Keys to High Level Performance

A trial lawyer  must prepare cases for trial, and at times go through trial. Success at trial requires performance under stress. This post is my stream of consciousness on performance at the highest level.

Prepare. First know the facts inside and out and know the law. Preparation is the foundation to successful performance. It is not the brightest who prevails it is the hardest worker. The lawyer who spends the time to internalize the facts and the law is the lawyer  who has the highest likelihood  of success. Put simply out work the opponent.

Trust Yourself. After thoroughly preparing trust yourself. Here it is essential to recognize you are ready to go. You know what you want to accomplish. You know you are able to get it done at a high level. Like all successful athletes and actors believe in yourself. This self belief results in confidence.

Accept Inability to Control Result. Recognize  the only thing you have control over is yourself. You have the ability to put the time in for preparation. You have the ability to methodically go about the trial or task. You do not have the ability to control the result. And the result may be bad. This must be realized and accepted. Doing this has a psychological or subconscious effect of allowing relaxation and performance without the stress of having to win. This in turn allows performance to take place in the present where natural talent and instinct  emerge to allow high level performance.

Visualize High Level Performance. Successful athletes and actors visualize the play before it happens. Often this is as simple as remembering past success and calling on the thought process that occurred. This is an imaginary dress rehearsal. When the event happens the successful athlete or actor is psychologically ready for high level performance.

Remember Peaks and Valleys. The great coach John Wooden wrote a note to Rick Neuheisel when Neuheisal started as head football coach at UCLA. The note included the statement  “there will be peaks and valleys.” Great coaches remember the peaks and forget the valleys. No quality athlete or actor dwells on past failures. They forget about the past failure and move on. This is what a trial lawyer must do.

Simplicity is Beauty. Remember to keep  presentation simple. When in doubt remember the rule “less is more.” Lawyers tend to talk too much and complicate the picture. This risks confusion with the  jury. Confusion with the jury is the darling of the defense lawyer’s nursery. Tell the jury what you want and why it matters. Once this is done move on.

Never Give Up. Remember there will be bad trial times and even bad trial days. This is similar to “peaks and valleys.” The key is to never quit on yourself. The key is to continue to move ahead at the highest level possible. Remember you cannot control the outcome but you can control giving your best effort. Giving your best effort means living in the present at your highest level until the end.

    4 Responses to “Keys to High Level Performance”

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