“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Michael Jordan is one of the most successful athletes and businessmen in history, yet he has had his share of failures. It took him seven years to win his first championship. He was unable to become a successful baseball player and he struggled to put a competitive team on the floor when he was in charge of two different NBA franchises. Yet to Jordan, those aren’t failures. For him, there is no failure until you make an excuse for why it didn’t workout. Everything else is a learning process through which you grow and improve.
At Watts, we want every individual we work with to have the same mindset. Failing to achieve a goal is not failure. It is merely another step in the learning process that will eventually lead to you becoming your best self.
To learn how to change your mindset, we have five tips on what you can do to turn your biggest challenges and struggles into positives that will help you reach your greatest successes.
1:Put Yourself On Teams And In Situations Where You Have Personal Responsibility For The Outcome.
It is important you avoid putting yourself on teams or in situations where you have little to no control over what happens or aren’t allowed to take responsibility for your own successes or shortcomings. We all have a role to play on a given team, in class or at work, but if we aren’t given the ability to take responsibility for our actions then we wind up in a situation where nothing we do is truly ours and we aren’t able to grow.
For example, if you play for a coach who exclusively blames the players every time your team loses but personally takes full credit for whenever you win, you aren’t able to learn what you can do better individually and as a team and you aren’t able to take pride in all the work you put in when you win.
Similarly, if you are a great scorer and you have a teammate who is a great rebounder and scores off put backs, it is important to understand how your roles play off each other. If you walked up to them after a game where you lost even though you scored 30 points and accused them of playing terribly because they only had 4 rebounds and only scored once, it means you need to take a step back. Realize it was because you made more shots than normal and they weren’t able to capitalize on their strengths. That doesn’t mean you are the reason your team lost, nor is it theirs, it means you and your teammates need to honestly assess what you all can do better in the next game to keep everyone involved and succeeding as a team.
2: Taking Accountability For Everything That Happens Good Or Bad:
We always celebrate our successes, as we should, but it’s common to ignore our struggles and shortcomings. While not everybody needs to know every challenge we have faced, it is important that we take stock of what we can do to limit the odds of a particular situation ever happening again.
A great example is missing free throws in a close game. The quick answer about what you should do to to avoid that happening again is practice free throws more. The more concise answer is to ask what could you and your teammates have done differently throughout the game or even that season to help put yourselves in a better position where the game didn’t come down to two free throws. That is what self assessment is all about. Looking at the whole picture in order to gauge what you can work on to improve for next time.
Self reflect first and then ask someone you trust who will be honest with you about what they saw and what they think. Take this into account as well and see if anything they said differs from what your own assessment was. Once you have the feedback you need, begin making and executing a plan to improve and elevate yourself.
3: Don’t Dwell On Your Mistakes:
While it is crucial to be self aware and self reflect after each practice, training session or game, it is equally important that you don’t dwell on your mistakes. Focusing on how you didn’t accomplish what you feel you are capable of is a sure fire way to end up in a negative headspace that prevents you from being able to reach your true potential. Every mistake has a different period of time where it is appropriate to reflect on what happened, but they are all relatively short. If you turn the ball over, you don’t dwell on it, you hustle back on defense. If you shot 1-10 in a game, the next time you go into the gym you work on your shot and you leave thinking about what you accomplished on that day. Do poorly on a test in school? Talk to your teacher and make a plan about how you can improve for the next one.
Look for ways to learn from your failures so you can use them as steps to overcome those challenges and succeed instead of dwelling on how you weren’t good enough in that moment.
4: Don’t Let Others Make Excuses For You:
It is often the case that we let others make excuses for us. Your parents might walk up after a game where you played bellow you’re capability and say to you, or your coach or other parents something along the lines of ‘He didn’t seep well last night’ or ‘She didn’t eat a good breakfast this morning because we were in such a rush to get here.’ Listen to these excuses but do NOT accept them as justification for how you performed.
If you didn’t sleep well then you need to take that in to account and change what you do so you can get to sleep sooner and sleep better. If you did have a bad breakfast or didn’t eat, look for ways to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Whatever you do, don’t use these excuses as justification for you not performing how you are capable of. It can lead to a cycle of mediocrity, accepting failure and blaming others for what you have control over. Blaming others for what you can control will prevent you from reaching your goals on and off the court and will often drive away people who have your best interests at heart.
5: If You Don’t Get The Outcome You Want, Look At What You Can Do To Improve The Outcome:
You walk in to tryouts for a team you really want to make. You feel you have worked hard for months to prepare yourself for this and are sure you are going to make the team. Then you don’t. This is when you have to decide how you respond. It is OK to be upset or disappointed or even mad that you didn’t make it. However, you need to recover from that setback and figure out how to best address what went wrong.
In this example, you can go yourself and talk to the coaches and ask ‘what can I improve on for next season and what are you looking for from me if I were to make your team?’ This will give you the best insight into how you should plan your training in order to prepare yourself the next time tryouts roll around.
It also shows the coaches that you are willing to take responsibility for your own shortcomings and are serious and mature in how you handle yourself.
In some cases their answer can be as simple as ‘we really liked your game but we already had a full roster. If we had more spaces you would have made it.’ If that is the answer, that isn’t an excuse to think you don’t need to train. Ask them what they thought your weaknesses were so if the same situation happens again they’ll be giving you somebody else’s roster spot.
If they answer ‘You have a weak off hand, you didn’t play with confidence the entire time and you got lost on defense’ then you have a list of what you specifically need to work on not just to make this particular team, but any team you tryout for. It might be hurtful to hear what your weaknesses are, but accepting them and then working to improve them will help you grow as a player and a person and help you reach your goals and become your best self.