The Power of Mindset - In Conversation with Bobbie Butters
“I don’t beat myself up as much anymore and have learnt to accept who I am.”
Focusing on mindset has had a number of positive impacts for Bobbie. It’s helped her overcome pain barriers and limiting beliefs in training, and it's changed her self-perception which has been incredibly powerful.
Bobbie Butters is a Powerlifter, competing with the Great British Powerlifting Federation (GBPF), and former junior British champion in Olympic Weightlifting. She has five British records and ranked second in the country overall in her weight class. Alongside powerlifting, she is also a coach and a teacher.
For Bobbie, mindset will mean different things to different people and it’s something that constantly evolves. For her, the key element of mindset is perception - how you perceive situations and yourself.
In 2014/15 Bobbie was experiencing chronic pain and chronic fatigue which led to her pulling out of the Olympic development squad pathway. It was the physiotherapy following this, that was a real turning point in her approach to mindset.
“Now when I experience pain in training I don’t catastrophise it, I accept it and do what I can to manage it.”
Her physio reframed pain - “ you might always have back pain” - and instead of trying to fight it and get rid of it, Bobbie realised she had to accept it. Deadlifts were a movement where her back pain would always flare-up. She started to say to herself “no pain” before a lift and it would work. She realised she was in control.
Bobbie has always journaled in training. She writes down how she’s feeling during her session, how each set feels, and brings attention to what she’s thinking. She has used pain journals in the past, working with her physio, to identify what triggers pain.
“How are you going to monitor your mindset if you’re not reflecting.”
Her competition journal is an important tool too. In the run-up to a competition, she will look back at previous competition journals and use those to reflect on what went well and what could have gone better.
Overcoming negative thoughts
Bobbie worked with Edgar Chekera, a performance mindset coach, to improve her self-confidence. Over four months she learnt how to recognise and overcome her negative thoughts. Rationalising belief statements was a fundamental tool that helped Bobbie.
A belief statement is something that you think is true about yourself. An example of this, ‘I’m a bad coach.’ Ask yourself;
Where is the evidence? (logical)
Is this helpful? (helpful)
What can you do with this statement? (rational)
By breaking down the statements we tell ourselves we can start to rationalise the negative thoughts we have and learn to let them go. ‘I’m a bad coach’ becomes ‘I can’t know everything, but I can research.’
Bobbie’s tips for mindset training:
If you’ve never journaled before and it sounds foreign to you, start by listening to yourself. Notice your thoughts. Don’t put pressure on yourself to have to do it every single day. Find a way that fits in with your schedule and works for you.
Listen to yourself - no one can tell you what you’re really thinking about. How are you perceiving yourself and the situations you are in?
Follow Bobbie’s journey here.