The Art of Strengths Coaching

R is for Rituals For Recentering

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Peak performers develop rituals for recentering. Different people do this in different ways.

The actor follows their favourite routine before stepping on stage. The golfer practices their stroke before making a putt. The mediator takes a short break to regain composure when negotiating between warring parties.

Looking back, when have you followed your own ritual for recentering? You may have been preparing for an examination, giving a keynote speech, embarking on a challenging conversation or whatever.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation when you chose to relax, recenter and refocus.

Describe the specific things you did to go through these stages.

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Let’s explore some ideas to consider when developing rituals for doing your best.

Relax

“Be calm, controlled and centered,” is the advice. Sounds easy in theory, but it can be harder in practice, especially in the heat of battle.

A key element of anger management programmes, for example, is educating a person to stay calm when provoked. This involves a person going through the following stages.

They look ahead to anticipate difficult scenarios.

They choose a technique for staying calm in the situation.

They may choose to use a keyword that acts as a reminder, for example, and enables them to count to 10 before reacting.

They role play the actual scene and learn to walk away from trouble.

Other people use rituals for dealing with other situations. One person said:

“I have a ritual for emptying my head and relaxing when thinking negative thoughts.

“I put my hand to my head, grab the ‘thoughts’ and throw them away into the air.

“Sounds crazy, but I find it clears my head and makes me more open to positive thoughts.”

Recenter

Don Greene specialises in enabling people to develop the art of centering. He helps performing artists, athletes and others to perform at their best, especially when they are under pressure.

A deeply compassionate person, his work embodies the qualities of profound simplicity. Here is an introduction to his work with musicians.

Much of Don’s work is done in one to one sessions, either in person or via Skype. Some sessions are also done on the spot, when a person may be facing a tough challenge. He helps people to develop skills in many areas, including the following.

Building Determination
Maintaining Poise
Managing Emotions
Improving Concentration
Building Resilience
Improving Self-talk
Focusing Beyond Distractions
Building Courage
Recovering From Mistakes
Becoming Mentally Tough
Channelling Performance Energy

You can discover more about Don’s work with performing artists, athletes and other people at the following websites.

http://dongreene.com/live/

http://promindsports.com/

Refocus

Peak performers choose their strategy for going forward. They also choose a technique that will enable them to snap into action when they enter the arena. They then aim to be fully present in the moment, yet also keep their eye on the end goal.

Eugen Herrigel describes pursuing this quest in his book Zen in the Art of Archery. After years of practicing archery, he finally learned how to relax his body until the moment of the bow’s release. He wrote:

“Bow, arrow, goal and ego, all melt into one another, so that I can no longer separate them. And even the need to separate has gone.

“For as soon as I take the bow and shoot, everything becomes so clear and straight forward and so ridiculously simple.”

Zen in the art of archery

You will find your own way of concentrating on the process, but sometimes you may get knocked off course. You will then relax, recenter and refocus. Following this ritual will increase the chances of success.

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 relax, recenter and refocus.

Describe the specific things you can do then to go through these stages.

Describe the specific benefits of being able to recenter in this situation.

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