Now, bear with me. This article may clearly have a footy focus but it’s just as applicable to other contexts that you find yourself in.

Let me take you back to my 4th year in Primary School. For all the years that I could remember Red (my school House colour) was the but-end of everyone’s jokes in the football stakes: always losing in the early rounds; never making the final let alone winning. The football gods, though, had shone their light on us that year for Red got another player who could play football (he had recently joined the school and was put in Red House). Now, at last, there were two of us who could kick a ball; we had a chance… The gods must have liked us especially that year (either that or they were fed up with us losing!) because Blue, who were always beating us, were drawn against Yellow and somehow Yellow won! In the semi-final, to cut a long story short, we beat Green (they were no mugs either) and so it was Red vs Yellow for the Football House Trophy, 1978.

Now, what’s all this got to do with the title of this article? Well, I scored a goal to give us a 1-0 lead and then we got a penalty; I was the penalty taker. I knew that if we scored we would surely go on and win. However, I chose not to think about what was at stake; rather, just take the penalty like I’ve taken every other penalty. I used the same mindset that has served me so well on all the other occasions (in the back garden or in other tournament finals) that I’ve kicked a ball in front of a goal. What happened? I’ll tell you later…

England face the prospect of a penalty shootout on Sunday if the scores are tied at the end of the match; indeed, every knockout game that they or anyone else plays that ends in a draw at full-time goes to penalties. You would think, therefore, that England should be well versed in succeeding in penalty shootouts. Sadly, nothing can be further from the truth. Just ask Batty, Gerrard, Waddle and Pearce (although Pearce made amends in Euro 96). Matt Le Tissier, the former talisman for Southampton, scored 47 out of the 48 penalties that he took. Was he impressed with his achievement? No, not really: he simply expected to score. People would say to him, “What about the pressure? It’s all resting on you! What happens if you miss? All those fans are watching you, Matt!” His answer simply was that he expected to score.

The biggest thing was getting every possible negative thought out of your head and that is what I was good at.

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Actually, all of us can remove unwanted thoughts from our heads; remove the self-generated pressure (the only pressure there is that which is caused by gravity: we’ve allowed all the rest to affect us: we gave it permission).

I know that when I’ve focussed on all the negativity of an event the problem I am facing just gets bigger and the more likely I am to fail. Le Tissier simply refused to allow those thoughts to remain and so banished them. He believed in his ability. And we all have ability. That’s why you’re so good at the job you do and why you were chosen to do it by the way.

For the more mortals among us, though, there is so much that we can do to put us in the mindset of Matt Le Tissier or whoever you want if football’s not your thing. At Powerchange we have Powerbubbles™. A state of mind (condition, if you will) that we can choose to adopt. Within that Powerbubble™ are all the conditions that you want – and none that you don’t. That might be determination, peace, clarity, energy, focus or anything else for that matter that your creative mind wants there. To reiterate, only what you want is in your Powerbubble™. It’s such an effective technique and I have used this on countless occasions. Sometimes, I’ve put someone else’s attributes in my Powerbubble™ and used those strengths in the situation that I faced. After all, if someone else can do it, I can do it. I might not have their skill and prowess and do it as well as them but I can have their mindset. If you want to know more about Powerbubbles™ contact me.

Also, recognising what’s inside us that is causing unnecessary pressure will also help. Questions that are useful to ask include: “Have I experienced this before?” and “What happened?” Invariably, underlying experiences shape the present situations that we face. Recognising and dealing with those experiences is half way to winning the battle.

Whether it’s a penalty shootout, an important meeting, a deadline to meet or indeed anything you know you can do focus on the fact that you are just going to do it anyway like you’ve always done. For me, it was just another penalty to take. It didn’t matter that it was the final. The Powerchange™ bubble I was in (as best I knew at eleven years old!) was the same one I was in every time I took a penalty in the back garden with my mates. For you, the important meeting, the deadline or whatever the event, is just another thing that you can do. So, go and just do it.

Oh, and yes, I scored the penalty.

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