Some might say that professional athletes have the best job in the world. They get paid to play a game that millions of people only dream about doing! They spend the day in the sun, with thousands of fans screaming their names and wearing their jersey number. How cool is that?
It is pretty cool – but only if you’re winning. If you’re in a hitting slump or your team is in the midst of a losing streak, suddenly, the sport you love isn’t that much fun. And of course, the converse is true: The better you’re doing, the more fun it is!
Translate that to the business arena. When you’re in that golden space where every product you release is a hit and your customers love you, everything is fun. But when your bank balance is hovering near the red and every phone call is another unhappy client, everything seems like a chore, including the tasks you usually adore.
It is possible to make a mental shift. In fact, it’s imperative that you do so. You can’t afford the luxury of a negative attitude, so here’s how to make things more fun when it all seems to be going wrong:
Focus on small successes. Did you meet a tough deadline, get a nice thank-you email, or release a new product? Recognize and celebrate these achievements, however small.
- Downplay the bad parts. Remind yourself that everything seems worse when your attitude is bad. Give yourself a reality check: Was the tone of that call from your partner as negative as you thought, or is your poor mental state coloring your perceptions?
- Choose to believe. As the famous author and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl wrote, “Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances.” You have the right and the obligation to choose your attitude – so why not choose a positive one?
- Do what you love. If you truly love your business in a broad sense, then the little annoyances (like emptying the garbage!) are just part of the overall mission. In other words, the more you love the big stuff, the less the little stuff matters.
No professional athlete lasts long if they don’t have mental toughness that allows them to continue on, even when times get bad. As a businessperson, you need to cultivate that same mental toughness in yourself.
Next Thursday on Lesson Five, we'll talk about Ignoring the Hecklers.