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I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Thursday, April 27, 2017

"Reframe your attitude and turn doubt into confidence"/ The Ladder: Bruce Linton

Mar. 27, 2017 "Reframe your attitude to turn doubt into confidence": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail:

It’s October 11, 2001, the opening round of the American League baseball playoffs, Oakland A’s facing the New York Yankees. Nearly 57,000 bellicose fans in Yankee Stadium – and a TV audience of 11 million – are watching A’s closer Jason Isringhausen trying to protect a 2-0 lead.

It’s crunch time, and he is not doing well. During the regular season, he struggled and his confidence plummeted. A lead-off double and a walk has put men on first and second base, with nobody out. The A’s pitching coach, Rick Peterson, strides out to the mound, wondering, as usual, what will greet him.

This time, it’s a shaky pitcher – literally. As he puts his hand on the player’s shoulder he feels the reliever’s body shaking. “I can’t feel my legs,” the pitcher says anxiously. The coach, who as a youngster wanted to be either a comedian or a pitcher – he used to memorize Red Skelton monologues – just smiles. “That’s okay, we don’t need you to kick a field goal.”

The silly joke relieves the pressure. The coach reminds his player that a bout of nerves is not uncommon in pressured situations but those nerves shouldn’t control him. He has to return to his task, one he has done to perfection thousands of times. “Hit the [catcher’s] glove. Remember, you’re a professional glove hitter.”

The reliever quickly gets the next three opponents out and saves the game.
If pitchers are professional glove-hitters, Mr. Peterson is a professional reframer. He coaches players to be their best when it matters most and counsels them – and you, in your crunch time at work – to relax, viewing the situation in a new way that will reduce fear, anxiety and doubt.

If a pitcher walks the first hitter, for example, Mr. Peterson will cheerfully note that there is now an opportunity to get two outs with one pitch – something that couldn’t happen before. He recalls the legendary head of IBM, Tom Watson, brushing aside the fears of an employee who had made a huge mistake, supposedly worth $10-million. No, the chief executive officer wouldn’t fire him. After all, the CEO had just made a $10-million investment in the employee.

After 40 years in baseball, 15 in the major leagues, Mr. Peterson has taken his reframing approach to business as a keynote speaker. In preparation, he produced a book Crunch Time: How to Be Your Best When It Matters Most ( with Judd Hoekstra, a vice-president of the Ken Blanchard Organization.

The book highlights the caveman within us, the reptilian brain that leads us under pressure to fight or flight. “While the caveman lives in your brain, it’s not really you,” they write.

Instead, create some space and time to regain control. Pause and reflect on your caveman’s story – what your fear, anxiety and doubt is telling you. Then ask why you are feeling that way and challenge the assumptions behind that story.

You aren’t a field-goal kicker, for example, but a pitcher. Explore alternative, rational stories, identifying at least two other ways to view the situation you face. Then, choose the story that most increases your sense of control, confidence and vision of success. All you have to do is hit the catcher’s mitt and you have done that a zillion times before.

Mr. Peterson suggests in particular reframing from trying harder to trying easier. In an interview, he recalls how Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax would tell Mets pitchers at spring training to see how easy they can throw hard, as he had learned. “When you try your hardest, you won’t do your best,” Mr. Peterson says.

“In a sales presentation, you’ll do better if you realize that this doesn’t have to be the greatest presentation of your life. We told the pitchers in the World Series they could be extraordinary by being ordinary.”

Humour can be helpful in reframing tense situations. You can also reframe from anxiety to taking control. Figure out your own version of “just hit the glove.” Forget about achieving your best in a situation – just beat your average, which will be more than enough for success.

Reframe from doubt to confidence. Refocus on the skills you’ve acquired over the years and relive your best past performances. List your strengths on the right hand side of a piece of paper and then on the left list three or four things making you anxious. For each of those concerns, write down how you can address the anxiety.

You may not be pitching in a playoff game. But reframing can still be effective in your moments of pressure.

The Ladder: Bruce Linton: Today I found this in the Globe and Mail:

Bruce Linton is the founder of Canopy Growth Corp., Canada’s largest marijuana producer. He is also the chief executive officer of Martello Technologies. He began his career at telecom company Newbridge Networks Corp. and has worked in telecom, tech and now the marijuana business.

I grew up on a hobby farm near Wellesley, Ont., as the eldest of two sons. I think the ‘hobby’ was keeping two active young boys so busy with pigs, chickens, geese and ducks and other things that they couldn’t get into material trouble. We had chores morning and night, which meant we developed some responsibility and a work ethic.

It was a good beginning for me, in a weird way. Almost everything I’ve done has related to not having any particular knowledge of the topic as an expert initially, but being in circumstances where you have to learn rapidly and not be particularly worried about learning it.

When I had my first job interview after university, the final step was with [Newbridge founder] Terry Matthews. He said, ‘You grew up on a farm, you’ll figure it out.’ It wasn’t the wrong conclusion. [At Canopy], we probably have made more mistakes or attempts that resulted in error than any other company in the sector. There isn’t a book to follow. There seems to be no value in asking, ‘What happens if I push that button?’ Push the goddamn button and find out. That is what it’s like when you’re breaking something on a farm.

I took public administration at Carleton University. I only had to get four credits over four years – the rest I could pick whatever I wanted. In my first year, I took courses in subjects like biology, philosophy and public policy. The whole point of university is: Learn about a whole bunch of things and then try to figure out, what does it all mean?

I was president of the Carleton University Students Association in 1989-90. I also was a student rep on the board of governors for two terms, where I met Matthews. I didn’t know what he did at the time, but I knew he wanted to hear sensible things, from a student perspective, that may or may not be in concert with what the board is thinking. I used to routinely move the name tags around before the meetings, so I sat beside him. When I finished my last board meeting, I gave a speech saying I thought I learned more at the board than in my six years at university – which meant I was either a bad student or it was a helpful experience. Mr. Matthews came out to my car afterward and invited me for an interview at his company. I started a few months later.

I got into this business [I’m in now] after reading a newspaper article that said the police chiefs of Canada think their membership shouldn’t enforce the laws as they relate to marijuana because they’re unclear. I started poking around. I thought, ‘When in my life am I going to see a supply chain for something [that] quite a lot of people need and want and like, created by a government action?’ I went around asking people if they wanted to start this one with me.

The first four said ‘Are you crazy?’ I thought, that’s terrific. That means there will be even fewer credible people that want to start them because the ones I spoke to think it’s horrible, not because of the business, but because of the reputational risk. I thought, ‘If you sit around and do nothing, isn’t that also reputationally bad?’

I would sooner look at the circumstances around me, try to come to a conclusion and pursue it, than sit on the sidelines and say I thought about doing it. Just do it. It’s the inversion of ego.

I always put myself in spots where I could be a disastrous failure. That’s super motivational because you can’t let it happen.

Career can be a limiting perspective because people think they’re supposed to be particularly good at something and stay with it. I’ve gone from high-tech to dot-com to infrastructure to cannabis. It relates to an eagerness to be with the big trends.

Stress is when you run out of money and nobody wants what you have. I find that, with marijuana, that’s almost not likely to be the case.

As told to Brenda Bouw. This interview has been edited and condensed.


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