CREATE AND PRACTICE A PRE-ROUTINE
As the term suggests, this pressure solution involves the creation and practice of something that you consistently do before you compete or present or perform. Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Steve Nash, for example, always bounces the ball twice and bends his knees before he shoots a free throw. Watch a golf tournament and you’ll see every player go through a pre-shot routine.
When you engage in a pre-routine, a few things occur that help you to depressurize. First, the pre-routine prevents you from being distracted, whether by worrying about the competition or thinking about your last failure. Second, by helping you avoid distraction, a pre-routine keeps you focused on the relevant information and behavior that you need to integrate into your performance, whether it is sales data or a smooth golf swing. Most important, because the pre-routine is a routine, it tells your body to take over and helps get you in the “zone,” ready to perform. Studies demonstrate that individuals engaging in a pre-routine are less affected by pressure.
An effective pre-routine consists of a series consisting of mental activities, imagery, relaxation, positive self-talk, and finally, some arousal or activation. You need to integrate and apply these skills in a well-established pattern that helps you feel comfortable. Approach each performance the same way and you will become somewhat immune to the pressures of a big moment.
Be careful not to confuse a routine with a ritual. A routine is a mindful way to get you into ideal psychological and physiological position to deliver your best effort on that day. A ritual is a mindless activity that is repeated to bring you luck. If your routine ever becomes an empty ritual, develop a new routine.
This is an excerpt from Performing Under Pressure.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JP Pawliw-Fry is co-author of the New York Times bestselling book, Performing Under Pressure. He is keynote speaker, and the founder of IHHP, a global research and learning company that specializes in helping organizations and leaders leverage the science of emotional intelligence and performing under pressure. The research and strategies presented in the book, keynotes and in IHHP’s training programs have been leveraged by numerous Fortune 100 companies, including long-term relationships with Johnson and Johnson, PWC, Goldman Sachs, HSBC as well as Olympic medal winning athletes. (Co-author: Hendrie Weisinger.)
Co-authored by our own J.P. Pawliw-Fry, Performing Under Pressure will introduce you to the concept of pressure management, offering the latest science on how your brain responds under pressure, and many empirically tested strategies to help you overcome the sabotaging effects of pressure. For this book, we undertook a multiyear study of over twelve thousand people to answer the question: what is it about the top 10 percent of these individuals that helps them handle pressure more effectively and be successful? The book has been featured in featured in Forbes, INC., The Financial Times, Training Magazine and many more, and is a NYT and Amazon bestseller. Order your copy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Audible or Apple ibooks.
Buy the book here!