12417948023_46760f434eIf you’re anything like me, you’ve been watching the Olympics over the last couple of weeks and your heart has been absolutely swelling with American pride. Also, you’ve probably been caught cursing your parents for not entering you in ice dancing or luging at the ripe age of two. Realistically, I’m just kidding myself. I wasn’t born with any kind of athletic inclination or the willpower necessary to become a champion. Whether my lack of resounding athletic feats can be attributed to my physical or mental state, I can’t say for sure. Hopefully, sports psychologists for the United States Olympic Committee may have some answers for us.

While many athletes have spent years banning the mere notion of failure from their mental banks, as it turns out, that practice might be more harmful than helpful. Peter Haberl, the senior sports psychologist of the committee says, “For the longest time, the approach was — don’t have those thoughts. Now, the research shows the more you’re trying not to have the thought, the more likely the thought will appear at the most inappropriate time.” Many athletes are now asking the question, “What if?” Toying with a number of possible outcomes, even the outcome of failure. Constantly keeping an eye on the gold may distract you from what is really important.

Although adapting my thinking habits to regularly address and quell my fears might not be able to make me an Olympic athlete, it isn’t too late to internalize that advice and implement in another aspect of my life. This is especially true when it comes to high-risk, high-reward situations. Business owners might find that this advice also applies in breaking down the mental blocks keeping them from reaching their potential before they become all consuming.

Being a business owner is hard work. The stress alone is enough to drive the average 9 to 5 worker mad. While facing uncertainty, especially in the current economic climate, it is good to avoid dwelling on losses. But when your gut is telling you to silence those naysaying voices, it might be more helpful to indulge them, if even for only a moment, and proceed to let them go. Once you are able to let go of the fear attached to those negative thoughts, there is much less holding you back.

Don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with setting your sights on success and going straight on till morning. But it is also important to realize that tackling your insecurities could help you grow your business in the long run.

Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey, Flickr