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How you can avoid falling at the final hurdle to give the performance of your life!

When the game plan goes to pot

I came across an article recently about the psychology of choking – or to put it another way - when someone loses their nerve. This is the essence of performance psychology and is widely studied in the world of sport but is relevant to so many other areas where we’re ‘performing’, such as job interviews, public speaking, or presentations. What makes our endeavours a success but equally, what can stand in our way?

Most often, the problem is not the ability – you’ve no doubt mastered the skill or technique after many many hours of practise; the problem is nerve – you’re in the moment and although you might have honed your skills and you’ve the knowledge to get through it, your mindset causes you to falter and perhaps, to put it nicely, you blow it.

We have seen examples of this in the world of sport. Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle missed their spot-kicks during the Italian World Cup in 1990, meaning...

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Why allowing the green-eyed monster to get the better of you, stops you being the best you can be

The grass is always greener

My two eldest have mobile phones and after a few months of being given them, my husband and I allowed them to have a profile on a social media platform. I ensure we have regular conversations about e-safety, boundaries such as no phones at the table, switching phones off when they go to bed, family time with no devices etc. We also talk about the upsides and the downsides of social media – how it can raise awareness of social issues, help people connect if they feel isolated and it can enhance learning by getting knowledge from renowned experts and professionals. However, it’s also understanding that just because something is on social media, it isn’t always factual, that people can be keyboard warriors and that very often, we see people’s enhanced highlights but rarely the behind the scenes reality.

I once read an article in The Guardian on the topic of social media and how envy is created around everyone’s seemingly perfect...

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Why realising we can change our self-image if we want to, means we can take our life in any direction we choose to.

Apart from a few propensities we’re born with, a lot of what we’re like as children is down to the influences around us – our parents, family, teachers and friends, as well as the images we see in the media which we either try to relate or aspire to. You often hear parents say: “He’s so forgetful,” or “She’s such a serious little thing, always so responsible,” it’s as if children are being pre-conditioned before they’ve even had a chance to make their own mind up.

With these descriptions permeating the child’s subconscious mind, they’re being defined as a ‘type’ of person, so it’s no wonder they gravitate towards behaviour which reinforces this image of them – it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You hear people saying: “I’m hopeless at planning anything,” or “People say I don’t know how to have fun, I do, it’s just that I always seem to be the...

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Why taking responsibility for the part you play in a relationship, means your sanity stays intact

Same place, different map

An interesting thing happened recently which illustrated personal responsibility, values, Mental Maps, Beachball and all manner of other Winning Edge concepts.

There’s a furniture shop recommended to me by a friend, which is not far from where I live. They sell sofas which are in the main, from an online retailer which is expensive and for good reason. This shop however, sells these sofas at a significantly discounted price but the turnaround is pretty quick; if you see a sofa you like, it’s best not to dilly dally in your decision-making because it’s unlikely to be there the next week.

We’ve been back and forth several times, seen two sofas we like, couldn’t decide there and then and learnt our lesson. We have bought some dining table chairs from there though, so I considered ourselves valued customers. Clearly, we’re not.

The last time we went to the shop, we were looking at bar stools and my daughters were trying them...

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Thinking about change in a positive light, means we see the opportunities available to us

Change is as good as a rest

My husband recently showed me a clip from the film Jabberwocky – a 70’s British fantasy comedy film, co-written and directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Michael Palin. The clip I watched showed a backhanded working practice to which Palin’s character suggested a shortcut, to help improve efficiency. Absolute chaos ensued when a small tiny part of the process was changed and the whole workplace fell into disarray. It’s worth watching the clip – it had me in hysterics!

I mused that many workplaces view change like this – ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ – keep on keeping on because it all works as it is and if you try to change it, surely it will all go to pot. I know I have worked in some organisations over the years who have this attitude - they have cumbersome work practices and processes which have been the same way for years and there’s the attitude that if it works, why change...

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Don’t always trust the SatNav because there’s always the chance you’ll go off-piste.

Play it again Sam

Chi-chi Nwanoku has a very interesting story as to how she became an internationally renowned double bass player.

Nwanoku, the eldest of five siblings from hardworking Nigerian and Irish parents, fell in love with playing music at an early age. At seven years old, whilst round a neighbour’s house, Nwanoku heard someone playing the Boogie Woogie 12-bar blues and insisted she be taught the song. Every day she’d return to play until in the end, the neighbours wheeled the instrument to Nwanoku’s house and said she could have it as a gift. Clearly her talent, dedication and determination were obvious, and Nwanoku’s dedicated parents worked overtime to pay for piano lessons.

Chi-chi Nwanoku’s talents didn’t end there. At the age of 8, she was spotted by an athletics coach and started training as a 100-metre sprinter. She describes the feeling of running fast as being ‘free as a bird’. And Nwanoku was fast. She excelled in...

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Why we’re all inherently selfish (but that doesn’t mean bad news for everyone else)

You don’t bring me flowers (except when it’s 14th February)

Apparently, February is the month of lurve… Personally, I am a real humbug when it comes to Valentines Day. I don’t see why we need a specific date to remind us that we need to tell people how much we love them. Why do we not show this love and affection to our loved ones all the year round? Are they not worthy of this? And if your significant other needs a special date as a reminder to tell you how much they love you, does it not rather take the shine off – because you know they’re only doing it because they’ve had a massive prod from Clinton Cards/supermarket displays/Funky Pigeon.com/Interflora and all other retailers who capitalise on the fact there’s a special day to say ‘ps I love you’.

I like to think I give thought to and make the time to show my appreciation and love to my family and friends all year round (I sound such a goody two shoes and obviously my...

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The three choices you have over the challenges you face

Which camp are you in?

There’s uproar in my village. The new village hall, which is seven years in the making, has had it’s opening date put back yet again. It’s a long, protracted story which I won’t bore you with, needless to say, everyone is feeling rather frustrated that the builder involved is stringing us along.

There are many who feel frustrated and disappointed but who keep their grumbles to themselves, because they know there’s a hardworking committee who’ve been doing their best to get things moving. No one wants to finger point because they themselves wouldn’t want to volunteer for the role, so they therefore feel it’s not their place to criticise.

Unfortunately, not everyone takes this view. There are a group of people in the village who will moan at any given opportunity about the slow progress, how awful the developer is and ‘what on earth are the committee doing to allow this to go on?’.

Three ways to think...

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Five game-changing steps to becoming emotionally resilient

With a little help from my friends

A friend of mine has been missing since 9th January. We don’t know why he left and hasn’t come back home. He is an ex-Royal Marine so whilst we have comfort in knowing he’s trained to be resourceful and can look after himself, the flip side means he knows how to stay off grid. Perhaps he just wants some time away and this might be why we’ve heard nothing from him for over two weeks now. There’s been no phone activity, nor bank cards used. Or, have we not heard from him because he needs help, because mentally he's not in a good place? For our own self-preservation, we are sticking with the former rather than the latter.

I am letting the search for him become all consuming; I am taking the lead with the Facebook charge and feel the need to thank everyone personally who is sharing my posts – and there are 100s who are kindly doing this. The method in my madness - if I thank these people and then need to post another...

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Why your dancing shoes don’t always make you happy

Dancing the Do-si-do

Have you ever noticed that in general, we British are pretty bad at either taking a compliment or at fending off sniping remarks by negative people? We do what the Winning Edge calls the ‘Justification Dance.’ It’s a funny concept really when you think about it, this notion that for some reason it’s necessary for us to justify our success or good points as well as to feel the need to justify our actions and choices, should someone disagree with them, judge them, or maybe have nothing better to do than make a throwaway negative comment.

What’s your favourite move?

There are two types of justification dance: firstly, to avoid the “embarrassment” of success and the feeling your good fortune somehow disadvantages others, we often counter generous remarks from positive people who are recognising and genuinely praising our achievements, by answering in a self-deprecating manner. Whilst this is very humble and noble, your...

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