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"Be careful. Don't spill it!"

“Be careful. Don’t spill it!”


I want my kids to do well in life. I encourage them to embrace new experiences and challenges. I think that I offer words of encouragement on a regular basis. However, like most parents, the words I use apparently don’t help them to succeed; they encourage failure. “Don’t spill your milk” makes them imagine an accident and, guess what, they spill it.

Steve Bull, a coaching psychologist who worked with the Ashes-winning England cricket team and many other athletes, tells us how to transfer the tools he used in sport to business. One such approach is to use visualisation: “Visualisation refers to the pictures you have in your mind as you approach a performance situation.”

However, we need to use it to facilitate success, not prevent it. He cites the example of a golfer tackling a simple shot over a water hazard: most amateur golfers fall down because they are imagining the ball plopping into the water; professionals know to visualise the ball sailing over the water and onto the green. He relates this back to business, giving examples from chefs to medics, cabbies to MPs.

“You have to visualise what you’re going to put on the plate before you do it. I visualise the complete thing, then work back mentally, thinking and visualising textures and contrasts.” ~ Gordon Ramsey

So, next time you’re faced with a challenge (be it a scary presentation, a difficult conversation, or a tricky meeting) imagine yourself performing successfully.

Steve Bull’s, The Game Plan: Your Guide to Mental Toughness at Work is available from Amazon in paperback for £12.99 (and on Kindle for £12.34).

Photo: Zsuzsa N.K.

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