Sunday, October 31, 2010


I don’t waste energy worrying about things I can’t control. This is another aspect of the What If mentality.

What good does it do to constantly conjure up past injustices and inequities and wail about them—except to waste valuable energy that could be used much more positively?

Mike Holmgren is particularly good at dealing with the Woe-Is-Me Disease. That’s because he acknowledges something that seems so simple but escapes so many people: the game still has to be played.

He wants no part of any “sky-is-falling” talk. His focus becomes, how do we fulfill this revised goal?

That emerges as Mike’s consuming mission every time there’s a setback. He wants to win so badly that he won’t allow a misstep to thwart him. Maybe for an upcoming game, he has only one healthy running back. So he’ll turn more to one back and three receivers. Or maybe his receivers are limping, so his game plan will put more emphasis on our running attack. He’ll juggle and maneuver and create temporary solutions, anything to give us a chance instead of just hanging on. He never allows any of his internal feelings to affect his dealings with the players. He never makes or uses excuses. Excuses aren’t allowed to become a crutch. His message is always positive and upbeat. Hey, if we want to win badly enough, we’ll find a way to do it. Someone hurt? We’ll being in a replacement, coach him well, and he’ll do the job.

Instead of viewing the unexpected as a cruel impediment, look at it as a stimulating challenge. Without embracing reversals as opportunities to prove your worth, they’ll grab you and toss you to the sidelines, where you become a spectator instead of a participant. You need to adopt a mind-set based on aggressiveness—just as everything else.

That’s why you can’t allow setbacks to become permanent obstacles. That’s why you can’t allow employees to whine and why you can’t allow unexpected developments to send morale spiraling. I don’t care if you have to put on a big act—you must never let others see you depressed. As soon as you feel sorry for yourself in public, you have risked irreparable harm to your plans. I’m convinced you can overcome virtually anything if you can avoid the sulks and demonstrate enough intelligence, gumption, and patience.

Even if your competitors don’t seem to be absorbing the same amount of negative blows as you, don’t be deterred from your goals. It all comes down to confidence and willpower. You must feel good enough about your system to believe you’ll succeed. And you must be able to get off the mat every time and keep fighting, no matter how many knockdowns you suffer. Your competitors have to know you’ll always be a factor, no matter how difficult the dilemma.

Your ability to handle mistakes and setbacks properly depends so much on how well you maintain an upbeat attitude. You have to develop the ability to remember all the positives that have happened in the past to you and use those pluses as a reminder every time you become depressed over errors.

From "The Packer Way" by former Green Bay General Manager Ron Wolf