Emotional Root Cause

A few weeks ago, a well-known female athlete flew in to see me. She had been playing very poorly since April this year and had lost her confidence and was ready to write this year off. She said she had a hard time focusing and getting motivated when not playing well. She was desperately looking for ways to focus and get motivated.

After about an hour, we uncovered some personal issues that had been piling up since the beginning of the year. So I asked her: Do you want to fix the symptoms or the disease? Fixing the symptom—poor performance—would be a short-term solution with temporary results , whereas fixing the disease would take longer, but the results would last longer, too. She opted for the latter.

Because of this choice, we barely talked about her game and spent the rest of our time processing the personal issue and agreeing to make many changes—some immediate and other that would take time. The following week, much to my surprise, she had her best week of the year. And has been playing well since.

For corporate athletes, working professionals whose arenas are conference calls, meeting rooms, emails, and the like, who find themselves in a funk on certain days or weeks, use a similar analogy and make the distinction between symptoms of poor performance and the cause of it, the “disease” as I did. If you have peers or people you supervise who are having bad days, do the same.

Spending a little extra time to correctly get to the “disease” will likely yield better and more lasting positive outcomes, than settling for a quick fix.  Your self-awareness and empathy skills, two key parts of EQ, really come to play here and can help you help yourself and others. This week pick some experiences you will have and try getting to the emotional root cause and explore ways to correct it.


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