top of page

Turning a Disappointing Start into a Positive Finish

Mindset Made Simple Tip #81  - Watch or listen HERE.

Another great weekend of NFL football!

If you watched the NFC Championship game, you likely saw the newspaper quotes FOX shared about the 49ers and Kyle Shanahan. If you missed them, here are a few…

“It’s Still Early But the 49ers Are a Team In Crisis”

“Bombing and Bomb-Cycloned, 49ers Season Turns into a Washout”

“Kyle Shanahan is Massively Failing the 49ers”

Oh, to be an NFL coach, or any coach, for that matter 😊! When I got my first job at Cleveland State, a member of the search committee told me in no uncertain terms that coaches are hired to be fired! What a great way to start at age 25!

Not long after these headlines appeared in San Francisco newspapers, the 49ers went 9 for 11 and ended up one game away from the Super Bowl!

I guess Shanahan found some answers and the bomb-cycloned tide turned in their favor.

The point?

Just because something starts out “in crisis” does not mean it needs to stay that way!

Do you watch “This Is Us” on NBC? Apparently, it is for old people (no offense if you watch it) because no college students seem to be avid viewers!

If you watched last week’s episode, Jack had feelings of an absent father and took the triplets to a movie to “make memories” and enjoy the day together. Long story short, Jack fell asleep. Kevin, bored with the movie, left the theater and ended up lost. Everyone was upset and scared and the day was a disaster.

In comes Rebecca’s great advice! She reminded Jack that the day was not over. That there was more time to make memories, to share joy, to end the day with a different tone. And that is exactly what they chose to do. Ice cream, movies at home…the kids went to bed happy and loved!

Instead of accepting the fate that seemed inevitable, both Coach Shanahan and the Pearson family decided to keep writing the story!

We need to keep writing the story, too, no matter how the play, the game or the season begins!

We often hear advice telling us to play the game “one pitch at a time.”

This is EXCELLENT advice!

But how do we do this when the last pitch lead to a home run or the last play ricocheted off someone and ended up in the other team’s hands or the back of the net?

We also hear positive emotion is critical to peak performance. I say this! And I believe it.

However, sometimes it is impossible to be positive in the way we think of positive. Our athletes hear positive and think “happy.” How can I be happy when I am getting my butt handed to me in a handbag?

Maybe “positive” isn’t the right word to use. Maybe “productive thinking” is a better way to explain it!

Productive thinking IS positive thinking. It is asking questions about where we are, what can we do next and how will we do it?

It is not pretending that the past didn’t happen. It is realizing that what happened has nothing to do with what happens next!

Read that again! What happened has nothing to do with what happens next!

Unless we allow it to!

Each pitch, each play, each shot is important to the outcome of the game. But…each also has a life of its own. A start and a finish.

Define finish… “bring a task or activity to an end, completion.”

It is what it is. We are responsible for that pitch, play or shot, but it DOES NOT have anything to do with the next one.

This is how the 49ers and the Pearson’s were able to end much differently than they started.

How do we do this when we have the same players, the same culture, etc.?

Making an effort to follow the 4Ps of peak performance…

· Present

· Positive (replace with Productive for today)

· Posture

· Process

…is a great place to start!

By focusing on being PRESENT and giving each situation beginning and end, by dealing with what happens as it comes instead of clouding it with what might happen or what has happened in the past, we are able to eliminate emotion and focus on what is important now!

Instead of asking “why is this happening” or “how do I feel about this?” We simply ask “what can I do? Or “how can I help?”

When we focus on how we feel, we tend to “navel-gaze” (look at our belly button or shoes) which affects our POSTURE! If you read my tips regularly, you know the effects of taking up space!

The truth is that it isn’t about how you feel. The game doesn’t care!

It is about what you do that makes a difference!

Thinking about what we can do now/next or how we can help in the next moment is PRODUCTIVE thinking. It keeps us focused on what we can control.

The “what can I do” question keeps us focused on the process as opposed to the outcome and moving forward!

Avoiding “why” keeps us from ruminating on what has happened and a victim’s mentality.

Bad starts happen. Bad plays, pitches and shots happen.

We don’t have to be happy about them. They do not predict the future.

What we do, not how we feel, predicts the future!

Acknowledging the past allows us to learn from every situation. We can’t change it. But we can decide what to do next.

What happened? What worked and why? What didn’t? What can we do now? How do we do it?

We can’t always make everything perfect or even much better with one action. But we can easily make things worse!

Somehow, the 49ers found a way. I don’t know what flipped the switch, but I bet it had something to do with their ability to separate one play/one day from the other.

I bet they worked to be present and productive.

I bet their productive thoughts resulted in big posture.

And I bet they started focusing on “what” they could do and followed the 49ers process.

Whatever they did, they made a choice to move from “crisis” mode to “competitive” mode and it worked!

I hope it works for you, too!

Have a great week!


Julie Jones

Certified Mental Performance & Mindset Coach

SSB Performance • 234-206-0946


bottom of page