How to Overcome an 8-8 Mindset

No, this is not another fan rant about the Dallas Cowboys lackluster performance on the football field this year. Although there are some similarities we’ll draw upon here. Rather, the article is about you. If you’re a business leader who seems to be stuck in neutral and unable to find the ‘winning formula’ to move to the next level.

None of us grew up with the notion of being average, just being good enough.

Whether it’s in sports, music, grades, business, etc. We have all been ingrained with the notion of being the best in our chosen pursuits. Does this seem realistic? There is nothing wrong with the quest for excellence. However, not everyone can ascend to the top of the pyramid and stay there. Real life just doesn’t work that way. And that’s OK!

Are your expectations aligned with reality?

Let’s talk for a moment about the ‘BIG LIE’. The big lie is what we tell ourselves when we have a bad day, or when things are not going our way. “Things will get better”. They won’t. Things are not going to get better until what? Until we do. In order to consistently achieve success at any level we must take risks, make changes and sacrifice to get there.

To help resolve the expectations versus reality question, let’s use the Dallas Cowboys as an example.

The Cowboys fell back to an 8-8 record this year, despite lofty expectations. The team’s owner, Mr. Jerry Jones, continues to set himself and the team up for disappointment with expectations of winning the Super Bowl each year. However, the reality is the team has not been to the Super Bowl since 1996. And its combined winning percentage during this 23-year time span is only slightly above 50%.

What are you willing to risk, change and sacrifice to reach your goals?

It’s good to have dreams and goals. But we are setting ourselves up for failure if they are not grounded in reality. A more rational approach might be to focus instead on sustained growth and improvement. Rather than setting the bar so unrealistically high that we end up consistently fall short of the target.

Past results are not an indicator of future performance.

The Cowboys once shared the record for the most Super Bowl appearances. However, trying to replicate this earlier success has been a major obstacle. In sports and business in particular, it always comes down to what have you done for me lately?

If you are stuck today, the key to getting unstuck might be to change your mindset and approach.

  1. Stop looking at being average as a limitation and start seeing it for what it is. It is an opportunity for change, growth and improvement.
  2. Ask yourself this question, “What is the desired outcome and what are you willing to sacrifice to get there?” How does this align with today’s reality?
  3. Review your current performance. Are you playing to your strengths? Doing the right things with the same frequency that produced success in the past?
  4. Develop an action plan with realistic goals and timeframes. Focus on the critical areas where improvements are required to make sustained progress.
  5. Stop doing things that aren’t working. We know the definition of insanity, right? If it’s broken, fix it. If it can’t be repaired, then discard it and move on.

Don’t settle for the status quo. Adjust your expectations, make changes and be willing to take risks in order to reach your goals and achieve success.  

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

Psychologists have proven that if we can reshape the lens of how we view things we can change reality. By changing reality we can change the outcome. Example…how do you view your business today? Do you see yourself as a local small business owner, or the CEO of a global enterprise doing business in selected markets?

To overcome an 8-8 mindset, you have to be creative and continually explore ways to reinvent yourself and your business. Perception is reality. Change your thinking so you can capitalize on the opportunities to move beyond your vision, and create a new reality.

Enjoy the journey!


COPYRIGHT © 2020 John Carroll