If this year’s Super Bowl taught us anything, it’s that it’s not really over until it’s over. Not only did the Patriots win a game that, by halftime, many were sure was already lost, but they set a record doing it. Never in Super Bowl history has a team come back from a more than 20-point deficit.
Careers, just like sports, are not without their ups and downs but luckily professional comebacks exist as well. Even if you’re feeling like your professional game is about to hit rock bottom, as long as the clock’s still running, you’ve got a shot.
Here are 5 tips to help you stay in the game like a pro when you’re feeling more than challenged in the professional arena:
1. Acknowledge that you will occasionally have to accept defeat
Whether a small setback or a major defeat, accepting disappointment is step number one in being able to move on from it. Unfortunately, for many, acceptance doesn’t come quickly and instead resentment grows or a general malaise may take over. But the situation is what it is, you didn’t score the touchdown. You’ve still got to remain focused and keep your head in the game. Let it go and move on so you can tackle the next big challenge that comes your way.
2. Play every point like it matters
Great opponents look for mental weakness in their competitors. When a competitor starts to play poorly, the opponent tries to take advantage of the shift in momentum. In the workplace, your greatest opponent is your inner voice. That nagging internal dialogue telling you you’ll never get a better job or make more money than you currently do. Getting overwhelmed by the possible results is guaranteed to cloud your ability to think and react clearly.
3. Don’t isolate yourself
Disappointments tend to make us turn inward, sometimes to the point of isolating ourselves from others. Hopefully you have a good support system at the office with co-workers who help make your days more enjoyable. All it takes is one or two friends at work who make you laugh to help you get out of your own way.
4. Exercise your mental muscle
Athletes work tirelessly to perfect not only their skills but also their mental toughness. In professional competition, being able to push out all outside distractions and deal with moments of defeat in real time comes with the territory. Coaches and trainers help pro competitors improve both their physical and mental skills. Use your professional wins and losses to learn more about your own personal strengths and weaknesses so that you’re in better shape to stand up to your next professional challenge.
5. Don’t forget that anything is possible
Just as everyone was ready to turn their backs on Tom Brady and blame him for losing the biggest game of the year, he surprised everyone. He probably even surprised himself. The week before, the world watched in amazement as Roger Federer won the Australian open against his biggest rival Rafael Nadal. Not only is Federer five years older, which in tennis is like dog years, but Federer hasn’t beaten Nadal in a Grand Slam Final since 2006. Dig deep enough and you’ll find you’ve got plenty of fight in you too!