Rowing in the Australian Championships 8’s, winner take all selection for the Olympics, we were 200 meters ahead at the 1000 meter mark. An unbeatable margin in rowing. But we lost.
In any race you do not have to win. You simply need to beat the team, person who comes second. We didn’t.
There was no accident in this terrible turn of events. They simply didn’t give up.
And when they did row through us, we did. We didn’t give up, we tightened up, went into fear, lost the race by a few meters.
However, not all of us are to blame for this loss. For me, and a few of the more nature hardened crew, being beaten is a switch into winner mode. For others, less self confident, it was evidence of what they were most afraid of: losing or more exactly, being a loser.
The switch between winner and loser is, for some, like a fuse switch in an electrical power board. A small short circuit between expectations and reality, throws the switch and the loser reacts, confidence evaporates and emotions roar into play. You see it in all sport.
Watch the great tennis players, down 40/0 in the final game of a 5 set match. For some, the switch stays in winner mode, regardless, for others, it flicks and they begin to “try” and unforced errors cause their loss.
Creating a Buffer
Between winner and loser modes there can be a buffer. For the emotionally driven individual it is as I described, an instant flick into loser, whereas, for the higher level individual, the buffer zone is as wide as an ocean.
Nowhere is better than somewhere wrong. The buffer may not be ideal, but with confidence sapping information that can’t be denied, it’s the best of a bad series of options. Tanking, throwing the towel, giving up, accumulating negative thoughts and ungrateful ness are some of the poison states that make the alternative, the buffer zone, look rich.
In Melbourne over the COVID lockdown time we often heard the Melbournites, saying “it is what it is.” In more simple terms, “nothing I can do about that, but I wont get angry.” That’s the buffer zone.
In bike riding your opponents might send a rider out to take the lead, but really they want you to flick the Loser switch and enter the red zone, burn matches to prevent an escape. The escape was a bluff to cause the loser mindset to trigger the use of chemicals that could be competitive at the end of the race. The sprint.
How to create the Buffer Zone
- Work to beat someone, a competitor, a colleague or company. No racing to win, because in that there is no buffer zone.
- Never give 100% (at least not until the sprint)
- Do the Back on Track Power Hour Daily to widen the buffer zone
- Have a hero who went from loser to winner (Rocky etc)
- Trust something bigger than you.
- Recognise the duality, there’s two sides to everything and give yourself the benefit of the positive
- Own your brand with significant emphasis on no getting distracted.
THE FOOLPROOF BUFFER
Between winning and losing, there is a buffer zone called learning space. When your business or life or circumstances are not as you planned, you are in the learning zone. This learning zone is not a loser space only because you still hold clear your vision, imagination and hope that the future will be as you want. You are just needing to learn something the hard way, to get there.
By holding your hopes, dreams and visions clear of loser mentality you are in the buffer zone. This zone isn't a resting place or a place of ambivalence, it's a great place to re-affirm your trust in what you do and your commitment to where you are going. You are just accepting some hard lessons along the way. Call it tough love.
Performance coaching, as I deliver to you, is also a part of that buffer zone. If you were always guaranteed of winning, who needs a coach? You use performance coaching to keep you in the winner's circle and for that, you need to be challenged. Tough love is a predictive process of keeping you out of loser mentality.
Sometimes we use family and friends as a buffer zone. But that doesn't work. Never.
Finally, you need to relax. A client, friend, partner or child will not invest in you if they feel tension in you. Donald Trump sweated in a press conference and that’s a sure loss of confidence the audience saw. You must hold trust.
To hold trust we must let doubts be cleared.
Of all the loser switch flicking thoughts you can have, DOUBT is king and queen combined. It stands head and shoulders above all others in every way. It steals energy, distracts focus, causes tension and feeds itself. Doubt is the perfect AI. (Artificial intelligence). It feeds on itself.
How you handle doubt is going to impact your Buffer more than anything else. But it can also become your loser switch flicking mechanism. For some, a molecule of doubt feeds a mountain of uncertainty.
For some, a molecule of doubt feeds a mountain of uncertainty.. - Leonardo da Walker
Doubt is a part of nature’s plan. There is no running away from it nor a hiding place such as a yoga class or meditation hall where it can’t penetrate. Doubt is here to stay as a part of your life.
There are some variables you can control about doubt:
- How long you let it linger
- What you say to it (self talk)
- Whether you act on it
- IF you allow it to flick your loser switch or not
- Whether you play “feeling sorry for yourself” or “lucky Fkr” mind games with it.