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"I'm Going To Fall!" Facing Our Thoughts to Improve Performance

Mindset Made Simple Tip #60 - Watch or listen HERE!

Did you have a skateboard as a kid? I wasn’t allowed to have one.

There were no helmets, wrist protectors or anything to aid in keeping you from the ER back then, and I am certain that was my mom’s reasoning for the hard “no skateboards allowed”! Back then, no one wore a helmet…not major league catchers nor hockey players… and hitters didn’t have ear flaps, let alone facemasks.

Oh…the good ole days!

As things change, there are others that remain the same. One of them is our tendency to find the problem in every situation.

I am SO good at this (not something to brag about!). Maybe it is because, as coaches and leaders, we are charged with making improvements and making improvements implies there is a problem to change.

No matter how we attempt to rationalize this limiting tendency isn’t a feather in our cap!

Yes, we must improve to achieve. But this negativity bias we are all saddled with is extremely unhelpful in our quest to learn and improve.

I was reminded of the limits we place on ourselves this week as my son’s interest in his skateboard - excuse me - his “penny board” (get it right mom!) has taken off.

We spent a lot of time at local parks over the past few days getting the feel for the penny board. As expected, he got better and better the more he was on it. He got a little trickier, picked up speed and started to show off just a bit.

As the learning curve progressed, he ran into a bit of fear and doubt. The good part about this fear is it kept him from flying down major hills with reckless abandon before he had the skills to stop.

However, this did not keep him from riding down our street, which is a pretty steep grade, toward a stop sign on his belly last weekend without us having any idea he was flirting with death…literally. As I laid in bed that night, I was sick to my stomach with the prospect of what could have happened had a car come around the corner (see…I found the problem…but it really was a problem that needed to be corrected 😊).

Back to using the skateboard as it was designed…on one’s feet! Each time he came to a new challenge he almost automatically said “I am going to fall.”

There’s that fear and negativity bias rearing its ugly head.

Even with my constant encouragement and the fact that he had not yet taken a spill, this worst-case scenario was repeated often.

It took a few different forms at times, like “what if I fall?” My response was, “what if you ride all the way down?”

Isn’t it crazy that we set ourselves up for failure before we even try?

Just think about the consequences of these thoughts and/or beliefs.


My son had not yet crashed and burned. But he had thought all about it and how horrible it would be. And every time he faced a challenge, he defaulted to this thought.

These thoughts of failure are a far cry from his “I’m great at that” attitude from a few years ago. In watching him grow, I have witnessed a change in how he approaches some things and have noticed that “Doubting Thomas” that is inside of all of us, shows up more often.

When he was just a little guy, we watched a lot of Thomas and Friends. At the end of each show, they flash features of trains and the kids are to guess who they are rapid-fire style. The older he got, the slower he answered. He knew EVERY train and all about them, but as he aged, he was more afraid to be wrong and seconded guess himself.

Unfortunately, the older we get, the more we overthink, the more we care what others think and the more we hold ourselves back.

We have a magnet on our fridge that asks, “what would you do if you knew you could not fail?” This is a GREAT question.

What would we do if our brains didn’t already present the worst-case scenario to us before we even begin?

Although we never want to rid ourselves of all fear (some fear is good and does keep us from getting run over by cars and stuff) we can improve our performance by challenging, or even just acknowledging, our limiting and non-productive thoughts!

As we start something new or work at something we know we must do to improve, self-doubt is sure to sneak its way in.

To help us move past our non-productive and sometimes automatic thoughts, let’s go back more than a thousand years to ancient philosopher, Socrates, Triple Filter Test.

Socrates used this Triple Filter Test to determine whether gossip was true, but it can just as easily be used to determine whether our limiting beliefs or non-productive thoughts are worth it! If the message didn’t pass the test in Socrates’ day, it wasn’t worth listening to. The same is true for our thoughts!

The test is simple.

1. Is it TRUE?

2. Is it GOOD?

3. Is it USEFUL?

If the information (or, in our case, the thought) didn’t meet these standards, Socrates wondered why he would want to hear it!

Why would you want to entertain any thought that didn’t meet this litmus test?

Questioning whether it is true is the first step! Was it true that my son was going to fall?

Was his “I’m going to fall” statement good? Is there anything good about falling?

Was it useful? I am pretty certain the thought did not prepare his body for success!

This seems SO SIMPLE. But as we know, SIMPLE ISN’T EASY!

However, if we can train our minds to question what we say to ourselves – to dispute and not just accept all we say as the absolute truth, we will begin to lessen the hold our limiting beliefs have on us!

So, today when we go to the park and my son mentions his next fall (that we are still waiting on), he will be asking himself a few questions…and thinking is mom is even weirder than he thought! 😊

Is this TRUE? GOOD? USEFUL? Only you can decide, but to decide, you first have to ask!

Have a great week!


P.S. Planning your mental training is as important as planning your practices. I would love to help your team increase its performance by teaching them the power of their minds. Give me a call or text at 234-206-0946 or send me an email at


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