The Art of Strengths Coaching

B is for Being At Your Best On Big Occasions

Gold Medal
Different people have different philosophies regarding how to be at their best on big occasions. People in sports sometimes say things like:

“Play the game, not the occasion. Prepare properly – both physically and psychologically – as you would for any game. Then, on the day of the game, go into performance mode.

“Follow the principles you believe in, rather than worry about the prize. Be positive, professional and give a peak performance. Continuing to do your best increases the chances of winning the prize.”

This approach sounds good and it can work. One factor to bear in mind, however, is that people can encounter different emotions when they perform on big occasions.

Looking back, when you have been at your best in such a situation? You may have been managing a crisis, giving a presentation, playing in a final, singing on stage, making a difficult decision or whatever.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to look at what you did right to be at your best.

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People often know the theories for performing well on a big occasion. They know, for example, that it is important to see it as an opportunity, rather than an obstacle.

Sometimes this works, but sometimes they seize up. One person said:

“I thought I had prepared fully, but then I got side tracked. Suddenly I was in a situation where there seemed to be different rules.

“Experiencing many different emotions, I became obsessed with the enormity of the prize. I needed to relax, re-centre and refocus.

“Fortunately I learned from the situation. I now do mental rehearsal and then do my best on the day.”

During the past 45 years I have worked with many individuals and teams that rise to the occasion. Many aim to take the emotions out of the situation.

They do this by pursuing certain principles when managing a crisis, playing a key game, pitching for a piece of business or whatever. They often focus on the following themes.

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Good sports coaches, for example, encourage their athletes to do their jobs superbly, rather than worry about the result. They believe that people who deliver the required professional standards are more likely to gain prizes.

You will have your own way of making this happen. If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation in the future when you may want to be at your best on a big occasion.

Describe the specific things you can do to be at your best on the occasion.

Describe the specific benefits of being at your best on the big occasion.

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