We’re at the pinnacle of the college basketball season, the NCAA tournament (aka March Madness). Merriam Webster defines madness as
“a state of being that can include rage, insanity, ecstasy and enthusiasm”
Those are strong emotions that drive action. Madness ensues when faced with a situation, good or bad. It is often coupled with an unbelievable amount of “fill in the blank here” and a lot of stress.
Top tournament teams now face such pressures like living up to their seed, and teams will face situational pressures throughout the tournament. Think about the team that’s down two points and headed to the free-throw line with two seconds remaining.
For outreach, there are a lot of pressure scenarios too, and meeting deadlines remains the primary culprit. For a connector, the pressure never stops. It’s a revolving door of organization and building on the fundamentals of quality relationships. With it takes patience, persistence and perseverance. You want to remain even-keeled, calm and confident. In other words, keep your cool and don’t foul out. Stay in the game and follow these four things to remain relevant when outreaching.
1. Craft a Gameplan
It’s one of the simplest pieces of advice, but remains vital for effective outreach. If you can visually refer to a task list or build a checklist of “things to do,” you’re more likely to accomplish whatever it is you’re facing. Coaches in the locker room draw plays and post keys to the game so players can execute. As a connector, you’re the coach writing tasks for yourself. Go in each day with a plan of attack. If you need to, follow a simple checklist of items to complete before sending a pitch. Your approach may be slightly different, but a connector needs to have an idea or else chaos will follow. There are plenty of “to do list” apps to assist with this process. Personally I find Realmac’s Software Clear App for iPhone and Mac users extremely useful.
2. Act Like You’ve Been There Before (Because You Have)
Pressure comes at us from all directions and every day whether we want it or not. Think back to those bigger decisions and instances where you dealt with a situation, danced around an awkward conversation or faced the fact something just may not work out. How did you handle it? Odds are mistakes were made, but you learned from it. Maybe you handled it perfectly and all pressures ceased. So try again and let the failed experiences offer internal advice. A connector will know their strengths just as athletes know their limits. Focus on your strengths and propel forward.
3. Take a Timeout
When you’re in a rut or facing a mental hurdle, sometimes it’s best to leave what you’re doing for some time. Banging your head against the wall will add to your frustration and increase pressure. This is easier said than done because if you’re already in the “I have to get this finished now” mindset, the challenge then becomes figuring out how to pull yourself away. To step away really means to take a mental break. You may physically need to remove yourself from a setting to make this work. That’s ok. It’s always best to regroup and clear your mind before digging a deeper hole. So if you’re feeling the momentum start to stall, it’s time to shift gears.
4. Don’t Ever Give Up
There is opportunity in all of us to feel inspired and motivated to do a job well done. There’s satisfaction and euphoria, madness if you will, when we achieve. No matter what it is at any moment, it’s important to remember what drives us.
March Madness is synonymous with the 1983 NC State title run. A team coached by the late Jim Valvano won their conference tournament first to qualify for the NCAA tournament field. Time after time, the Wolfpack won one-point decisions from insurmountable comebacks and were labeled as a team of destiny. Their story became greater than winning basketball games. They set the trend and became inspiration for others facing adversity. They were a symbol of hope.
When the odds are stacked against you, it’s important to take the challenge head-on and believe nothing is impossible.
When outreaching, there are reasons to doubt and times of worry. But it’s part of the process. It’s imperative to push through and hang in until the end. If you do that, you’ve won.