Mindset Made Simple Tip #120 – Watch or listen HERE.
“All the world’s a stage,” said Shakespeare, and if you are an athlete, coach or leader, you have chosen a stage that demands your ability to perform under pressure. No matter what title, if we deal with people or have a task to complete to make something better, we perform!
Because the word “performance” makes it seem like we must entertain, this often doesn’t resonate with us. However, the definition of “perform” is to carry out, accomplish or fulfill an action, task or function or to present to an audience.
You do this…every….single…day!
I had the honor of spending three days last week with members of the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association talking about customer service from a mental performance perspective. These people provide such value to our communities and our lives through the upkeep and programming at our amazing parks to providing fitness and lifestyle enhancement opportunities for everyone from kids to seniors and so much more!
These are service-oriented people with too many titles to count. From executive directors to facility attendants, they all have one thing in common; they have chosen their professions to make our lives better.
To do that, they must deal with the public…which in my mind equates to dealing with parents 😊. Some encounters are awesome. Some, not so much!
Like Shakespeare said, “all the world’s a stage” and how we prepare to perform makes a difference in our results, whether that means happy customers, a hit or increase to the bottom line, and executed play or a trip to post-season!
In the time we spent together, we talked about the 4Ps of peak performance – Present, Positive, Posture AND Process and added three others…Professionalism, People-First and Patience!
Improving in all 7Ps comes down to a few simple things. And they all have to do with how we RESPOND to things that happen to us, around us or because of us! Here are a few takeaways from our sessions.
1. Being PRESENT matters. If we are thinking about what happened the last time we were in this situation or what might happen should what is in front of us go a certain way, we are not focused on the details necessary to make the best decision NOW! Add in our screaming customer, our overrated opponent, an unfriendly crowd, a less-than-favorable official, or someone or something you have preconceived notions about, now we are all over the place!
To help, we can bust out our physiological sigh. You know it. It’s that “huh-huh” inhale you take when you are ugly crying. Try it with a long exhale. It will slow your heart rate and feed blood back to the thinking part of the brain… which we need under pressure. We can also narrow our focus and ask ourselves what can I do right now that will make this situation better.
2. As last week’s tip suggested, our words matter. Using POSITIVE language changes how we perceive our current situation. Because of our innate negativity bias, we must practice looking for bright spots. Flipping our words from describing our obstacles as opportunities changes everything about how we find solutions as opposed to problems. Instead of focusing on what we cannot do, choose to focus on what we can do. This gives us a sense of control. And when we feel more in control, we feel more confident, we are more consistent and all of this leads to better performance.
How can you change the language you use? Add in “yet.” Instead of “I can’t hit that shot” it becomes, “I can’t hit that shot yet!” This allows for growth and changes the whole vibe of the comment!
You can also eliminate “but.” But is a conversation killer. It implies that the statement before the “but” is not as important as the one after it. “We had a great game, but it was a real challenge.” We are left with the challenge seeming more important that the great game. Change “but” to “and” and it is a different statement. “We had a great game, and it was a challenge!” Now it’s exciting all around!
3. Not happy with someone or anxious about what’s next, it may be bleeding out of your pores. Our POSTURE matters BIG TIME! No one knows how you feel unless you show them. Even if you tell them but are showing them something different, they will believe your posture over your words almost every time! As Dr. Deidre Madden said daily during my college days, “you cannot not communicate” so make sure your body is telling the story you want to share. No number of positive words can overcome poor body language!
To help yourself perform big, you must look the part. Decide how you want to look before you walk on the field, up the podium or into the meeting. Take my mom’s advice and stand tall, eyes up, chin up in your ready position. Live it before you get there in your mind’s eye. See it first. Then be it.
4. We do not determine outcomes. We have no idea how long we will live, yet we do decide how well we live by the choices we make every day. This goes for our lives on the field or at the office as well. We decide how well we play, but even if we play our very best, the other guy may play better. Even so, we have given ourselves the very best chance of getting the results we want if we have and follow our PROCESS. Comic writer Scott Adams first shared my favorite quote, “losers have goals. Winners have systems.”
One of the best systems I suggested last week and often use with my athletes and teams is Dr. Gabriele Oettingen’s WOOP. What do you want? What will it be like when you achieve it? What could get in your way as you strive for what you want? What will you do if these obstacles present themselves? We have a Wish. We visualize the Outcome. We think about our Obstacles. And we Plan for them so we can make our way, no matter what comes! This is focusing on the process. Yes, we have a goal, but we have a system to ensure we are on track to reach it despite the issues, big or small, that may try to trip us up!
5. PROFESSIONALS always remain in control! This is a tough one. We all lose it now and again. But we know that losing it rarely helps our cause. This is where being prepared comes in. We can go right back to #4 and rely on our WOOP. We have an “if…then” plan that can help keep us in control because we have already planned for the tough customer, the play that didn’t work (for whatever reason) or the driving rain that seems to stop when the other team is trying to throw strikes. We can also resort back to #1 and feed our thinking brain with more oxygen by taking a pause and filling it with a physiological sigh!
6. When pressure strikes, we often do the opposite of what we need to help manage it. We isolate. We pull away. We put up our dukes! And this is not putting PEOPLE FIRST. Very rarely do we reach our peak on our own. We need others as customers and as competitors to be our best. Whether those around us are pleased as punch or pissed as hell, how we respond matters. As John O’Sullivan from The Way of Champions Podcast says, “your influence is never neutral.”
If we can listen for facts and feelings, even when we disagree, we can gain information that will help us find solutions. One of the best antidotes to pressure is asking “how can I help?” How can I help make this experience better for you….and all of us? How can I help my team win? Because when I help, I am taking the focus off of my performance and taking an outward focus. This allows me to find solutions…and rising tides lift all ships!
7. I saved the hardest one for last. PATIENCE! I coached a game that was full of built-in stops in play. Yet we rarely pause. We become impatient when our minds are racing from “what if’s” to “I have to’s” to “If I don’t’s”. This is a great time to pull out the old “controllables” list. What can I control? What can’t I control? Then consider how much you face each day is either in your control or can be influenced by your mindset or perspective. Think about how you can shift your perspective for your uncontrollables and influence them. Can they be ignored?
If so, what strategy will you use to do so? Can you change the way you think or feel about them? Is there something you can do to reduce the importance you are assigning to them, or can your choices influence how others think or act?
If we are preparing to go to battle for the championship or to facing an unhappy customer, how we respond to thoughts, feelings and events within us or around us makes a huge difference in how things go for us! If we can manage our Ps, we will position ourselves for success. Managing some are easier than others, but they all move the needle in our favor…which makes the lives of those around us better as well!
Manage your responses and the moments! Have a great week!
P.S. Need a speaker for your next department or team meeting, I’d love to share my enthusiasm for reaching our peak in sports, business and life with your group! Contact me at any time to talk about how we can help your team firing on all cylinders. Email me at email@example.com or call/text 234-206-0946.
Mental Performance Coach
firstname.lastname@example.org • 234-206-0946
This week's Mindset Made Simple Tip! The Power of Pink…and Plan!