"Scripts", A Powerful Tool to Maximize Your Confidence and Achieve Your Best.Feb 02, 2022
Self-talk is the most overlooked, but simple and highly effective mental skills tool available to high performers. My Peak Performance System includes two self-talk tools; mantras and scripts. Mantras are simple, easy to use and addressed in a previous article at this link. Scripts are slightly more complex and will be addressed in detail in this article.
What Is a Script?
A “script” is a simple, powerful, and integrative tool available to maximize your 2CPR (confidence, control, preparedness, and resoluteness) and help you achieve peak performance. The “script” incorporates self-talk, mindset management, mental toughness, goal setting, visualization, and meditation techniques.
A script is a simple game plan used to remind yourself of what you committed to, why you committed, how you intend to accomplish your task, and a “friction plan” to implement when doubt, fear, criticism, boredom, or other competing priorities threaten progress. The script results in an actionable plan directed toward a specific goal, task, challenge, or problem that creates positive thought patterns that subconsciously reinforce constructive behavior and core beliefs.
You can create a “script” for most anything you do, but the script is particularly useful with long term, difficult and important projects, or goals that you historically struggle with, avoid, require extreme commitment, or get lost in the day-to-day commotion of life.
The script is a two-part tool:
- Part 1 is the purpose: the “what, why, and how” of a task/goal. Don’t confuse this purpose statement with your “life’s purpose” previously discussed as part of “your personal compass”. Part 1 of the script should be congruent with your life’s purpose, but orients on a specific goal or task.
- Part 2 is the “friction plan”: a short narrative or mental routine to review when doubt and fear creep in, you receive stinging criticism, or you experience resistance, or a setback (all of which will happen). If you do not anticipate or plan for this friction, your effort and momentum maybe overcome and prevent you from completing your goal, task, or objective.
Let’s look at each in detail.
The “Script” Part 1: “The Purpose”
Part 1, the purpose (“what, why, and how”) of a task or goal is the cornerstone of success. When working a difficult undertaking, if you cannot quickly explain what you are doing, why you are doing it, and generally how you are going to accomplish the task, you may not have the level of clarity needed to persevere when conditions get extremely tough. Taking time to define what, why, and how adds clarity, focus, and meaning to your effort. The more clear and focused you become, the more likely you are to achieve success. Let’s look at each component in detail:
- Your “What”: defines what you committed to. Your “what” may be a 5K run, starting a business, completing your degree, or completing a professional development course. Define your task or goal clearly and succinctly. The “what” defines where you are going and helps focus your effort. If you don’t know where you are going, you likely won’t get there.
- Your “Why”: identifies the reason you committed to your goal or task and is the most important aspect of the script. Depending on your situation, defining the “why” may come very quickly or easily. Conversely, it can sometimes be challenging. Your “why” may change over time as you grow and gain experience. Your “why” must be convincing, enduring, and create resolve causing you to persevere regardless of situation. Your “why” should be intrinsically oriented and closely tied to your personal compass. Your “why” is the glue that holds your effort together when things really get tough. There will be days where you will think “F—this s---, I’m tired and I’m sleeping in today”. Your “why” must be so compelling and important that it propels you toward accomplishing your goal. An extrinsic and superficial “why” is unlikely to create the resolve necessary to endure the boredom of a long-term challenge. Below are examples applied to a weight loss goal:
- Intrinsic: I am committing to an exercise and nutrition program to improve my overall wellness, become more energetic, and increase my confidence so I can better experience life, achieve my potential, and most importantly, take care of those I love.
- Extrinsic: I want to lose 10 lbs. so I look good and because someone wants me to.
- Your “How”: becomes the basic plan that defines the macro steps you will take to achieve your goal. Your goal or task may require a detailed planning effort. As previously discussed, use your critical thinking skills to seek the best advice possible as you create your plan. For the purposes of this script, keep it simple. The intent is to create a short narrative you can quickly review on a recurring basis.
The “Script” Part 2: “Friction Plan”
The friction plan supplements Part 1 of the script and provides a short narrative, or mental routine, to review when you begin to doubt and lose focus of your goal. To some, this process may sound corny or ridiculous, but when given a legitimate attempt, you will find IT WORKS. The “Friction Plan” is a multi-step process:
Step 1, Control the Thought: when doubt creeps in, and it will at some point, the first step is to interrupt the negative thought. You cannot allow a negative thought to force you to spiral out of control. Remember, you have a purpose. You made a commitment. You committed for the right reason. You have a reasonable plan. You must immediately interrupt the negative thought and regain control of your thought process. How you interrupt the negative thought is important. Your approach must be abrupt, immediate, emphatic, forceful, and personal. To achieve this, I typically include a few 4-letter words to shock myself into regaining control of my thought process. Below are a few examples:
- “Stop, I’m not going here today.”
- “Hell no, not today, no ------ way.”
- “Enough, I’m better than this.”
Step 2, Review Recent Accomplishments: Quickly review previous accomplishments in support of, or something related to your effort. Constantly review and add to this list as you move toward achieving your goal. For example, if your goal is to run a 10K, your effort may have started by walking a half mile, then a mile, conducting a one-mile run/walk, running non-stop for a half mile, etc. Remember, you must start somewhere. It does not matter how small the initial or subsequent steps are. Just start somewhere, acknowledge your progress, and keep moving forward. Continue to update this list as you progress. Forward and consistent progress is the key.
Step 3, Create and Repeat a Mantra: Use your imagination. Personalize your effort using jingles, religious verses, four letter words, or whatever motivates you. When distracted by doubt, criticism, or fear, use your mantra to regain focus. Your mind can only think one thought at a time. During difficult times, your mantra will serve as a new focal point and allow you to regain focus after being distracted by doubt, criticism, or fear. It is impossible to think negatively when you bombard yourself with positivity. If applicable to your effort, use the same mantra previously discussed.
Step 4, Review your Plan: No need to create anything new. Use the same plan you created in part 1.
Step 5, Consider What Others Have Done: As previously mentioned, you are not the first to encounter your challenge. Others have successfully navigated your difficulties. Research, and find 2-3 motivating examples to use as a source of motivation to help propel you forward during difficult times. Your motivating example may be a family member or a prominent figure who overcame a similar struggle. Find an example that inspires, or ignites your inner fire to help you accomplish your goal.
Step 6, Create and Review a Vision: Create a mental image or vision of yourself as you successfully achieve your goal. Do not underestimate the importance and power of this step. There are countless examples of how people have successfully used this specific step to help them endure misery and achieve their goals. Your image or vision should be detailed and vivid. Include how you will respond and feel as you complete the goal. Remember, if you can envision success, you can achieve success.
Creating and Reviewing Your Script
Dedicate a block of time to create your script and pick a task or goal that is difficult, important, and maybe something you have been avoiding.
You may want to focus your first session on Part 1, only defining your “what, why, and how” of your effort. Once you are content with the purpose portion of the script, expand your effort and create your friction plan.
Don’t obsess with creating the perfect script, quickly record your thoughts for each component and move on. You are better off with a functional and imperfect script now, versus an eloquent and perfect version later. Be deliberate in your effort, but keep moving through the process. You do not want a dissertation. You want a short, succinct, and clear “game plan”.
Once created, the script becomes a versatile tool. You can review your entire script, or portions of it based on time available, or as specific needs arise. You can limit your review to part 1 only, or maybe part 2 as friction occurs. If a particular component resonates with your mood or needs, use it.
A complete review, especially early in your effort, requires more time and focused effort. I recommend you incorporate initial reviews of your script during planned and scheduled time blocks such as a daily meditation session, or recurring breaks. Initially your reviews may take a few minutes, but with repetition, your reviews will be smoother and require less time. As you begin, keep a notebook or tablet on-hand to record your thoughts or any changes. You will find portions to modify, delete, add, or condense.
Positive self-talk, including the use of “scripts” can be the most simple and effective tool available to help you achieve your best. If unmonitored or uncontrolled, it can also be destructive. The choice is yours.
To help, I’ve created a course designed to help you incorporate self-talk and scripts into your mental skills toolbox. To learn more about my course, visit this link.
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