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It’s funny how sometimes mistakes you make in one area of your life can become important lessons for other areas. Here’s one mistake (of many) I’ve made when coaching martial arts.

In the early days of coaching there were certain mistakes I didn’t want my students to make in their sparring and competition. The language I found myself using tended to be things like “if you let your opponent do this to you, then you’re done“, or “if they get into this position, it’s all over“.

What I noticed as I had the opportunity to work with some of the worlds best martial artists (for the martial arts geeks, I’m talking about folks like Rigan Machado, John Will, Robert Drysdale), is that their language was very different to mine. They were still emphasizing the importance of avoiding those mistakes – and yet to them you were never “done”.

They used phrases like:

”after that it gets much more difficult“
”if that happens you have to work a lot harder“.
This simple difference in language had an obvious impact. The focus was still on avoiding the mistake, but at the same time any mistakes that did crop up were to be seen as a setback not a catastrophe. With one small change in language the emphasis shifts from “give up” to “the tough get going”.

And it got me thinking about what would happen if I changed my language, not just in my martial arts coaching but in a whole range of aspects of my life.

How often do we find ourselves holding onto a belief that a mistake we’ve made has ruined everything; ruined our day, ruined our week, ruined our relationship, ruined our business, ruined our lives?

And how useful is that? Where does it direct our attention? One of the tenets of NLP, is that energy flows where your attention goes.

So if my attention starts to focus on the mistakes I made to get myself into this position, that has a tremendous impact on how I feel about myself, how I feel about my capabilities and how I feel about my future prospects. The impact of that can be the feeling that we’re “done”. That we may as well shut up shop and move on because it’s over.

However if we take the senior coach approach, and say now that I’ve made this mistake and taken my learning from it what’s next? What if I choose to focus my attention on a better quality question – what do I have to do to get myself out? And having identified that, what would the very first step be?

We all make mistakes. And recovering from a mistake may make our harder, may make it take longer and in many cases may make it less comfortable, but we’re never “done“. There are always options and there are always choices. There is always something we can do. So is it not the case that the best thing to do is just suck it up, and get on with it? And if we put our attention there and we focus on purely on those first steps, suddenly we feel more empowered, we become more focused towards the future than the past, and suddenly that changes how we feel about ourselves. We become an agent of action in our own lives.

We believe life is all about choice, and in this case the choice between being problem (mistake) focused, or moving straight into solution focus.

And if there are mistakes you’ve made that you just can’t seem to get past, that even though they are in the past they are still controlling your present and therefore your future? Well we can help you with that. Contact us now to find out how.

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