The Value of Preparing for Failure

Performance Anxiety and Fear of Failure: What To Do?

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The Body
The final pillar of mindfulness exercises involves the spiritual aspect of performance.  In a nutshell, this is the awareness of being in the flow.  This is the peak performance where everything just clicks.  In addition, achieving a peak performance gives us a glimpse of the big picture that life is supposed to be fun and invigorating.  Having an awareness of being a part of something bigger than ourselves through a peak performance, we can take a moment to review what went well and why it went well.  One can feel grateful for the opportunity and integrate the lessons into the roles as leaders while performing at a particular venue and in the larger world.
How can spiritual mindful training help a performer if a peak performance was not achieved?  This is a great opportunity for a review of the performance to identify what went wrong, name it, accept that it happened and then refocus through the use of visualization.
For example, a basketball player misses a key free throw and his team goes on to lose the game.  He knew that he had the chance to win the game for his team and he blew it.  This is his opportunity to actively correct the mistake rather than bury it.  If a mistake gets buried and not dealt with, it will reappear when least expected.  He can mindfully recover by doing the follow steps:

  1. Sit or lay down in a comfortable position.  Begin deep breathing by inhaling though your nose to a slow count of 5. Then exhale strongly out your mouth to a slow count of 7.  Repeat this breathing exercise 3 times.
  2. At the end of the third breathing exercise, review what went wrong and ask yourself these three questions:
  • What did not go well?
  • How did I feel in that moment?
  • What can I do different next time?

3.  Take a few moments to visualize in your mind how you want your performance to look.  Make it real by using your senses: sight, sound, smell, vision, and taste. This is a great time to record your visualization in your own voice on a smartphone or mp3 device and listen to this daily.  This only needs to be a short recording, say 30 seconds to 2 minutes long.
This exercise allows the brain to download what happened and reset for a new experience.  This is how to apply the fourth pillar of spiritual mindfulness training.

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