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Create Positive Momentum

-- A lesson learned from baseball's newest member to the Hall of Fame, Derek Jeter --


How many times have you heard someone say "well, this day has gotten off to a terrible start!" or "I don't think this day could get any worse!" I think we have all heard it (or said it) at some point. Momentum can seem to work for us or against us at times, but even a small change in mindset can influence situations we didn't even know were possible to change.

Last week, Derek Jeter, the retired shortstop for the New York Yankees, was elected into the baseball Hall of Fame with a 396 out of a possible 397 total votes.  In asked in his interview what helped him break loose after a very rough start to his career and play with the confidence that he did, he said that "I knew that baseball was a game of failure.  You fail more than you succeed, but when I was in those situations, I just believed that I was going to be successful.  The mental side of the game is much more important than the physical side."  He later goes on to say, "I would build on each small positive which would lead to the next small positive until I created momentum."  Just a slight change in mindset turns a great baseball player into a Hall of Famer. 

On the flip side of Derek Jeter's mentality is when we focus our mindset on the failures and let them snowball and create negative momentum.  That is how we let ourselves slip into negative thinking (or stinkin' thinkin') and say things along the lines of "well, I figured that wasn't going to work out."  But if we can change our mindset, then we can change the outcome of situations.

So how do we create a positive snowball effect?  For starters, we have to deliberately change how we see setbacks, obstacles, or negative situations.  Back when I was selling books in college, we would train our recruits that anytime something negative happened we would immediately come up with 3 good things about whatever the negative situation happened to be.  For example, if we got a flat tire on the way to our territory (quite common since we drove so many miles over the summer), then we would come up with something similar to this:  "I'm glad it happened to me because a lesser person couldn't handle it!"  It helped shift our mindset and actually would help build our confidence in that situation.  We would then follow up and say something along the lines of "Another opportunity to build character!"  or "It's good, it's great, it's wonderful" or "I am getting really efficient at changing tires!"  In those instances, we were training our mindset to quickly take a situation that could have been a first negative in a long string of more negatives and re-frame it into a positive.  By re-framing the negative into a positive ("I'm building character" or "I'm an excellent flat tire repairman!"), we were actually using it to create a POSITIVE snowball effect!

When I launched Grit.org this January, I made the decision that the first thing I will do every weekday the kids are in school is to start my day taking a cold shower, and I have followed through!  I even started taking them on Saturday mornings when I have a game I am coaching.  This past Friday morning my oldest son heard me counting down out loud before I got in the shower, and he asked through the door, "dad, what are you doing in there?"  I said back, "taking a cold shower."  He asked inquisitively through the door, "why are you taking a cold shower?"  I replied back, "It makes my mentally tougher!"  For me, if I can start each day doing something I don't want to do (and that challenges me), then I am starting my day with the confidence that "I can overcome any obstacle in my day!"  Once my wife and I get the kids out the door for school, I do my 40-50 minute workout and then spend 10-15 minutes meditating at the end (2 of those sessions each week are in a sauna or steam room).  So by the time my workday is starting at 8:30 am, I have already achieved several 'victories' that have now created positive momentum for me going into the day.  And that is exactly what Derek Jeter is talking about.  Life is like baseball in that there are times where you fail more than you succeed, but by focusing on the positives and re-framing the negatives, you can make it into whatever the Hall of Fame looks like for you.  I challenge you this week to form the habit of creating your own positive momentum by changing your mindset!

And seriously, 396 out of 397 people voted Derek Jeter into the Hall of Fame?  That one voter was an outlier!  Here is a link to the Derek Jeter interview:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nonHOlTjfz4&feature=youtu.be


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