The Power of Anticipation
As I look back on my career, it seems that everything I’ve done has involved intense preparation to create a powerful experience. In the theatre, we’d rehearse tirelessly, completely immersed in the world-of-the-play, until we brought it to life in front of a sold-out crowd on opening night. When I ran my events business, it was the same thing – a tremendous amount of planning and preparation went into making sure that every detail was just right for a critical client event, or holiday party, or global company meeting. And now, with OnStage Leadership, the push to bring the perfect group of people together coupled with the intensity required to create a memorable and lasting learning experience, ensures that life is never boring.
(It didn’t occur to me until I sat down to write this that I may have a bit of an adrenaline-thing going on….)
It seems I’ve lived a great deal of my professional life in anticipation – how sweet it is!
Yes, anticipation is a great excitement-and-motivation-generator, but I’ve found it to also be an incredibly useful focus tool. As when we’re anticipating something, we can almost see it and feel it. It comes to life in our minds.
Now the power of visualization has been discussed by thousands of writers and subject matter experts, and while many may cringe and think, “Oh, that stuff is too woo-woo for me.” In Harvard Business Review’s High Performance Management, they laud neuroscientists who have proven that, “… visualization can literally reprogram the neural circuitry of the brain, directly improving performance.” And then they go on to give numerous examples of visualization paving the way to success. If HBR is advocating for it, perhaps it’s time to try on some of that ‘woo-woo’ stuff, eh?
What I’ve noticed works for me is to marry anticipation with visualization, as I walk through the experience in my mind in the shoes of the people attending. I think about the impact I want each moment to bring. I anticipate how they might be feeling. What might they do? What elements might be missing from creating the experience I want them to have?
But you don’t need to be throwing a big splashy event, or doing a big production, to put anticipation to work. If you can anticipate your conversations, how might that make a difference? Simply put yourself in the someone’s shoes. How do you want them to feel? What do you want them to do? What can you do during your conversation to ensure they experience you, and your exchange, the way you want them to? Try it. It works.
With your direct reports.
With your clients.
With your kids.
So tomorrow morning, I’ll be up at 4am. Anticipating tomorrow’s OnStage Leadership session and visualizing the impact I want it to have. Moment to moment. For each person attending.
To make it possible to bring my best self to each moment.
Because you see, great performance doesn’t happen by accident.
©OnStage Leadership, 2014 (revised from post originally posted December, 2013)
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