How to: Cultivate Effective Mindset Through Pre-Performance Rituals

Different people have different ways of maximizing their performance before the big moment: Beyonce says a prayer with her band; Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers meditates; Wade Boggs was known to eat a chicken before each of his games. These rituals may seem quirky, but there is hard science backing the efficacy of pre-performance behavior patterns. In 2007, Chris Lonsdale discovered that if professional basketball players deviated from their behavior patterns before taking a shot, they had a 12 percent less chance of putting it in the net. Now that’s worth taking a look at.

Does this mean that you should be like Wade Boggs and eat a chicken every time you have your next big sponsorship call? Well, no. Does this mean that you should consider adding pre-performance routines into your schedule before you have your big moments? Yes!

The truth is that you may already have pre-performance rituals you aren’t even aware of. In social psychology, these rituals would be called “norms.” Norms are essentially social rules that are often unspoken. Here are some great examples of norms when it comes to performance-related rituals:

“When we make a big sale, we celebrate with champagne”

“Before the big game, we say a prayer”

“When we are in agreement, we high five”

Here’s the thing: when it comes to your next big sales call, the team at ACG has some ideas on how to maximize your pre-performance rituals, and they are backed by science and years of experience.

Mindfulness exercises

Thanks to apps like Headspace and Calm, mindful meditation is now more popular than ever. However, many people do not understand the difference between mindfulness and meditation. Mindfulness can be simply defined as “present-centered, non-judgemental awareness,” while meditation is the act or process of sitting quietly with one’s thoughts—meaning a quick mindfulness exercise for you and your team can be cultivated in a variety of ways.

Here are some mindfulness practices we recommend:

  • Mindful breathing: This is the most basic and common mindfulness practice, and it can be done in just a minute or two. Learn more.
  • Mindful observation: As mindfulness becomes more popular each day, the access to mindfulness tools. The application “breathe” that comes with the apple watch is a great start, and it is largely focused on mindful observation. However, you don’t need an expensive watch to practice mindful observation. Just simply draw your full attention to something in nature, such as a tree blowing in the wind, if your office happens to have fish, just spend a couple minutes observing them with your undivided, non-judgemental attention. Learn more.  

Mindfulness takes practice, but when done correctly has been scientifically proven to increase sense of responsibility, authenticity, compassion, self-acceptance, self-regulation, current science is even suggesting that that regular mindful meditation practice can change the physical structure of the brain, as well as develop new neural pathways that can change how you think and observe everyday life. Curious in learning about how mindfulness can improve workplace performance at your organization? Shoot us an email.

“Checking in”

Mindset is an extremely important building block for positive personal and professional outcomes, as it affects both behavior and performance. Ask yourself this question: How often is your team working to check the mindset of its members before a big meeting? Getting context on the why and how of your team’s mindset can help alleviate stress by getting what needs to be said out there in the room; it can also increase performance and build trust.

How to check in:

This can be as simple as asking everyone how they are doing or having each member spend a minute thinking about what mindset they would like to create in order to maximize their performance during your next big meeting. This can be written in a journal later to be shared with the room, or simply vocalized at the end of a quick two-minute silent break.

Do you have any pre-performance rituals you would like to share with us? Are you looking to learn more about how mindfulness can cultivate an optimal mindset? Leave a comment or shoot us an email at!


 About the Author: 

Taylor Pile is a graduate student at Pepperdine University, working to earn his MS in Organizational Development. He is currently writing his thesis on the benefits of mindful interventions in organizations and has worked with ACG, Inc. since 2015 as a marketing and business development consultant.

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