There are occasions when the absolute nightmare does happen – just ask Unai Simon, the Spanish goalkeeper, after his momentary lapse in concentration with a long back pass resulted in his own goal in the 2nd round of Euro 2021 - Spain against Croatia.
How do we remain objective, despite the stress that surrounds us in that moment?
It’s what we do next that matters most. In sport, as in business, our ability to mentally cope with these difficulties can be the fine dividing line between success and failure. Maybe it’s the difference between worrying about another possible lapse of concentration in the game or putting this into context as an isolated incident that happens on average 1 game in every 100 say.
In important tasks, our brains scan and take reference from what’s happened in the past – good or bad (this is why young football players are sometimes regarded as fearless – they have no little or no bad reference points). In essence we look for ‘similar’ past protocols for normalised future emotional responses to certain ‘similar’ events or stimuli.
In a commercial context, this might include – being asked for a price increase/reduction, a requested change to a Service Level Agreement or being unsuccessful for a promotion.
Dependent upon the time available to us, there are techniques that we can use to reframe events – these can include felt responses, positive imagery or mindfulness. These can really help to put an event into the right perspective, generating a more positive mindset.
Whichever you choose, make it appropriate to the circumstances – taking a ‘time out’ when keeping goal in Euro 2021 is maybe not the best choice!
Oh,and Unai, cheer up. At least your team won the game…
Sam Macbeth 29th June 2021