How to Master the Mental Game to Achieve Peak Performance

We take for granted the power of our thinking. I was recently talking with my son about his golf game. He was preparing for a golf tournament. I wanted to know how he mentally prepared for his golf game – what was he thinking with every shot? When I asked him, he mentioned that his mind is a clear state. “I try to think of nothing.” How was this possible?

Last year, when he played I noticed that when he was on tournament tour his score was significantly higher than when he was golfing with family and friends. Even though he did not talk about it, I could sense the performance anxiety and the analyzing of every shot. I would talk with him about the power of positive thought and self- talk. Focus on what you want not what you don’t want. Golf, life, and business are all about the mental game.

Recently, he came home from the driving range and stated, “Mom, guess what? My friend asked me the same question you did. What are you thinking before you take your shot?” He laughed and mentioned that I ask him that question regularly – nothing. His friend went on to tell him about the power of positive thinking and how golf was a mental game. I was grinning, “Son, what does your mother tell you and what does she teach others?” Yeah, I know Mom. He said it would change my game if I thought that every shot I take I thought about hitting a great shot. You know what? It works!”

“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

Buddist Proverb

Maybe I was not the right teacher. I even talked to him about the Power Poses that Amy Cuddy talks about in her TEDTalk. I asked him to do the “Victory Stance” with his arms up in the air. He teased me, “My mom is crazy!” with his arms up the air beaming ear to ear. Teenagers! It definitely created a positive state. Now his friends have even started doing it. Subliminal messaging may work!

How does apply to life and business? Your mindset directly influences how your act and perform. Your self-talk directly impacts your thinking and ultimately your focus.

Personal Mantras

Golf performance coach, David MacKenzie talks about having personal mantras. Keeping a positive focus is a must. Whether you are on the golf course, selling your products, or delivering a business presentation, you need to keep your head in the game.

The most powerful phrase is… “I am…”

Joel Osteen talks about “Whatever follows I am will follow.”

Make it empowering. Say things like…

I am a great presenter.

I am an effective leader.

I am mentally tough.

I am capable of overcoming any challenge.

The way you speak to yourself does matter. You may not think anything of it but it does. You can be sabotaging your own success.

Focus on the present…be mindful

Take a deep breath when you are faced with a challenge. Deep breathing is not only calming but it helps bring you back to the present moment – the opportunity at hand. Your mind can be freed of the mental chatter clouding your judgment. Whatever challenge you are facing, know that you can figure it out.  Just Breathe.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

We can be our worst critics pointing out every fault, flaw, or failure. We are harder on ourselves than we are with others. What we say and think about ourselves is not always the realistic. Your thinking can be distorted.

Challenge your assumptions and question your thoughts. Remember you are a work in progress.

Exaggerating. Are you thinking of the situation as the end of the world? This is it – it’s over. If so, you are missing out on the learning and the possibilities that lie in front of you.

Black and White Thinking. There is no room for compromise. If it not a certain way, it is not right. Remember there is more than one way to get to your destination. What else can you do?

Emotional Reasoning. No matter what you are thinking, you can find proof to demonstrate you are right even though it may not be the what is actually going on. “I think and feel it is true. I can find evidence to prove it.”

Mindreading. You are assuming what others are thinking or saying about you without even knowing the truth. If you really want to know ask. Otherwise, remember the saying, “What other people think of you is none of your business.”

Reframe & Replace

Pay attention to your self-talk. What are you saying to yourself? We have 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts in a day and the majority of thought is said to be 80% negative so it is very important to pay attention to what you are thinking and reframe and replace it with positive thinking and words.

If you are saying…

“The presentation (meeting) was awful.”  Change it to… “I can do better on the next one.”

“I am a failure.” Change it to… “I am learning and growing.”

“I will never get it right.” Change it to… “I will take a different approach next time.”

Drop words like always, never, and can’t from your vocabulary. Shift your thinking from thinking things are impossible to possible.

Positive thinking impacts your performance. When I work with my clients, your mindset is a key piece that we focus on. Utilize these strategies to develop mental toughness and confidence so you can master your mental game and achieve peak performance. As the saying goes, “What you think about you bring about.”

DEBRA KASOWSKI, BScN CEC is an award-winning best-selling author, transformational speaker, blogger, and Certified Executive Coach. She has a heart of a teacher and is certified in Appreciative Inquiry and Emotional Intelligence. Her writing has been published in a variety of print and online magazines. Debra Kasowski International helps executives, entrepreneurs, and organizations boost their productivity, performance, and profits. It all starts with people and passion. Sign up the Success Secrets Newsletter and get your free mp3 download today!

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