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Put your game face on for success

Last week there was a fascinating conversation between Michael Johnson and Dame Jessica Ennis on presence and the impact you make when you are at an event. The amusing thing is that Ennis admitted she had no idea that this had such an impact until she arrived at an event after having a baby; in other words she had no idea that putting on your game face for success was a winning attitude!

Dame Ennis is a gentle, friendly, generous personality, but of course these characteristics don’t win medals and as we well know, Ennis was an Olympic, European and World Gold medalist in the Heptathon. These are seven athletic events with some technical and some speed disciplines and being successful in this involve great skill, strength, hard work, luck (that you aren’t injured) and determination.

Commentators have mentioned Ennis’s ‘game face’ before; I suppose because they have interviewed her, and seen her lovely personality, they are aware of the contrast in her personality when she was competing. Yet it wasn’t something she was necessarily aware of.

After she had a break from the sport to have her son, she returned to compete in the 2015 World Championships. Her attitude was ‘let’s see how I get on; I am really looking forward to this’. But the other competitors were “Oh my goodness, Jess Ennis is back; I don’t have a chance!” But on this occasion she noticed how they responded to her! I guess on previous occasions she’d been so focused on her work, that she had not noticed their response, but FINALLY she recognised her legacy; her success in the past and their reverence to her that she knew this would help her.

We all have situations where we can change the perception people have of us, or at least influence their belief in us. The person who arrives at an event: meeting, conference etc who is always late and flustered is not going to be taken as seriously as someone who is organised, focused on the task and not distracted. Which person are you and how could you change other people’s perception of you and also your ability to be the best version of yourself in these situations?

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