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Speaking of Swinging…

cubsAs a lifelong baseball fan (and a novice baseball historian), I LOVE this World Series. The Chicago Cubs are appearing in their first World Series since 1945, and haven’t won one since 1908. The Cleveland Indians have been in two World Series’ in the past 25 years, but haven’t won since 1948.

While there are certainly no players (or even managers and coaches) that were even alive when the Cubs or Indians last won a championship, there is a exponentially heightened air of pressure on both teams to finally break through, especially the Cubs. The weight of decades of failure and futility for the respective cities and fan bases are on their backs. These aren’t robots; they are humans and they fully understand this. For both teams, that extra pressure can cause one to subconsciously try too hard, and those results are normally bad.

The very best athletes know how to slow the game (and their mind) down. They are able to reduce or even eliminate pressure by focusing on the job at hand in the moment. They stick with the process that got them there; they don’t allow one failed at bat or pitch carry over into the future; and they ignore outside voices.

Can you do the same in your business?

Have you ever felt the pressure to perform? We all have. Certainly when times are tough, you might be getting external pressure. Creating new revenue, exceeding sales goals, getting work out faster, etc. Whatever your stress, you are compounding it by adding too much pressure and altering your performance. You’re not letting your own skill shine through.

To stick with the baseball metaphor, you’re trying to hit the curve ball instead of waiting for the right pitch. Curve balls are hard to hit. Rather, stay with your process and force the fastball.

Bottom line – we all feel pressure. Sometimes it’s external; often it’s self-inflicted. In either case, stress can take you out of your game by making you try too hard. This gets compounded by failure. To avoid this, stay in the moment, slow down your brain, have confidence in yourself and your team, and lay off the curve ball. Instead, hit that fastball over the fence!

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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