Monday, April 13, 2020

Three Secrets to Overcome Performance Anxiety

It's called performance anxiety, stage fright, choking under pressure, being in a slump, writer's block, or having the yips. The bottom line is when you can't do your best when it counts, that erodes your confidence, saps your motivation, eliminates opportunities and even kills careers.

These three secrets, part of my Kenward Mental Coaching Method, are keys to overcoming performance anxiety, getting fast results that last, and bringing out your potential on demand.

Secret 1: Eliminate mental blocks

My basic test to find out if someone has a mental block is to ask how they do in practice (or when it doesn't count). If they do OK, but can't bring it out under pressure, then I know they have a mental block. It has to be removed before the player can truly do their best, so that's what I do first. Here are two free tools I have created that can help you do that. You can find them on my DOWNLOADS page: http://thementalcoach.com/downloads

First is my The Mental Coach Performance Questionnaire. The first page has questions to help you specifically figure out what you want, and what that will do for you (that helps you set your emotional payoff, which is really important). The second page has questions about what is going wrong (i.e. when did it start, what was going on in your life, etc.). A lot of the time, this creates understanding and and perspective to help you solve the problem.

Next is my Mental Game Snapshot, where you rate yourself in the areas of confidence, motivation, focus, and how you respond to pressure. This gets you thinking, and it is very powerful! It shows you areas where you are strong, and where you have challenges. I suggest everyone fill it out quarterly (I do), it helps you stay on track and spot any negative trends before they become big problems!

Secret 2: Create and cue a power point

Once the mental blocks are gone, then it's time to create and cue a power point. A great way to do that is to bring up a powerful multi-media memory of a past success. What that means is, in that powerful positive experience, write down what was there to see, hear, feel, etc. Fill out as much detail as you can, this really helps amplify the feeling. Now practice bringing up that feeling (again and again). Because we learn by repetition and practice, it will get better.

At that point, you can link that that powerful feeling to a word, sound, color, whatever you like, so you can cue it and it can be brought back on demand.

This is very similar to feeling an emotion when you hear your favorite song, look at a picture of your best vacation, taste (or smell) your favorite food. We all do this naturally, and I believe that if you can do something naturally, then you can do it on purpose, and cue it.

Your imagination is incredibly powerful, and this is a great way to make it work for you.

Secret 3: Test and measure results

At this point, mental practice is used. I have the player or performer imagine themselves in various scenarios, using their cue to bring on the powerful positive feeling they chose.

When they are consistently successful, then we move to scenarios where things go wrong, and they learn to use their cue to wash away negative stress, anxiety and emotions, regroup and get back on track. This alone will give you the competitive edge!

When you are confident that you can do this in your imagination, then you practice on the field, course, stage, etc.

This is a great DIY process and many people in sports, performing arts, even public speaking, have told me it has really helped them.

But, if someone is still struggling with overcoming their mental blocks, or they want to further power-up their confidence, motivation and focus, or boost their speed, power and accuracy, or bring out even more of their potential, that's when working together, one-on-one, can really make a difference. And I guarantee results. Let me know if you have any questions about that or any of these steps.

Every one of you has an amazing mind with unmatched potential. Using that on purpose is the key to winning the mental game, getting peak performance on demand and getting the competitive edge. Use it!

David Kenward - The Mental Coach
 thementalcoach@gmail.com
(916) 802-5897