MacDonald: Set up for upset |

MacDonald: Set up for upset

Machen MacDonald

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of participating in a go-kart race to benefit the Friendship Club, a local nonprofit organization that benefits at-risk girls. It is a wonderful organization that does great work.

I am a racing enthusiast and I got to thinking of a car racing metaphor for coaching and how people can experience more success and joy in both their life and career.

In real racing, a tremendous amount of time, energy and focus is placed on designing and implementing the right setup for the race car to handle the track on which it is going to compete. There are a great number of things to consider, such as suspension, tire selection, and so on. A car’s setup that may be conducive to winning on one track may be entirely wrong for that car to be competitive on another.

If you bring the same setup from the previous track to the new track, you may be upset.

Often when people come to coaching they feel they are set up not to be competitive on the track they find themselves currently navigating. They may have been successful on a prior track and now, with the same setup, they are on a trajectory of upset.

A typical example is a person who may be very proficient at professional sales and finds themselves promoted into sales management and floundering. It can even show up in a way where we may be set up to be successful as a loving spouse, but feel out of balance when children are brought into the home.

It’s not your fault that you may be set up for upset in a particular area in life. The way we do anything tends to be the way we do everything. However, in order to progress, we must adapt to whichever track of life we are on; whether it be managing, selling, volunteering, parenting,
or playing.

The solution is looking at what’s the needed setup to succeed in the particular situation in which we find ourselves. Our setup lies in our thoughts, feelings and actions.

If you believe that just because you get certain results out in the sales world you can execute that same behavior as a manager of sales people and should get the intended result, then you may be set up for upset.

If you believe that people should only have to be told once to do something and that they’ll do it, then you may be set up for upset.

If you believe that your employees should take the same responsibility or pride and ownership as you do, then you may be set up for upset.

If you believe someone else is supposed to make you feel happy by being a certain way, then you may be set up for upset.

Notice that the upset hinges upon what you believe “should” be, but currently isn’t. Closely examine how you think or believe things should be or how people should act. If your happiness or upset is dependent on what others do or how they behave, then you are in for a bumpy ride.

The quicker you set it up that your success and happiness is an inside job, based on your thoughts, beliefs and actions and not left to the outside whim of others, the smoother and more enjoyable ride you will have on the track of your life.

Learn to be the example of what the right setup is to avoid upset and you will find others will follow your lead.

Make it up, make it fun and make it happen!

Machen P. MacDonald is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley. He can be reached at and (530) 273-8000.

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