Taïg Khris is a rollerskater, X games winner and triple world champion and an entrepreneur. I listened to an interview last week where he shared how he used to deal with pressure and stress during his roller competitions (and also when speaking in front of thousands of people). Here are 2 things he said:
- When his mind kept getting out of focus, with a lot of negative thoughts and doubts (what if I miss my figure?, what if I fall?, will I succeed?, will I get injured? etc..), he then repeated to himself only what he had to do (which figures, etc…) and positive words (It’s going to be OK, I will perform etc…), without stopping, constantly. This prevented his negative thoughts to come in by keeping his mind busy with the task at hand (the process) and the positive things. He is using the same technique when speaking in front of 1000 of people (repeating what he has to say and incorporating positive words). This is a great illustration of what I often speak about: focusing on the process (rather than the outcome), focusing on the positive and on what you want to see happening rather than what you fear can happen, and using power words to reinforce this message. And it works. You can do this whatever your sport is.
- When the fear was very intense like when he jumped from the 2nd floor of Eiffel Tour and landed on a roller ramp (40m high) in front of 5000 people, his legs were shaking (Note: even the best champions get scared, so you can get scared), he played down by asking himself what was the worst that could happen. He thought he might break his arms or legs (he didn’t really think he could die) and that would be it (not a big deal for him since he broke his arms, legs, ribs, shoulders several times for some of them…). And it helped him relax and go for it. Now, I’m not suggesting to do anything risky by telling yourself you might just get a broken arm or leg, but that everyone can find a way to play down what’s at stake. And usually, in many sports with no big risk like jumping from the Eiffel Tower, the main fear is to fail, make a mistake, lose, etc… And it’s simple (not always easy) to realize that in a bigger picture (the whole season, the whole college years, the whole career, and eventually the whole life), it’s not such a big deal.
So, how can you apply this in your next game, race, school exam or public speaking?