Treat the important moments at work as if you were an Olympic athlete.
As any great athlete will tell you, winning isn't accidental. It requires more than just planning and knowledge. You must also be able to get yourself into the right mental state to win, on cue, every time you "get on the field." Here's how:
1. See the Moments Coming
There are situations in every career (and often every day), when you must absolutely be at the top of your game in order to win. As you look through your calendar each morning, identify those moments and schedule a minute or two before each moment so that you have time to prepare yourself to win.
2. Adopt a Winner's Physiology
Your body and your mind are in a feedback loop. If you're slumping, frowning, cramped, and taking shallow breaths, your body is telling your mind to fail. Break that downward spiral NOW by acting like a winner:
Shake your body out.
Straighten your backbone.
Hold your head high.
Take three long, deep breaths.
Now your body is telling your mind to win.
3. Visualize the Winning Outcome
Create a vivid picture in your mind of exactly how things will look like when you've won this engagement. Imagine the words and sounds you'd be hearing (like applause and congratulations). Most of all, imagine how you'll feel when you KNOW you've won. Make winning so real that it's like you've already won.
4. Mentally Rehearse What You'll Say and Do
Tracing backwards from what you've just imagined, lay out in your mind the specific actions you took to win in that situation. Play it out in your mind, including any obstacles that might have come up.
5. Disconnect From Goals and Results
Now that you've told both your body and mind that you've already won, and how you won, let go of all that, as if it were past history. Don't think about winning or losing. Just be in the moment, focused on what you need to do next. If you watch Olympic athletes, you can actually see the moment, just before they begin, where they shrug off the thoughts of winning and make themselves ready to take action.
6. Take Action
Regardless of the results of your actions--indeed, even before you analyze whether or not you've won, take a moment to celebrate the incredible victory of doing your best while being in the moment. Consider: you just experienced your life at a higher level than 99 percent of the rest of the people in the world.
Now, and only now, take a look at your results. Regardless of whether you won at the level you'd hoped or not, notice what worked and what didn't. Hone your thinking so that you can make the process even more powerful when you prepare for your next big moment.
Try the above method for three days. It will change your life.