Look For Ways To Win




It’s that time of the year when football teams come together to prepare for another season. The players of one college team elected 15 huddle leaders last spring and these young men recently met for a retreat prior to the arrival of the rest of the team. I led in a half-day seminar for this special group. The presentation was based on my book, “A Strategy For Winning,” which deals with winning not only in sports but also in family, education, business and life.
At one point in our session, I asked the leaders to close their eyes and imagine they were involved in a close game. They had the ball on their own 18-yard line. It was third down with a little over a yard to go for a first down. The opponent was five points ahead with about two minutes remaining in the game. I paused, and then asked them to visualize the opponent’s defense crowding the line of scrimmage to keep them from gaining the needed yardage.
Then I asked them to see their quarterback taking the snap from center and handing off to the running back who hit the hole off right tackle. It was a quick burst, with great blocking execution, and he broke through. Because the defense was packed on the line of scrimmage, he was into the secondary and behind them in nothing flat. The more he ran, the more distance he put between himself and the defensive players chasing him. To the 50, 45, 40, 35, 30, 25, 20, 15, 10, 05, touchdown!
I asked the players to open their eyes and share with me the feelings they experienced as they visualized the scenario. One player immediately said, “My heart was pounding like crazy!” There was a moment of silence and then another player, with excitement on his face and in his voice, shouted, “WOW!” Others in the room responded in kind to his excitement.
The point of the exercise was to emphasize: “Most people develop feelings as a result of happenings; winners develop happenings as a result of feelings.” If we can practice putting positive feelings in our minds prior to events rather than waiting for the events to create the feelings, we then have more control over the events and the events have less control over us.
In sports, I like to say, “It happens in the mind before it happens in the body.” But this is not relegated to sports. I recall a salesperson once telling me how happy he would be if he could get a certain client to sign a contract even though he believed the client would not sign. What if he visualized making the sale before he actually approached the client? What if he saw himself preparing correctly and preparing the client correctly? What if he experienced what he was going to say, the various responses the client could have and how he could react to those responses? What if he entered the meeting with enthusiasm, confidence and excitement rather than with fear and trepidation?
Rather than saying, “I will show confidence in my child when he proves he deserves it,” why not help him gain the confidence by letting him know you believe in him? Rather than saying, “I would take my wife on a romantic trip if she would show more affection,” why not take her on the trip and show your affection? Rather than saying, “I would be nicer to him if he were not so grouchy,” why not be nice to him regardless of his actions and see what happens?
We are advised in Proverbs 23:7, “As a person thinks, so is he.” Building on this, Mohandas Gandhi said, “If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it, even if I did not have the ability in the beginning.”
You shouldn’t close your eyes to problems or obstacles. Be realistic. But, at the same time, “Look for ways to win rather than excuses for losing.”
Carl Mays, author of over a dozen books and speaker at over 3,000 events, may be contacted at carlmays@carlmays.com. His books (including A Strategy For Winning, Winning Thoughts, Anatomy Of A Leader, People of Passion and Are We Communicating Yet?) are available in stores, on www.carlmays.com, Amazon.com, and other Internet locations. You are invited to contact Carl about speaking at your next meeting.
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