Use Real-Time Resilience to Build Self-Confidence

On a daily basis we have several important performances–morning PT, delivering a brief, helping kids with homework, etc. However, a lot of the time we have counterproductive thoughts that take our attention off our task at hand and ultimately hinder us from performing to the best of our ability.

Real-Time Resilience (RTR)
Real-Time Resilience is a skill that uses evidence, optimism, and putting things in perspective to fight counterproductive thoughts in the moment and takes us to a place of self-confidence.

When you are doing something that you care about, sometimes your thoughts can get in the way. For example, if someone has to deliver a speech in front of an audience, they may think “I can’t do this!" "What if I mess up in front of everyone?” Counterproductive thoughts, like these, set us up for failure by taking our focus off the task we're working on and make us feel less confident. These thoughts take away from our ability to perform at our best.

Three strategies to use Real-Time Resilience to build self-confidence:
To fight off unhelpful, distracting thoughts use sentence starters to create responses to truly stop counterproductive thinking.

1. Evidence: Using facts to prove your thoughts are incorrect.

  • Sentence starter: “That's not (completely) true because (FILL IN THE BLANK) …”
    • For example, you are about to sit down and counsel a Soldier (the performance), and you think “This is not going to go well, I don’t even know if they’ll understand what I’m trying to say” (the counterproductive thought).
    • Using evidence to fight this counterproductive thought might sound like, “That’s not completely true because I’ve counseled 100’s of Soldiers and had positive outcomes after our discussions.”

2. Optimism: Generating a more optimistic way of viewing the situation.

  • Sentence starter: “A more optimistic way of seeing this is (FILL IN THE BLANK) …”
    • For example, you are about to start your 2-mile run (performance) and you have a counterproductive thought like, “I’m just not feeling on my game today, this run is going to drag.”
    • Using optimism to fight this thought might sound like “A more optimistic way of seeing this is that a run will help boost my energy and get some endorphins pumping.”

3. Put it in Perspective: Acknowledging that there may be a grain of truth to the counterproductive thought and finding what you could do to battle back.

  • Sentence starter: “The most likely implication is (FILL IN THE BLANK) and I can (FILL IN THE BLANK) …”
    • For example, you are about to qualify on the range (the performance) and you notice a counterproductive thought, “It’s so hot out here, the sweat is making it hard for me to see the targets.”
    • Using ‘put it in perspective’ to fight this counterproductive thought might sound like, “The most likely implication is sweat could drip into my eyes, and I can blink a few times to clear my field of vision.”

Sentence starters not only give us structure but also allow us to fully knock out these counterproductive thoughts to make sure we are focusing on our performances to ensure success. An important thing to know about sentence starters is that they take practice. By deliberately practicing sentence starters we can quickly and efficiently fight off counterproductive thoughts when they arise. You may notice you gravitate toward one strategy (e.g. using evidence). However, it is important to practice all three because certain counterproductive thoughts require different approaches to knock them out!

The goal of this skill is to enable you to walk into your performance – the range, a conversation, an ACFT event, a brief, etc. – with confidence and focus on the task. This skill allows you to perform your best, and get your thoughts working FOR you, rather than AGAINST you!

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