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How to prepare for a Young Talent Award

How to prepare for a Young Talent Award

“I would like to thank my mom, my dad, my brother, my boyfriend, my bestie Ashley, and everyone else, as they are the ones responsible for this performance” is probably what I’ll say when I receive the Young Talent Award. Just kidding! Last week I had the honor to participate in the assessment and selection day of the Dutch Female Young Talent Award 2018, as I am one of the nominees. It was a long and exciting day. How did I prepare to shine on the big day? I am sharing with you today!

Planning my way to peak performance

The first thing I did was search on older blog posts on CAREERLIONS.COM to refresh my memory of planning towards a peak performance (having an archive like this comes in handy much more than you’d think). I defined my peak day – September 4th – and backward engineered the steps I had to take towards that moment. During the peak day, I would have to answer jury questions (to which I had to submit answers beforehand) and participate in a group assignment with the other nominees. Steps I included: coaching sessions with the coach assigned from my company, re-reading results from personality and team role tests (like 16personalities and Insights), creating a vision board, formulating a storyline, shopping for the right outfit, cut out bad foods (as I did not want to risk that carb loading brain fog), and blocking out the weekend prior to the assessment day to chill (and getting my hair done).

Vision board the day

A way I like to prepare for big events or performances is by doing so in a vision board. From outfit to mental state and which version I wanted to present of myself, I try to make this in a visual collage. A tool I like to use with this is PureRef. https://www.pureref.com/ After I make a vision board, I know what the look and outfit are I am going for, I have a clear vision of the mental state I like to be in and use this in my daily meditation and visualization.

Telling my sticky story

In line with the vision board, I aligned my answers to the jury questions. Seeing as I have only one day and one assessment to present myself (and make it stick!) and my story. For this, I like to re-assess Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. In their book, they explain the SUCCESS framework for making stories stick. In a nutshell, the SUCCESS checklist can be explained as follows:

  • Simple – Keep things as simple as possible, get to the core in a compact matter.
  • Unexpected – The writing variety of the element of surprise.
  • Concrete – Use clear and concrete descriptions.
  • Credible – Don’t overhype and go overboard.
  • Emotional – Playing with emotions always keeps people on the edge of their seat.
  • Stories – Formulate strong storylines.
  • What Sticks – Applying all of the above

My engineering background should supply sufficient unexpected and sticky stories in an all-female environment.

In the end, the most important thing is to show up with the best version of yourself and remember to enjoy the day, as that will help you to shine brightly. But I definitely was able to enjoy it more as I could rely upon my preparation. Now I am curious to know how you plan your peak performance! Share your tools and tactics in the comments below!

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