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In baseball, they're called streaks and slumps. On a streak everything turns out great. In a slump every setback smells like failure.

Hopefully everyone has experienced a streak. Streaks are exhilarating and worth analyzing. When you're winning, it's the best time to take stock in what you're doing right. Is it your savvy thinking and business acumen? Or is it your upbeat attitude and polished appearance? Are people finally figuring out how good you are at what you do? (Save this information for a day when no one returns a phone call.)

Slumps can flummox even the most self-confident. A loss or two can be expected but when the losses outweigh the wins it's easy to fall into a cycle of negative thinking. Despair sets in. You become immobilized, convinced that you've lost your edge. The 'wins' that you took for granted now go to someone who leads with confidence and optimism, a magnet for success.

When a player experiences a slump, his batting or pitching coach will analyze everything—his swing, his footwork, maybe even his shoes. He'll certainly look at the player's thinking since that's where the slump began and where it will end.

To maximize your streaks and minimize your slumps:

  1. Know what makes you a standout. Everyone should carry around a list of his or her most outstanding three or four qualities (and stare at it every morning).
  2. Remember, all slumps are temporary. (Ask Yankees' third baseman Alex Rodriguez).
  3. While temporary, slumps need to be stage-managed with an eye towards spinning a perception of your undiluted confidence. Fresh haircut, impeccable tailoring, crisp shirts, trimmed nails and polished shoes no matter what.
  4. The biggest boos come from within. Stop throwing tomatoes at your head and start cheering.
  5. You just need a hit, not a home run. Small accomplishments can be hugely important. (Ask A-Rod.)
  6. Pick up the phone and call your staunchest supporter. He or she will know what to do.

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© Copyright 2007 Ellen Lubin-Sherman

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