At the Champion Academy, we have noted a common pattern and a common effect that failure has on a champion’s mind-set and performance. This common pattern appears to enable their learning, strengthening confidence, and resilience after they have made bad mistakes or experienced the obvious disappointing loss!
Champions Don’t Allow Failure to Affect Progress
What is interesting is that during matches they do not allow their mistakes to influence the momentum of the rest of the match. When they lose whole matches, they also do not allow failure to influence their progress and performance in future matches. In sport (and life) mistakes, losses and occasional failures are in inevitable!
However, after studying the legends in sport very closely, I have found that it is not their successes and winning performances that make them who they are, it is actually how effectively they handle their mistakes and losses.
Champions have the following patterns in common when it comes to the processing of failure:
- Champions have accepted that mistakes, losses, and failure are normal and a part of the process of improving and stretching their potential.
- They allow themselves to feel the pain of the loss wholeheartedly for a limited period. The key words are limited period. Whether it is a minute of anger or a day of disappointment, they take the responsibility for ensuring that their negative feelings are NOT going to influence their further performance or improvement.
- Winners see a mental picture or mental movie in their minds of the correction or the winning (not the loosing performance). The positive software then becomes neatly copy-pasted into their mind.
- For a mistake, they use their senses (breathing, smelling, seeing, hearing, and feeling) in order to tune their “minds” back in to the here and now. This brings them back into the match without the memory of their past mistake or a future repetition of their mistake.
- If it is a match, they analyse where they can improve and strengthen their weak performance. They also look for what they did well and continue to build on their strengths. They invest in a little extra training to fortify their weakness and train their strengths into weapons.
- Champions dig into their treasure chests of successes to remind themselves of their best past performances. This boosts their confidence that may have dissipated from the recent loss.
- They continue to fake feeling or playing their best in matches and/or in training, until it returns and sticks.
- They see setbacks as challenges to inspire even more desire to improve and even greater future match performances!
Let’s practise applying these 8 steps to our children, pupils and even our lives. With this process from champions of dealing with failure, our setbacks can be translated into challenges!
By Toni Gaddie, Clinical and Sports Psychologist| Champion Academy
Toni assists national and international sports champions and business leaders in becoming and maintaining their “whole champion” status.