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Doctor's Notes

Coach's Tips: Focus on What You Can Control

by Checkend Apps 19 Jul 2016 0 Comments

We all find ourselves worrying at work. Often times this worrying can bog us down, to a point where we may not be effective at our jobs. We worry about what might happen if we make a certain decision, or we worry about what our co-workers are thinking, or what our boss thinks about our job performance. Sometimes these may be legitimate concerns but often times we find ourselves worrying about many factors that are not in our control.

In most work situations or team situations, it is a more effective solution to focus on what we are able to control, instead of spending worried energy on what we can’t control. With our athletes, we tend to teach them about what they can’t control first and then focus on what we as a group can control.  If you think about it, work factors we typically have little control over:

  • Can you control your co-workers?
  • Can you control your boss?
  • Can you control your customers?
  • Can you control other people’s attitudes toward you?

Some of the above are things you can influence, but usually these are factors that you have little control over. I once heard a prominent soccer coach speak about controlling the controllable and he used his ear as a teaching point and it always stuck with me. Hopefully the “EAR” analogy will stick with you as well.

What can you control? EAR

  • “E”-The E is for your effort. Whether you are competing in practice every day for a starting spot on your team, or you are slaving at your desk over long hours. You always have control of the effort that you put in to your job. Effort is the mindset that allows you to overcome your adversity at work.
  • “A”-The A is for your attitude each day. No matter how tough things may get, your attitude will be what will dictate most how you will overcome. Your attitude is always a choice. There is little that will help you become more successful than having a positive attitude. A positive attitude is also contagious. You will have a great effect on your work place if you bring a positive attitude every day. Employees or teammates with a positive attitude look for the good in every situation. That's a great attitude to have.
  • “R”-The R is for your response. How you chose to respond with your effort and attitude to every situation will greatly impact your ability to have success. It is simple when you thing about it, your adversity and how you respond to it will predict your outcome. What do you want that outcome to be?

When you are facing difficult challenges at work, as we all do, try to remind yourself that your effort, attitude and how you respond will greatly impact the outcome. Ask yourself, what outcome do I want?


~Sean Hogan has coached hockey at the international and collegiate levels for over ten years. He has spoken at numerous events about culture building, goal setting and healthy lifestyles. He holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Recreation and Sports Science with an emphasis on Coaching Education from OHIO University.

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