You’re driving towards the basket when you get bumped; then, suddenly, the ball is out of your hands and heading in the opposite direction.

Sound familiar?

How about this: Your team gets together to tackle a problem. The conversation begins, but before you know it, you have completely lost control. It spirals into chaos due to counteractive heightened emotions.

Whether you’re on the court or in the office, there’s nothing more aggravating than a turnover–especially for Game Changers, since we know we’re responsible to lead.

Everyone gets angry, but heightened emotions cloud your judgment. The moment you let your emotions take over, you lose control of yourself and the situation.

What sets Game Changers apart is our ability to recognize that anger and deal with it swiftly. Being mentally tough and proactive is the only way to ensure that the ball stays in your hands.

Dealing with heightened emotions head-on takes certain mental toughness techniques that every Game Changer needs to have in their arsenal. Here is your Game Changer Mentality IDEA Map for avoiding costly turnovers:

#1. Identify Your Triggers

To stop a negative situation before it starts, it is important to quickly pivot and refocus your mindset, but in the heat of a tense moment, it’s difficult to spot the point where the situation turns from productive to ineffectual. You’ve got to begin by taking your own temperature and recognizing the physiological changes that you go through when you’re growing angry and emotional.

Here are three simple triggers you can check anytime, anywhere, to immediately recognize when your emotional reactions are intercepting your rational thoughts and overall goals:

  • Take your pulse–literally. You should know your regular resting heart rate (if you don’t, drop everything you’re doing for the next minute and follow the American Heart Association’s simple test to find out). Low or moderate activity shouldn’t raise your resting rate much, so if you’re pulse is significantly elevated, that’s a clear sign that your emotions are affecting you.
  • Pay attention to when you start yelling and/or cutting others off during a conversation. If your voice is raised, your emotions are too. Recognize the change in your tone and volume.
  • Notice if you start thinking about your response rather than listening as other individuals finish their sentences. This will tell you that your mindset is becoming combative rather than productive.

#2. Disengage and Distract

After recognizing you’ve been triggered into an increased emotional state, you need to take yourself out of the situation and lower your own temperature.

Step away. Take a breather. Be alone for a minute. Go for a walk. Jam out to your favorite song. Do whatever it is you need to make a clean and complete mental break from the situation that produced your negative emotions.

Once you have removed yourself and taken a few breaths, you will find that your attitude has pivoted, your pulse is lowered, and your mind has hit the refresh button. This is the place you want to be operating from to tackle a challenge.

#3. Engage with your Purpose

Before throwing yourself back into the fray, take a moment for a one-man huddle and ask yourself a few questions:

What was your initial goal–what were you trying to get out of the situation before it became heated?

Did you gather any new information during the heated situation that would lead you to modify your initial goal? What are your new objectives?

How do you need to modify your approach to achieve your clearly defined and up-to-speed purpose?

Write down your ideal, positive outcome and visualize re-engaging productively with the situation and your team. Then, write down 3-5 bullet points that you want to make sure you clearly communicate when you re-enter the situation.

#4. Act with Intent

Re-engage with the situation with a calm mind, a clear understanding of your goals and objectives, and your 3-5 bullet points in-hand, ready to team-up and drive towards the basket with the other players in the room.

Game Changers bring a passion for winning into every game; untrained and unchecked, that passion can bring a heated situation to a full-blown boil. Following the Game Changer Mentality IDEA Map helps you calm and control the court, so that you can recognize the threat of a negative turnover before it even happens.

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