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Extra Points: Tight Shoelaces

This Week’s Focus Point: Tight ShoelacesDan Weedin Unleashed-40

I love March Madness and the start of this year’s tournament has already been filled with huge upsets and thrilling games. Unfortunately for me, this year was the time I decided to boldly go with just one bracket. Even though I’m competing in several pools, I eschewed hedging my bet and went with one single outcome. That outcome for me fell to pieces on just the second day when my “winner” – Michigan State – went down in flames to 15th seeded Middle Tennessee State. Michigan State was tied with Kansas as the odds on favorite by Las Vegas experts. In the opening round, they showed how you can go from favorite to last in the blink of an eye. The cause of this calamity for the Spartans? Tight shoelaces.

I’ve been a huge fan of Michigan State coach Tom Izzo since I first saw him speak about a dozen years ago. He is a master coach that really prepares his athletes well. However on watching the second half of this game, I noted something very uncharacteristic of a Coach Izzo team. As the Middle Tennessee squad refused to succumb to the higher ranked team by hitting big shots and making the better plays, the Spartans got a case of “tight shoelaces.” This is a basketball axiom that is synonymous with panicking (you may be able to draw other visuals from this metaphor). Middle Tennessee had nothing to lose, so they played fearlessly. Michigan State played with panic. It was evident that they were thinking about the ignominy of being only the 8th #2 seed in the history of the tournament to lose to a #15 seed. This was a talent-filled, veteran group with high hopes and they were self-destructing under the weight of the pressure.

How do you handle pressure? Do you play fearlessly and aggressively as if you have nothing to lose OR do your shoelaces get tight? Panic has nothing to do with courage or skill. Panic is 100% about confidence, or lack of it. When consequences to “losing” align with a drop in confidence, panic sets in. Just like in March Madness, panic is deadly for you as a business professional. What you need to do to avoid it is always keep your perspective, proportion, and absolute belief in your ability and smarts. That way, you’re always in a position to win your game day after day and stay away from those tightening shoelaces.

Quote of the Week:


“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

~ Oscar Wilde

If you’d like to hear more about this concept, listen to my live Periscope broadcast today at 10 am PST. Information below…

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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