Playing To Win Versus Playing Not To Lose

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In Sunday’s football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Los Angeles Rams there were seven turnovers, two by the Seahawks and five by the Rams.

What is interesting to watch is how elite athletes respond to turnovers. Some players have moments of anger and throw their helmets, but more often than not they walk off the field and pick up a tablet to view the play again. They watch it, see the mistake or what happened and then they do what we all need to learn to do.

They forget it and start as quickly as possible to focus on the solution and not on the problem. They do this for one reason. When you live in your mistakes you start playing not to lose versus playing to win.

Elite athletes know that one play if brooded over will erode their performance on other plays. They’ve learned to shift their thinking as quickly as possible away from the negative and start to focus on what they do well and how they’ll be better next time.

What do you need to forget from last week, last month or last year? If you’re carrying around memories of what you’ve done wrong, how you’ve blown it or failed, your performance will suffer.

Here are the ABC’s of moving forward as quickly as professional athletes do in big games:

Acknowledge the mistake. Review the situation and find where you made a mistake. If your mistake involves a person, as quickly as possible acknowledge your mistake, commit to not doing it again and move on. Spending a lot of time beating yourself up is not required.

Be success focused. Once you’ve identified your mistake find one strategy for being successful next time. Don’t look for the thirteen best strategies. Find one and run with it.

Cancel the mistake. I’m not suggesting you shrug your responsibility. I’m suggesting you cancel any thoughts about your mistake after you’ve accepted your responsibility and found one strategy for success. You do not need to revisit your mistake unless you make it again. When that happens you need to revise what you’ll do to be success focused.

Once you’ve followed the ABCs for moving forward quickly you’ll be more likely to play to win as opposed to playing not to lose. That will keep you from making turnovers and you’ll win significantly more games.

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