So often I talk about comfort zones. Most people play within their comfort zones. They live within their comfort zones, but what happens if you actually had to go somewhere where you were literally out of your comfort zone? A couple weeks ago I had the privilege of being at a high-end sporting event where I had two clients that were participating. It was very interesting because they were prepared. They deserved to be there. They were ready to go. However, when I looked at some of the other participants I could tell right away that they felt out of place. Their body language was kind of small. You could tell that they didn’t want to get in anybody’s way, and they just looked uncomfortable before the competition even began.
I was thinking: you have to act as if you belong, and for them, they were outside of their comfort zone. It was the first time they were playing in a world stage and that now affected their performance. Looking back at some of the performances, I made note of a few people that I had seen and it was definitely a negative experience for them.
How do we now act as if we belong? Well, the first thing is understand that you deserve to be there. If you prepared, if you did the necessary work, you deserve to be there. That’s the first step.
Second is once you’re there your body language is going to just speak volumes of how comfortable you are. Instead of being down in here, you don’t want to get in anybody’s way, shoulders are back, eyes are up, “I’m ready for this, I like this.” That’s the second part. I like this is now a perspective that I think is very important. What I saw with some of those competitors was fear, was scared, don’t make a mistake, what are the other people going to think about, and I could just tell the mind was spinning.
Yet, if you now go there to go, “What a cool experience. Wow, I can’t wait to now perform, I can’t wait to execute. I can’t wait to compete.” That’s a great place to be when it comes to the mental side. Physiologically, take care of your posture. Self-talk, remind yourself this is a great experience and now we take it in. Next, it becomes about focus, what is in my control as I get ready to compete at this stage? What is in my control, not the TV cameras, not everybody else, not even my competitors? What’s in my control? When we start to have these micro-goals that is something that you can now go, “Okay, I can do that. All this other stuff is out of my control.”
You want to start to belong so act as if you belong is part of definitely preparing. Two, understanding that you deserve to be there. Once you’re there your physical makeup, your posture, your gestures are going to be very important of how you feel. Self-talk is very important. Your perspective that you’re looking at it is now be excited to be there instead of fearful of what could happen. Go from anxious to excitement. Then really focus on what your micro goals are and then the comfort zone starts to expand and now you will belong. Once you belong then you’re performing for success.