Now that the football season is in full swing, we can see signs of people playing “Monday morning quarterback” about one of Sunday’s games. If you are unfamiliar with that term, it means looking back at what happened and second-guessing decisions that were made during the game. In other words, it is living with regret.
Good football coaches know that it’s not helpful to dwell too long on a game that has been lost. Instead, they concentrate on fixing the few problem areas to make sure everyone has learned from their mistakes and knows what to do the next time they are in that situation. They then quickly get everyone focused on the next game. They understand the importance of a winning attitude.
Too often, we dwell on the deal that got away or the mistake that happened, saying, “If only…” Psychology shows that what you allow your mind to dwell upon becomes reality. If you spend much of your time focusing on why you didn’t get a sale, your mind reinforces the idea that you can’t sell. Focusing on that negative comment becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: If you think you can’t sell, your mind will make sure that’s an accurate assessment! The same thing happens with regret: If you focus on regret, you’ll continue to experience more regret.
Just like a good football coach, a good leader has to get his or her team to stop saying, “If only…” When something doesn’t go well, conduct a quick “lessons learned” session and then focus on the positive impact you are going to make in the next situation. Help your team envision a positive outcome and sit back and watch it come true.