Don’t get crazy. I’m a bit of a “Swifty,” too. But a 60 minutes story featuring an interview with Taylor along with a real backstage video during a live concert revealed a few interesting tidbits. Using those insights from a great performer will help you improve every aspect of your life. Big promise, I know. Hear me out.
During the concert being filmed, Swift revealed, unknowingly, a few really glaring opportunities for improvement. And that’s saying something given that she is clearly a world class performer.
One special moment in the concert occurs after a fairly long costume change. Taylor – in the new costume, climbs onto a platform under the stage with a hydraulic mechanism. At the right moment, a trapdoor opens on the stage, the catapult fires and she is propelled into the air seeming to pop up from nowhere – catapulted a few feet above the stage before she actually comes back to earth landing on a solid surface. (A much tamer version – but somewhat similar – to the old circus act of the human cannonball.
I can see how that kind of jump in the middle of a performance – kind of hurried, breathing hard after running from the dressing room and all – could produce some anxiety, right? But, check this out…
It’s what she says to the camera just before she’s propelled up to the stage that really tells the tale. Taylor say, “Gosh, every time I do this I’m afraid I’m going to break a leg.”
In Earl Nightingale’s classic recording, “The Strangest Secret,” he reveals a universal truth: “We become what we think about most of the time.” Thus Taylor reveals a few rare chinks in her incredible performance armor.
Consider her statement and the timing of it. When she is poised to perform what could be a dangerous appearance on stage, her main thought is she might get seriously hurt. She puts herself in the precarious position of possibly drawing a dangerous outcome to her reality in the exact moment she needs her highest confidence.
My first suggestion to Ms. Swift, and to you and me, is to never allow the thought of a bad outcome into your head. I’ve found that bad things will arrive on their own time schedule. Bad things need no encouragement, invitations, or advance interest and curiosity. Do you get that? Do you agree?
So first, we banish negative and self-talk positively. Try, “Gosh, every single time I do this I simply nail the jump/pop/landing. I have the best equipment build just for me, It calibrated for what and want to do…and I nail it every time.” Better self-talk? You bet.
Here’s another strategy: try physical and mental perfect practice. You’ve certainly heard the phrase, “Practice makes perfect?” Hogwash. Perfect practice makes perfect!
So, if Ms. Swift really meant what she said, she could engage in som e perfect practice. There’s scientific evidence to suggest that you can master a skill (or jump) within 10,000 hours. I wouldn’t suggest that anybody should spend 10,000 hours jumping onto a stage. I would suggest, maybe, a hundred practice jumps. The resst could be mental rehearsal.
The mind can’t tell an actual experience from a vividly imagined one. So, if I was going to perform an acrobatic entrance like Taylor, I’d sure spend time imaging and mentally “feeling” my perfect jump for at least hundreds of times.
Sometimes even the best of us has to practice. As the head of sponsorship for an NBA team, I was responsible for renewing our agreement with our soft drink sponsor. From year 5 of their current agreement to year 1 of the next one, we were proposing a 100% increase. Wow. When I first reviewed the presentation for my boss, I stumbled over the verbalization of the investment level…I could hardly say the number.
So, I practiced saying it out loud over and over. I mentally imagined saying it smoothly in the presentation. In the actual meeting, it all went well and we came away with the largest soft drink sponsorship agreement in league history. Perfect practice will help you win. Try it.