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In my consulting practice, one of the most common reasons athletes come to me is to help them overcome their fear so they can pursue their sport. They seek to overcome their fear of injury, overcome their fear of failure, overcome their fear of success, etc.

In other words, athletes come to me to help them to be brave and courageous, but sometimes the bravest thing is to stop. An example of this is in the Olympics right now with Simone Biles. Simone Biles pulled herself out of competition to, as she says, focus on her mental health.

I don’t know what Simone Biles’ mental state is. I know whatever the media shares. Still, perhaps it’s a great example of someone being brave and courageous. Simone Biles is someone who has obviously overcome certain fears to achieve such heights and levels of performance. Thus, I don’t think we need to doubt her bravery and courage to pursue her sport at a high level and to be the best that she can be which is possibly the best in the world for female gymnastics. And, I also want us to tune into her bravery and her courage for knowing when she’s not ready to perform. Pulling out of competition, especially the Olympics, is a hard thing to do.

We have to be honest with ourselves. We know deep down when we’re ready and when we’re not ready. We know when we’re holding back because of, like I mentioned earlier, a fear of injury, a fear of success even, or a fear of failure. We also know whether we’re holding back or taking a step back and stopping because it’s the right thing to do for our present and future intentions.

For you moving forward, when it comes time to decide whether you’re going to go or going to stop, whether you’re going to pursue something or change paths, be honest with yourself. understand if it’s just a fear of failure or a fear of an injury that you can get through (as not all fear of injuries are ones to be overcome). Be honest with yourself and then seek the guidance and support to develop mental toughness.

Remember, sometimes we need courage, bravery and mental toughness to pursue and push through our fears and other self-limiting beliefs and behaviors. Other times being brave is also saying “I don’t want to. It’s best for me to stop.”

Back to Simone Biles, in my humble opinion, we already know that she’s courageous and brave in pursuit of excellence. She has made leaps and bounds in her sport. Today, I think we can give her props for being brave and courageous to stop when she feels it’s in her best interest.

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Until next time, have a wonderful rest of your day!






Dr. Haley Perlus, PhD

Dr. Haley Perlus works with some of the world’s top athletes, brands, and fitness experts to move past mental blocks and achieve results uniquely tailored to the individual or corporation’s goals and expectations. Follow her or subscribe to receive videos featuring Mental Toughness Moments.

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