The Sidelines Are For Winners

“Don’t beat yourself up son.”

I recently had to explain to my son why being sidelined in the middle of a game wasn’t as bad as it seemed. Needless to say, it didn’t go as well as I had hoped.

He’s twelve and as you might imagine reasoning isn’t a preteens strong suit.

But, after thinking about what I said, I realized many of us are the same way. We hate stepping away from an unfinished task. Pulled while the game is still going on.

We’d much rather stay nose-deep in the action.

Doing our part. Contributing to the end result.

The fact is, whether its in business, the creative sphere, or in life, we need to step away occasionally.

To watch from the sidelines.

Think about it like this. From the sidelines we can see the game panoramically. We gain a wider perspective. See the entire field of play. A view impossible to obtain from within the action itself.

Many top athletes have this mindset.

They don’t go around wasting time complaining about being out of the game. Absolutely not, they walk over to the cooler, guzzle down some Gatorade, catch their breath, and stick their head in a playbook or go pick the coaches brain for some pointers.

They don’t do this to save face with the coach or the fans.

They do it because they’re competitors. Winners.

They want to improve. They execute for a living and the thought of losing makes them nauseous. So they take the downtime to plug-in to sound advice and fix any kinks in their game.

(Okay, now back to us non-athletes)

There’s nothing wrong with pulling yourself out in the middle of a project, an unfinished chapter, a Medium post, or any other venture you might be on.

Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a declaration of defeat. Or some diabolical plot of the resistance.

Instead, consider it time to reassess your “in-game” strategy.

To course correct.

To reach out to a mentor.

To research how the great ones did it.

To remember your values.

To refocus on your priorities.

To remind yourself why you started in the first place.

To look yourself in the mirror and get your head back in it.

Later, when you’re ready to attack the blank page, or restart the project, or finish the chapter, or hit the publish button, you’ll have the gumption to respond like a winner and totally crush it.


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