I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about life and I keep coming back to this concept of perspective. It's becoming more and more clear to me that perspective is super important. The outlook we have about situations can affect how we think, feel and behave.
For example, some see setbacks as a negative, some see them as opportunities for growth. Perspective.
Some would see losing a job as a door closing, others might say one door had to close so another could open. Perspective.
Fear of failure? How about embracing challenges. Hate making mistakes? How about accepting mistakes as necessary steps to learning and improvement. Hate traffic? What about a reminder to slow down sometimes. Perspective, perspective, perspective.
This concept comes up a lot in the work I do with clients. What is another way to view the situation? Is that perspective helping me or hurting me? If it's more harmful, why not change to a perspective more useful! I'm sure you've heard of the analogy, "The glass is half full or the glass is half empty." Which side do you tend to lie on? I'm more of a glass half full kind of person overall, but I definitely have my days where that glass is half empty for sure. And that's normal. As long as I can eventually get myself back to the glass half full side.
Positive perspectives can help us approach a situation, challenge, or experience with energy, motivation, and balance. Negative perspectives can leave us with fear, anxiety, and low motivation towards a task or experience. To me the choice seems an easy one, to choose a positive outlook. But I know it's easier said and done.
So here are some tips I follow and share with my clients:
Ask yourself these questions...
Why do I have this perspective?
Is this perspective useful?
Is there another outlook that would suit me and this situation better?
An exercise I like to do myself and with clients is called Bad News, Good News. It challenges us to look a situations from another perspective. For example, let's say I was late to a work meeting. I might say, the bad news is that I was late, but the good news is that I know what time to leave next time.
Here are a few more examples of how to use the Bad News, Good News exercise:
The bad news is that my serve in tennis went way passed the baseline. The good news is that I know what adjustments to make for my next serve.
The bad news is that my friend had to reschedule our hang out for tomorrow night and I was really looking forward to it. The good news is that we are going to meet up a few days later instead!
The bad news is that practice was cancelled today. The good news is that I can use this time to train my brain!
Give it a try and see what you think! Challenge your perspective when you feel it's too negative or has a debbie downer feel to it. Once you get the hang out of, I think you'll like the affects it has on your life!
Until next time.....
We’ve all heard the expression, “you have to fail to succeed.” Losing a game, getting scored on, not playing one’s best; these are all common occurrences in youth soccer. How can we use those experiences to better our teams? As coaches, how can we create a healthy perspective about winning, losing, and adversity that supports individual and team improvement?
As coaches, we are privileged to be in a position to teach and inspire our youth to love sports and to return each year. We impact their development, teach them about teamwork, and contribute to their improvement. Teaching them how to handle adversity is a great way to enhance and foster their improvement and development.
In our society, winning is plastered EVERYWHERE and we learn early in life that winning must be important. Adults also get lost in the shuffle that “winning is everything.” It's a natural part of competition without questions. Unfortunately, kids start to adopt that same mentality and as a result may not know how to handle adversity or losing.
The funny thing is that most kids would put winning way down on their list of why they play a sport. They often list making friends, having fun, and enjoyment higher then winning. And most pro athletes would list adversity as one of the main reasons they are now successful. Teaching youngsters about finding opportunities for growth in both winning and losing will help them develop the right skills to handle those scenarios now and in the future in both sport and life.
One of my favorite approaches is the FEEL and DEAL approach. No matter what situation we’re faced with, feel and deal means to feel what we’re going through, then to deal with it. Learn from it, and then move on. This can be especially helpful when facing adversity. Every experience provides opportunities for growth.
It’s winning and learning not winning and losing
Creating a healthy perspective about losing and adversity can help youth in these ways:
Below, you’ll find a few tips how to talk about and approach adversity:
Encourage a growth mindset.
-The growth mindset says that we are all learners throughout life. Taking risks and making mistakes are necessary for growth. Our outlook about risks and mistakes can dictate our mindset and behavior. Encourage the growth mindset in your players, and try to live this as a coach.
Remind your team that winning isn’t everything.
-Do we want to win? YES! Is winning the most important thing? NO! Winning is a byproduct of many other things including preparation and effort. Even when we do those things, we still may not win.
-Mistakes and challenges can be the most teachable moments. Teach your team how to embrace and learn from them. Adopt the growth mindset, where learning comes from all experiences.
Talk to your team about failure and adversity.
-What is failure? What is adversity? What does it mean? How do we behave or respond to it? In the early stages of your season, define what failure and adversity mean and how to approach them. Check in and reinforce those themes regularly.
Ask more process related questions.
-What did we do well today? What was the most fun about today? What can we do better next time? Why do you think that didn’t go as well today? What did we learn? Give them a voice while providing some constructive feedback of your own.
Check your reactions to “mess-ups,” adversity, losing, and winning.
-What is your body language saying? What words are you using and how is your tone? Are you only cheering for good or positive performance behavior? Youngsters can quickly recognize conflicting words and body language, so be aware of how you’re reacting. Remember, they learn how to react to and approach these scenarios mostly by watching adults so the key is to be a good example.
Focus on what’s IN YOUR CONTROL.
-This is true for both coaches and players. Stay focused on things you can control like effort and preparation. Avoid worrying about things outside of your control, like outcome, opponents, and referees.
Practice positive self-talk.
-Helping youngsters develop good self-talk habits will help them approach sport and life with a “can do” attitude and not get too down on themselves. When you hear a player say a negative statement, ask them to rephrase it with something positive. The same goes for coaches; rephrase language to be positive or constructive.
Overall, it’s about balance. Kids are like sponges and develop their coping strategies towards winning and adversity based on what they observe in the grown ups that have the most influence in their lives – parent, teachers, coaches. Teach them to focus on the steps it takes to learn new things rather than the final results, and most importantly be a good example of this yourself.
Hey! I'm Katie, and I specialize in Mental Performance. I believe greatly in mindset and the role it plays in life.