Anna Russell: Self-belief and habits

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Anna Russell’s passion is to inspire and energise those people around her - to reach their potential and become true high performers.
Forming a habit of meticulous preparation enables you to put as much of a situation in your control as possible. Photo / iStock
Forming a habit of meticulous preparation enables you to put as much of a situation in your control as possible. Photo / iStock

A great habit is the one you keep.

As well as racing professionally in Ironman Triathlon I also coach many athletes on their Ironman journey. What I have found is that the daily grind of training, as opposed to the actual race day, is the main challenge for athletes trying to achieve this monumental goal.

Whether it be personal or work goals, self-belief and confidence comes from instilling great habits into training for these goals. The two that I believe are most important are meticulous preparation and consistency.

READ MORE:
Anna Russell: What makes someone a high performer?
Anna Russell: Self-belief v self limitation

Forming a habit of meticulous preparation enables you to put as much of a situation in your control as possible. This removes fear and self-doubt.

One way I develop self-belief in people is to outline a specific routine for them to follow. This is based off the degree of preparation I did before races and how it improved my performances. In my mentoring work I have found that the fear of public speaking is prevalent amongst so many working in corporate environments.

An example of meticulous preparation in this situation is that I have people practice the presentation at least three times before the day of presentation.

This must include presenting to a group of people who have no knowledge of the subject matter.

If this group of people understand the key points of the presentation, then you know you've got it right. Secondly is getting up early on presentation day and practicing twice before arriving at the venue and then once at the venue. This degree of preparation gives confidence and self-belief and can be applied in the pursuit of any objective or goal.

The second factor that is important in developing self-belief is consistency.

Before key races I will read through my training journal and take confidence from the consistency of my training. Being consistent is not always easy and often comes down to forming the right habits, the ones you'll keep. For me, getting up at 5am for swim squad (the part of training I least enjoyed) was always a struggle.

The habit I developed was packing all my gear into the car the night before, leaving no organisation for the morning. This simple habit enabled me to keep consistent, do the training, and instill self-belief in my swim performance come race day.

In a work environment this consistency could be shown in the time you arrive for meetings, or the attitude you turn up to work with. Self-belief is not a magical formula, it comes from doing the simple things right, all the time.

- NZ Herald

Three years ago, while working full-time, Anna Russell left the corporate world to pursue her dream of becoming a professional athlete, competing around the world in Ironman triathlons. Anna now writes about her experience as a professional athlete and how her learnings can be applied to drive high performance in both individuals and teams.

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