Clear the Mechanism

After sitting silent for 60 minutes, his three words silenced the 20 others in the room: “Clear the mechanism.”

“Tell me more about that!”

“My pitching coach used to tell us that, that before every pitch, clear the mechanism. [Get your mind right].”


I was facilitating a group conversation around our mentality before we enter difficult conversations. What’s our state of mind? Are we in the right frame of mind to have the tough conversation with our employee, colleague, wife, boss, etc?

Next, what do we need to do to get grounded, centered and ready to have that game changing conversation, make the shot, or deliver the perfect pitch?

Mind the Apps

Mindfulness and meditation do not require living in a monastery, reading Autobiography of a Yogi, or even an app. Meditation is an all encompassing term: For some it’s surfing, for others soccer, and others it might be writing.

No matter what the practice looks like, science is catching up to what Yogis and Zen Monks have known for thousands of years: Meditation is medicine.

Consider it this way:

Pretend your thoughts are Apps, and your mind is the Operating System. Meditation can help close all the apps and help us return to a clear desktop. Closing apps, and clearing the desktop is a practice. It’s to:

“Clear the mechanism”

Taking the care to implement a clearing of the mechanism is a practice of mindfulness. Do it before each pitch. Do it before the tough conversation. Take a breath before opening the door to enter the meeting.

Sometimes we wait until we’re deep into our conversations, or down 20 points in the game to clear our mechanism. In soccer, when a team gets an early goal on us, I yell out to our team, “Restart.” Forget about it.

A Multiple Times Daily Practice

Clearing the mechanism via meditation, brisk walks, and a state-changing set of 30 pushups has been a catalyst to creativity and productivity in my own life.

It’s great to remember to get clear only when the going gets tough, but it’s far more difficult and easier to forget when the tough gets going.

Is it really that difficult to take a few breaths before moving onto the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing? No. But, implementing this practice is where we often fail.

Clear the mechanism, and practice daily, because prating our pitch, so to speak, and getting control of our mental operating system, is key to execution.

As the NAVY SEALs say:

“you don’t ever rise to the occasion, you sink to your level of training.”

Where do you sink to when battle begins? 

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