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Selfish or Self-Less? Manage the F.U.D.G.E That Comes With Performance?

Mindset Made Simple Tip #164 – Watch or listen HERE.

No one is perfect. This fact comes with being human.

When we as humans sign up to compete or do anything of worth, we also sign up for failure, uncertainty, disappointment, growth and errors.

Let’s call this list of undesirable words F.U.D.G.E.! (Yes, even growth is not our favorite because it is uncomfortable!)

Although that is not usually the F-word said after a mistake unless your mother is standing next to you, it is a good description of the pains we non-perfect humans feel when we don’t meet our expectations.

And yet we act as if making a mistake is unacceptable…and our behaviors often SCREAM it!

In a conversation with one of my college teams last week, we talked about our response (maybe better described as our reactions) to making a mistake.

What do we look like, sound like, act like, when things don’t go our way, even for a split second?

This is the first thing I ask my clients to identify. What differences would I see, hear or feel if I walked up to the field and you were having your A game vs. watching you after a mistake or when things aren’t going your way?

You know the responses. Their posture is different. Their communication is different. Their speed, vision, breathing, and self-talk…all different based on what is going on around them….or inside them!

And, yet, we have never played a perfect game, given a perfect talk or performed perfectly….EVER. Yes, we have played well…REALLY well…but somewhere, sometime, somehow, we were not perfect. We swing and miss. We hit the back of the rim. Our passes don’t always lead our teammates perfectly toward the goal. We forget to tell that really good story in our speech…but we can make it all work…if we choose to!

So if we know we are going to make a mistake, why do we LOSE IT when it happens?

I am not suggesting that we celebrate mistakes. What I am suggesting is that when we get all bent out of shape over something that is bound to happen, we are not helping ourselves or our teams and that in itself is the definition of SELFISH!

At the beginning of the year, like most of you, we sat down and talked about goals. Inevitably, one kid would say she wanted to get a hit in every at-bat.

RIDICIIULOUS! I would reply. One man…ONE…has hit .400 in the MLB and these are the BEST hitters in the world.

I now ask lead-off hitters on my teams what is expected of them. Their reply every time? “To get on base.”

NO! I reply! (I am so encouraging, aren’t I?). You don’t control whether you get on base or not!

The point? We often set ourselves up for failure based on our expectations.

Lower our expectations? NO!

Instead, break things down into what we can and can’t control!

In looking at my 4-Step Performance Cycle (Click HERE to download an infographic), we can break down what is in our control.

Our APPROACH sets up our actions. We can control that!

Our ACTION leads to our result. We can manage this…or trust our body to do what it is trained to do based on our approach. Some of our actions lead to F.U.D.G.E. That is part of the deal.

Our RESULT leads to our response. Someone else often controls our results…so this is not on our controllable list. We influence it with our actions, but don’t ultimately decide outcomes!

Our RESPONSE leads to our next approach. This is where we decide what to do with the F.U.D.G.E. No matter who controls our result or what our result is, we can ALWAYS control our response!

And yet, so often, we don’t. And our poor response to the F.U.D.G.E. leads to a poor approach to our next move.

You can see where the cycle goes from there! Even more F.U.D.G.E or worse!

Our selfish responses affect our next play…and the team.

As John O’Sullivan, host of The Way of Champions Podcasts closes each episode, “Your influence is never neutral!”

We are ALWAYS influencing the things and people around us and too often our response to results is not moving things forward!

How can we combat our tendency to be disappointed by less-than-perfect play?

It’s time to set some rules!

We can start by changing our bodies to help change our mindsets.


As NKU Women’s Basketball Assistant Coach, Doug Novak said in our conversation last week, “It is easier to change our actions than our thoughts.”

If we practice quick resets by changing our physiology, we can lessen the time we feel sorry for ourselves and move from being selfish to thinking of our self-less!

I am also a big fan of a team reset. At CSU, we started a team reset that was prompted by our catcher when she saw heads down and selfish behavior. She stood in front of the plate and began our reset ritual.

Eventually, those who were looking at their shoes as they wasted time ruminating on their mistakes, felt the extra long pause between pitches and joined rejoined the team in the present moment.

It pulled them out of their selfish thoughts and into a self-less mode of thinking…because they had to DO SOMETHING!

We will never eliminate mistakes. We will never eliminate F.U.D.G.E. But we can limit their influence on what happens next.

What rules do we need to implement to be more self-less thinkers and actors for our teams?

Selfish reactions take away our power to do something better by learning from the F.U.D.G.E! This is the thick and sticky path to peak performance!

Here is to managing the F.U.D.G.E…and the moments!


P.S. Hire me to work with your team for one day or all year. Let’s put together a mental training plan that works for your team. Shoot me an email at and let’s get started before 2023-24 program pricing increase begin!

Julie Jones

Mental Performance Coach

SSB Performance • 234-206-0946

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