All things are created twice. There’s a
mental or first creation and a physical
or second creation to all things
Dr Stephen Covey
Before you perform on the day (however you define
performance) first imagine yourself doing it.
To perform effectively you have to rehearse that performance, at
least in your mind. This is closely aligned with the value of
preparation, albeit here we are talking of mental preparation.
One aspect of this is what Olympic athletes frequently call
‘visualisation’. They will imagine themselves running the race
and winning. They will imagine receiving the gold medal at the
The practice of visualisation, rehearsal and practice should
apply to both long- and short-term goals and especially what is
going to happen today and even in the next hour. How can you
perform effectively (and thus fulfil your career ambition) unless
you create a mental image of the steps you need to take daily?
When agendas become too full you risk rushing from one
meeting to another without any prior thought about what to
accomplish next. The day then becomes dominated by reactive
responses as opposed to carefully thought-out proactive
initiatives. Preparation and rehearsal are key factors in
differentiating between those people who are wanted by
organisations and those who are merely doers and reactors but
hardly thinkers. It involves thinking through every activity you
are about to undertake.
For example, before writing this chapter I rehearsed in my
mind the key points I wanted to make and how the chapter
wa nte d
Create Everything Twice
would unfold. Inevitably when it
came to the actual activity there was a
degree of improvisation as new ideas
sprang to mind – but overall I
undertook a mental rehearsal of what
I wanted to write.
The same should apply to any presentation you make to a senior
team or statements you make at an interview relating to your
next career move. When I was in mid-career I would often
rehearse aloud at home presentations to the board or speak
aloud in rehearsing my interview. Some of my family members
thought I was barmy but such rehearsal enhanced the prospects
of achieving what I wanted.
Whilst there is obviously merit in spontaneity and
extemporisation such ad-libbing and impromptu responses are
limited as forces for shaping the future. Rehearsal and
preparation go a long way to ensuring progress in your career.
You will come across as an assured person in command of your
words. This will reassure decision makers that you give a lot of
thought to what you say. You will be much wanted as a result.
PRA C T I CA L TI P S
Keep in mind pictures of your overall goals, day by day and
month by month, and then visualise the steps you will take
to achieve each goal.
Take a look at your schedule for next week, pick out the most
important meeting and rehearse in your mind your
approach to it.
Remember the old saying, ‘Practice makes perfect’. Practise
everything in your mind first. This is ‘mental rehearsal’.
Always give yourself a few minutes before any major
meeting or interview to reflect upon your previous
‘rehearsal’ and what you want to achieve.
preparation go a
long way to shaping
the future you want