What’s Football Got to do with Speaking?

By Jane Atkinson

footballSeveral things have popped up in my personal life
lately that have left me a tad stressed.

I won’t bore you with all of the gory details, but
let’s just say that having a 15-month old move in
with you, renovating a basement and purchasing a
property for a handicapped family member all at
the same time can be enough to drive anyone to

One of my clients, Michelle May, MD shared a
analogy with me that has been extremely helpful.
She said that when things get hectic in her
business (and life) her goal is to ‘move the ball
forward’ every day.  Like on the football field,
the players may not be going for a touchdown on
every single play, but they are attempting to
advance the ball.

Sounded good to me. And I think it might be useful
for you in your business as well.  Because let’s
face it, we do sometimes tend to focus on the lost
yardage, rather than a gains.

So here’s a strategy that you might apply when
your business (and life) starts to feel

1.  Stop.  Assess what’s going on around you and
make a list of all of the things that need
resolving.  If your list is huge, you may need to
choose 3 things at a time to work on.

2.  Visualize a positive outcome.  Write down what
you want to happen as if it’s already taken place
imagining the most perfect outcomes possible.  I
find this helpful on two levels because it gets me
focused on what I do want to have happen and it
gets the worry outside of my head and on paper.

3. Put a sign or post-it note on your desk that
will remind you to ‘move the ball forward’ every
day.  This means taking action.  Do something,
anything to make progress on your chosen task.

4.  Assess.  At the end of each day check in and
see how you did.  Most people tend to beat
themselves up over what they didn’t get done
rather than recognize how much they moved the ball
forward.  A gain is a gain.

I find that even in the throws of major change, if
I can advance the ball even a few yards, I feel
better at the end of the day.  Dealing with
disability challenges, wheelchair travel and
government health care and can be a serious head
ache.  But each phone call, each application form
completed, each e-mail with a question answered
is a win.  And right now, I’ll take all of the
wins I can get.

In fact, if you have a win this week and would
like to share it with me – write me an e-mail with
‘I moved the ball forward’ in the subject line.

Let’s support each other and we can all win the
game of life and business!

ps: You’ve been asking, and now it’s finally here!
Digital recordings are now available from our
teleclasses.  And the Joe Calloway teleclass on
Recession Proof Your Speaking is the first
available. For details on the MP3 or WAV, click