Do you wish you had a time machine?

bouncing back mental skills Mar 07, 2023

Ever had a tough time getting over something that happened in the ring (or even at a trial)? Silly question, of course you have.

The thing is, we've all had issues letting go of mistakes, bad runs, or some other letdown. And one reason some mistakes feel stickier than others is that we really want a do-over. We want a second chance believing we won't make that mistake again, or maybe we just want more time.

Though our logical mind knows better, our heart is the one we must convince. The thing is, "failure" on any level has emotion in it, and we do not want to feel that again, which makes "fear of failure" particularly hard to overcome. Think about it, we literally give ourselves performance anxiety because we want to avoid feeling failure - big, mucky stuff.

So we replay the moment over and over and over again, chastising ourselves for being "dumb," or making an error, or "knowing better." We convince ourselves we would do it right if we had another chance.

Hence the time machine problem. What's weird is that we go back in time every time we replay the moment or mistake, making it even harder to move past. Here are steps you can take to break out of this loop.

1. When we adopt a growth mindset, we commit to seeing failure as feedback and not taking it as a reflection of who we are. When we commit to growing, we accept it will hurt sometimes, but we will always learn.

2. As we embrace failure as feedback, we must mine that failure for the lesson - because that's the real value. Ideally, we only replay the moment long enough to take the lesson and let the rest go, having a short memory for mistakes.

3. Once we have the lesson, we need to focus on our strengths because those fuel our real growth. We use our strengths to propel us forward and improve our skills as we go.

4. Next, it's time to focus on what we can control, which includes our process goals. We cannot compete effectively from a place of avoiding failure, so we must shift our effort into our process goals and execute those.

5. The hardest of all the steps is forgiveness. So often in my 1:1 coaching, we end up dissecting a moment where the handler cannot forgive themselves for a mistake. Part of letting go and moving forward includes forgiving our mistakes and accepting that it's all part of committing to a sport.

While many of us were raised on DeLorean-era time travel movies, we cannot go back in time, but we can use the past to our advantage as we grow into our future selves. Our do-overs come in learning from our mistakes but not holding them against ourselves.

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