Tiger and his red shirt, Lebron lobbing chalk into the air, Rafa Nadal and his water bottles and Seb Vettel and his lucky coin in his F1 shoe – all quirky ‘pre-game’ rituals of athletes who at one point were unquestionably the best in the world at their chosen sport.
There is a reason the best professional athletes have pre-game rituals and superstitions. They work.
Why do they work? Firstly, let’s be realistic. It’s not magic, voodoo or karma. There, I said it. It’s about the benefit of the mental preparation and mindset elevation gained by ritualistically doing something that triggers a state of preparedness (or something like that).
For me, I do a couple of things that are pre-game when I am engaging in certain business activities (such as meeting prospective clients for the first time or late-stage interviewing potential new hires). One of them is a little bit odd and is my own little secret so I’ll keep it to myself. The other is not at all secret – I carry a pack of multi-colored pens with me. Even now, despite using a Microsoft Surface Book in meetings as an aide-memoire and note taking device – I still have a pack of multi-colored pens with me, it’s my ritual.
Off into the sidebar with an odd as hell fact: When I got married in 2011, I performed my secret pre-game ritual and I carried a pack of colored pens with me (in my inside pocket of my frock coat, no less) as I feel so strongly that it was necessary to ensure all my mental ju-ju was in place and guess what? All went well.