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Why You Should Focus on Getting Better Instead of Winning

TIGNUM Thoughts

July 20th, 2019
By Chris Males

With the Cricket World Cup playing out over the last month, I found myself reminiscing on my time as a player and coach with one thought constantly going through my mind... "if only I could go back and apply what I know now."

Looking back, I realize that I was too often easily distracted by results, basing my progress and confidence on my individual or team’s success rather than focusing on improvement. My advice to my younger self would be that regardless of the result, always look for areas of either my game or even my mindset to improve upon.

Just like what we teach our clients at TIGNUM, I could have given myself more credit for how I reframed my mistakes, managed my emotions after setbacks, and even embraced the suck after a poor performance. I could have focused on the processes more than the outcomes.

Stanford University psychologist, Carol Dweck, refers to this as 'process praise’ - where you give others (teammates, students, children, etc.) positive recognition for the preparation, perseverance, and improvement they made within a particular task. Her work has proven that this skill builds the foundation of a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset.

The science behind process praise carries through when we work with clients on the mindset skill of process reflection where, regardless of the result, you shift your focus from winning to getting better. While each individual develops their own method for process reflection, here are some questions to help you get started:

  • _How was my mental preparation and intention setting? What did I do well here?
  • _How did I visualize myself making these intentions a reality? Could I have done these visualizations differently?
  • _How did I effectively use my list of Performance Mindset skills (focus, creativity, confidence, emotional control, etc.) to create success?
  • _What did I do well to create my optimal performance state?
  • _What could I have done differently in my Mindset, Nutrition, Movement, and Recovery strategies to better support myself next time? What would that look like?

In business just like sports, you can't always win. Not every sales pitch will succeed; not every negotiation will go your way; not every performance review will be pleasant. However, you can keep moving forward with the right process reflection, knowing that you will be more skilled tomorrow than you were today.

What's even better is that shifting from solely focusing on outcomes to what you need to do to get better is actually the way you’ll give yourself the very best chance of winning in the future.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Other Thoughts

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