Nervousness. Anger. Frustration. The list can go on and on, but these are a few common feelings that derive from poor performances or never-before-experienced situations.
These feelings can have a debilitating affect on your performances, as well as our everyday lives. They can restrain us from experiencing positive emotions, opening doors to new opportunities, and tie us down so we cannot spread our wings. However, since these feelings are common, we can use them to our advantage and they do not have to hold us back from experiencing life and excelling during performance.
I want you to picture an automobile. What makes an automobile run? Gasoline. Without gasoline, you will not get off to a very good start. Now, I want you to picture yourself pulling up to the pump at the gas station. Most gas stations give you three (sometimes four) options on types of fuel. You need the right type of fuel for your automobile to run properly. If you add the wrong type of fuel, that will lead to a whole laundry list of mechanical problems. The type of fuel you choose will impact how well your automobile will perform. I want you to view yourself as the automobile and your feelings as the gasoline. Our feelings can fuel our performance. Fill your body with the right type of fuel and your performance, your everyday life, will soar to new heights.
In order to utilize your nerves, anger, and frustration to your advantage, one must first understand why those feelings are present in the first place. We have previously discussed how to properly reflect in order to facilitate a growth mindset and to learn from every situation no matter the result. Allow yourself to take a step back and really think about what is causing you to feel that certain way because it can be extremely valuable information.
Next, you want to develop a response for when these negative feelings present themselves. Jocko Willink, an ex-NAVY Seal, has a great motivational pod cast I listen to from time-to-time called Jocko Pod cast. There is one video he posted a couple years ago that has always stuck with me. It involves the word “good”. Every time a subordinate came to him with a problem, he would respond by saying “good”. This was his way of motivating himself and his team to find a new solution, to focus on what is next, what they can do as opposed to what they cannot do. This is a fantastic approach you can use to turn your negative feelings into the fuel you need to improve your performance: Are you upset because you missed the game-winning shot that you normally make? Good. Time to get in the gym and make 1,000 shots a day.
Are you nervous because you have never been in this situation before? Good. I am going to show everybody that I can perform under any circumstance. Are you frustrated because you allowed something out of your control to distract you from the task at hand? Good.
Time to work on my ability to stay focused and show people that I am in control of my own game. If you learn to say “good” to these adverse situations, these negative feelings, or something similar, then you are at the very least allowing yourself the chance to improve your performance next time. Falling into the trap of those negative feelings will only make it more difficult to obtain your desired result.
Everything is not going to be sunshine and rainbows, there are going to be mistakes, failures, and other hiccups along the way. Fueling that negative side with “why me?” “I am a failure” or “I am not good enough,” leave you with absolutely no chance to turn things around and get better.
Use those negative feelings to try harder, to give more, to push further, and to not settle until you have done everything in your power to change the narrative. If you attack those negative feelings in this manner, and still come out with an undesirable result, you can go to sleep at night knowing you did everything in your power and gave it your absolute best to become better. At the end of the day, those are the qualities that make you successful. Those are the characteristics that coaches, supervisors, and teachers want to see, not the results. You may not get the result you want, but you have now shown yourself that you are willing to fight for what you want, and that carries over into anything you set your sights on.