The words ‘getting in the mood’ are normally followed with ‘for sex’. While this, sadly perhaps, is not the subject of this post it is about being in the right mood for performance when it really matters. An Olympic hundred metres final, a Carnegie Hall concert and, yes, the all-important pitch.
In high performance sport and, I’m sure, in the performing arts, the difference between the good, the technically excellent and the great is an ablility to rise to the occasion, to harness not merely physical perfection or virtuosity but the emotional power and focus that lifts performance to the extraordinary.
All great performers seem to have this ability to manage their ‘inner game’. Televised tennis, more than most sports, allows you to witness players summoning up the right mood, often at change-over between sets. Currently the best competitor in the world is Djokovitch and you can see his body language visibly alter as he summons up his warrior self.
People like Djokovitch train themseves so they can tap into this right mood, almost at will. For mere mortals in the pitch, often an interruption to a hectic schedule, it is not so easy. Typically last minute preparation, phone calls, and operational pressures will continue almost into the pitch itself.
The understandable thinking is that adrenaline will kick in and ‘everything will be alright on the day’ and that high energy will carry things. Unfortunately, this is not the same thing as being in the right mood to perform at your best.
You need to give yourself a mood warm-up. (An athlete spends as much time in the warm-up on frame of mind as on muscles.) We all know what works for us if we take time, get out of the office, turn off the tablet or mobile, walk (tall), gently exercise, breathe deeply, listen to music, laugh out loud and smile, smile, smile- so you bring one to the meeting!
These are all things that make you feel better about yourself. The better you feel the more confident you will be. The better you feel the more you, and your prospect, will enjoy the pitch. Next time, try the mood warm-up.