A prominent Juvenile Court Judge in our State retired some years back and a statement she made in her final public presentation has always stuck with me. She said that in her 30-something years as a judge, every child and teen that appeared before her had one thing in common – they had never played a team sport.
Today I watched my 15 year old son Sam’s soccer game, and as I marvelled at what a fast game it was, it occurred to me that success in the game depended on a mindset that I would refer to as a ‘substance’ mindset. I also witnessed a ‘survival mindset’ event.
To be successful, the players needed to:
- feel safe and confident enough to engage assertively
- pass the ball to another team member who may be in a better position to score the goal, giving away the glory
- know their team members and their strengths, weaknesses and habitual plays, and work WITH that reality not against it
- communicate constantly with each other on the run in ‘shortcode’ so that they all knew where each other was and who was in a position to help
and the one I admired the most….
- immediately let go any emotion around an attack from the opposition, a bad play from a fellow team player, or a bad play from themselves….and instantly focus on what needs to happen next to keep the game moving toward a successful outcome.
This game doesn’t stop for anyone (except the Referee). There is no time to wallow on the past….literally. In every instance, what a team member decides to do next – emotionally and in terms of play- is what matters most, and it impacts the entire team and can significantly impact the outcome. One bad mood can lose a game.
This is a ‘substance mindset’ – a mastery over one’s human responses in challenging situations.
In the workplace this is what survival and substance mindsets look like.
Time to ask yourself: Are you and your team operating from a Survival or a Substance mindset? What impact is that having?