Dear Tim Denning, How I Became an Expert

First off, great article! As an expert in the field of professional athletics (basketball), making it to the top 1% of all athletes in the world, there is something to be said for jumping into the deep end and behaving like an expert right from the get-go. But I may disagree on the order of belief events:

Mental toughness in building habits, or working on your dream/goal/craft continually may come before belief in yourself. Most of the time, I realized faith or confidence in myself was just a state of being — a series of thoughts/emotions/behaviors that came and went like the rain.

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becoming an expert

I always try to get myself and others to behave with this growth mindset type thinking, to detach from (micro) failures, and act like a pro. Just start working, even if you don’t believe in yourself. If you love doing it, go. Live it. Work. .

An insightful book on this is Steven Pressfield’s, The War of Art. Resistance is brutal. Your mind is a savage. Rarely, when starting off, does self-belief and confidence align in your efforts to be an expert. I found the opposite to be true. Self-belief is rarely the thing that got me through to being a professional athlete. If anything, it was my faith in something greater than myself, in my daily workout plan and habits, the work of the “Universe/God/Energy/The Things Unseen” we can all tap into, my constant obsession of creation, and everything else I couldn’t see or touch. In the beginning, I lacked confidence, belief, and always felt like I wasn’t good enough to reach my goals. It was my battle to slowly change those limiting self-beliefs.

“Being an expert starts with a belief in yourself, not information or accreditation.” — Tim Denning

Faith in yourself helps, no doubt. But most pros or experts, in the beginning, had more self-doubt than self-belief when they started. Do you trust you can change your behaviors, thoughts, and habits?

Maybe the only initial belief you need to have is in your passion to change for what you love. That self-awareness is all you need to begin that path, that small step, in building the first brick of your own Rome. This small sliver of hope could be the starting point to acquire any information, any accreditation, and realize competing with the best in your field is the game and to be in the game means one must love the battle and the daily ins and outs, ups and downs, in becoming an expert.

And Tim is right, don’t wait around for support or validation. In some arenas, there is no proof, no one choosing you as an All-Star, no selection committee that says you are an expert all-star! It may be just you staying true to your craft, your business, your passion, and beating the daily resistance.

Belief is over-rated in my opinion. That comes as you build your successful habits, work ethic, and craft; when one day years later, you realize, “Damn, I am a really really good { }!”

I never once thought: I believe I’m an expert pro basketball player. No, in fact, I prayed, obsessed, and visualized waking up tomorrow morning to work hard on acquiring more information on my craft, and execute the insane training game plan I had built around my passion.

In the beginning, I would let my body of work reflect my love for the game.

My super duper expert advice:

Make your reservoir of creation so big, so good, so deep, so thick, so amazing, you can’t be ignored. Then one day you will step back and look at it and believe in your process, in yourself even more. The self-belief will come from the work, from the obsession of thoughts, feelings, visions, and purpose you built for yourself. If you want to change your beliefs, change your behavior, and start beating the resistance.

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Expert Training Tips

Here are some expert tips from Jim Loehr, author of The New Toughness Training for Sports:

  1. Change your thinking to change the way you feel.
  2. Change the picture if you don’t like the feeling.
  3. Take full responsibility for what you think and how you think.
  4. Practice positive thinking constantly.
  5. Never think or say ‘I can’t’; never think or say ‘I hate.’
  6. Think empowering thoughts.
  7. Think humorously to break up negative emotions.
  8. Think more energetically.
  9. Learn to keep a here-and-now focus during competition.
  10. During critical moments of execution, focus your attention outside yourself.
  11. Practice strategic visualization constantly.
  12. Be more disciplined in the way you think about your mistakes.
  13. Be clear why it’s important to fight. Before the battle begins, make the commitment.
  14. Use adversity to get stronger.
  15. Constantly remind yourself to love the battle.
  16. Use positive brainwashing to break negative mental habits.
  17. Focus on ‘Just for today.

Want to know more about becoming an expert and how to use Sports Training Methodology to get there? !

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