Self Awareness is key to improving performance. Here we consider how you could start to develop this foundational skill.
“My mental preparation varied based on my headspace….It’s about putting me in the place I need to be in for that game. Some games required more intensity, so I would need to get my character and my mind in an animated zone. Other games, I needed calm. The key is being aware of how you’re feeling and how you need to be feeling. It all starts with awareness.”
So said the legendary American basketball player, Kobe Bryant. Making the case for self-awareness as a cornerstone of mental approach to high performance.
It’s not about being the fairest of them all....
Put simply, self-awareness is the ability to see yourself clearly and objectively and we commonly refer to ‘looking in the mirror’ as metaphor for this vital attribute. It’s something we do every day and sounds pretty straightforward, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, there is more to it than meets the eye, if you’ll pardon the pun. Many of us tend to look in the same mirror and focus on the same things so we struggle to get a well-rounded image of ourselves.
If we really want to improve our self-awareness, and our performance to go with it, it helps to look in a mirror in different ways. First up, it helps to distinguish between glancing in the mirror while you're performing and having a good hard look after the event. They both have their place but serve different purposes. In real time, you are more likely to fine tune your approach while after the event you can make a deeper inspection of what’s working or not.
Another way to look in the mirror is to get someone else’s view point. What would a coach, team mate, supporter or parent notice? Someone you really trust, who really understands
you. This helps especially with the clarity and objectivity needed for true self-awareness.
But should it be 'Magic Mirror'?
The Evil Queen was actually asking the 'Magic Mirror' for reassurance. As you probably know they haven't invented one of those! But there are 3 types of mirror you might want to try instead; one for your emotions, another for your thoughts and the last for your actions.
To start with it is good enough to notice what you see, feel and hear. With practice, you can start to question and adapt, to learn what works best for you. As I mentioned before, to help you ‘find your way’.
Keep it simple though…
As Kobe Bryant so clearly said, a performance mindset starts with awareness. Over the coming weeks and months, we will look at different ways of looking in different mirrors to help you find your best way. But you don’t need to wait if you’re impatient to start sooner. All you need to do is get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And remember, keep reaching for your star