Focus > World-Class Habits for Teens: The Pre-Game Ritual

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Pre-game rituals are tools that help world-class performers to be calm and focused during situations that are important to them.

The great thing is: You don’t have to be an Olympic hopeful to use Rituals to help you do your best, especially when you are under pressure and the outcome matters.

Here are a few tips, so you can set up a ritual that helps you rise to the occasion:

1. Fuel Up.

Do you have a favorite pre-game snack or meal? If there is something that you eat and/or drink in the morning or before you compete that sits well with you and gives you good energy, try making that part of your ritual.

2. Look Sharp.

Do you have a favorite article of clothing? If so, having it ready to go before an important test or competition can help you to get ready to perform your best.

3. Get Focused.

Think about listening to music, journaling, or anything you can do to be calm and focused before an event. Be sure to set a positive intention...

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Focus > 2 Focus Hacks So Teens Can Crush It When It Matters

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Whether teens are getting ready for the upcoming ACT or if they have an important competitive event coming up, being able to Focus is important.

Many teens know this, but they don’t know how. For example, a sixteen-year-old equestrian practiced years to qualify for a national show jumping competition. She was at a distinct disadvantage because her horse was not as talented, nor as well trained as those of her competitors. Regardless, she eventually reached her dream and qualified to compete. Unfortunately she went off course in both of her classes and was disqualified. She felt as though her four years of hard work were erased in five minutes. What happened? “I was consumed by issues I had no control over, and I just lost focus on what was important,” she later reflected.

Here are a couple tips to help teens focus, especially when it matters:

1) Have a pre-game ritual.
It can be very simple, but needs to be consistent...

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Focus > Rule Your Morning. Rule Your Day.

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It’s nerve wracking to wake up with barely enough time to get out the door, and unfortunately it can set the stage for their entire day to be uncomfortable and unproductive.

There are a few habits to Rule Your Morning so teens can get their day off to a great start.

Of course, being able to Rule Your Morning involves ruling your bedtime. I know it’s sometimes nearly impossible to get a solid and needed 7-8 hours of sleep per night, but those late nights should be the exception and not the rule. If it’s happening night after night, it’s time to evaluate the where the night time is going and consider making some adjustments. We’ll talk more about the science behind the importance of sleep in the coming weeks.

When you get up:

1.)  Stretch.
Move around a little and do a few stretches, it will help you wake up and get ready for their day. World-class athletes always have a warm-up, and getting ready for...

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Confidence > 3 Steps to Boost Confidence

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World-class athletes are very deliberate in the way they practice and compete.

There are a couple things that we can do too to help boost confidence and encourage our best.

Here's how:

1).  Start with Clearing the Mind:
Sounds simple, but not always easy! One way to begin the process is to do a couple ‘box breaths’ before high pressure or competitive events. It’s simply inhaling for 5 seconds through their nose into their diaphragm, extending their stomach, holding for 5 seconds, exhaling for 5 seconds through their mouth, and holding for 5 seconds. So, in for 5, hold 5, out for 5, hold 5. They should be sitting or standing up straight, be comfortable and in alignment.

Here's why it works.

Research has proven that breathing exercises can change the pH of our blood, change blood pressure, and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which is the one that calms us down. This type of breathing also activates the...

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Confidence > 1 Confidence Hack You Can Start Right Now

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You work extremely hard to prepare for high-pressure or competitive situations, and it’s incredibly frustrating when results do not measure up to your effort.

There is one thing you can do to help boost confidence and encourage your best when it matters: Set Intentions.

Here’s how:

Intentions are things that you can or will do empower you to focus (that’s a bonus!) and believe in yourself. This increases your self-efficacy (your belief about your capability to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect your life.) For example, “At 4:00-4:30 p.m. today I will spend 30 minutes compiling research for a presentation.” So, the outcome of the presentation is uncertain, but there is certainty surrounding your preparation and execution.

Why it works.

Setting Intentions gives you control over what’s important to being able to do your best. It’s also an...

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Confidence > It's Time! (Secrets to Help Teens Step Outside Their Comfort Zone)

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There is a common misconception that being world-class is reserved for the elite few.

We can’t all be in the top .01% at work or in our sport, but we can learn how to think like those who are.

The result?

We start to make consistent progress at what’s important to us even after setbacks, failures and disappointments. One secret to get the ball rolling is to be at peace with getting outside your comfort zone.

According to Dr. Anders Ericsson, an international expert on the science of expertise and the author of Peak (amzn.to/2uXOX1Q), getting outside of your comfort zone is one of the most important factors in "purposeful practice."

Keep the following in mind if you want to dream big, do small and make consistent progress on being amazing at what’s important to you:

1.) Try Something You Couldn’t Do Before.
Maybe you’re told to try a two-handed backhand to improve your tennis game, or at work you need to take on...

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Emotional Control > 1 Epic Formula to Manage Emotions When the Stakes Are High

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Being able to manage emotions is a tool that can come in handy during important events at work, at home or in competitive situations.

Since emotions drive behavior, this is an important skill to understand and master, so all your hard work can pay off. Once it’s game time, it is time to trust yourself. In other words, trust that your desired result will happen (even if you are not so sure!) 

World-class athletes perform their best when they are calm, carefree (of the outcome) and focused (on the most important thing to do their best). In other words, they trust and believe in themselves. Not being able to manage emotions is distracting, and the consequences can be significant and frustrating.

Keep this formula in mind, and you too will be able to champion your best results:

Emotional Control + Trust = Success.

Here’s how to get started with managing your emotions, especially when the stakes are high:

1.) Recognize when...

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Emotional Control > Leverage Mental Toughness to Rock Disruption

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We all face the threat of someone or something disrupting our status quo.

The mere thought of disruption can be paralyzing or it can be a secret weapon. It’s all in your mindset and what you choose to do with it.

Here’s one tip to "Leverage Mental Toughness to Rock Disruption" so you can get aggressive today about planning how to rise above the rest tomorrow: Keep this in mind, and you’ll be on your way to using a tool you already have in a way that most people don’t know about.

Here’s how: Use fear to drive progress.

In order to foster creativity, productivity and courage it’s important to use this emotion to your benefit rather than to your detriment. Fear can be paralyzing or it can be a super power. It depends on your mindset, how you perceive it.

Here’s how to take the first step:

1.) Recognize a potential threat and its consequences.

2.) Release that fear by accepting it, and then thinking of...

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Emotional Control > What No One Tells Teens About the "F"-Word (... It's Not What You Think)

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I’m going to address the “F” word right away so I don’t get in trouble. The “F” word is “Fear.”

Emotions can propel us to greatness, or they can paralyze us, bringing creativity, productivity and motivation to a screeching halt. I sure prefer the later for moments that really matter and for long-term ambitions.

Let’s talk about the Emotional Wheel and “F”ear, as well as how your mindset may affect how you plan and how you perform under pressure.

The good news is that you can learn the tools to dream big, do small and crush it especially when it matters. Zone Performance is not just for the elite few, it’s for you too!

Green area means that you likely have a deep awareness and understanding of what emotions you experience, which ones serve you, which ones don’t as well as how to manage your emotions for optimal performance and optimal long-term thinking.

Yellow...

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