“You have no choices about how you lose, but you do have a choice about how you come back and prepare to win again.”
The great basketball coach Pat Riley once said that he not only prepared his players to train and to compete, but he also prepared them for what he called the “thunderbolt” — an unexpected disastrous event that seems to come out of the blue and blow all expectations sky high. After seeing the America’s male gymnasts’ performance in the Olympics, I think I know what Riley was talking about.
Five young guys, five young hopefuls. Among them, they must have logged thousands and thousands of hours in the gym, practicing their routines incessantly. They sailed through the qualifying events and their energy was high for the finals. Maybe, too high.
They were so juiced that they seemed to have lost some of the enormous control needed to ace their floor routines and the tremendously difficult pommel horse exercises. But here’s what happened: First one poor guy made a big mistake in one event, then another slipped in a second event and had to do it over, then a Third team member made a poor landing after vaulting. it was the domino effect: A “thunderbolt” struck them one by one.
Close-knit teams are just that: closely knit. I’m sure what happens to one happens to them all. And yet, in order to recover from an upset, each member has to find the strength to shake off what’s taken place just moments before and to give total concentration to the moment at hand. This can be tremendously difficult and it’s not surprising that the young American team couldn’t overcome its first major mistake but instead let it ripple through its whole performance.
We’ve all been there in some shape or form. And sometimes we’ve been able to rise above our mistakes and sometimes that thunderbolt has knocked us down.
The bottom line? when disaster strikes, we need a disaster relief plan: A bounce-back strategy that we can put in place to help us recover and keep going. One effective approach: Take action quickly. Use the disaster as a springboard and Do something right away in response to it that moves you forward.
What strategies do you have for coping with a major setback? Would love to hear them! Write on.