Preparing for Success

Recently, I ran a workshop on the theme of “Preparing for the Workplace” with a group of graduates on the Fastlaners programme, an employability programme for graduates seeking employment.  This workshop was in context of the old adage “to fail to prepare is to prepare to fail”.  This is true on two levels:  

  • Practical preparation for example planning your journey, checking out your new boss on Linked In.
  • Mental preparation for example intention setting and understanding other points of view.

Mental preparation is the one we are least practised at.  It only needs to take a few minutes.  but it can give you that extra confidence boost and the edge over your competitors. Here are two ways to prepare yourself mentally for any situation, be it a new job, an important meeting, a romantic date, a job interview or a presentation.

1. Set Your Intention

Intention setting is fantastic preparation to give you a good start mentally. Your intentions will assist you in taking greater control of the situation you are going to face. A working definition for intention is: “to have in mind a purpose or plan, to direct the mind, to aim.” Lacking intention, we sometimes stray without meaning or direction. When you set an intention and then act on it to demonstrate your commitment, amazing things occur.

4 steps to intention setting

Buy a notebook and take some time to set out your intention for your new situation you are about to face.

  1. Get clear about what you want to make happen and how you want to be

For example for a new job “to establish an excellent reputation for my work, make strong relationships with my colleagues and to enjoy my time at work by setting boundaries around work life balance”.


  1. Share your intention with someone in a way that will supportively hold you accountable to taking action.

This could be a trusted friend or family member or your coach.


  1. 3.     Do something today to demonstrate your commitment to your intention.

For example, sign up for a course/new hobby/sports team after work so that you won’t get into the habit of working late.


  1. 4.     Acknowledge that you did what you said you would and then, take the next step.

By setting an intention, you make it clear to yourself and others, just what you plan to do.



2. Understanding Other Points of View

Successful people enjoy the flexibility of being able to see the world in different ways. They take multiple perspectives, enabling them to explore new ideas.

Think about the person you are meeting for your new job or a meeting coming up with someone difficult or with someone with whom you want to influence or gain credibility with or just get something out of.

One way you can feel confident that you are going get what you want out of the meeting is to distinguish at least 3 different points of view.

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) calls these perceptual positions. It’s like looking at a building from all angles – coming in the front door, moving round to the back door and then looking down with a bird’s eye view from a helicopter overhead.

Try out these perceptual positions in relation to a difficult conversation with a family member, a presentation at work, a meeting, a contract negotiation, a romantic date, a sensitive discussion with a partner or friend, how you relate to your boss or colleague at work, dealing with difficult clients and prepare for success:

First position is your own natural perspective where you are fully aware of what you feel & think regardless of others around you.

What is your goal?


What is important about that meeting/job interview/presentation/romantic date?


What kind of strategy are you going to use?


What are you going to pay attention to?



Second position is about shifting into someone else’s shoes – imagining what it is like for them, so physically shift positions and now imagine you are them and answer as if you are this other person

What is your goal?


What is important about this meeting job interview/presentation/romantic date?


What kind of strategy are you going to use?


What are you going to pay attention to?



Third position involves taking an independent position where you act as a detached observer noticing what is happening. (Review what’s going on)

What are the chances of success of them both achieving their goal? As your own coach what would you suggest get them to do for a better result.


Back to first position – is that going to work?


How put it into practice?


What is the first step?


Taking time to set your intention and having mastery of all 3 perspectives puts you in a wise place to prepare for success and enjoy life to the full.


Written by Fiona Biggins – Career Coach

We run courses “Preparing for Business Enterprise” and “Exploring Business Enterprise” accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).

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