Often in coaching I encounter clients caught in the grip of a powerful, frightening choice. How she chooses has everything to do with what she sees.  Without help, it’s tough to see from a perspective other than your own.  Some find it nearly impossible to adopt an alternative perspective— for even a few minutes.

After all, my perspective is … mine.  It is logical, sensible, familiar, and reinforced by my experience and my values.  At least, that’s what I believe.

My perspective provides a “frame” around my thinking.

Like a picture frame, my perspective gives structure and stability to what I’m looking at.

Like a picture frame, it establishes a boundary around what I see: what I interpret to be possible, what I limit my options to, and what I assume to be a reasonable method to work the problem.

Like a picture frame, my perspective draws my attention to certain features of the “picture” and, as I’m attending to those features, I overlook several others.

One common perspective can be summed up in this distinction: “Playing to win vs. playing not to lose.”

This is playoff time for both the NHL and NBA.  Every night, we’re treated to heart-stopping drama as opposing players ignore the pleading of their coaches and shift from playing to win to playing not to lose, once they’re in the lead.  How many times have you seen your team give up a dominant lead after they’ve moved from offense to defense?

Mike Babcock, coach of my favorite Detroit Red Wings is famous for urging his guys to keep their foot on the gas, no matter how great the lead.

And, when they do, they’re unstoppable.

Yet, too often, once they grab the lead, my Wings ease off, drop back, and hunker down in the defensive zone. And, playing not to lose, their intensity wanes just enough that when they make a mistake it costs them a goal. Too many goals, and they lose a game they once controlled.

And…you do it too!