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Performance Anxiety to Peak Performance: How Changing Your Mindset Can Make All the Difference
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to compete with myself, not against others. As a talented violinist growing up, I used to enter competitions, but I found that I started to lose my confidence. When the pressure was highest, my bow arm would shake, my vibrato would stop. I was gripped with performance anxiety.
Then I had a breakthrough. I changed my mindset and stopped worrying about the competition. This shift in mindset allowed me to perform at the highest levels, even when the stakes were at their highest. To turn the focus inwards, and find the confidence from within.
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As I entered the business world, I found that this same mentality still applied. As a former CEO, I view every important meeting as a performance.
Here are some steps that have helped me achieve peak performance:
Prepare relentlessly: Practice, rehearse, and prepare until you can deliver your pitch or presentation confidently and flawlessly. Rehearse with your team, advisors, and coaches until you can anticipate any questions or challenges that might arise.
Stay focused and present: Avoid distractions and stay focused on the task at hand. Don't let your mind wander or dwell on past mistakes. Instead, stay present in the moment and focus on what you can control.
Believe in yourself: Remind yourself that you are capable of achieving your goals. Believe in your abilities and trust that you have done the necessary preparation to succeed.
Seek feedback: After each performance or meeting, seek feedback from others to identify areas for improvement. Listen to the feedback with an open mind, and use it to make adjustments and improve your performance in the future.
I am forever grateful to my violin teacher, Li Lin, for teaching me these valuable lessons. It's no surprise that he's become one of the best violin teachers in the world at Juilliard.
With the right mindset and preparation, we can all achieve our own best, no matter what our goals may be.