“I am not bound to win, I am bound to be true, I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to the light that I have.”
In today’s world it is tough to remain optimistic with the daily doom and gloom that is reported on the daily news. Along with the stresses of the world are the stresses of performance. I see this in my athletes’ everyday as they push themselves to be the absolute best. They are consistently competing in the classroom, athletic field, and against other people looking to reach similar goals. The demands from parents, coaches, and self expectations can be daunting. The current economic conditions coupled with the financial demands of getting a college education add additional stressors to an already challenging existence. However, if we take the words of Abraham Lincoln and apply them to our own expectations, they can be a guiding light to become the best we can be.
According to a Gallup Poll survey, it was estimated that there are 22 million negative workers in the United States and it costs around $300 billion in productivity a year. This is staggering considering one would hope that someone who is employed would be optimistic and happy they are working. It is often stated that actions speak louder than words and it is evident with how we interact with people. In everyday interactions, I see that people who are optimistic are problem solvers, leaders, and innovators while negative people are problem centered and tend to focus on sabotaging efforts. When young people are exposed to pessimistic people, they tend to take on these people’s behaviors. It is critical that they surround themselves by positive, motivated, people who have a get it done attitude. This get it done attitude is going to be needed for their future as they move onto bigger and more challenging endeavors.
When people experience hopelessness, self-doubt, fear, and anxiety, it is easy for them to take this negative energy and retreat. Conversely, when a person feels challenged, confident, energized, and focused, they are able to summon positive energy to become more productive. I think we all have experienced both ends of the spectrum. From my own experience, I know which I prefer to experience and how it impacts my overall emotional, professional, and social well being. As I grow as a father, husband, leader, and coach I look for ways to manage negativity. Negativity will always be a part of our lives and it is our choice on how we allow it to impact us. Whenever I work with athletes, colleagues, or potential clients who are negative, I recognize that not all of them will be on “my team.” I try to focus on the realization that these people will not be on my team and it is up to me to refocus my attention to those who are. The only emotions, feelings, and actions we can control are our own. This is challenging enough and when you try to control others, it becomes virtually impossible. The next time you catch yourself trying to persuade people to join your team who aren’t quite budging, think about it. Is it worth the energy to try and convince them or can you better utilize it on those who are already “all in?” Cut your losses and focus on the people who really matter and be the source of optimism that allows your team to maximize their performance while enjoying the experience.
Best in Performance,