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"Whose Line Is it, Anyway? How to Better Manage What Gets Thrown Your Way!

Mindset Made Simple Tip #150Watch or listen HERE.

Remember the show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” I love Wayne Brady and the cast. How creative, spontaneous and downright funny are those guys?

The ability to quickly think on your feet and respond with something that moves the story forward is a great, and difficult, feat. It would benefit us to apply this skill to our performance whether we perform on a field, court or in a meeting of any kind.

Think about it. We are always playing off someone else. Someone throws something at you. It is your job to make it better with your contribution so the next guy can take it from there.

Or, even more importantly, someone sends something not so great your way and it is STILL your job to make it better with your contribution so the next guy can take it from there!

The problem is our brain doesn’t naturally play “Whose Line is it Anyway” regardless of whether we were thrown something we can work with or something not as helpful. Either way, our brain looks for reasons the last line was dumb or not enough. Or it looks for reasons that we are dumb or not enough.

I have several examples.

Example #1 – In one of my recent classes at UA, we were discussing persuasion. I showed a video that talked about the most effective ways to get people to see your side of the story. The guy in the video made a very valid point about how we respond to information. If we hear stats, our mind automatically looks for exceptions to the rule. For instance, if someone says people who wear seatbelts are less likely to be ejected from a vehicle, our mind instantly searches for evidence that proves that is not always true. We immediately look to dispute it.

Thus, someone tells us something that may be helpful to our performance, our first instinct is to poke holes in it.

Not always helpful!

Example #2 – I spent time a few weeks ago working with a group of people who serve in many different capacities at a local recreation center.

We were talking about our mindset and how it affects our interactions with customers. We tried a short-form improvisational exercise. I started with an innocuous statement like “Yesterday I went to the grocery store…” and the others had to take it and run with it. We weren’t 3 people in before someone threw a negative response into the game.

That was the point. We have a hard time staying with a positive line of anything. We go to the dark side SO easily.

Not always helpful!

Example #3 – I was talking with a successful travel softball organization last weekend and asked this question. I asked, “If a coach corrects or “yells” at you, does it change your ability to throw or catch?” I asked the question to high school kids, youth-aged athletes and parents alike.

Every time the initial response was, “Yes, it affects the way we play.” My next question was, “Does what someone says or does change your ability to throw or catch?” Same question, but let’s think about it. Has anything anyone has ever said changed your skill level in the moment? Meaning, do words make you weaker, have less dexterity, balance, eyesight, etc.?

We all know the answer is a resounding NO! Our skill level does not change based on what someone else says or does (or what we say or do) two seconds ago or what may happen next. Even so, we let the previous line affect our next line.

Not always helpful!

How, then, do we keep our short improv game moving forward?

To help ourselves be our best no matter what someone says or does, it’s time to go to…IT IS WHAT IT IS…NOT WHAT WE THINK IT SHOULD BE!

If the actors took any time at all to think about what they think the guy before them should have said, the bit goes south very quickly and the show sucks!

Same for us.

As I once heard someone say, don’t “should” on yourself!

“He should have said this.” “I should have done that.” “That should have been there.” Or shouldn’t have…

The more time we think about what should or shouldn't have happened, the less time we have to think about what need to do to get the job done…to perform our best…to use our skill and talent THAT DOES NOT CHANGE BECAUSE OF WHAT THE GUY BEFORE US SAID!

It is what it is. Now what do I need to do?

If we can ask ourselves this question when those inklings of disputing, going to the dark side or playing the blame game sneak up, WE WILL BE BETTER!

So what’s your next line? Will you go with it and do your best to make it better? Or will you spend the next few minutes allowing yourself to lose your focus and momentum?

It’s up to you!

Final thought. The more we focus on what we cannot control, the more those things control us!

Manage the moments…and your next line!


P.S. My schedule 2023-24 schedule is filling quickly. Contact me today at or call/text 234-206-0946 and let’s put together a plan for your program!

Julie Jones

Mental Performance Coach

SSB Performance • 234-206-0946

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