Beyond Belief – Mel Hauschildt

220 columnist and world champion triathlete Mel Hauschildt doesn’t hold the secret to success but she does have belief in herself

Professional triathletes don’t hold that one coveted ‘secret’ to success. To be successful you have to want it. But more importantly you have to believe it. Obviously a little talent comes into play. It’s not everyday you’ll see a jockey switch to basketball and be successful. Factors such as finances, time, equipment or training also play a big part. But the most difficult aspect to master is the mind.

When I was young my Dad would always tell me, “If you think you can do it, you’re right! If you think you can’t, your still right!” I started running when I was 11 and instantly fell in love. I was also lucky enough to have such supporting parents. My dad travelled all over Australia with me to cheer me on at my races. When I stepped onto the starting line, I would win a lot more than not. But it was only when I lost that my Dad’s words rang true.

Back in my home town of Adelaide at 14 years old, the night before the national cross-country championships, my Dad was dragging out scrapbooks and clippings to show my extended family. He couldn’t help but tell everyone how proud he was ofme and how I was going to destroy the competition.

He was probably right… I was in great shape and the favourite to win. But I was always the quiet achiever. Although I was confident inside I never told anyone. When asked “Are you going to win?” I’ve always just shrugged it off. Ill let my feet do the talking not my mouth. That night I slid down in my chair in embarrassment thinking “What if I don’t win?”

Doubts starting flooding my mind. By the nights end I’d convinced myself I wasn’t going to win. I was planning my excuse before the race had even begun.

Race day came and I failed, placing 9th. However, it was my dad that made the excuses. If I was going to fail I was going to do it in style. But I hadn’t lost on purpose. I tried. I tried so hard that I blew up. I ran out of the gates like it was a 100m sprint, not a 3km cross country race. I had almost 100m lead by the 200m mark. My dad told family and friends that I must have got food poisoning the night before the race. I was extremely upset with him, yelling “No! I didn’t get food poisoning. I just wasn’t good enough”. I was mad at him but also mad at myself. Mad for talking myself out of winning. The race was lost before it had even started.

The mind is such a powerful tool. It can help to achieve amazing things but it can also destroy them just as quick. Set goals. Realistic goals that you know you can achieve and if you believe you can do it, you will do it!


You can read Mel’s columns in each issue of 220 Triathlon.