Performance Flu

35013 My son just finished up an amazing weekend in the state swim meet. It
never ceases to amaze me how mentally prepared he becomes before each
race.  I've told him many times that the majority of any athletic
endeavor is accomplished through tough, mental conditioning – and he
has taken it to heart.

One of the core competencies I focus on as I outfit people for the change adventure is a persistent adaptation.  There is no more crucial attribute in developing that ability than mental fortitude. 

A recent article pointed out that whatever their skill level, swimmers often harbor deep-seeded fears.  If they don't win the race of keeping their anxiety in check, they will worry themselves right off the awards podium.

During our current, intense moment of change it is crucial we inoculate ourselves against any strain of performance flu. We can't afford to let our thought patterns spiral off into self-doubts and ineffectual thinking. 

The following are a few exercises I found in a wonderful book entitled Brainswitch by A.B. Curtiss.  They have helped me resist the virus of negative thinking and turn my mind into a bunker that fortifies my thoughts and keeps me persistently adaptable:

The next task: We should do something, because doing something is a positive way to move forward. We can always to the next thing. There is always some small next task that we could do: pick up a book, water the plants, pay a bill, put our shoes away.  The next task is always there.  It is security for our sanity.

The objective pyramid exercise:

On
This day
I will get up.
I will choose a task
I will begin right now.
I will gather my strength.
I will do the best that I can.
I will think only about what I am doing.
I will refuse to think about how I am feeling.

Let's pretend: If you can't relax, pretend to relax. If you can't laugh, pretend to laugh. If you can't be happy, pretend to be happy.  Why? If you pretend, your brain will not know the difference, and your feeling will begin to mirror the pretending.

Remember that your brain is listening: Your brain believes every word you tell yourself.  Be careful what you say. Through learned association your brain will put in motion what it can to make what you say a reality..  You need to stop using some of your favorite phrases like: "It's a pain in the neck," or "I can't stand it."

These exercises can build a calm, confident center in your brain by building nourishing neuronal though patterns which you can then use instead of destructive patterns that lead to anxiety and distress.  Mental fortitude can keep us on the podium…

 

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Jeff Vankooten is a speaker and author focusing on the power of resilience to effectively engage the challenges of change. He helps leaders, businesses, and organizations develop the skills necessary to thrive in an increasingly unpredictable business environment.
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