Going Through the Motions – Mental practice makes perfect
Just because you’re stuck on an airplane doesn’t mean you can’t practice your tennis swing or that guitar virtuoso. Or prep for that upcoming presentation to your board of directors.
Athletes have long used mental imagery to complement physical practice, and recent research backs up that going through the motions in your head can give a substantial boost to your performance at work too.
Bright and early
Start first thing by taking a few minutes to visualize the day ahead. Do this when you have as little distractions as possible. For some, this is upon waking, before the flurry of kids, pets, and the day sets upon you. The shower is also a great place. Close your eyes and see yourself having success in your big tasks of the day. Conjure up the best possible outcomes…nailing your pitch for that new strategic vision or expertly handling those upcoming negotiations. It only takes a few minutes of your time to get a real leg up on the day’s tasks.
Keep it going
Continue giving yourself boosts throughout the day. Take quick moments here and there to mentally rehearse of whatever is coming up. See yourself connecting well with that potential new client or speaking calmly & effectively to that person you need to share some difficult feedback with. In my former life as a behavior therapist specializing in crisis intervention, this type of mental prep served me well. It helped me remain the calm front in a hurricane of events…and get the ball moving towards speedy resolution.
I’ve seen this technique working powerfully in peoples lives at home and work. While no one knows exactly how it is that visualization, or cognitive rehearsal, works, I suspect it helps in keeping a positive attitude…and attitude is everything. Once in the habit, you’ll soon wonder why you haven’t been going through the motions all along.
What are the ways that you mentally prepare for upcoming tasks? What happens when you have no prep time? Are you at your best?