How does ritual show up in your work day?

Do you have a routine, a ritual you go through to prepare you to sit down and write a report, make a sales presentation or interview a candidate? Do you perform certain specific activities before you get in front of a group for a presentation?

Most of us have a routine for certain parts of our day; we may have certain activities around getting ready in the morning to go to work, this may be defined as “ritual” since you perform the same activities in the same order every day. However, this is not what I am referring to.

I am interested in the preparation around activities we use to enhance performance or prepare for action.

This preparation is performed in a mindful manner, with specific intent and we do not deviate from it. It seems they are very deliberate, have been time tested and serve us well. For example, I noticed Tony Robbins has a very specific set of physical activities he performs before he goes on stage, the exact same motions in the exact same order to focus him and pump him up for his high energy presentations. Athletes have very visible examples of this reliance on repetitive motions and processes to clear the mind, bring them in the moment and into action.

Why do we have rituals?

Rituals associated to performance seem to have several positive effects: they focus the mind, make us present in body, trigger muscle memory and calm our emotions. I have observed they help us manage anxiety about an activity and give us a sense that we can control some aspects of what may feel mostly out of our control.

Some are funny and ridiculous, yet very effective! It’s best not to judge our actions in preparation for peak performance. I need to go outside and walk to clear my head before I can write or make important phone calls and presentations. My ritual is a brisk walk, at times I have asked myself: do I have time for the walk? Am I stalling and procrastinating?

The acceptance and honoring of the process will create positive outcomes.

If at the end of the ritual and preparation, there is peak performance, we have achieved success and reinforced the fact that our preparation rituals are productive and positive. I took a 15-minute walk to prepare to sit and write this blog!

What gets you ready for peak performance?