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Self Doubt... Keep it out!

Lavanya Guhan

The difference between success and failure is not always based on a person’s talent or ability. It is actually whether they have self confidence or self doubt running through their minds, which I would like to illustrate. I am a swimmer for the Special Olympics organization and compete in their Regional Swim Meet every year. After many years, I achieved my goal of winning an individual gold medal this year.

I did not have a good start to the day as I got disqualified from my 25 meter butterfly event and 25 meter medley relay event. It was then time for my 25 m freestyle race. You need to win a gold at the Regional meet to qualify for the State meet. Instead of thinking “what if I don’t make it to State,” I thought about my strengths, which included the fact that freestyle was my best stroke, I have long strong legs for my petite size and remembered all that my coach had taught me in terms of technique thanks to my excellent memory.

I was ecstatic when I ended up winning the gold medal It felt wonderful to accomplish a goal I had written down in my vision book nearly 4 years ago. At my next event, the 25 m breaststroke, I noticed a nearby competitor doing the exact opposite: She kept repeating “what if I get disqualified from breaststroke”; and there it was: self doubt in action. I encouraged her to stop "self doubting” and believe in herself. It is true! Self doubt (all the what-ifs”) hinders your peak performance and limits your opportunities for success. So, believing in yourself is the most helpful choice you can make.

Lavanya Guhan

Special Olympic Gold Medalist (King County Region)

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