The Performance Enhancer Between Your Ears

For your consideration: Here are a few words about peak performance aimed at everyone who would like to improve at a sport or game, and we are not talking about performance-enhancing substances.

People are finally starting to realize that “the right stuff” isn’t something you have to be born with. The fact that we can learn to tap previously unexplored potential has been quickest, perhaps, to take hold in the world of professional sports. However, the principles involved will work just as well for weekend athletes and high school athletes.

One of the best-known techniques, for what sports psychologists and counselors refer to as “performance enhancement,” is visualization. Now, visualization is simply a form of mental practice. It’s performing the different aspects of your sport over and over again in your mind, with all the right moves and the desired end result. You can do this with your eyes closed in a quiet room, riding the bus, in the shower, while you’re waiting to see the dentist – virtually any time.

Michael Jordan, arguably the best basketball player of his generation (if not several others) shot thousands of baskets in practice, on the court. He shot many more thousands, sitting on planes, trains and in automobiles. With his eyes shut, seeing and feeling those shots in his mind.

All that’s required is that you see yourself performing – driving the ball, throwing the javelin, clearing the bar. It doesn’t matter what the action is, as long as you are doing it perfectly. Because, you see, your subconscious doesn’t know the difference between a vividly imagined picture and the actual event. And while mental practice can’t replace the discipline and hard work of physical practice, in some ways it’s even better. It guarantees that you are practicing perfection, and when you practice perfection, you are far more likely to perform perfectly.

Now, take this same practice and apply it to your interactions with people at work. Apply it to what your job requires you do. Apply it to the goals – personal, professional and organizational – you want to achieve, and watch your performance soar! Use that built-in mental recorder, and hit “Play” – over and over – until the picture becomes second-nature.