Focusing Energy

“Success is not forever and failure isn’t fatal.

This was a favorite quote of Don Shula, the longtime head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Some call him the “winningest” coach in NFL history. While you may not be a football fan, Don’s approach to winning and losing can help us navigate our writing life on an even keel.

Don had a 24-hour rule that he shared with his coaches and players. He allowed everyone on his team 24 hours after a football game to either celebrate a big victory or deal with a crushing defeat. During that time, he encouraged everyone he worked with to fully savor the thrill of a big win or to feel and absorb the sadness of a defeat as deeply as possible.

Once the 24-hour period was over, he asked everyone to put either the victory or the defeat behind them and to gather and focus all their energy on preparing for their next big challenge, their next big opportunity.

This approach is well suited to our own situations as writers. It’s a wise practice not to get a swelled head or be too complacent when we enjoy a “win,” and not to get down in the dumps and plunge into the “Slough of Despond” when we experience a “loss” or a rejection.

Instead, let’s stay balanced and keep our perspective. If we have a “win,” let’s see how we can build on it and keep the momentum we’ve gained. And if we find ourselves coping with a loss, let’s focus on what we can learn from it and how we can handle a similar situation in a better way the next time around.

“Learn and grow,” a friend of mine used to say. When we make it a point to learn from both our “wins” and our “losses,” we’re on the road to success. Why? because we’re focusing our energy on moving forward. And in writing as Michael Korda once said, “forward motion is everything!” Write on!

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About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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