The Doorway to Success

Dr. Alan Goldberg
What if I told you that there was an “actual” doorway to success that you could repeatedly use to pursue and reach your biggest dreams? What if you knew where to find this doorway to your sports goals? Better yet, what if you had a crystal clear image of what it looked like and how it felt to be there? What role do you think this kind of valuable information would play in your athletic career and beyond? Humor me here. Although what I’m saying may sound a little La-La-Land’ish, I’m not nuts! The doorway to success is not a figment of my warped imagination. In my experience it is quite real! I’ve used it repeatedly through the years to help me achieve success on the tennis court and in my profession as a sports psychologist. Look closely at the sports careers of elite athletes and you’ll see that they too passed through this very same doorway multiple times to reach their high level of achievement.

The doorway to success is actually very easy to identify as long as you know exactly what you’re looking for. All too often athletes miss it because the doorway is very cleverly camouflaged. In fact, it’s hidden behind what appears to be extremely misleading feelings. These feelings tend to leave the athlete believing that he/she is extremely far from success rather than close to it. As a consequence, most athletes who happen to get very close to the doorway and experience these rather uncomfortable feelings end up misinterpreting them and abruptly turning away. Despite the fact that they were standing right upon the threshold to success, they unknowingly turned and left! If only they had known what to look for.…..

The doorway to success isn’t really a physical doorway per se. It is, instead a grouping of predictable feelings that each and every one of us experiences at one time or another as we pursue any goal in or outside of sports. As you begin the journey from beginner to expert in your sport, and later, in your profession, you will repeatedly encounter these feelings. The particular emotions that I speak of are extremely misleading because they usually accompany failure and repeated setbacks. That’s the really confusing thing about the doorway to success. It is constructed with all the emotions that are associated with the very opposite of success! The doorway to success paradoxically is made up of frustration, disappointment, confusion, self-doubts, discouragement, lack of confidence and sadness!

How, you wonder, do these miserable-to-experience feelings point anyone towards success? To do this you must first learn to correctly reframe these seemingly negative emotions in a positive and constructive way. While most athletes feel upset and discouraged after a setback, you must learn to use these feelings as a positive guide to help you get even closer to your goals. Sounds like a magic trick? Not at all!