Sometimes even the best decision makers fall into a slump. Something changes. You are “off” somehow. Despite a history of being gifted at your craft, now it isn’t clicking. The magic has disappeared.
If you have ever been in such a circumstance, you know that it is frightening. As an effective leader, your success is built on your ability to be in sync with the world around you, to make the right decisions at the right time. The longer you are in a slump the greater the fear grows. Will the magic return? How do I get it back? What happens if I can’t get back in the groove?
Fear is paralyzing. It causes us to choke. We tense up. We try too hard. We try to force something to work rather than watching to see what is naturally occurring. This stilted style only makes things worse. Instead of getting better, our decision making continues to erode. To be a great leader, we need to break the cycle. So, how do you break the cycle of escalating fear?
There are two approaches to breaking the cycle iof fear, and each has merits:
Conservative: You might try the conservative approach. Try hitting singles. If you can establish a pattern of simply getting on base, your confidence will increase. As your confidence grows, you will relax more into your old style and gradually regain your magic. When it works, this is a great way to get out of a slump. You don’t risk much. But, unless you can consistently hit singles, time is your enemy. The longer you live this way, the worse it gets.
Swing for the fence: The alternative is to swing for the fence. This approach requires putting a great deal of confidence in your giftedness. You simply must believe that your history of success is not accidental. If you choose to swing for the fence, you must wait for the right opportunity and then go for it. Place a big bet on your best instinct and trust that your magic will win the day. The bet is big, but so can be the reward.
I have seen both approaches work and I have seen people struggle and fail to rediscover the gifts that had served them for years.
I hope you will share a story of your recovery from a slump in the comments section. You may encourage others in their recovery.