It's an Inside Job

Stay Calm and Focused: Techniques to Enhance Performance Under Pressure.

April 29, 2024 Jason Birkevold Liem Season 5 Episode 18
Stay Calm and Focused: Techniques to Enhance Performance Under Pressure.
It's an Inside Job
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It's an Inside Job
Stay Calm and Focused: Techniques to Enhance Performance Under Pressure.
Apr 29, 2024 Season 5 Episode 18
Jason Birkevold Liem

Get in touch with us! We’d appreciate your feedback and comments.

Do you often find yourself overwhelmed by pressure, struggling to perform at your best when it matters most? What if you could decode the secrets of mental and emotional resilience to enhance your performance? If you're ready to turn pressure into peak performance, this episode is for you.

 Dr. Dana Sinclair, an esteemed performance psychologist and author of "Dialed In: Do Your Best When It Matters Most," brings her 20 years of experience to the conversation. Her book equips individuals with strategies to perform optimally under pressure by redirecting focus from distractions to the task at hand, fostering peak performance.

Imagine performing at your best even under immense pressure, turning self-doubt into self-assuredness. 

By listening to this episode, you'll discover:

  1. Mastering Self-Talk: Learn how to implement "smart talk" to replace negative self-talk with positive, fact-based affirmations, enhancing performance under pressure.
  2. Harnessing Self-Awareness: Understand how to use self-awareness and narrative reframing to stay present and focused, leveraging past experiences for current challenges.
  3. Implementing Practical Techniques: Gain practical tools like performance cues and breathing techniques to maintain calm and focus during intense moments.

Three Benefits You'll Gain:

  1. Enhanced Focus and Performance: Discover how to manage distractions and maintain focus, leading to optimal performance outcomes in various contexts.
  2. Improved Self-Confidence: Build self-confidence by recognizing and celebrating personal successes, fostering a positive mindset.
  3. Effective Self-Assessment: Learn structured self-assessment techniques to evaluate performance, identify areas for improvement, and create actionable plans for future success.

Are you ready to transform your performance under pressure and achieve your best when it matters most? Scroll up and click play to join our insightful discussion with Dr. Sinclair. 

Gain valuable strategies for managing stress, enhancing focus, and turning pressure into peak performance. Start your journey towards mastering performance and resilience today!

Publication: Dialed In: Do Your Best When it Matters Most

Dr. Dana Sinclair is a distinguished psychologist with doctorates from the University of Cambridge and the University of Ottawa, and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Colu

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Get in touch with us! We’d appreciate your feedback and comments.

Do you often find yourself overwhelmed by pressure, struggling to perform at your best when it matters most? What if you could decode the secrets of mental and emotional resilience to enhance your performance? If you're ready to turn pressure into peak performance, this episode is for you.

 Dr. Dana Sinclair, an esteemed performance psychologist and author of "Dialed In: Do Your Best When It Matters Most," brings her 20 years of experience to the conversation. Her book equips individuals with strategies to perform optimally under pressure by redirecting focus from distractions to the task at hand, fostering peak performance.

Imagine performing at your best even under immense pressure, turning self-doubt into self-assuredness. 

By listening to this episode, you'll discover:

  1. Mastering Self-Talk: Learn how to implement "smart talk" to replace negative self-talk with positive, fact-based affirmations, enhancing performance under pressure.
  2. Harnessing Self-Awareness: Understand how to use self-awareness and narrative reframing to stay present and focused, leveraging past experiences for current challenges.
  3. Implementing Practical Techniques: Gain practical tools like performance cues and breathing techniques to maintain calm and focus during intense moments.

Three Benefits You'll Gain:

  1. Enhanced Focus and Performance: Discover how to manage distractions and maintain focus, leading to optimal performance outcomes in various contexts.
  2. Improved Self-Confidence: Build self-confidence by recognizing and celebrating personal successes, fostering a positive mindset.
  3. Effective Self-Assessment: Learn structured self-assessment techniques to evaluate performance, identify areas for improvement, and create actionable plans for future success.

Are you ready to transform your performance under pressure and achieve your best when it matters most? Scroll up and click play to join our insightful discussion with Dr. Sinclair. 

Gain valuable strategies for managing stress, enhancing focus, and turning pressure into peak performance. Start your journey towards mastering performance and resilience today!

Publication: Dialed In: Do Your Best When it Matters Most

Dr. Dana Sinclair is a distinguished psychologist with doctorates from the University of Cambridge and the University of Ottawa, and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Colu

Support the Show.

Sign up for the weekly IT'S AN INSIDE JOB NEWSLETTER

  • takes 5 seconds to fill out
  • receive a fresh update every Wednesday

[0:00] Music.

[0:08] Back to It's an Inside Job podcast. I'm your host, Jason Lim.
Now, this podcast is dedicated to helping you to help yourself and others to become more mentally and emotionally resilient so you can be better at bouncing back from life's inevitable setbacks.
Now, on It's an Inside Job, we decode the science and stories of resilience into practical advice, skills, and strategies that you can use to impact your life and those around you.
Now, with that said, let's slip into the stream.

[0:36] Music.

[0:44] Hey folks, welcome back to the show. It's an inside job. I'm your host, Jason Lim.

[0:50] This week, we're going to delve into the captivating world of performance psychology with the esteemed Dr.
Sinclair. And she has just recently released her book, Dialed In, Do Your Best When It Matters Most.
Now, she has an impressive academic background. Dr.
St. Clair holds doctorates from the University of Cambridge and the University of Ottawa, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to our discussion today.
And as a clinical assistant professor with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, and as a member of the American Psychological Association, well, her credentials speak volumes about her expertise and dedication to her field.
Now, her practice stands out for its diversity and impact, working closely with an array of high performers across different domains, From professional athletes in the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, IndyCar, WTDA, PGA, and other Olympians.
You know, her work in enhancing performance psychology is unparalleled.
But also beyond the realm of sports, Dr.
Sinclair also applies her expertise to assist surgeons, students, executives, parents, coaches, performance artists, and the list goes on.
So in today's episode, we will explore the nuances of performance psychology, touching on crucial aspects that influence performance.
We'll delve into the mental distractions that can impede success, such as fears, negative self-talk, anxieties and doubts, and the detrimental focus on results and expectations.

[2:16] Dr. Sinclair will share her insights on the importance of shifting focus from these derailers back to the task at hand, offering practical strategies for maintaining peak performance.
So without further ado, let's slip into the stream with my brilliant conversation.

[2:30] Music.

[2:46] Welcome to the show. Thank you, Jason. Looking forward to this.
I was wondering if you could just give us a quick intro to who you are and what you're about.
Absolutely. I am a performance psychologist, and I work with a variety of high performers and any kind of performer, actually.
So I work with CEOs, professional athletes, professional teams, parents, students, surgeons, performance artists, us.
Anybody who wants to be a little bit better or thinks they can be a little bit better in their pressure moments.

[3:19] Brilliant. Today, we are here because of your book, Dialed In.
I'm curious, could you share sort of the inspiration behind Dialed In and what you hope readers will take away from it, just as a general beginning?
Yeah. So I wrote this, it just came out in January, and it's sort of the culmination of 20 years of practice, of private practice.
As I say, I've worked with a lot of professional teams and business executives and students taking exams.
And what I learned over time was that there are certain, there's a certain process that allows people to get calmer and more clear and more focused when they feel pressure so they can and perform better.
And I wanted everybody to be able to access that type of thing and apply to their own work and lives.
Because everybody can be, you know, a little bit more elite than they already are.
Yeah. And I'm just curious, I like to ask all authors when we kick off an interview, what did you learn about yourself writing the book?
Now, that is a good question.

[4:27] I'm not even sure what i learned about myself except that i could actually sit there day after day and really get engrossed in a project that was daunting at first and i ended up loving writing a book and i didn't think i would.

[4:46] Because I find that a lot of authors, a lot of the times they discover something about themselves, like they know their skills inside out, what they teach, but it's through the art, through moving ink to paper, or in this case, maybe typing on a screen, that they sometimes see the intricacies of their logic, how they may have missed some sort of connective tissue.
And that it's kind of expanded on how they explain or how they educate their client base or whatever the message that they're trying to get across.
So I always find it interesting to just to figure out what authors learned about themselves or are in the process of.
Was it a difficult process at first? As you said, it was quite daunting.
What is the reason it was daunting? I think when you first have to put a structure down and a proposal as to what you're going to write chapter to chapter to chapter and a description thereof, it is a little daunting because you think you've got it.
Oh, yeah, I'll write a book. I know what I'm talking about.
I talk about these particular subjects.
And then you have to expand further.
And then you think, oh, is that really going to be a chapter's worth?
Or do I need to, how am I going to condense this particular topic or concept into something readable and interesting? So that did take a while at first.

[6:11] And yeah, it was a little, it was a little scary at first.

[6:16] But of course, you just plug away and you have fun pulling out the concepts that you really want people to know.
And I wanted this book to be different than the other books out there because I want it to be hands-on, easy reading, something anybody could pick up off the shelf and apply immediately, not a year from now or six months from now or have to do all this homework.
I want them to be able to pick it up, use something, go and apply it to your life.

[6:45] You've worked with a lot of athletes across the spectrum and, you know, writing a book in itself is a form of performance.
And when I hear you, what you said at the beginning, you had a sort of a narrative.
This is kind of daunting.
How do I articulate this? How do I, how do I script this?
And I think that comes back down to performance in general and that's where I'd like to shift in your book you talk a lot about there's four really specific skills at the end that we can explore in a second but later later in the conversation but I'd like to understand a little more about sort of the narrative behind performance because I think everyone whatever they're performing they don't have to be athletes but it's that narrative that self-critical voice is that self-doubt that kind of seeds into our head because of the brain's negativity bias.

[7:32] And maybe, can you talk a little, maybe a little around that narrative that we assign to things or that self-talk?
Certainly. Well, first I do, you've got me thinking now and I'm thinking about the book.
And the one thing that did come out in the process too was you end up speaking to your clients more loosely or differently than you do when you have to write it down. own.
So sometimes I would go into a chapter and think I've got this and I'd start writing and I think, oh, wait a minute, I have to be much more articulate or clear about this process or about this concept because it's one thing to talk about it and to be loose in a conversation, but I have to make this really tight so anybody doesn't get lost in these paragraphs.
They can exactly exactly understand what I want them to do or what I want them to get out of this.
So that was something that you made me think about. Thank you very much.

[8:30] And going on to sort of performance in general, you know, we're all performers and all performers, whether you're an NFL quarterback or, you know, having to present at a meeting, everybody struggles in their, in their pressure moments so i i tend to deal with like most people are doing very well in their lives thank you very much they don't need somebody like me 24 7 talking to them at all you know my philosophy is more okay let's make people independent and coach themselves so again.

[9:09] Even high performers struggle when their pressure moments are on.
And that's what I talk to people about is their pressure moments, not the general necessarily day to day.
It's when they really want to do well or need to do well or when the moment is meaningful.
So you've talked about in your book, you've talked about the destructive effects that self-talk can have on us, especially specifically in high pressure moments, because that's when when everything's kind of cooking and we feel just feel the pressure and the tension upon us that's when unless we have a routine to fall back on but even then a lot of us default to this negativity bias I mean yeah how does someone deal with that like in the moment I'd like to do a deeper exploration to this sure how it necessarily works in those pressure moments is we all sort of drift into what I call our hotspots, distractions, derailers, things that get in the way, things that frustrate us, bug us.
So there's a whole list of things and it could be fears, it could be a negative self-talk, doubts, self-criticism, expectations, others' expectations, thinking about results, how it's going to go, the weather, you didn't eat enough, it could be anything.
And that's where.

[10:32] People lose their performance if they stay focused on those things, because you can't be focused on the task and doing what you need to do.
If your mind has drifted over to any of these distractions, it could be a silly distraction too.
But if we aren't pre-planned and aware of what could drag us over there, then we're not ready to shift back onto the task.
And that's the whole trick of this is to know what gets in your way and have a few things pre-planned to pull your mind back on to the task at hand.
Got to be able to talk your way through a performance or at least have something to grab onto if you falter, if you start to drift.
Got to shift when you drift. You have to shift when you drift.
I like that. I like that. Yeah.
In your book, you talked about, I'd like to get onto the sort of the smart talk in a second. Oh, shoot.
In your book, you also mentioned that, you know, we are sometimes under the false impression that positive self-talk is always positive, but you mentioned how it can actually be detrimental.
And at the same time, you also mentioned in the book actually how negative self-talk or can actually be beneficial.

[11:48] I was wondering if you could elaborate on, Because I've never seen that in a book before, and the way you articulated it was, it hit home.
It really resonated with me. I was just wondering for our listeners, if you could sort of expand on that.

[12:04] Well, as you've mentioned, self-talk is obviously with us at all times.
It's our internal chatter, and it can get in our way. If we, not many people have natural, great self-talk in the moment.
They have to think about it a little bit.
So self-talk, it does get in the way and it's, People are always advising those, just be positive, just believe in yourself.
And that, I think, is not the greatest advice. Just be positive.
Well, I could be positive, but it could be completely irrelevant to the task, or it could be untrue.
It could be aspirational, but completely not achievable.
So I like to make sure that self-talk is, it can be neutral, it could be very good.
Constructive, productive self-talk. That's where I want people to go.

[13:00] Just, you know, mantras and platitudes, I don't think those are particularly helpful.
But that means that we have to think about our self-talk first and identify, are there things, negative self-talk, that's holding us back, that's getting in our way, that's, you know, diverting us to those hot spots and those distractions.
Oh, I can't do it. What's going to happen if I do results? All those things, that's not helpful. We have to maybe pre-plan what we should be thinking about.
And again, that negative self-talk, well, you know, that can actually be very good information to know, say, what you're actually doing.
Okay, that's not helping me. I better be aware of that. Okay, I better switch it to something else. So negative can help.

[13:46] I'm not saying to call yourself down. I'm saying it can give you an idea of where you are in your performance or what you need to do to improve.
Yeah. So positive self-talk in this case is when it's superficial, when it's kind of abstract, when it's vacuous, when it's not really helping us. As you said, platitudes and such.
And it's based on false premises or it's not factual. We're just trying to kid ourselves.
Not factual. Yes. Like I'm going to be the best. I have to be the best in the world.
Well, you don't. But okay. Okay. No, but, but I think that's, it's, it's, I think it's so important to talk about this because, you know, a lot of people talk, Oh, just say affirmations, affirmation, affirmations to some degree.
I agree that works, but the depth that you're talking about, I think it is, it is kind of superficial and it's just, it's just a hot air.
It doesn't really do much. Kind of like empty calories of the brain, right? Yes. Yes.

[14:39] I'm thinking of a, a woman I was talking to who went on a school kayak trip, you know, with her, with her kids class and their whitewater kayaking.
And she was going to go down this set of rapids.
And it was, it was pretty funny because she was, she got in, she was ready to go. She had the training, but she was really scared.
She wasn't sure that, that she could do it.
So she started off off down the rapids.
I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. You know, screaming, I can do it. I can do it.
And then by the end of it, she was still saying, I can do it. I can do it.
But it was quiet. It was under control. So that type of positive affirmation kept her focused on what she was doing in front of her. I can do it. I can do it.
As opposed to, I can't do it. I can't to it, you know, leaning back, tipping over.
So that type of thing, while funny, is actually kind of helpful in that situation.
But you have to determine, you know, what is actually going to work for you.
Again, I think that's also, you know, parsing the details and that is that because I think that is a very succinct point, what you're saying by, as you said, as she's screaming to herself where to place her focus in all the chaos, you know, not over and such.

[16:03] It is, it is a very, it's very sobering to hear that from yourself, right?
Then you focus on what you have to focus on. But back to self-talk, I think the narrative that we tell ourselves is so important when it comes to performance or pretty much anything in life.
So self-awareness would suggest to me that is the first step.
But how does someone become self-aware of their narrative?
Like, I guess, let's say they're not forming in the heat of the moment, but they are trapped in some sort of overthinking or rumination.
From your perspective how does someone catch themselves in the moment in the here and now to become self-aware of that whatever destructive narrative they're tanking themselves on, I think the easiest way is to pick an event, a performance, something that is important to you.
And it could be a meeting or an interview or an interaction.
And think about, hey, on my good days, when I am doing a really good job and I'm feeling good and I'm behaving well and I'm on task, what am I thinking?
What am I doing? What am I saying to myself?
Okay. And then conversely, then go to, okay, when I didn't do a good job at all, when it was not happening for me, when I was unhappy with my performance, again, what was I doing? What was I thinking? What was I saying to myself?

[17:33] So that's an easy way to really get into what you were actually thinking and saying to yourself before the performance and during.
Easiest way. and i you know some people will will balk at first and say oh i don't know but if you leave them for a minute and say you know were you thinking good things were you telling yourself that you had done it before and that you're actually good at this because you're ranked or then they're like oh yeah okay then they relax and they they can actually articulate it and write it down.
Since we're just riffing on narrative and self-talk and such, you mentioned one of the four really great skills at the back of the book, not the back of the book, the four last chapters.
You talked about smart talk. I was wondering if you could explain what smart talk is and how our listeners can use it in their day-to-day.
Yes. Smart talk is really self-talk. I break self-talk down into two components.
One, you've got facts and two, you've got smart talk.
I'll I'll talk about facts first, because once you've got your facts and you've got your smart talk, then you're ready to talk your way through those pressure moments.
I want people to be able to...

[18:50] Bring themselves through cognitively by talking to themselves as opposed to not just thinking oh automatically i've thought this before it's going to happen nope i want you to actually talk yourself through those ones like the kayaker you know uh and again an nfl quarterback he's going to talk his way through his progressions and where he's got to where he's got to pass the ball as well you don't just let it happen you've got to be able to think in the moment which is another other concept we can talk about later because people think you shouldn't, but I think you should.
Anyway, back to the facts.
I want people to have a list of their accomplishments, great feedback they've received, whether it's accomplishments, trophies, marks, winning something, doing well at something, good performance reviews.
I want a list of those Because that often allows people to sit back and go, oh, I'm not so bad.
Because it's amazing when you ask someone, hey, what are some fun facts about you? What have you done well at? What are you good at?
And a lot of people will automatically say, I don't know or nothing.

[20:03] And if you, again, probe them a little or let them sit, then we get the list.
You know, so I like people having bullet points of their accomplishments because those are facts.
Even when they're cranky and upset, they can't take away from themselves. Those are facts.
They can't refute those. And I love people to sit on their facts and pay attention to their facts much more than than they currently do.

[20:32] I push the facts list. What do you think about that?
I think the facts is, you know, when I'm talking to clients, you know, sometimes I can't remember who said it, but they said the past is experience.
The present is an experiment. And the future is an expectation.
And so what I use different vernacular, but I say, you know, you can look over your shoulder from the trailhead to where you are now.

[20:55] That's your past. Nobody can take that. No one can strip that from you, Dana. The hurdles that you've overcome, the pitfalls you've climbed out of, the hills and the valleys that you've hiked, that is fact. Nobody can take that.
That's your experience.
And this is one way for me to create self-compassion, right?
Whether you've flopped or you succeeded, you know, both of them require some sense of resilience.
But when you said, what do I think about that? For me, it resonates like 100% because the past is experience.
No one can do that. But then we can take that past experience.
As you're saying, reframe it, take those three or four bullet points, as you said.
Right now, the conversation between you and I, Dana, is an experiment.
And that experiment, we can play with ideas. You as the sports, sort of the performance psychologist talking to me, you can reframe me.
So my expectation is one, not super positive, but I'm going into a difficult situation, but it can be constructive.
So for me, it completely resonates what you're saying. Right.
Because I think probably both of us in our work, we don't want people, certainly when it's time to perform, jumping into that future.
We want them right here, right now, in the moment.
And to do a good job there, you can pull in that experience and those facts.
You can set yourself up to be a little calmer, to be ready to stay focused right now instead of somewhere else.
And yeah, those facts, they set you up for it.

[22:21] And I think what you're saying about the future, right?
And I think that's the fine line between speculation and strategy.
Speculation is like just guessing, you know, worst case scenarios, crossing the bridge and then thinking, what are the consequences?
But, buddy, you don't even know if the bridge is there. But strategy, you can still think about negative outcomes, but you can have strategic plans.
I'm assuming that's what we're talking about here, right? Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
You do have to think about negative outcomes if you're trying to plan things.
You know, I'm thinking of a team owner and the big CEO who constantly thinks about failure, constantly thinks about, you know, what could happen, what's the next move.
Now he's always got, he's always got, you know, how to make that right or how to get by that.
But thinking about the negative on its own isn't helpful, but thinking about what you're going to do about it. Now we're We're talking.
Got to have a plan. Got to know what to do when you hit those roadblocks, when you hit those barriers, whether they're psychological barriers or physical barriers or whatever other kind of barriers there are.

[23:33] And so would that be the other side? You said smart talk is sort of a coin.
One side is the facts, listening to facts, the bullet points, and the other side, would that be the second side of the coin?
Yes, I like that analogy.
Okay. good so right so once you've got your facts and you can calm down a little now it's like oh what do i actually say to myself that is in the way and i i do think it's good to have people write down well i usually say this and i usually say that i'm really good in these situations i've done this well before um i am really good when the pressure is on when i'm I'm talking to my boss.
I stay calm and clear and focused. Those types of things. But what inevitably comes out with those are people go to the negative.
And I love them to identify the negative things they say to themselves.
I can't do this. What's going to happen? I'm going to blow it.
Did I blow it last time? They're going to think I'm stupid.
All of those things. Now let's have a look. Say there's six of those negative statements that they say all the time because it's default.
They just go back to those because they're comfortable with them.
And now we look at them and say, okay, you know, you might call yourself an idiot, but does that really bother you? Do you just really mean that?
You probably don't really mean that. Or go through those and figure out what really does get in the way, what really does bother you.
Because there's a bunch of throwaway negative comments.

[25:00] But identify the two or three that, oh, when I'm saying that, I really feel the tension and the concern. Now we've got to reframe those.

[25:13] So it's a lot easier to either jettison them and substitute something else in there that's actually more constructive productive real or twist it well i am going to play badly if i don't calm down and stay focused on x so that's a good way to do it too so you can you can absorb the negative well i am i don't want to i don't want to lose i don't want to mess up okay well then i guess i better do do something different here better calm down pay attention to what i'm supposed to be saying in my slideshow you know stay on task anything like that very helpful it is reappraisal right it's giving new meaning to the situation it is re-engineering the narrative we say or so so it's serving us not serving against us but not making it up yeah yeah definitely it has to be based on the first part you said where it's factual and then what i hear is that you take make statements based on those facts, whatever you've achieved.
Yes, it can be statements based on those facts. They can be totally two separate things.
You can just hit your facts and then in the moment or working your way towards the event, just remind yourself, hey, come on now, you know.

[26:24] Because you're going to drift back into those negative thoughts, and you need to be able to handle those negatives when they hit you in the moment so they don't keep you stuck.
So it's like, oh, gosh, I really don't want to blow this. I'm afraid I'm going to blow this. Well, you know what?

[26:40] Hush up. Because if you don't breathe a little bit and remind yourself that you've done this 18,000 times before, you are going to blow it.
So come on, let's get at it.
Let's go. So one of the ideas I wrote beside the smart talk was third person.
You know, like if you start like Jason did this, Jason did that.
And you almost dissociate a little from the event.
And you see yourself in more of an objective perspective and you don't get so lost in a subjective storm.
And I thought that was that was just something my brain kind of riffed on what you wrote. own.
I thought, okay, maybe that's also a good idea sometimes to distance yourself by using your name instead of me and I pronouns.
Yes. And that's a good thing to discuss because I've not found a consensus with my clients anyway, as to what's best or what works best.
Everybody has their own way. And sometimes, I mean, I'll go back.
I use self-talk a lot. I will go back and forth between Between talking to myself, using my name, and then just saying, me, come on, I.
Like, I've got to do this. Let's go. Come on, Dana, smarten up.
Whatever it is that I need to be doing. Or I go back and forth depending on the day or how I feel.

[28:00] Very true. Very true. It's very situational is what I hear you're saying.
Yes. Or just based on your performance style, your character, your, you know, your behaviors, your natural behaviors.
And that kind of segues into my head is that when we talk about self-talk and smart talk and negative talk and such and rumination and all that, that leads to a concept.
And again, I thought your chapter on confidence was very interesting.
I was wondering if you could talk about the misconception of confidence.
Because a lot of people think if you have the confidence, you can do it.
But your book is a little counterintuitive in the way, and it really resonated with me, again, the way you've talked about it.
Confidence is overrated. Again, with all the high performers I work with, one of the big myths about performing with success is that you have to be confident.
And I say, no, you don't. You might want it, but you don't need it.

[29:08] Confidence is one of those things that is variable.
It's vague. It's intangible. I mean, if we all think about our own confidence levels, we all know intuitively that it can be with us one day and not the next.
It can flip on us from hour to hour, even minute to minute or within an event.
It is not a reliable strategy to perform well.
And I would like to bust this myth out there about confidence because it doesn't work.
Work it's great if you feel it i'm not against confidence of course having confidence is a great start because it helps relax you it helps you feel okay i can do it step one but you can be really confident and still blow the performance because you're not on task just because you feel good doesn't mean you're going to stay focused it's all about what to do not about how you feel feel, and confidence is about how you feel.
Performing well is about what you do. So I don't like people to get caught up in performance, or sorry, in confidence when they're trying to perform, because it is a problem, even for the high performers. So I try to get away from it.

[30:28] And so what would you characterize it? Is it more sort of self-efficacy then, focusing on actions more than feelings absolutely in the moment you've got to go to actions, we don't have time necessarily especially you know if if it's a short performance or an event you don't have time to examine your feelings you've got to get right to the do you've got to do the do in the moment you know coming from my background that's something we've always tried to separate is not you know it's separating mood from action don't allow the mood to dictate the action and sometimes the other way around is let the action dictate the mood but what i'm what i'm hearing from performance like performance psychologists such as yourself it's about the action it's executing on action is that what you're saying absolutely.

[31:17] Music.

[31:25] In part one of my interview with Dr. St. Clair, several key insights were discussed regarding the challenges and strategies for enhancing performance, particularly in high-pressure environments.

[31:36] Dr. Sinclair highlighted how various mental distractions such as fears, negative self-talk, anxieties, doubts, and preoccupations with results and expectations can significantly hinder our performance.
She called these derailers. She emphasized the importance of focusing on the task at hand rather than those distractions.

[31:56] According to Dr. Sinclair, the solution lies in developing a plan to shift focus away from these derailers and back onto the the task, especially when we drift.
And she so eloquently said, you gotta shift when you drift.
And so what does this mean? Well, this involves knowing what obstacles are in the way, having a plan to reorient the mind towards a task, and then executing this plan when needed.
Also touched upon the topic of self-talk, distinguishing between harmful positive self-talk that is unrealistic or irrelevant to the task, and beneficial negative self-talk that can provide valuable insights into the areas of improvement.
Now, Dr. Sinclair outlined a method for becoming more self-aware, analyzing one's thoughts, actions, and self-dialogue during both successful and unsuccessful performance periods.
Now, this introspection can reveal the nature of one's internal narrative and its impact on our performance.
Now, furthermore, Dr. Sinclair introduced the concept of smart talk, a strategy for navigating pressure-filled moments.
Now, Smart talk involves grounding oneself in facts such as accomplishments and the positive feedback to counterbalance default negative self-talk.
By focusing on factual successes, individuals can talk themselves through challenging situations more effectively.

[33:15] Lastly, Dr. Sinclair discussed the notion of confidence, challenging the common belief in its importance for successful performance.
She argued that confidence is unreliable and fluctuating factors that does not necessarily correlate with performance quality.
Instead, performance should be based on actions and adherence to task-focused strategies, rather than fluctuating feelings of confidence.
Part 1 of the conversation, this whole segment of the interview underscores the complexity of psychological factors in performance. performance, and Dana presents practical advice for managing them.
So let's now slip back into the stream with part two of my brilliant conversation with Dr. Dana Sinclair.

[33:58] Music.

[34:05] That brings us to one of your other skills that you talk about. Performance cues.
Performance cues. Thank you. Could you maybe elaborate on that? Yes, absolutely.
So you, again, if you had to pick, well, I was going to say one skill, one skill is breathing.
We'll get to that. the the the second most important skill in the moment is being able really to connect with the task at hand just one thing that you know if you do or keep doing you'll be able to execute well, so say there's lots of sports examples but we'll say i'm thinking about an interview interview, right?
So again, I talk about the big skill of performance cues, but it's sort of like what I tend to say is, you know, forget how you feel. It's all about what you do.
That's the skill. So getting onto what you're going to do, but say if you have an interview and you're nervous and you have a panel of people in front of you and what do you do?
Do you worry about how you feel and how you are worried about blowing it and not getting your funding or whatever the result is or getting the promotion or getting the job.

[35:30] That's feel. And you're going to get lost in either rambling or a poor answer or an unfocused performance.
Whereas if you have one or two performance cues, what do I do to stay on task?
You're in business. So things like, and I'm thinking of clients of mine, when they thought about, okay, just sit back, sit tall, look at the interviewers.

[35:59] That was something to do that helped calm them. That's a performance cue for them. That's a performance cue for them, yes.
Okay, got it. Or the performance cue could be telling themselves to listen to what the interviewer's question really is instead of jumping ahead.
So those are types of things that are actual cues that draw you into the task.
What do I need to do to perform well? Well, I was giving a talk to a baseball team, a major league team, and talking about this very thing.
And on the way out, I was walking down the hall with one of the coaches, and he was a former major league player.
He was a batting champion. and he said, you know what?
I finally figured out after all these years why I was successful because I never thought I was going to be. I was small.
I didn't think I'd ever make it anywhere.
And I became two-time batting champion in the major leagues because I did the do. I could do the do.
So what he meant was in the moment, in the batter's box, he could slow down and he could He had to actually remind himself to do the one thing that he needed

[37:18] to do to get his bat out front and hit straight through the ball.
So he had a performance of what to do in the moment.

[37:29] So here's the conundrum sometimes I see. I think your words there really, really hit home.
You know, as you said, if it's an interview, focus on the interviewee. Focus on the questions.
Or what you need to say. It could be anything, but something task related.
And so if someone says, I get that logically, I completely get that and I've trained for it.
But I know myself that when I'm in the heat of the moment, Dana, emotions, the emotions just riling me up and I just can't focus.
I just get this sort of blind vision.
You know, absolutely. Just to challenge you there. How does someone process the emotions?
How do they deal with emotions? emotions. They come percolating up and I can feel it. My ears are getting warm. I'm getting stressed.
Yeah, exactly. Good point because that's exactly what happens in our pressure moments.
Again, now we're moving on to the other skills. That first skill, that, is essential, I feel, is to slow down. Get calm or calm-ish and try to stay there.
Breathe, settle, however you're going to do that.
But even in the moment, taking one slow breath in through your nose, exhaling through your nose if you can, or through a straw, just take it down a notch. Very helpful.

[38:51] Then you can grab onto one of those cues of yours and talk your way through it.
Like in the middle of an interview, Dana, settle down.
Come on, you can do this. Just what am I supposed to be saying again?
That's how you do it. In fact, I remember being in a situation like that.
I was doing my second PhD. I needed funding. It was at Cambridge. It was very expensive.
I was in for an interview.
I went in thinking, okay, there'll be two or three people there. Great.

[39:24] Okay. I can do this. And because it was very important that I get this funding.
I was under pressure for sure.
I walked in, there was a big boardroom. It was downtown London.
And there was a dozen people around this table. I thought, I mean, oh my gosh, I thought I was going to tip over, fall off my chair.
So I really struggled to, I had to use use that first few minutes to really pull myself together.
Now, I would do a better job now, one, because of experience and because I actually use my own skills, but then I had to settle. I had to breathe.
I had to talk my way through this. I had to tell myself, don't worry about how this comes off or if it's not very pretty, just get to your words.
Get to what you have to say.
Sell your project, that type of thing.
It was awful. And so obviously breathing is connected to our autonomic nervous system, the sympathetic, parasympathetic.
What is your, I mean, there's a lot of different types of breath work out there.
What is your default? What is the one you go to? And if you wish to share, could you maybe walk our listeners through it?
Absolutely. Absolutely. I love my performers to have a five second quick fix called, I call it breathe it out.

[40:49] It's easy to do all these other breathing exercises before and whatnot. Great.
But I need people to be able to calm down in the moment, like a linebacker trying to get off the line in the NFL or a quarterback, you know, dropping back in the pocket.
He needs to pull it down quickly or in the huddle or or any of us when we're in an interaction and you can feel conflict coming.

[41:15] So five seconds i want people to think about just slowing it down so shoulders down sit up tall, breathe in through your nose out through your nose if you can but if not through like through Chew a straw through your mouth because that automatically slows you down.
That's why it's, you know, out through your mouth, through that straw, slow it down, exhale fully.
So slow, nose, exhale longer than normal, and try to loosen those shoulders. Boom, done.
And so this is just one cycle of breath or is it? As many as you can fit in or need to do.
Okay. But often, one practiced cycle, breath, can get you thinking clearly.

[42:10] I guess it definitely brings you into the here and now when you're focusing on your breath, you're at the presence, right?
Yes. And you're doing something to help yourself and you're stopping the clutter from going crazy in your head.
You're pulling your mind back from all those hot spots and distractions.
You're shifting over onto something helpful, one is which is the breath.
And then you can move on to any other skill that you find useful.
Useful and remember this is all planned out in terms of going into your event or your performance, so it's not like oh i've got to read you've actually taken a little bit of time to think about what to do when you feel it grabbing you and that breath is the first thing that really helps and you can do this kind of breathing without anybody noticing it's not like you you have to go lie down or do big, you know, that's right.
Just take it down a notch. Yeah. Hold on. Hold on. Hold on panel. Yeah.

[43:18] Okay. So we've talked about pre-performance. We've talked about performance.
Now I'd like to shift the conversation, if you don't mind, to post-performance.
I was wondering how important is self-evaluation in post-performance?
Now, the reason I asked for this, I work with a number of corporations, a number of teams, and they get a project done, but there's really no time for celebration.
They just hop onto the next one and then the next one and the next one.
They talk a good talk saying, yeah, we should do a post-performance and so we can improve our game.
And sometimes they do it, but it's not a consistent practice.
It's not a habitual part of their culture.
I would like to get it straight from the professional's mouth.
How important is self-evaluation or team evaluation in post-performance games?
I think it can be a game changer. I think checking in on yourself after performance is critical if you want to be better.
Why would you leave that to chance? You know, whether you're a person who always thinks you aced it and walked away and don't do anything, right?
Or every time you perform, you know, you just have to get through it and you just want to leave it, right? And don't deal with with it.

[44:34] Mistake, you got to check in with yourself. And my version of it is simple and quick, which is my version of how to perform under pressure anyway, because who has time in the moment to go through all sorts of rigmarole.
We want to keep it simple and ready to grab in the moment.
But I think one, I get my clients to rate themselves, rate your performance out of 10. 10.
One from lousy to brilliant.
Give yourself a number and don't be too hard on yourself because most people will, you know, mark down.
And I can always tell because, you know, they're kind of happy with the performance.
Let's say, well, I was a six.
Come on. You don't have to be at an eight, nine or 10, but let's be honest with yourself.
Like you're honest with yourself when you're you're lousy. So when you're good, be honest with yourself to give yourself a little bit of credit.

[45:31] Anyway, rate yourself. Then a quick, what did I do? Well, what, what went well? What was I good at today? Boom, boom, boom.
And then conversely, what didn't go so well? What did I, well, I kind of blew that. Write it down.
Then it's pretty clear. Okay. Here's what I did. Well, here's what it didn't go so well.
I was a seven. I really want to be an eight next time.
Okay. This is what I need to adjust.
And not some long journal entry. It's got to be something short and meaningful.

[46:06] Whether it's a task related or how you're going to prepare.
I have a client right now a top ranked athlete who is is trying to get a lot better at that and realized after the last competition, oh, you know, my preparation wasn't so good.
I really need to take a little bit more time and breathe a little bit more and run through my game plan and just go over my cues just a little bit, see them in my head, then I think I'm ready.

[46:39] Very useful. Very, very. Because, you know, what I hear is someone who, you know, these professionals that you work with, they have this ability.
For more of our common folk, you know, when we fail, when we flop, when we don't succeed, we can be very harsh with self-critical thoughts.
Like, I mean, what suggestions would you have for someone to show a little more self-compassion?
And how does that show up nuts and bolts? You know, when someone makes a mistake, they flop and they feel foolish or they feel whatever, silly or stupid.

[47:13] What advice would you give them to learn from their mistakes, to learn from their foul-ups?
Good question. First of all, even though I do work with a lot of very high performers, they feel the same way as everybody else. Everybody thinks. That's another myth.
Everybody thinks that they're high performers. It just comes by them naturally.
They never worry about this stuff. They never think about this stuff. not at all they struggle with confidence they struggle with you know do i deserve this they they have all sorts of confidence crushers that get in the way too so they they're no different they just probably get a little bit more structured training in this zone how to do it fast so everybody does feel it i get you know it does really start with let's do an actual honest evaluation of that performance people default to oh it's terrible oh it's bad well why, self-protection.

[48:18] Right? I need to have something. Like if I, here's really how it works.
If I want to perform well, I know if I do this and this, I'll probably be okay. I've done this before.
This is my job, I think I can do this.
But when it gets to the pressure moment, people back off because I know if I just do these things, I'll be fine.
But what if it doesn't work out? What if I actually do try and it doesn't work out oh my goodness then i have failed then it's on me i can't have that so people subconsciously throw some barriers in front of them excuses essentially as to, something they can grab onto if it doesn't go well.

[49:05] Do you see what i'm yeah yeah escape hatch yeah yeah and absolutely and i like people to be really aware of that because we all do it until we start to check on ourselves. Ah, okay.
Am I actually, am I wiggling away from this? Am I tinkering with this?
What is really happening here?
And it's, you know, people like to think too, oh, well, I know I really need help to figure it out because I don't know what's going wrong.
I like to challenge people and say, well, you know what, what, if you sit with yourself for five minutes and really think about it, what gets in my way?
Why didn't I do well that last time? What am I holding back?
You know, in the privacy of your own brain or, right. Or if you're reading my book and it's asking you these questions, um.

[49:58] We can usually figure it out for ourselves, those one or two things that really bug us that we're trying to avoid and we hold back from.
Yeah, those derailers you spoke about earlier, right? Yes, yes.
And it does take courage to try to be good and to try to be better.
And being honest with yourself is the first step to being better.
What are those derailers? What are those hotspots?

[50:23] And, you know, courage is just that. Yeah. And as we've heard, you know, a lot of times it is facing our fears. It's not showing up without any fears.
You might have fears or anxieties and such, but that courage, that's the learning curve, I guess.
That's, that's understanding, breaking down as you've articulated what I've, how I flopped, how I failed, whatever, or how I'm going to.
Yeah. Yeah. We all fail.
We all fail where it's right. And see, people get caught up in, oh, it's got to be perfect. I've got to be perfect.
And that's another thing that I challenge people on because that is such a script for self-defeat. It's not happening, people.
Nobody is going to be perfect. You will not be perfect. So let's get off of that and go for something attainable, excellence, being really good, good enough.
Then we can get rid of this huge derailer, which is perfection.
When people drift to, I have to be perfect. I can't make a mistake.
Holy smokes. They are no longer on task.
They're no longer relaxed. They're no longer thinking in the moment about what to do. They are in trouble. No good.

[51:34] And that is, yes, as I say, one of the big faults that we.

[51:41] I guess, fall into when we're trying to perform because it's that pressure.
It's when you really want it.
That's why we're getting the pressure when we're relaxed and there's no, we don't care. We're fine.

[51:55] We're all good. Yeah. We're all good. So it's, it's just having some of those strategies ready to go pre-planned or when it hits you, I got to pull it together right now.
Now, I think that's very interesting because for me, that kind of segues when we're talking about sort of post performance and we're breaking down and what we can learn from it.
That also brings me down to one of your fourth skills, the role of daydreaming or visualization.
And you spoke. I'd like you to speak a little more about visualization because it's not just about visualizing something, but it can take on the whole senses.
But you've also I don't need to go through all five categories.
Of course, people can read the book, but you have Jill's skill, what is it, highlight, fight back, and step it up as five different skills.
First of all, could you maybe operationally define for us, Dana, what you mean by the role of daydreaming or visualization?
Absolutely. So it's visualization, imagery.
I call it daydreaming because it connotes sort of smaller chunks.
But really, visualization, I'm talking about mental rehearsal.
Rehearsal, just practicing in your head, whether it's a new skill, whether it's calming down and being composed, seeing in your mind what you would like to happen, how you would like to behave or how you have behaved in the past.

[53:15] That's essentially all I'm talking about. So we all daydream.
I just like people to focus their daydream a little bit more to enhance their performance.

[53:27] And visualization, because you had a very good example of a lemon, sort of cutting into a lemon and tasting the lemon and feeling the lemon.
It was very sensory-based.
And this is what I understood what you meant by visualization.
It's completely sort of visual.
I mean, it's completely immersive how we can take something such as a lemon and involve all five senses in a sense.
You can. And I usually use an example like that with somebody who will say to me, well, I can't visualize. I don't see anything.
I'll start with, oh, okay. Because a lot of people will say that because they're fast-paced. They're busy.
They don't relax well.

[54:15] So they don't daydream very well. But what I usually start with is, oh, okay.
Well, can you please talk to me about your bedroom?
Do you know what color are the walls uh where's your bed uh and they'll tell me and then i'll say okay can you stand in front of your door and can you put your hand on the knob and open the door and walk into that bedroom yeah oh well you just did visualization you felt something you you could could have heard something you saw it so you know you can add any of your senses in there now i don't necessarily care if somebody uses all their sentences their senses i do want them to see it because if they can see it from the first person view like you know see that bedroom out in front of you not like it's on video view but see it in front of your hand out etc that helps helps you feel.
That gives you a little more kinesthetic sense if you see it from behind your own eyes.
But again, I just want people to get a picture or get a feel for what they want, to behave like or to be like.

[55:31] So using visualization or imagery in post-performance can help us pre-performance for the next event or what have you. Absolutely.
Visualization itself, does that create a sense of certainty within the brain that they've stepped into it, they know what to do?
And so, again, those actions will lead to the mood of confidence or have I misconstrued it?
No, it can lead to the mood of confidence. And if that's what people get from it, that's great.

[56:03] I want it to lead to the do, what you're going to do, not the feel so much.
Use it for feel, for sure. Hey, a highlight.
I last did that and I felt great, wonderful.
I think it's great for building skills.
I've been involved in research projects, the university here, University of Toronto, and teaching surgical residents visualization and helping them mentally practice, prepare for a new operation, a new procedure.
And what we found, those who had done some training in visualization, I didn't call it daydreaming, but imagery.

[56:49] They did a better job in terms of performance and they were less stressed.
So we're now thinking that visualization can be a really great tool.
Mental practice can be a great tool for residents becoming skilled quicker and it's great for safety in terms of.

[57:15] Operations and procedures right if you're better at it going into it the training is easier better outcomes so the visualization obvious i'm not obviously but the visualization is is complementary to the actual physically of doing but if i may just practice without performing practice without i like that that's that's a really good way of saying it so this practice without performing for someone to become a little more adept how often would someone have to to visualize something sort of to become adept or find that sense of certainty about moving into a certain performance whatever that may show however it shows up how i usually talk about it to my clients is okay you do not have to sit down here for an hour a day and do this you're not going to be able to do it anyway it's going to be very onerous i love short clips short little video video clips.
So a video clip could be five seconds. It could be 10 seconds. It could be two minutes.
I'm talking that short just to put yourself in the situation you're thinking about and see yourself run through the behaviors.

[58:25] So go for 30 seconds. You know what? I back it off.
Do it for 10 seconds, three times a day while you're walking to the fridge, while you're getting in the car where you're just sitting there waiting, do it three times a day and be concise with it. That will make a difference.
You can take two days off a week, but especially if you're going into an event, if you're preparing for an event, say you're preparing for a presentation, and you want to see yourself being calm and composed, interacting with the audience, being clear and loud with your voice, you can do that in 10 seconds.

[59:08] You can close your eyes or not.
If you find it's difficult to get an image, take a moment and do a breathing exercise first. Calm down, get the tension down.
That will enhance the picture that comes in your head.
You'll be able to be more clear in your head.
So I say do that. I've got certainly a lot of Olympic athletes that do that regularly. regularly.
But, you know, again, you don't have to do it for half an hour a day.
Just infuse it into your day, in and out.
Something calm and easy. That's what, to me, works because people will do that.
That's not daunting. That's actually fun to do. See your successes.
See your highlights. Start with that.
Then it's easy to think, okay, how am I going to fix this? How am I going to answer that question?

[1:00:01] So when you're working with these athletes, is it something you try to get them, whether it's the breathing, whether it's the smart talk, whether it's the daydreaming or these bites, these visual bites, is it something you try to get them to habitually practice

[1:00:19] so it just becomes part of their routine?
It becomes part of their default for preparing for performance?
Preparing for performance?
I like that you ask that because I actually don't get them to do it habitually all the time.
I love it when people find something. I like to expose them to all these things and sort of the process of how to do it.
Now, you pick your own. What works for you? What do you like?
Because a lot of it for anybody is going to be automatic.
I want people to zone Going in on their tough moments, the tough spots, things that, you know, ooh, I've got to be ready for when that question is asked or, you know, when my slides go, you know, I can't find the right slide, whatever it is. Sure.
So I want people to be ready, but I don't expect them or even want them to think they have to do this, you know, for a chunk of time every day.

[1:01:16] But I do like them to think about infusing bits and pieces into their training, into their practice, into their preparation, for sure.
But it doesn't overtake anything. It's just having something in their back pocket to coach themselves to when they need it.
And again, you have to have a plan to be able to do that. And it should fit on a post-it note.
I don't want anything long. I want something short and concise, something to think about before the event maybe a daydream that helps you that makes you feel calm and comfortable go over your performance cues so you've got those in your head and and have two performance cues say picked out for if it really does go sideways and you are starting to you know you walk into those those uh 12 interviewers what am i going to do how am i going to behave what am am I going to say to myself?
Have those ready to go? Off you go.
No, I really like that idea because, I mean, as you said, as a PhD going into London, you know, looking for funds, you know, and you have 12 suits there.

[1:02:27] I didn't expect it, you see, I didn't expect it. I wasn't ready.
No, no. But I guess that is to, for the unknown, for the uncertain, you know, to default to dials in your book or your recommendations, Dana, having a small post-it note. Because that's easy.
You can just stick it there in front of the table as you're about to give a presentation or you're about to give a talk or whatever it is or have a hard discussion with someone.

[1:02:54] But because I really like that because what it does, because emotionally we might get sucked into the vortex of the intensity of the moment.
But when I look down at that post-it note, it becomes a physical reminder.
Check in with yourself. Dial in. Sorry. Dial in, Jason.
Become self-aware. Show self-compassion. Focus on the action.
That's what I hear yes and you know your question earlier about self-compassion this is all about like this process and what we're talking about is all about nourishing your mental health your mental wellness if you can identify what gets in the way and have a a better route out or how to a way to manage it you're going to do a better job you're going to feel more satisfied it is one of of the best ways to stay on top of your mental health because if you feel good about what you're doing or better that's a great way to feel nourished and deal with your wellness as opposed to just oh here we go again i hope it works that's no good in the dark right yeah yeah and you know with that with that post-it note plan it really helps because even if you don't have the opportunity to have it in front of you, if you've taken the time to write it down, okay, you see it, it's a lot easier to remember, and then in that moment you think, oh, what's on that page?
What's on that little note? You can go right to the highlights.

[1:04:19] Brilliant. I like that. I have a couple of last questions for you.
I'm very respectful of your time, Dana.
I was just wondering, sort of book is launched in January 2024 and you've written it and I guess it takes a year or 15 months to put something like this project together and such.
Is there anything you wish you could include now, now that you've had some time to reflect on the book and the whole sojourn of getting it out there and seeing it in the bookshelves and such and thinking, oh, damn, I wish I had included that.
No, but what I really want to do and what this process allowed me to start thinking about is how do I now put this together so that young people in schools, adolescents, kids can get this information early.
I want young kids to have this.
I want them to know how to manage their pressure moments early, because, again, we can all look back and think when you're 10, 12, 15, we all had pressure moments.
And wouldn't it be nice to know how to handle that teacher, that coach, that coach?

[1:05:32] Student that exam that tryout wouldn't it be nice to at least have a way to deal with oh emotions anger upset sadness it would be nice to have something to actually do to help us along the way again you know i i think that's not everything but it's a help no no but i think that's a very interesting insight you know considering the kids that were in the lockdown for two years in that time when they need to socialize to build confidence, what have you.
Well, no, I get it. You're right. Confidence, feeling good about themselves. Yeah.
And it's almost like taking what you've written in that book that is towards working professionals and athletes and such, but you can almost see it becoming, you know, written in a different way, but with the same material in it, as a manual for school kids, you know, To find that sense of equanimity, to find that sense of resilience, to buffer themselves, to show up thinking, okay, so what? Who cares?
To move through things, to have a little more of a thicker skin.
That's just my personal insight when you mentioned that.

[1:06:49] No, it's very true because I really want, it sounds like you feel the same.
I want people to be able to coach themselves, count on themselves, rely on themselves, not always sort of push the bad feelings or the concerns outward.

[1:07:05] No, we've got, we've all got some inner resilience, some more than others, but we can all deal with the anxieties a little bit better.
That's what I'd love to see. I think that's a brilliant place to end this conversation.
It's been a fascinating conversation. My last question to you is, is there anything else you would like to leave with our listeners today, Dana? Yes.
Learn to shift when you drift.

[1:07:34] Learn how to do it quickly. It doesn't take long.
You can do it. Give it a go. Pick one skill out of the four and try it. You'll be happy.
Well, Dr. Dana Sinclair, thank you very much. Dana, thank you very much for being on the show.
I will make sure the dialed in and all the links to this brilliant book.
And I highly recommend I don't dog your PDF files, but I definitely did highlight them. So I love that.
Thank you. I appreciate it, Jason. That's very good of you. You're more than welcome.

[1:08:06] Music.

[1:08:12] As we close out this fascinating interview with Dr.
Dana Sinclair, we venture deep into the realms of performance psychology, extracting valuable insights on honing one's performance skills, the indispensability of self-evaluation, and the nurturing role of self-compassion.
Dr. Sinclair underscored the primary importance of focusing on action over emotions, fundamental approach to performance that pivots on what must be done rather than how one feels about it now this practical orientation emphasizes the significance of being task oriented and grounded in the moment essential for peak performance now a critical aspect discussed was the process of self-evaluation post-performance which dr.
Sinclair deemed essential for any type of improvement she advocated for a structured approach rating the performance on a scale from 1 to 10, followed by an introspective questioning about what went well, what could have been done better, and what specific areas require improvement.
Such reflective practice not only fosters growth, but also cultivates a mindset geared towards continuous learning and development.
Now, moreover, the conversation highlighted the importance of self-compassion, a concept that introduces kindness and understanding towards ourselves, especially in the face of challenges, fears, pressures, and anxieties.

[1:09:33] Dr. Sinclair pointed out that self-compassion involves striving for attainable goals, thus averting the pitfalls of perfectionism, which she identifies as a significant performance derailer.
Now, integrating skills like breathing, smart talk, and self-compassion forms a robust foundation for not only facing challenges, but also for personal growth and achievement.
A fascinating part of our discussion also revolved around the use of visualization as a potent tool to enhance performance.
Dr. Sinclair described visualization as the mental rehearsal of desired outcomes, an immersive practice that tricks the brain into perceiving perceived scenarios as real.
This process helps in creating a cognitive blueprint for actions, instilling a sense of certainty and preparedness.

[1:10:21] Now, visualization, according to Dr. Sinclair, serves as a practice without actual performance, which offers a unique avenue for skill enhancement.
Now, as we wrap up this episode, Dr.
Sinclair shed a lot of light on the multifaceted nature of performance psychology, providing us with practical strategies for overcoming mental barriers to performance, from the foundational focus on action through the critical process of self-evaluation to the nurturing practice of self-compassion and visualizations.
You know, pretty much Dr.
Sinclair's insights offer us a comprehensive roadmap for any one of us looking to elevate our performance in whatever field.
And folks, I highly, highly recommend picking up Dana's book, Dialed In, Do Your Best When It Matters Most.
I will leave all the links links directly to the book in the show notes.
It's a brilliant read, and it will help anyone in any area of performance.
And a personal thank you to you, Dana, from me to you. I really appreciate the time and the sharing of your knowledge and your expertise.

[1:11:26] It's always a pleasure to have some of your caliber and experience on the show. So thank you very much.
Well, folks, here we are at the finishing line of yet another brilliant episode.
And not because of me, but because of my guests.
I would like to thank you for showing up and allowing me to be part of your week.
If you can take a moment, if you have the podcast app open right now, perhaps you could just spend 30 seconds by dropping in, leaving a comment and a rating.
It helps me significantly to spread the word of this podcast.
And that's not always an easy thing to do.
Well, folks, if you need to reach out, if you have any comments or feedback, please leave it. I'm always interested in hearing what you guys have to say well until the next time we continue this conversation which will be next Monday keep well.

[1:12:13] Music.

Introduction to It's an Inside Job podcast
Dr. Sinclair's Daunting Endeavor
Unpacking Self-Talk and Smart Talk
Insights on Performance Challenges and Solutions
Performance Cues and Success in the Moment
Self-Evaluation in Post-Performance Analysis
Role of Visualization and Mental Rehearsal
Habitual Practices for Performance Preparation
Unexpected Pressure Moments and Preparation
Insights on Performance Psychology and Self-Improvement