Quote: “The team that makes the most mistakes will win”- Coach John Wooden, UCLA Basketball
” When you make a mistake, turn your attention to what comes next. Focus on doing well, with full mind and heart. Look ahead, not back.” Patrica Ryan Madson
Reflection: The ability to edit yourself and refocus is important when you make a mistake in any performing art. I hear a speaker the other day talk about the way to handle mistakes. He said we have two directions to go–
1. Shrink inwardly and focus on the error. Saying negative things like I really “blew that” “Oh, boy am I stupid” and other negative self-talk.
2. Find a way to stay in the moment, self-correct and move-on.
I guess most of us would like to follow the second path. But how do you regain your footing and pull yourself together to go on. Most speakers use what I call “fillers” at this point-um, ahs, you knows etc. to get by. The temporary pause can be embarrassing and confusing for anyone.
From over thirty years of studying and coaching I would recommend a device that Patrica Ryan Madson recommends in her little but powerful book called Improv Wisdom. She relates how to shake the tendency of self-blame and withdrawal when a blooper happens by thinking about the “blooper” as a wake-up call–to re-energize yourself and become more alert by taking this mistake seeing what you can make of it. I agree because nothing in live can be done perfectly. My solution has always been to pause, take a deep breath and correct your mistake. Audiences are forgiving because they have experienced similar situations. The mistake shows that you are a “fallible human being”. The key to getting through this rough patch is to show flexibility and a sense of humor by accepting what just happened and continue to create the best outcome that you can.
Action Activity: The next time something doesn’t go well in your life–you get a flat on the way to the airport, the dog leaves a puddle on the rug, the birthday party was a bomb, best planned vacation was a disaster, you got slammed by your evaluations for an important presentation what is your reaction? Stop observe what you did and said and reflect how could you do better to handle your disappointment.