Getting your mojo back

At some point for everyone, irrespective of how relentlessly positive and determined you are, you will reach a point where it feels like you’re wading through treacle with the results to match.  It could be you’re not going to hit your sales for the quarter/ year, the latest product you created is good but not great, the latest presentation you gave was mediocre rather than insightful, your team seems low and you can’t seem to enthuse them, it doesn’t matter what your role is – at some point you will feel like the wheels have come off.  This happens to most people relatively frequently and when it’s a minor setback or slump it’s just a case of firing yourself or your team up, creating some energy, a positive mental attitude and cracking on with it – onwards and upwards! But, what happens when it’s more than this? What if it’s not just a mediocre presentation, but a key investment presentation and you completely blow it? Instead of just being behind on sales, you lose the company’s biggest account?  The product isn’t just ‘not great’ but it’s an absolute shocker that tanks? Your team isn’t feeling just low, they are clearly dysfunctional and you have no idea how it got to this, or how to solve it?

All, or some of these things, are likely to happen at some point.  If you work in a fast-growing business which tends by definition to crunch through more stuff, more aggressively, then these are even more likely to happen and more frequently.

So, how do you get your mojo back?

A good comparison here, even for those who aren’t into it, is professional sport.  The penalty striker walking up to their position in the final, the goal kicker with seconds on the clock, the athlete lining up their last jump, the tennis player serving for the match – all of these put the subject under huge pressure and intensity.  They have practiced this exact procedure thousands of times over the years, but often disaster strikes, they choke and they miss.  The 64-thousand-dollar question… how do they come back from that? 

One of the best books I have read on this is Dr Dave Alred’s; ‘The Pressure Principle’.  Most famous as Jonny Wilkinson’s kicking coach, in his book he talks about the need to focus on the process not the outcome and this is directly applicable to business.  In business, the focus is always relentlessly on the outcome; the sales revenue, the great product launch, the outstanding presentation, the super performing team.  The problem with this is that when the wheels come off, the instinct is to focus on the outcome and how to get back there.  In serious situations where this is challenging, it becomes more and more difficult as you relentlessly narrow your focus to the outcome that you are now continually failing to achieve.  As you do so, you become more negative, more stressed, more frustrated and snappy and in short, begin to exhibit all the behaviours that almost guarantee that you will continue to fail.

What in fact you need to do, is take a step back for a moment and focus solely on the process, not the outcome – in fact, as hard as it is, ignore the outcome completely. Every moment of truth – whether it’s a sales target, a great product or a winning penalty kick, has a series of discrete, separate and identifiable steps which need to be followed for it to be completed.  These are what you need to focus on. 

If it’s sales, you move through lead identification, initial contract, discovery, need matching, problem solving solution matching, to close. If it’s a client presentation, you move through business questions, shaping the project and methodology, analysing results, project completion and developing a clear presentation with key answers to the question. In any of these instances, you must firstly focus on each discrete part and on ensuring that each single part is done to the best of your ability. Secondly, you ignore the outcome and the concept of success and failure, win or lose – you simply focus on going through the steps with a resolute focus on ensuring that each step is performed as perfectly as possible and then irrespective of the outcome, you do it again, and again, and again.  As you continue to do it, you stand tall, adopt your posture, focus on a positive/ winning mindset and ignore the outcome and gradually, slowly but surely, you will get your mojo back and the outcome will return. So, how do you ignore the outcome when it defines success or failure? My next topic...

If you like this blog, find it useful, or think it’s interesting, please share it and if you have any questions at all please feel free to comment – I am always open to a conversation.

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