The other day I was at Mariano Rivera's house chatting with him, when I asked: “How do you do it? How are you so calm and collected in the big games?”
Mo said that to him, there are no "big games." He said they're all the same.
Mo doesn’t pitch as if one situation is more pressurized than any other. He keeps every game – every pitch – the same size in his mind. That way he can be himself, no matter the scenario. He’s most effective when he pitches within himself.
In order to stay in himself, Mo said that he does three key things:
1. Quiets the noise. (Block out the distractions from his mind.)
2. Slows everything down.
3. Throws one pitch at a time.
I think this is great advice for all of us.
Sometimes we get nervous or anxious before “big” meetings, “big” presentations, “big” interviews.
The trouble is, thinking of something as very significant or “big” tends to throw us off our game a little bit. We stop acting like ourselves, and when we’re not ourselves, we can’t be our best selves.
No one interview or presentation is bigger than any other. They’re all part of a whole; none is really more important than the rest.
When you're doing something that's big - can you make it the right size?
When you’re going into a “big” meeting, can you slow things down and stick to your MVP List? (Your most Valuable Priorities List)
In the end, you are who you are. You can't let the "size" of the moment change who you are.
I'm not saying don't be prepared. I'm saying you have to be yourself. That should be your first and primary goal in your "big" games.
That’s the only way to throw your best pitch.
(By the way: I'm very excited, because later this week, I'm going to post a podcast with Derek Jeter, the Yankees captain!)