Blog | Thursday, September 26, 2019

Raising your game when the chips are down


A couple of months ago I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine, who is a doctor in England. We were talking sports, specifically the tennis at Wimbledon and the superb performance of Roger Federer. He made a remark that I thought was great observation: “That psychological ability to raise your game rather than lose heart when behind is common to all elite sports people, but quite unusual in everyday life.”

Please read that again because it's an amazing and true thing to say. The very top athletes in any sport all have the ability to dramatically turn everything around when things are not going so well. Why is this an important thing for the more average Joe to reflect on? Because it's a desirable trait to develop in our everyday lives too. If we're talking life and career, I think it's fair to say that a large number of people are not entirely happy with where they are. It could be a job which is not going to plan or another facet of their life. It's easy to feel helpless or a victim to external circumstances, getting stuck in a rut with the same detrimental repeating patterns. While it's true there are a lot of things outside of our control, the reality is that there are probably just as many—if not more factors—that are within our control.

Want a promotion or your career to go in a different direction? Then why not work towards a new qualification or be actively networking on a weekly basis to take you there?

Realize that your job is making you miserable and need a change? Then why aren't you looking on a daily basis for a new one to make you happier?

Tired of hearing the same reasons for why you keep getting passed over for that leadership position or new role? Then why not seek sincere feedback on why it's happening, go on a leadership or communications skills course, and be relentless in improving your own market value?

Is your personal life a complete 180 from where you once thought it would be? Then focus on where it's gone wrong and what steps you can take to get it where you want.

If you're very happy where you are, winning, and on your chosen path, then there's of course no need to change your strategy. But if you're not: focusing constantly on raising your own game may just be the best thing you can for yourself. Because carrying on the same will surely only be your own loss.

Suneel Dhand is an internal medicine physician, author and speaker. He is the founder of DocSpeak Communications and co-founder at DocsDox. He blogs at his self-titled site, where this post first appeared.