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Posted: July 31, 2012

Olympic-style professional and personal success

The power of pre-event routines

TC North

Are you at your best in the most challenging moments of your life? The best Olympians are, and they thrive under the pressure that crushes those who don’t have their mental toughness. Like the great Olympians, you can learn to create the optimal mindset before engaging in your most challenging personal and professional situations to give you great happiness and success.

One of the keys to being your best personally and professionally is having a pre-event routine to prepare for what is most important to you. Did you know, Kobe Bryant, basketball player, MVP of the 2009-2010 NBA finals, always does exactly the same routine before every free throw? Before a ski race, Lindsey Vonn, Olympic winner of three medals in women’s skiing in the 2010 Olympics, creates a clear image in her mind of a perfect run. Why do Olympic and professional athletes work to perfect pre-event and pre-shot routines? Because they perform better when they do. So will you.

If a pre-event routine helps an Olympic athlete be more successful, will it help you? 

Julia had been a regional sales director at high-tech company, and after 10 years, was a solid middle of the pack producer.  She wanted more, so she developed a pre-selling routine using three techniques before and during every sales call:

1) She observed her thinking and changed any negative thoughts to positive ones.
2) She focused only on what she controlled.
3) She slowed her breathing and centered herself.

Julia became the top producer in her company and credited her pre-selling routine for her dramatic rise in sales.

Julia joined the ranks of elite athletes and Olympians working at being technically, physically and mentally ready to be at their best in their most important endeavors, and so can you.

There are high-performers in all fields who have learned to create an optimal mindset before engaging in their challenging and important business and personal situations.  Big sales, leading meetings, speaking, interviewing for a job, conducting or receiving a performance review and even arriving home after a hard day can all be improved with pre-event routines to create the optimal state of mind and body. 

Want to be a great spouse or parent? Do you have a pre-arrive at home routine? After working your tail off all day, do you have a process, a routine to help you be physically and emotionally ready to be your best with your significant other, children or extended family?  Our relationships are important.  Do you show up and give your family your best, or do they get the wrung out, depleted, frustrated you?

Take a moment. Think about the areas of your life in which you want to be most successful. What thoughts, emotions and focus would help you be your best in these areas? Do you consciously create these before you engage in what’s most important in your life?

Develop a pre-routine

1. Imagine yourself, in great detail, in the situation in which you want to excel.
2. Imagine thinking the one or two most important thoughts that focus you correctly.
3. Imagine having the emotions and energy level that best serve you.
4. Now, what can you do before engaging in the situation you are thinking of to create the right focusing thoughts and emotions that best serve you? This is your pre-event routine that will help you maximize both your success and happiness.

Don’t fall victim to an undisciplined mind.  Use pre-routines to help you take control of your thoughts, thus your emotions. The rewards of mastering control of your thoughts and emotions in the most important situations in your life? Priceless.

Dr. TC North is co-author of the Amazon bestseller Fearless Leaders. For 28 years, he has been a high-performance executive coach and speaker who helps individuals and organizations identify and attain their visions and dreams. He also has coached professional and Olympic athletes in the art of creating thoughts and emotions that maximize success. He’s a professional speaker on “Fearless Leaders” and “Master Fear.” Dr. North’s work has been featured on TV and radio and in business and scientific journals. Learn more at Contact Dr. North at 303-665-8920 or, or connect on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.





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Readers Respond

Hi, Elizabeth. Thanks for letting me know! You and your family will be happier if you can arrive home ready to enjoy them! So often our families get us "wrung-out" after we work hard. They don't get us at our best. We can work hard and give them our best. You may really enjoy the interview I did on 9News this morning on this topic... By TC North on 2012 07 31
You're right, I DON'T want my family to have to deal with a stressed, wrung-out mom when I arrive home. I will give the pre-routine a try. I'm thinking of a wind-down and visualization while driving home. Great idea! Thank you. By Elizabeth on 2012 07 31
Ali, glad the article was a good confirmation for you. Olympic athletes always inspire me. How about Missy Franklin's mental and physical toughness last night? If a teenager can be that mentally tough, how about all of us? By TC North on 2012 07 31
Thanks for this article. This is a little cliche, but the Olympic Games inspired me to use this very process to tackle new job responsibilities. Seeing this headline pop up in my inbox reaffirmed I'm doing the right thing! By Ali on 2012 07 31
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