Take a deep breath and relax into knowing all that you’ve done up until now…”

In his first boxing match, my former client knocked out his opponent in the first round. And he owed it all to the voices in his head.

This is the power of repetition. My client didn’t just listen to this stuff once. Or once a week. He listened to it, read it and lived it every day. And when the time came when he really needed the motivation, it was all there for him in his mind. The positive, empowering, self-fulfilling messages overrode the negative doubts and uncertainties, so he could perform at his best.

And so the student, through this story, reminded the teacher to get back to her listening, to her reading and to her study that she occasionally sets aside for others, for work, and because life is so busy. Whatever the excuse, it doesn’t matter. We can all make time. I can make time. And so with that, I leave you to go listen to one of my favorite lessons – Peak Performance.

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