How to Mentally Rehearse for Any Challenge


Do you have a challenge coming up that you feel unsure about? An upcoming test, speech, presentation, performance, game, or interview? Here’s my experience of how I succeeded using a little impromptu mental rehearsal.

Every year my brothers, brother in law and I go on our annual Dude’s River Trip.We haul our camping gear to our favorite site on Lake Mohave, then hang out for a few days doing what guys do on all-guy’s camping trips. (I’ll spare you the details.) One thing we do is water ski.

I’m not the best water skier. Actually, I’m not very good. I don’t seem to be able to ski for long, and I’m always wiping out and getting gallons of water up my nose. I keep trying, though.

On a recent trip, the morning lake was still and smooth as glass, perfect for skiing. We decided that we would start skiing right off by pulling a guy up to skiing position while he was sitting on the beach, half in the water with his skis on, holding the tow rope.  Somehow I ended up being that guy.

I’d never seen it done before. I wasn’t really sure I could do it. If I wasn’t able to do it, I would never be able to live down the ridicule. Furthermore, once the guys in the boat hit the gas, if I didn’t get up, they wouldn’t be able to come back for me or get the rope to me because of the shallow water. I’d have to flounder around in the water with skis on trying to get a hold of the rope again. It could be a potentially embarrassing fiasco and my coolness was at stake. Get the picture?

I was just getting nervous when I realized that I have the magic mind power at my disposal. (Cue the inspirational music here..) I said to myself “I can do this, this is a piece of cake.”

I closed my eyes, and imagined exactly what I wanted to happen: I would get up on the skis the first time, ski like a master and let go of the rope only because it was getting boring. I kept saying to myself “I am an expert water skier.” I did this for about 5 minutes while the other guys got into the boat and fired it up.

“Ready?” they shouted. I nodded my head.

What happened next was exactly what I imagined would happen. I water skied for about 20 minutes on that beautiful desert lake, let the rope go, and floated peacefully in my life vest until I got back in the boat. My hair didn’t even get wet.

Every top notch performer in the fields of entertainment, sports, or business has used some type of mental preparation or mental rehearsal. They may have called it guided visualization or guided imagery, “getting in the zone”, “getting psyched up”, or they may have called it what it is: self hypnosis. Here in Los Angeles, it’s well known that Coach Phil Jackson has used meditation and hypnosis to turn the Lakers into winners.

Taking some time to prepare yourself mentally for the challenge ahead can positiviely affect your performance. You can use a daily routine  if you have some time leading up to the event, or you can do something quickly in the 5 or 10 minutes leading up to what you have to do. Obviously, the more prep the better. Of course,  the assumption is that you have also done the practical preparation needed, such as studying, practicing your game, etc.

Here are a few tips to get your mind prepared and ready to successfully take on your challenge.

Exchange negative language for positive language. What are you saying to yourself? If your self talk is something along the lines of “I am really going to suck”, well, you need to change that. Even if you don’t believe you can do well, start right away to “acting as if”  in the way you talk to others and yourself. Even “I will do the best that I can” is better than something negative.

Be clear about what result you desire. Maybe you’ll be happy just to get a C on that exam. Fine, decide that’s what you want. You want them to hire you after the interview? Make that your goal. Decide in advance what you want the outcome to be. Might just be that you’ll get through that speech without fainting or barfing. Whatever, write it down and hang it on your wall or mirror.

Create some positive affirmations. “I am calm, comfortable and confident while taking the test” (or playing the game, match, round, concert etc.) Or, “I am a scoring monster out on the field and no one can stop me!!”Start saying these out loud to yourself. Writing them down is even better.

Visualize the outcome. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. See how quickly you can get centered and calm. Imagine, pretend or see yourself in your mind’s eye performing the way you want to perform. This is the self hypnosis part. If you can’t visualize, then try to connect with how it would be, feel, smell, and sound, to be performing at your peak. Imagine people coming up to you and congratulating you, or opening the letter that says you scored high, or seeing your winning score posted on a board. This can take just a few minutes or up to a half hour, whatever you feel is best under the circumstance.

The mind likes what is known and familiar and moves towards it. The key to this type of mental preparation is to get your mind familiar with how you want it to be.

If you haven’t done this type of mental work before, than it might be hard to know how to get started. That’s where I come in: I’ll be your mind coach. Come in for a session to get the winners edge. Mention this post for $25 bucks off one session.

If you liked this post, please leave a comment and/or share it with your social networks.  

Specializing in your success,


Ted A. Moreno
Success Performance Coach
Certified Hypnotherapist
Photo by Skye Moorhead
7 replies
  1. Kyle
    Kyle says:

    Thanks Ted! I’ve used this at times golfing & it really makes a difference. I need to just practice it more so it becomes a regular way I do things, too many times I just live in the old programming. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Rebecca Booth
    Rebecca Booth says:

    Oh my goodness this could not have come at a better time I have taken the lead for doing a presentation for the Program group on Disabilites which is very important that it is bring other groups together to use the techonolgy to both enhance the members and the groups on which they serve. Through a few clicks I found myself connected the Co-founder of Webattract this company provides webinars for Companies of all sizes and he has agreed to help. I know this event will be a success without a doubt.

    Just found it interesting that as I prepare for this event a tips for transformation covers what is needed…. With every step taken to it’s full measure my shadow is larger and so is my determination to success… rb

  3. Teresa
    Teresa says:

    Hey Teddy, again this is great & very helpful. Maybe I can have lunch with you on Friday April 8th. I will be in the “City of the Roses” for a Chorus Singing competition Love, Aunt Teresa

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