Getting Over Yourself

February 18, 2014

Charlie White stays in the moment and gets the Gold!


If you’ve been following the Olympics, perhaps you’ve seen clips of Charlie White and Meryl Davis from early on in their skating careers. One shows Charlie just outside his hockey game with an reporter asking him which he liked best–ice skating performance or hockey? His answer is classic: whichever one he was doing at the time. I’d imagine that Meryl and Charlie both were totally in the moment on that Gold medal performance.

Someone once asked the pianist Vladimir Horowitz what was the most important thing his father-in-law, the conductor Arturo Toscani, ever did. His answer was, “Whatever he was doing at the moment, whether he was conducting a symphony or peeling an orange.”

These athletes are conditioned, prepared, strong, and it often comes down to their focus. One of the men skaters fluffed a jump that came right before a total change in tempo and attitude in the music. I think it’s quite possible he let himself anticipate what was coming and didn’t stay with the jump he was making.

You have the power to stay in the moment when you’re speaking, and the outcome will be much like it is for the athletes in terms of your accomplishing your goal. You have more chances to fix problems that come up by your losing your focus, and you may go on to win the “gold,” but you’re better off to keep working on not being distracted by who’s in the audience, or what could happen to your job, or whether or not you’re going to remember some piece of information.

You will do your best–and probably shine–if you stay with how your message benefits your listeners. Stay in the moment.

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