Get the Satisfaction of Performing Your Best

Performing your best matters, but perhaps not in the way you imagine. To perform well, a certain amount of self confidence is needed. The achievement of doing something to the best of your ability grows your self confidence. The confidence you derive from one success then feeds into the next one, and the next, in a positively reinforcing cycle.

A good place to start on the road to performing your best is to develop a positive view of yourself and your talents, and create a vision of successful outcome.

Give Yourself Credit

Start by fully recognising and valuing your capability. However brilliant others may appear to be does not lessen your ability and uniqueness. If you are a painter, don't underrate yourself just because you have not yet reached the perfection of the Old Masters. A healthy dose of self worth will help you perform your best and paint even better!

To help you appreciate yourself more, make a list of ALL your abilities. While you may put your talent as a violinist or an engineer at the top, don't leave out your capacity to listen and be compassionate, your driving or cooking skills, or looking after the children. Really think about what you do successfully (without measuring yourself against other people) and write it down. Keep adding to the list as you think of more.

Visualise a Positive Outcome

We create our reality, and shape outcomes by the pictures and thoughts we entertain in our minds. You can work this to your advantage by visualising strongly what you want to achieve.

Set aside time to relax and visualise yourself performing to your best ability. Do this once or twice every day for five to ten minutes.

If you are the student with an examination coming up, imagine sitting comfortably at the start of the exam, feeling confident and resourced. Get a sense of the knowledge flowing into your mind and out on to the paper, or whatever.

You have plenty of time as you work, swiftly and efficiently answering the questions, and so on. Because you are performing your best, you finish easily within time and feel satisfied with your efforts. Now, jump forward in time and imagine getting your good results with all the feelings of self-congratulation and success. Find out more about the technique of visualisation. As well as visualising the forthcoming event in this powerful way, use positive language when talking about it and think positively about it too. Need help in keeping your mind on a positive track? Click here to learn about self-talk and how to change your negative thoughts.

To perform your best make all the necessary practical preparations ahead of time. In the above example you will need to revise and make sure that you do have the relevant knowledge on board.

Relaxed and Focussed on the Day

Getting into a relaxed state is helpful in the run-up to any kind of performance. Aerobic exercise is an excellent way of lowering anxiety, getting oxygen to the brain and lifting your mood.

When it comes to the performance itself, it's a case of staying focussed on the job in hand. Don't let your thoughts stray. If they do, gently bring them back into line. Performing your best requires you to be present in the moment, deeply involved. Never allow thoughts of 'I won't pass' or 'I can't do this' into your mind. Such intrusions are undermining and distracting.

Create a Win-Win Situation

Failure, like limitation and freedom, is a state of mind. Feeling that you will fail, might fail or have failed serves no useful purpose. In fact, it sets you up for the opposite of what you want. A better approach is to create a win-win situation for yourself.

Almost everything has a positive and a down side according to how you look at it. Suppose you are disappointed by your performance. Rather than think 'failure', which will tend to interfere with you performing your best next time, ask yourself 'how can I improve' or 'what can I learn from this?'. Learning is valuable and positive.

Thomas Edison eventually invented the electric light. He was asked what it felt like to have failed seven hundred times. The great man responded by saying that he had succeeded in proving those seven hundred ways did not work, that when he had eliminated all the ways that did not work, he would find the way that did. The interviewer's mindset would not have brought us light, but Edison's win-win attitude did.

Post-performance, always praise yourself for what you did well and learn from what could be improved, so next time you perform better. You win on both counts. This is a much more helpful mindset.

Although your individual performance situations may be very different, the basic template for performing your best is the same. It can be applied as easily to giving a speech as working under supervision or running a race.

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