Mental Rehearsal

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The Olympics have come and gone, with the usual amazing performances, shocking surprises, and questions about the judging. They’re Olympic traditions, just the like articles about how elite Olympic athletes use mental rehearsal techniques.

Mental rehearsal is not just for athletes. In my first round of research on top performing bosses, years ago, I found that they all practiced mental rehearsal for specific situations.

They imagined situations that they knew they would face, like conversations with a team member about performance. Later, I ran into salespeople who rehearsed sales calls in their heads and executives who did the same for important presentations.

They also imagined things that might happen, including emergencies of various kinds. They imagined what might happen, how they would learn about it, and how they might respond. Then they tried out different scenarios in their mind until they had something that would work.

I don’t remember anyone calling it “mental rehearsal.” They said that “played what-if” or “thought about things in advance” or “worried about what might happen and what I should do.”

Boss’s Bottom Line

Mental rehearsal, by any name, can help you perform better.

Read my brief post on “Mental Rehearsal” Then check out the following resources to help you develop your mental rehearsal skills.

If you’re looking for a book that will help, the best one I’ve seen for businesspeople is Charles Garfield’s book, Peak Performers. Note: this is not another book of his, titled Peak Performance, that deals with athletic training.

From Christopher Clarey: Olympians Use Imagery as Mental Training
“Visualization has long been a part of elite sports. Al Oerter, a four-time Olympic discus champion, and the tennis star Billie Jean King were among those using it in the 1960s. But the practice of mentally simulating competition has become increasingly sophisticated, essential and elaborate, spilling over into realms like imagining the content of news conferences or the view from the bus window on the way to the downhill.”

From Srini Pillay: To Reach Your Goals, Make a Mental Movie
“There is now incontrovertible evidence that imagining a movement will stimulate the movement areas in the brain. This technique has been used when helping people with stroke to begin moving and to help elite athletes optimize their pre-competition training. The recent example of the detailed visualization of Mikaela Shiffrin leading to a gold medal in the Olympic slalom is one such case in point. This evidence suggests that to reach your goals first write them down, and then determine different possible ways of achieving them. Then, close your eyes and imagine yourself following those paths. Imagination ‘warms up’ the action brain and ‘jump starts’ your brain.  This technique can be especially helpful if you are procrastinating or stuck.”

From Angie LeVan: Seeing is Believing: The Power of Visualization
“Mental practice can get you closer to where you want to be in life, and it can prepare you for success!”

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