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Adopt a pregame ritual to excel

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

During the Olympics, athletes often engage in private rituals just before a race. Whether they’re repeating an uplifting mantra or visualizing victory, these pre-performance routines help them gain an edge.

Follow their lead when facing any high-stakes challenge.

Psyching yourself up need not require elaborate preparation or complex mental gymnastics. You just need to identify and adopt certain behaviors to gird for stressful situations. Examples include listening to a stirring song before you give a big speech or reading an appreciative letter from a delighted customer before you call a demanding client.

Another technique is to take five minutes to write about a triumphant moment in your career. Then review your notes just before you interview for a coveted promotion or negotiate an important contract.

“It’s a simple way to prime yourself to be assertive,” says Daniel McGinn, author of Psyched Up.

When McGinn, a journalist, gets ready for a big interview or some other challenging task, he has his own set of confidence-boosting rituals. He’ll take a few minutes to read one of his best articles or a favorable review of one of his books. He also adorns his office with framed copies of his most heralded articles along with plaques and awards he’s won.

He says that these positive reminders “reinforce the idea that I’m good at this work.” As a result, he’s more apt to bring his “A game” when it matters the most.

— Adapted from “Daniel McGinn: Why Being Mentally Prepared Is Key To Career Success,” Dan Schawbel, www.forbes.com.

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