I go into each prep, and off season for that matter, with expectations. When I consider what these expectations are, they are inherently internal.
Internal meaning, focused on what I will do, on what I control, and on what I affect. My expectations are around my behaviors, my actions, my reactions, and my input. This is successful. It puts my "expectation" energy focusing on things I impact. These are things I am accountable to.
Each season, I experience the "disappointed client". It's often someone who looks honestly amazing, and has done very well. I can see it 10 weeks out. And this is how it usually goes:
- It's my very first time, but I expect to win overall.
- I don't feel like I'm going to be ready in time, but if I don't win my class, I'll be so upset.
- I know Angelica just won bikini at the Arnold, I expect to look like her in 5 weeks, is that possible?
- Honestly, if I win 3rd place, I'm going to be crushed.
I have found first time competitors are often filled with expectations that might not be either internal, or realistic in any way. And it's difficult to know what you should expect when you've never done something.
We see and watch people much better than us on social media, and they seem so accessible, it's like we're training together. So, naturally...I should expect to place first just like them. Not naturally. In fact, not at all.
Putting your expectations around where you'll place, or who will be there, is lost energy. No one controls that. The girl you are stalking on IG may not even make it to the show. She might get sick, hurt, have a family emergency, or quit. Why worry about her. Worry about you.
Comparing yourself clouds your expectations.So if you are trying to figure out who will be at your show, and place yourself (first) among them it's wasted energy. And external expectations.
How do you focus your expectations internally? You focus on what you're doing. You focus on your plan, your nutrition, making your improvements.
It seems relatively narcissistic to expect you will win overall at your first ever show. I'm not diminishing your physique, drive, or ability. However, you are one of many talented athletes. One.
Respecting the work others have done is called humility. I'm not impressing you should think anything other than, "I am a winner and I will be placed center stage," when you step on stage. You should! We all prep for first place. I'm talking about our expectations, and the aftermath of the reality only one of us will in fact be placed first. One.
For me, when I step on stage I already have a plan for improvement and my brain is thinking forward. The show is one stop in the cycle of the sport. It's not my end point, and that perspective helps guide my expectations. I've watched really good athletes disappear in this sport because they did not win overall in their first ever show...and it wrecked them.
I encourage you to sit down with your expectations and think about what you are setting yourself up for. Are you setting yourself up to shine in your moment and get back to the drawing board? Or, are you setting yourself up for complete and unnecessary devastation?
Only you can control your experience in the sport, or in this life. Set your expectations accordingly.