We researched. We talked with pros. And finally, we gathered data as a team for a 21-day window.
We developed a simple definition of inner strength that works for almost anyone, athlete or not.
When you rate the difficulty of any given performance below the actual results, you've just utilized and experienced positive inner strength. When you rate the difficulty significantly higher than the results indicate, you've dipped into a more negative state.
High inner strength equates to saying, "That wasn't so hard."
Low or shaky inner strength usually comes out as, "I can't do that" or "I can't believe how hard that was."
Elite athletes and other exceptionally strong human beings tend to exhibit high inner strength more consistently than the rest of us.
Why It's Important To Track Contributing Factors
Our inner strength definition sounds simple, right? Similar definitions exist in many corners of sports and life. But if it were as easy as reading a few words, we'd all hang a Successories poster on the wall and go crush it every day. :)
The problem with the boiled-down versions is they don't take into account all the factors that contribute to both performance and perception. You can't just walk into challenging situations, tell yourself it's going to be easy and expect to perform exceptionally well every time.
You can't expect to develop long-term, well-founded inner strength simply by repeating a mantra. Mantras can be helpful, but they aren't the full story.
OK, So What's The Happy Medium?
It isn't super-complicated to develop a more complete picture and strike the right balance between the over-simplified approach and the "I have all day to work on this" approach.
Here are the 6 factors we track for athletes:
- Sleep quality and quantity
- Emotional status and indicators
- Nutrition quality, quantity and timing
- Muscle soreness
- Brain use (cognition, coordination and self-talk)
- Parasympathetic nervous system status (hype and flow)
Each factor can affect both daily performance and your perception of that effort. By making a habit of recording your day-to-day fluctuations, you quickly develop a stronger body-mind connection and you provide our team with the ability to search for correlations in your data.
We base your individual insights and recommendations on the patterns we see from week to week. Over time, you'll gain a more nuanced and predictive approach to challenges.
You'll be able to say, "I know I can perform at my highest potential today, and I know exactly why."
Or, "That workout felt a lot harder than it should have, but I know why and I'm not going to beat myself up for it."
In other words, you'll be gradually developing true inner strength!