Think When Things are Going Well
When we are ill we visit the doctors to get better again.
If we pick up an injury, we get it treated.
In other words it is ingrained in us to seek out help and assistance only when something is wrong.
So when things are going well, we ride the crest of the wave and enjoy it while it lasts.
Until we encounter tougher times again, and then think….I need some help with this.
The problem with this way of thinking is that, in many instances, by the time we look for assistance it is too late! Our performance is ALREADY suffering.
Consider the athlete who has been consistently improving. He has set personal bests, won races and qualified for a major championship for the first time. Everything should be in place for him to leave his mark on the big stage.
Yet, his top form evades him at the critical moment and he fails to meet his expectations.
What will our athlete do now? It is likely that he will analyse what went wrong, why he didn’t perform, and then look for a solution.
But what might have been the outcome had our athlete considered beforehand the possibility of what could go wrong at the major event?
By thinking through ALL eventualities, and planning in advance accordingly, we give ourselves the greatest opportunity to build a winning mindset and achieve consistent success by performing at our very best, especially when the stakes are at the highest.
In sports, business and life, when things are going well it is easy to ignore the need to keep working in your thinking.
Yet, it is during the good times that Training Your Brain is often at it’s most powerful and beneficial.
The Titanic Effect
One of the key themes of the 2010 Trained Brain Business Summit was the danger of relying on old ways of thinking. The mentality of “Business as Usual.”
We all know that change is hard. It can be painful. Yet, change is inevitable if we are to progress in our work-life, or as individuals.
When we fail to adapt to the new, and blindly rely solely on the old, we can find ourselves hopelessly left behind and vulnerable to the future.
A classic example of failing to adjust to new circumstances is the catastrophic story of the Titanic.
Despite the shifting circumstances that led to the sinking of this great liner, Captain Edward Smith and his team of officers continued to rely on the old ways of thinking to maintain business as usual.
They followed rituals : Icebergs were present, they knew that.
They trusted their beliefs : Conditions would give them time.
They were looking out : But only for obviously visible icebergs.
They ignored alternative actions : The Titanic stayed on course and did not reduce speed.
They did all of these things : Because this is how it had always been done.
Amongst many other topics, developing the mental skills and mindset we all need to embrace change, make the most of new opportunities, and break free from the old ways of doing things will feature highly on the agenda for this years Trained Brain Business Summit.
It will all be happenning in London on Thursday 31 March and Friday 01 April. I’d like to see you there. Call me for more information on 0207 125 0027.
Will the Effort Be Worth It?
When considering whether or not to do something, we often wonder whether going ahead will be worth it or not.
Flying over to the UK from Ireland very early on a Saturday morning to attend last years Trained Brain Business Summit, Jude O’Reilly would certainly have been hoping that the effort he was going to would be worthwhile.
Have you blocked out Thursday 31 March and Friday 01 April in your diary to be free for the 2011 Business Summit in London? It might be worth you doing so.
You Gotta Turn Up
Those of you that have attended any Trained Brain Seminars or been on one of our courses will have heard me say “You Gotta Turn Up!”
In fact, you will have heard me say it more than once because it is so important!
When we turn up, things happen. We learn new skills, make new connections, improve ourselves. We are taking steps forward.
Hearing from one of the delegates from the last Trained Brain Business Summit recently reminded me why simply turning up can be so fruitful.
One of the key messages this guy took from the Business Summit was the importance of investing in self-improvement. So he’s been going along to seminars and events much more regularly than ever before.
At an event he attended last November one of the speakers mentioned that they had been disappointed by the service received from a company in the same line of business as our Business Summit delegate.
Engaging his Trained Brain skills, our friend approached the speaker in question during a break. They had a chat. Follow up emails were exchanged. Chats turned to conversations, and a couple of weeks later our Trained Brain customer had secured himself a nice slice of business.
And what’s more, since the turn of the year more business has been done and the relationship between speaker and delegate is blossoming.
For “Turning Up” just three months ago, our Business Summit attendee has so far bagged over £60k’s worth of sales revenue from his new customer. That’s a pretty good return on investment wouldn’t you agree!
The next Trained Brain Business Summit is in London on Thursday 31 March and Friday 01 April. Would be good to see you there. More news to follow.
The Four Quadrants of Time
Each day, all day, we continually make decisions on how we spend our time.
Sometimes we make these decisions consciously, often they are made unconsciously.
One thing is sure. How we spend our time has a profound effect on whether we achieve our goals or not.
Do you ever excuse yourself from completing a task, or put something off, by saying, “I just didn’t have the time.” Remember, excuses are just well rehearsed lies!
If you feel that time is holding you back from getting the things done that you know will take you closer to where you want to be, then consider the Trained Brain Four Quadrants of Time :
This is when you are using time on anything that is NOT Important and NOT Urgent.
What are the things you did but were frustrated that you did them? You may have thought they were Urgent at the time, but you know they were NEVER Important.
We cannot avoid spending time in this quadrant. Something is Urgent AND Important. We HAVE to do it RIGHT NOW.
4) DIALLED IN
This is where you want to be as much as possible. It is where you are at your most effective. You are spending time on things that are Important but NOT Urgent. You didn’t have to do it right now, but chose to because it is something that will bring you closer to success.
Peak performers train their brains to stay dialled in. They rarely delude themselves and ignore distractions. Be careful where you spend your time….it is your most valuable asset!
How Ready Are You?
When you go out to play, how do you feel?
As you head for each training session, what thoughts enter your mind?
You need the answers to these questions because the way you think in advance of each practice session or match WILL determine how you perform during them.
To get the most from each performance it is imperative that you start with a winning mentality.
One of the key messages I teach in the Trained Brain Get Ready to Play CD concerns asking yourself the key questions that will engage your mind as you prepare to compete or train.
You warm up your body, it is just as important to warm up your brain!
And in the same way you need to cool down your mind afterwards to prepare your thinking in readiness for your next performance. Again, this is exactly the same principle as the stretching routine you will do after exercise to protect your muscles.
By ensuring that you eradicate any negative thoughts and tag the positive aspects of your performance immediately after you play, you will develop the incredibly powerful ability to recall the feelings and memories of when you have been at your very best the next time you prepare to train or compete.
Discover more about managing your thoughts before and after HERE.
Consider this quotation from Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
“Man should forget his anger before he lies down to sleep.”
In my book Mental Ketchup, I devoted a whole chapter to the importance of finding a place to put your thoughts and organise them. If you fail to “shelve” them, you will find that your head will play them over and over again in your mind.
Most coaching focuses on what you do during training or play. If you are a salesperson, you will be taught how to behave during each call. Similarly, sportspeople are mainly only coached how to play or perform during their chosen activity.
The key to improving performance however is to go beyond during. By creating then utlising the four shelves below you will have put in place a key aspect of the mental game needed for you to step up to the next level.
SHELF 1 – BEFORE : What are you thinking about before you step onto the field of play? The thoughts going through your mind will have a defining influence on the outcome of the meeting you are just going into. Often these thoughts can be very damaging, “Oh no, I’m meeting the hard-nosed Manager” or “The course is hilly, I hate hilly courses.” These negative thoughts provide excuses for failure.
SHELF 2 – DURING : Corporate and sports training focuses the majority of time on this area. So you have trained skills now. You have spent plenty of time here already. To improve your performance this is the area you need to spend the least of your time.
SHELF 3 – IN BETWEEN : This is perhaps the most overlooked area of the mental game, yet it is absolutely key. Take golf as an example. During a round, a golfer may well spend as much as 85% of his time in between shots. Developing the ability to switch off whilst in between is a skill which pays enormous dividends across all aspects of life, business and sports. We all have the ability to concentrate and focus when required, so switching on is not the place to focus your attention whilst in between.
SHELF 4 – AFTER : After is frequently overlooked, yet it is the silent assasin of the mind! Create this shelf to allow your thinking to review and process what you do. How did you play today? Was the outcome of your meeting what you were hoping for? Review what was good and bad immediately to give the mind the feedback it needs to correctly assess and identify the key learnings that you should incorporate to add that vital extra dimension to your skill set or game.
Shelving your thoughts is an invaluable tool to add to your winning mindset kit-bag. Read more here about how it can be applied in your work and business life.
Developing Your Brand Equity
Brands all have equity, yet personal branding or marketing in the UK is not promoted like it is in the US, even though we know the difference is not always what you know, but who you know, and not what you say, but how you say it.
A former tabloid editor had interviewed two British Actors in Hollywood and asked them about the difference between the UK and the USA. Both were quick to reply that the British mentality was play down your achievements for not wanting to sound like you are bragging. “It was just a small film,” she continued by adding her belief that if you cannot talk about your own success who will, and that in Hollywood you have to be comfortable with that. What can you learn and how can you apply it to your life?
I call it The Oprah Effect. The US media mogul is world class at promoting others and is not too bad either at communicating what she is good at and what she believes in.
What do you believe in? Are you comfortable with communicating what you do, promote, sell, contribute to? Or do you play the “Small Game”? Is it time for you to stand out or just add even more value to your own brand?
Here are the guidelines you need for you to develop your brand equity. This is a valuable exercise.
1. List two to four products, events, or services you are known for. Now list one or two additional items you plan to be known for by this time next year.
2. List one to three ways in which your current job or project is challenging you.
3. List one to three new facts you have learnt in the last 90 days.
4. Your Visibility Branding Programme : list two to four ways in which you are visible locally, regionally, nationally if it applies to what you do.
5. List two to three names you have added to your address book in the last 90 days. People who are or could be influential in your life or career. These can be from within the industry or outside of the industry you work in.
6. What activists are you going to undertake over the next 60-90 days that will enhance your CV?
7. List three ways in which your CV-Profile today is different from this time last year.
By making these lists you will have a better understanding of where you stand as a brand, and how you can improve as a brand. It is important to realise that in order to be a brand that stands out, to attract business and retain customers, you need to take on relevant projects and challenges, and achieve them.
Developing Your Brand Equity is an extract from Mental Ketchup, the Amazon Best Selling book by Jamie Edwards.
Catch up with more of Jamie’s thoughts and insights on the Mental Game for Sports, Business and Life by visiting his blog.