Have you ever gone into a presentation/competition and been nervous beyond belief? I know, for certain, I have. Your mind is going in a thousand directions, and all of the possible negative outcomes are at the forefront.

I’ll tell you a terrible time (or two) to have those anxious, apprehensive thoughts rolling through your mind – prior to, and during, two state final wrestling matches. I lost those two matches not because I wasn’t the better wrestler, rather because I didn’t have the confidence I needed to really BELIEVE I could win those matches.

Almost two decades later, I know the reason I didn’t have that confidence. It all comes down to one word, and at that young age, I didn’t truly understand that one word.

I’ve been all-in watching the Olympics the last week or so, and I’ll continue to through the last competition. I’m fascinated by the absolute passion, hard work, dedication, sacrifice and perseverance that each one of these athletes demonstrates.

But I know something now that I didn’t know before, prior to competing against, and being, one of the best fighters in the world – these athletes are not machines. They are human. They have doubts just like us.

So, then, how in the world do you develop the physical and mental capacities to perform at a world-class level if you’re just human? Let’s go back to that one word: preparation.

Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs said it best, “Confidence comes from preparation.”

It’s that simple.

I know from personal experience the difference absolute preparation can make in any outcome.

So I would offer this piece of advice: Stop kidding yourself.

Have you prepared? Have you really prepared?