Advice on Looking Adversity Straight in the Eye

Be prepared for adversity by looking it straight in the eye and believing in yourself—no matter how difficult life becomes.

I recently met with a national sales executive in one of my corporate coaching sessions. I could sense his defeat as he told me, “No one is buying. We have been creative and aggressive in terms of finding opportunities. I shouldn’t say no one is buying, but for months the stream has been drying up. My team has lost confidence and, quite frankly, I am not sure what to tell them anymore.”

Undoubtedly, it is still a difficult economy out there and it appears we still have a ways to go. So it is more important than ever to have the mental toughness to stay confident and to fight through adversity.

In 2007, while acting as the Sports Psychologist for the St Louis Rams, we started the season by losing our first eight games. It was the worst losing streak I had experienced in my career, and I found myself driving out to Rams Park with my confidence all but shot. The mental game-plan I had produced for the upcoming week was average at best. I remember thinking to myself, “What if we were 8-0 instead of winless? How would my approach be different?”

It was amazing to me to realize that if we had been on a winning streak, just how different my approach to my job would have been. My approach would have been aggressive and full of confidence. So I thought of trying something different. I decided to approach the team “as if” we were undefeated. In doing so, my ability to teach and motivate was dramatically improved. Instead of a scared staff member, I led the rallying cry to victory!

Now, while The Rams did not end the season with the championship, they did improve their confidence and ultimately score more goals than they would have with the outlook of a defeated team. And it taught me about giving my all in tough times.

I told this same “as if “ story to a Financial Advisor who was just getting started in the business. She said that acting “as if” she were already a million-dollar producer helped her find the courage and confidence needed to look her clients in the eye and give much more solid advice. Ultimately, she said it helped her to become a much better broker, and she was so convincing, she herself surpassed her own financial goals.


Identify what success feels like. Think about what it feels like to be highly successful. Use your past successes as your model and look at your mentors’ successes. Get a mental construct, then feel it in your body. Let this feeling become your new “norm.” Acting “as if” will have a dramatic impact on your success and will significantly improve your progress toward greatness.


By Dr. Jason Selk LPC, NCC the Director of Mental Training for the World Series winning St. Louis Cardinals and author of 10-Minute Toughness and the newly released book Executive Toughness, The Mental-Training Program to Increase Your Leadership Performance (McGraw-Hill, Nov 2011). For more on Jason you can also visit his WEBSITE.

Positively Positive | January 31, 2012 | Inspiring, Working


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