What Does It Take To Succeed When You’re In A Slump?

I love this time of the year. NBA Playoff Games are on almost nightly. It’s so interesting to watch how different teams, players and coaches try to use their strategies to win each game. We were watching the Utah Jazz against the Houston Rockets. James Harden gets the ball in the corner, outside the three-point line. Then one of the strangest things happened. Instead of staying between his man and the basket, his defender literally got behind him, to his side. He was almost out of bounds on both the sideline and the baseline. My wife looked at me and asked what he was doing. In all my years of coaching basketball I’ve never tried that defense before, I didn’t know what he was doing. But soon, as the Utah Jazz continued to defend Hardin this way we (and the announcers) started to figure it out. One of James Harden’s most effective moves is the step-back three point shot. He’s deadly! Utah’s strategy was to give Harden the lane to the basket and they would count of the help defense when he did that. But they were not going to allow him to have his step-back three point shot. It really was pretty crazy to watch. Utah ended up losing the series but really, their defensive strategy agains Harden was quite effective, and interesting to say the least.  

The series we’ve been watching now has been the Golden State Warriors against the Houston Rockets. I’m a Warriors fan, my wife is a “Whoever is Playing Against the Warriors” fan. So we have fun watching it together. The Warriors have so much talent on their team. The one who stood out to me in the last game (Game 5) was Klay Thompson. He really hasn’t been playing well so far this series. But in this game it took him less than eight minutes to surpass his total scoring from the Game 4. “Klay Thompson is out of his slump!” were the words of the announcers. When I heard this from the announcer it made me think of a lesson I had learned from Tony Robbins which is applicable to sports, business or pretty much anything in life.

What Does It Take To Succeed (from Tony Robbins)

Tony explains that there is a pattern between (1) Potential, (2) Action, (3) Results, and (4) Belief/Certainty. They are all connected as in the diagram below and they create a never ending flow.

As Tony explains how all these are related it makes a lot of sense. But that’s not what I’m going to focus on right now. What I’m going to focus on is what we have to do to get out of a slump. As we go through this pattern, most people don’t reach their full potential because they don’t take massive action. Thus their results are not as good as they could be. Those results then form their belief or certainty, which are lower than what their true potential really is. 

Fortunately it works the other way too. As individuals take massive action and produce incredible results their belief and certainty in themselves goes through the roof. Their potential is expanded, followed by more massive actions, more big results, more certainty, etc.

So what do you notice about Klay Thompson, one of the premier shooters in the NBA, when he gets in a shooting slump? He stops shooting? He only looks to pass the ball? That’s what a lot of people would do. But that’s not what the most successful people do. Whether it’s in sports, business or something else, they keep shooting!

When you’re not getting the results you want, you start to doubt yourself, you become uncertain. That’s the beginning of your downward spiral. 

To get out of your “slump” you need belief or certainty. But if you’re in a slump, how do you get certainty? You get certainty and change the direction of the downward spiral by getting the results in advance. That is why, when you see an NBA playing in a shooting slump, they don’t stop shooting. They are playing at an elite level. They have been shooting thousands and thousands of shots for years and years. They’ve practiced every possible scenario they could face and they’ve made those shots in practice. When they are missing their shots, they keep shooting because they are certain they can make the next one, they’ve done it millions of times before. And when things start falling for them again, watch out!

It works the same with everything in life. As you put more time and effort into doing things you become more certain in yourself and in turn you see an improvement in your results. So the next time you are in a “slump” keep going. Build your certainty by visualizing all the success you’ve had in the past. Visualize yourself doing it. Your mind does not know the difference between something you vividly imagine emotionally and and something you actually experience if you do it enough times. Believe in yourself, create certainty!

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Personal Accountability

Back in August of 2012 I wrote about our Education Plan at my company, Kodiak Mountain Stone.  If you have never read about it, click on the link and find out more because it has been a pretty good thing we came up with.  From each Education Meeting that we have, everyone on our team learns something. But I think the most value comes to the person who is hosting the meeting.  As the saying goes, “the teacher is the one who learns the most.”

 

In the past I’ve shared thoughts and ideas from some of our Education Meetings, but it has been a while since I have passed any of this on.  Yesterday we had one of these meetings and I think that the subject that was addressed is awesome and I want to share a little bit about it.

 

Before I get into the details of the meeting I want to take a step back.  A few months ago I was on a conference call with my store manager at my store in Calgary AB.  He was frustrated and told me that one of the team members had come in late for the second time that week and used the same excuse as the first time.  “Sorry that I’m late, traffic was terrible.”

 

As soon as he told me about this I had a memory flash into my mind.  I remembered back to January 9, 2002.  That day I was working as a bank manager for ATB Financial, which is a bank located in Alberta, Canada.  I had the opportunity that day to attend a managers training meeting where David Irvine spoke to us.  The topic that he spoke about that day was one that he had written a book about, “Accountability – Getting a Grip on Results.”  The new, updated version of the book is, Bridges of Trust: Making Accountability Authentic
The reason I remember the exact day of this meeting is because I have that book in my library signed and dated by David.  I know it was a good meeting because almost 13 years later there are a number of things that I specifically remember him saying.  But there are two things that really stood out to me that day.
He told us to imagine ourselves leaving our house with just the right amount of time to get to an important meeting.  You are well prepared for the meeting and things are looking good.  But then when you are about half way to the meeting you hit some crazy traffic that just about brings you to a halt. You are anxiously putting along and starting to stress more and more about being late for your meeting.  Pretty soon the starting time of the meeting comes and goes and you are still blocks away from your meeting place.  You finally arrive, park your vehicle and dash to the meeting room.  As you enter the room, all eyes are focused directly on you.  Sweat is dripping down your forehead and you say…

At that point what words leave your mouth?  Most people respond exactly how my employee responded. “Sorry that I’m late, traffic was terrible.”  At that time, that is probably exactly how I would respond.  But that is not being accountable for your actions.  I vividly remember him explaining that the proper response should be something such as, “sorry that I am late, I didn’t leave my home in time to account for the traffic.”

 

That was an ah-ha moment for me.  It completely changed my perspective on personal accountability.  As an employer, how would I receive someone coming in late to a meeting who said, “sorry I’m late, traffic was terrible” versus someone who said, “sorry I’m late, I never left home early enough to account for the traffic.”  I want to work with the person who is showing me that they can take personal accountability.  It doesn’t excuse the fact that they are late, but they are not trying to blame something or someone else for them being late.  Thirteen years ago and that story still comes to mind whenever I hear someone not taking personal responsibility.

 

Another thing that has always stood out to me since that meeting was when David talked about consequences.  That negative word, consequences.  All my life, whenever I’ve done something wrong or bad, I’ve had to deal with those darn consequences.  But what about the times you have done something good.  What follows?  Those are consequences too, but positive ones!  I had always looked at the word, consequence, with negativity.  But in reality, there are consequences for everything we do.  It’s our own actions that determine if those are positive or negative consequences.  Today this is not just an important thing to talk about in our work environment, but as I’m raising four kids from ages 3 to 15 it has been a huge thing we have tried to teach them about too.

 

So after my conference call with my store manager I immediately emailed David Irvine and asked him to send a copy of his book to my store in Calgary.  When it arrived I explained to this particular employee that I wanted him using it for an Education Meeting.  I know that he got a lot of good out of the book because my manager told me that there were a number of occasions that he came to him to tell him something he had read about in the book.  Yesterday he did a great job with the Education Meeting.  I hope that all of my staff learned something from this great book.

 

The number one lesson that this employee thought our staff needed to learn from the book was that you always have a choice to start with yourself!