Seconds tick by on the clock like hours. It feels like the game is already over. You’re down – both in score and morale. So what’s the point? Why bother? Why keep playing?
Well, as Yogi Berra once put it, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”
Thanks Yogi, but we all know how difficult it can be in these moments to maintain optimism and enthusiasm – especially when no one else around us is doing it either. So what can we do about it?
In any given event, our emotions are going to get triggered. It’s natural to have an immediate knee-jerk (emotional) reaction. In these situations, we tend to get hooked and caught up in the emotions themselves rather than focusing on what’s happening in the present moment and our stake in the outcome. However, those who focus more on their personal control within the situation, and hence, their outward reaction and response, tend to outperform those who focus on the negative (or who allow surrounding negativity to impact their state of being). In order to be more successful in stressful or critical moments, it’s important to remember 3 key things:
Your personal awareness and emotional intelligence is crucial. We describe emotional intelligence as four interlocking quadrants: 1. Knowing and understanding our own emotions, 2. Knowing and understanding the emotions of others, 3. Managing ourselves and our reactions and 4. Managing our relationships with others.
The greater awareness we have about ourselves and others, the better chance we have at responding to the situation in a way that is more positive and productive.
Embracing that we’re going to be confronted by unexpected circumstances or unfavorable events at any given point in time is key in continuing to shape the response and outcome we truly want.
“Every great change is preceded by chaos.” – Deepak Chopra
Accepting what has already happened can actually offer us an emotional release and an opportunity. In these moments, if we’re able to stop, reflect and then shift our focus to the control we do have, we decrease our chances of becoming emotionally hooked on past events or mistakes and distracted from the present moment. At that point, we can focus on our control in the next moments.
We have an incredible amount of control over the outcome of any given situation – even if it doesn’t feel that way. When we’re thoughtful and intentional about our outward reactions and the actions we take – despite our emotions – we have a better chance of shifting the outcome in our favor. Doing so redirects our energy to focus on the control that we have – something far more desirable than feeling powerless and defeated. It gives us greater confidence in our abilities and helps us to play the game how we want in the present moment (rather than dwelling on the past). Taking action allows us to move forward.
Overall, it’s important to remember that even if we’re feeling a certain way (e.g., frustrated, exhausted, anxious, etc.), we can still act how we want. We can show up as our best self, speaking in ways that are positive, engaging with others in ways that are beneficial, and behaving in ways that are going to increase our chances of getting the outcome we want.
Sometimes, we have the odds against us. But, if we’re pessimistic and focus on what we cannot control, we will be surely defeated without a chance. We cannot control the hardball thrown at us or the rise of our emotions when we get a strike, AND we can still choose how we want to step up to the plate again, focusing on our swing instead of the score.