As a motivational speaker, I usually tell one story about Tiger Woods. Here is one I use: Tiger may not get to wear his red shirt playing for the Ryder Cup, but he does wear it on the PGA tour.
Do you know why Tiger Woods wears a red shirt on Sundays?
Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer of our generation, does everything for a reason. Tiger only surrounds himself with people who will allow him to excel and he sets his tournament schedule to peak during the majors. Much more than a superstition, Tiger wears a red shirt during the final round for a purpose. Putting on a red shirt makes Tiger feel pumped up and subsequently play much more aggressively on Sunday.
How can putting on a red shirt make Tiger play with more fervor? How can clothing selection promote excellence?
First, take the color red. Typically, this color stands for aggression and assertiveness. As a prototypical example, the matador uses a red cape to make the bull more aggressive and charge at him.
Second, motions drive emotions. Self-perception theory states that we infer our emotions from our actions. Our brain gets the message from our body how to feel. If we act sad, we will feel sad. If we act happy, we will have feelings of joy.
In Tiger’s case, the motion of wearing a red shirt drives the emotion of getting fired up. The red shirt helps Tiger to feel more aggressively on Sunday and shoot low scores.
The premise of Tiger’s red shirt has a huge impact on your workplace attitude. In the simplistic of examples, wearing a power red tie will make you feel more aggressively for that important meeting (hopefully not on Sunday). But this principle extends far beyond the “clothes” factor. People who act like winners feel like winners, think of themselves as winners and are more likely to become winners than people who act like losers.
Unfortunately, when the chips are down, many people act like whiners, not winners. Sally Petaluma, a teacher at George K. Porter high school had this problem. She had loads of talent, and great knowledge. But when the students acted up, or spoke to her with disrespect, she would begin to act very sheepishly. She would lose her confidence and nerve to teach, and the students would take further advantage of her.
Sally was a bad actor: Her negative body language chased her confidence away. Sally Petaluma’s lack of acting skills blocked her success and prevented her from fulfilling her potential as a great teacher.
You may never take acting classes or want to be on stage or in the movies. But to unleash your work potential, you must believe in being a great actor at the right time. The following drills help you become the actor all champions need to be:
Fake it till you make it
Fake it till you make it. We have all heard that cliché, but champions, like Chris Evert, do just that. She always acted confident and committed, even when she felt out of sync with her game. But Chris never revealed feelings of weakness or doubt to anyone, especially her opponents-she faked it until she made it. She kept her head high and always strutted her stuff until her game began to mesh on the court with her actions. Her exceptional acting skills helped her achieve eighteen Grand Slam titles.
Sure there will be days when you do not want to be at work, or be at a particular meeting. You may have not prepared well enough because of time constraints or just not motivated to be engaged in some project. But at the same time, you must get it done, and in a very confident way. This is when you fake it till you make it. Become the great actor on the work stage. Your motions will create effective emotions.
Smile, smile, smile
Getting happy can just take a smile. We infer from our upturned lips that we must be happy, and therefore we become more cheerful.
Even faking a smile will make you happier-Try it-did you feel happier?
Duttons, a real-estate company in Indiana, believes wholeheartedly in this performance principle. They have mirrors placed on their phones to remind their sales staff to smile when talking to customers. Duttons believes more sales will come when the phone attitude has more cheer.
Keep smiling at work and you will enjoy the day that much more due to your enhanced productivity.
Strut your stuff
Do you lose energy in the middle of the day? Do you feel like you are always fighting gravity, with gravity winning?
Create more energy by strutting your stuff down the halls. Act as if you are always going somewhere important, even if you are not. Walk with your shoulders back and swing your arms with an invigorating pace. Your increased motion will increase a feeling of energy.
APS enterprises uses this principle as one of their corporate strategies. Workers stand all day, not allowing their bottoms to meet any cushions. According to APS, standing boosts energy.
You may not want to take such as an extreme measure to boost your energy. Try this instead-continually change your posture when talking on the phone. Try spending at least 50 percent of your time on the phone standing or moving around, instead of just sitting. And when on the computer, take a break every twenty minutes and shake out your fingers and hands. This practice not only acts as a good stress reliever, but you should start to feel the energy rush throughout your body.
Play the role
Roger Doctrine, head football coach at Alemany High school, would tell his players that a transformation occurred when they entered the locker room. They were no longer a student, friend, boyfriend or son-only a football player. All the problems associated with those other roles were gone. They now had to act and think only as a football player.
You could do the same as soon as you enter your car in the morning. You have entered onto a different stage: the work stage. You are no longer the husband or wife, mother or father, but the accountant, lawyer, advisor, or doctor-the working role. Allow all the problems of your other roles to be lifted from your shoulders.
Once you leave the car for the day, enter back into the role of a spouse or parent. Become completely engaged again into the world. Totally immerse yourself into your family and friends. This however is not acting, but rather living!
Dr.Gregg Steinberg is a sport psychologist to many professional athletes, motivational speaker, business keynote speaker and leadership trainer and sales trainer. To see more about mental toughness strategies and going Full throttle in your sales, business and life, go to www.drgreggsteinberg.com and see his new book, Full Throttle : 122 Strategies to supercharge your energy and performance at work on amazon.com. To see more about his coaching go to http://tinyurl.com/yemlfs8 and to see his products go to http://tinyurl.com/yjk5q6x