In my coaching practice I often use sports analogies because they are so applicable to real life scenarios. It’s why I enjoy sports so much. You get to participate and witness in an individual or group activity, something that is not a “life or death” situation. However, the lessons gleaned from them can be applied to things which are.
One of the analogies I often talk to my clients about is “being ready for the curveball”. Consistently hitting a round baseball with a round bat may be the most challenging thing in all of sport. It is hard enough when the ball is coming right down the middle, where you expect it to go. That’s why a guy like Bryce Harper (pictured above about ready to get plunked by a pitch) is about to sign a contract worth $330 million to do just that for the Philadelphia Phillies. 330 million!!! That is how hard it is to do. When you do it well, you are handsomely rewarded.
When a pitcher masters the curveball, it becomes exponentially more difficult to hit it—unless you are expecting it. If there is one thing in life we know about, is that unexpected moments happen all the time. What if we anticipated them, though? Not the specific “curveballs”. We can’t do that. However, we can expect AND anticipate the unexpected. We can, and should, be ready for them and have strategies in the place to give ourselves the best chance of hitting a curveball “out of the park”. Last week a major curveball came our way in the way of a family illness. We trust everything is going to be alright. Yet, still, it has been a major source of anxiety, worry, emotion, time and financially consuming. Over the years, because of my previous career as a summer camp owner and director (and as the father of six children), I have had my share of major curveballs thrown my way. Some of them thrown “high and tight” up towards my head, if you know what I mean. This most recent one last week has caused the postponing of our production schedule for the podcasts and so much more tumult. But ya gotta do what ya gotta due. Sometimes there is a “rain delay”. This is one of those times. In order to effectively navigate through life’s unexpected challenges and curveballs, I have designed a strategy for “victory”. Now, while one cannot win every game or battle, I have seen many through with great success and have walked many clients through to the finish line as well.
Top Ten Strategies for Coping with Curveballs
(Not necessarily in order of importance. They are all important.)
1. Be aware, very aware, the curveballs are coming–often when least expected.2. “Hold your powder”. Don’t go shooting off at the mouth, freaking out or assuming the worst. In other words, as much as possible, “Shut the fuck up!” Most of the time things will work themselves out if we don’t make matters worse.3. Gather all the information you can through “seeking first to understand in order to be understood” by asking questions. Take notes.4. Get with experts in whatever challenge you’re facing. Research as much as possible and think out of the box!5. Activate on purpose, with a purpose, stress management techniques that are already in place in your life throughout the situation (smiling, breathing, kinesiology, drink lots of water, get some sun, exercise, orgasm). Of course, what needs to be done will be determined to what extent the challenge or curveball is and how long it lasts. 6. Keep to your regular routine, as much as possible. It is as if you’re “saying” to the circumstance, “You don’t have me. I have you!!!”7. Put your situation into perspective. So many people are going through things so much worse (and you probably have, too. If you have not, you will. Be ready!)8. Keep positive and uplifting people in your corner. Keep negative and toxic people at bay.9. Embrace the truth of the situation. It may work out well. It make work out not so well. However, YOU will get through it. Embracing “truth” (things which are true universally for ALL people) always moves one forward emotionally.10. Remember no matter what the outcome, your identity is not based on what you “do” but on what you “be”. After all, you are not a human doing. You are a human being! Print these out. Read this blog many times in the can or somewhere where you can have easy access to it. Have them handy if a curveball lasts more than a short time and know I am always available to help you hit a home run.