Working Through a Slump

By Scott Westerman
Losing your mojo is not fun. And eventually it happens to all of us. Events compound and all of a sudden we’re questioning our abilities. This is the definition of a slump.

The best of us will eventually stumble. We’re tempted to leave the team, quit the game, give up. Real winners understand that we are not judged by the number of times we fail, but by the number of times we succeed. And as the great sales trainer, Tom Hopkins, teaches us, “The number of times we succeed is directly proportional to the number of times we can fail.. and keep trying.”

What are the secrets of getting back into the zone?

Calm down – You’re not the first, nor the last high performer to hit a plateau. Take a deep breath. This, too shall pass. Find that elusive balance between effective focus and trying too hard.

Look at the situation from a distance – Much of our stress comes from being too close to the moment. Solutions often materialize when you contemplate the forest and not the trees.

Simplify your game – Get back to your basics. What are the things you did to get to where you were before the slump? Often times we let things like work ethic, coachability and a willingness to learn slide when we get a taste of success. Are you still checking those boxes every day?

Listen to your self-talk – Try to move away from, “I better not” to “I know I can.” Stay positive. Act that way even if you don’t feel that way. What you create on the inside ultimately manifests on the outside.

Live in the now – Slumpers ping-pong between reliving past mistakes and the fear of making more in the future. There is only one moment you can control, the present. Make the most of it.

Raise others up – Focus on assists. Look for every opportunity to make a teammate look good. Be supportive and reassuring. It will inspire others to follow your lead and will be reflected back at you.

Be patient – You’ve proven to yourself that you can do the job. You can and you will do it well again.

Be grateful – You have been given the gift of skill and success. Failure is an equally valuable gift, if you treat it as the learning experience that it truly is. Weight training is grounded in adding more resistance until you approach your capacity. A slump is the ultimate in resistance to forward movement. Keep doing your reps and you will be stronger. Be especially thankful that you know what sustained success feels like. It’s an opportunity that’s given to very few. Gratitude puts travail in its proper perspective and can lift you to new heights.

Stay the course – Victory is always within the grasp of those who can keep going. Philosopher H. Jackson Brown puts it this way. “In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins- not through strength but by perseverance.” Keep taking the shots. Keep getting up whenever you’re knocked down. To paraphrase Winston Churchill’s advice to his countrymen during the Battle of Britain: “Never give up, never give in. Never, never, never.”

You were born to be great. If you’ve known achievement you have positive proof that this is so. Elite human performance comes with commensurate challenges. Those who do great things must overcome great obstacles. At some point in your career, a slump will be one of them. Use it as a launching pad to help rocket your life story into a new and even more exciting chapter.