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How Do You Get Yourself Psyched Up?

Some Tips To Help You Prepare For Those Big Events That Happen To All Of Us

I was lucky enough to be interviewed on a local television show. I took the opportunity to invite a colleague of mine who has an expertise I thought would be great for viewers to hear. I got to the television station a bit early and was in the waiting room when my colleague arrived. I had known her for more than five years and I had never seen her so edgy.

I have done TV and radio shows before, along with hundreds of workshops and seminars over my career. I am one of the lucky people who welcomes things like this with little nervousness. My colleague was incredibly nervous and told me so, as she looked around for some water. I tried to help her calm down a bit prior to going live. The show came off okay, but I could tell she was incredibly anxious about the whole thing.

As I was driving away, I started thinking about how I get myself psyched for events like this. It has become such an unconscious habit for me that I had to really think about what method I use to calm myself and feel confident when the pressure is on.

For me, what I do is use what I call the worst-case scenario technique, coupled with some deep breathing. I think about what could be the worst thing that could happen from this event, and then ask myself will I survive the worst thing? The answer is always yes, and the worst-case scenario rarely happens.

Knowing I will survive whatever happens has a calming effect on me and gives me the self-assurance that everything will be fine. I must say that just watching my nervous colleague made me more anxious than I normally feel.

We all have big events that happen to us that really put pressure on us to perform well. Deadlines, presentations, tough conversations with employees, delivering bad news to the workforce, giving some negative feedback to a peer, etc. These are all situations where we have to call upon our reserves to do our best when the event begins. You need to personalize whatever you do to psych yourself up, but here are few ideas.

Music. I have read many stories about athletes that listen to their favorite music before the big game or match. We all remember Michael Phelps with headphones on prior to one of his Olympic events. I know several surgeons who listen to music prior to and even during surgery. So, pick your favorite genre of music and indulge yourself before you have to step into a pressure cooker. Look for songs that will pump you up and increase your intensity.

Be your own cheerleader. Self-talk is very important in tough situations. Tell yourself that you will succeed, that you know what you are doing and are fully prepared. Replace any negative thoughts with positive thoughts about how much work you have put into this and you will shine. Remind yourself of all of your strengths and the assets you bring to the situation.

Visualize positive outcomes. There is an old saying that says the body tends to do what the mind thought last. Jack Nicklaus, the famous golfer, practiced this. He said that he never hit a shot that he had not already seen in his mind. Before your event starts, close your eyes and envision what a positive outcome will be. If it is a presentation, see the audience clapping for you at the end. If it is giving someone feedback, envision that person thanking you for the feedback. Take that positive outcome into the event with you and your actions will lead you to that outcome.

Compete with yourself. Each time you have this kind of event; tell yourself that you are going to do better than you did the last time. Most of us are competitive, especially with ourselves. We really want to improve. Use these pressure situations to put those competitive juices to work. Focus on filling the gap between how you did last time and what you are capable of doing. Tell yourself you are going to crush it this time!

Think of other people. If you have someone, a friend, spouse, child, that is very positive for you to be around, take advantage of that. Spend some time with that person prior to your event. Cheerleaders are contagious. In especially tough situations, think about whom you are doing these things for in the long run. Your spouse, your kids, others that are dependent on you. Think about how doing well will benefit them.

Success in tough situations is often dependent on your mindset. Visualize yourself doing well, tell yourself you will do well, take a few deep breaths and go for it.

Steve Schumacher is a management consultant, trainer and public speaker with more than 25 years of experience in numerous industries throughout North America, including aggregates operations. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..