The third block of Loehr and Schwartz’s High Performance Pyramid is building Mental Capacity.  Their training centers on the cognitive (or thinking) areas of focus, time management and positive thinking skills.  Focus refers to concentrating your energy on a specific goal.  The example most freight agents can identify with is cold-calling or prospecting for new customers by networking.  Anything that prevents your ability to focus drains your energy.  Although this may sound odd, researchers have determined that meditation increases focus among many other positive benefits that promote energy recovery.  If you can’t see yourself as someone who meditates for 15 minutes twice a day, just try this.  Nothing fancy, but just prior to a sales call, center yourself by taking ten deep belly breaths to calm your mind, counting backwards from ten to one before a call.

In terms of time management, we have already covered the importance of taking small breaks every 90-120 minutes.  Creating rituals for cold-calling that incorporate these small breaks can help freight agents keep their energy and motivation up.  Chris Curran, author of The Leap, once encouraged me to have a “Power Hour”.  I would psych myself up to continuously call new prospects or follow-up with potential customers for a one to two hour block of time.  Focus was also important here, because I would not let anything get in my way of achieving this goal for this set time frame.  I would then take a break to rest and recover.

Visualization of positive outcomes also comes into play here for cold-calling and sales calls.  Once you have quieted your mind, visualize the person on the other end of the phone or with whom you have your meeting being positive and receptive to your message.  Visualize yourself easily and successfully understanding his or her needs and communicating how your transportation brokerage can fulfill those needs.  Visualization is used by athletes all the time to increase positive energy and enhance performance.  When Olympic diver Laura Wilkinson broke her toes six months before the summer Olympics in Sydney, she spent hours of the day on the dive platform visualizing dive after dive after dive, because she could not enter the water.  When someone visualizes performing a physical activity, the brain actually fires off the neurons as if the body were doing the activity.  Wilkinson was able to win the gold in a huge upset with only a few weeks of physical practice due to visualization.  I tried this during my ski season, visualizing turn after turn while going up the chairlift, and it gave me the confidence and ability to tear up the steepest slopes on the way down.  By visualizing success, you create positive energy that helps you achieve actual results.

Creating a morning ritual to help you start each day on a positive note also helps improve performance.  Here is my morning ritual.  I personally start off with 15 minutes of meditation to improve my focus.  Then as Jeffrey Gittomer, author of Yes!Attitude, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers and many others advocates reading a few pages of a positive text every day.  I have recently been enjoying Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson.  As I am brushing my teeth, I read the pieces of paper I have tacked up to the inside of my mirror with positive messages about my life to ignite feelings of gratitude and appreciation.  Then I get on the elliptical machine for 35 minutes of fat-burning.  After 20 minutes of core strengthening for my back, I jump in the shower and am mentally ready to have a wonderful day!

What do you think a good morning ritual would be for you?

In my last blog of this series, I will address how the forth block of the High Performance Pyramid—Spiritual Capacity—can help freight agents increase their energy level and improve performance.

– By Cheryl Biron, President