POWER PLAY #26
Think Your Very Best Thoughts
Most presenters limit what they think they’re capable of doing. They base their evaluation of themselves on their past experiences—which is a dangerous practice, because it doesn’t
allow for growth. The thoughts you had yesterday don’t have to be the thoughts you have today. All increases in performance are built on this concept.
For instance, what if a two-year-old maintained the thought that he needed to wear diapers for the rest of his life? If he continued to think this, he’d reach thirty years old and still be pooping in his pants! Not a pretty picture. To prevent this from happening, the two-year-old’s parents work relentlessly with the child to help him latch on to a more empowering thought: I’m a big boy and I can use the toilet to go to the bathroom. Even if there are occasional accidents, the parents keep encouraging the child, helping him see who he’s becoming so that he matures.
My experience in training presenters is that almost every person needs to work on coming up with more empowering thoughts, or optimal performance thoughts, which you read about earlier in this book. These are the thoughts that allow you to tap into and maximize your potential, and you can figure out what these thoughts might be for yourself—and construct them and remember them—by answering a simple question: If I knew that my presentation went perfectly, what would I be thinking?
You might have thoughts about your content. Or thoughts about yourself and your ability as a presenter. Or even thoughts about your audience or customer. When I’m figuring out what thoughts to construct and remember for myself, they often remind me of a specific technique that I want to implement. For instance, the thought I created a series of connected conversations reminds me to talk to only one person at a time when I’m giving my presentation (you’ll learn more about connected conversations in a later chapter). Here are a few more of the thoughts I use to get myself ready to give a presentation:
¥ I loved being with this audience!
¥ My presentation went incredibly well!
¥ They are like my friends and family!
¥ The perfect content flowed through me effortlessly!
¥ I used my whole voice and body to make what I said fascinating!
Notice that these are in the past or present tense, even though I’m talking about the future. That’s because I’m using my thoughts to influence the future. To be an outstanding presenter, you must have the courage to say something’s true even though it hasn’t happened yet! Now, you’re saying this to yourself because you need to convince yourself that your presentation went well and was a huge success, so that you have a chance for that to actually happen. People often ask me if this is a magic bullet and if it works every time. The answer is no. It doesn’t work every time. Having optimal performance thoughts that you focus on before your presentation doesn’t guarantee success, but it dramatically increases the likelihood that you’ll succeed. Besides, it just makes you feel better.
How many optimal performance thoughts do you need? As many as you want, but I recommend four. These four optimal performance thoughts should make you feel unstoppable and ready to go. Think big here. Don’t hold yourself back. Choose thoughts that only a courageous person would dare to think—the thoughts of a person who was tapping into their unlimited potential. When I ask people in our training classes, “How many of you are outstanding presenters?” usually only one or two people will raise their hands. I’m sure some people are just being modest, but I want every single person raising his or her hand and adopting the thought that he or she is an outstanding presenter! If you can’t think that thought and see yourself as an outstanding presenter, you’re preventing yourself from being your best.
When John F. Kennedy said that we would land a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s, he was saying we were going to do what was literally impossible at that time. But because he
had the courage to see it, think it, and express it as if it was already done, he rallied the scientists to make it happen. Once you come up with your optimal performance thoughts, it’s important that you say them to yourself in such a way that your whole body feels that the thought is true. Just thinking it isn’t enough. You must feel the thought. That’s the only way your brain truly accepts it.