As England prepares to face Germany in the Euro 2020 knockout match tonight, I’m reminded of Henry Ford’s belief that “Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you’re probably right.” With recent head-to-head history on Germany’s side, the England players will need to silence any self-doubt and draw on their self-belief to secure their first tournament knockout-stage victory over Germany since 1966. As a commercial skills trainer and coach with more than 25 years’ experience helping people maximise their performance, here is my expert advice on how to develop a winning mindset that enables you to “think you can….”


Preparation is everything

Set yourself up for success by taking the time to identify your key skills and strengths. Silence your inner gremlin – that negative voice inside your head that tells you why you can’t achieve something – by finding evidence of when you successfully turned around a situation that seemed impossible at the time.  By preparing yourself mentally in this way, you are more likely to convince others that you are a force to be reckoned with. England manager Gareth Southgate highlights the importance of preparation saying, “We’ll have to play at our very best. We’ve got to be tactically well prepared, we’ve got to be physically well prepared and psychologically well prepared.”


Positivity delivers results

As humans we are hardwired to be more negative than positive – there is an evolutionary basis for this; it helps us survive threats and manage risk.  However, it also means that when circumstances don’t turn out like we’d hoped, it’s easy to fall into a downward spiral of negative thoughts. In extreme cases, people can start catastrophising by imagining worst-case scenarios. Emotionally resilient people on the other hand, have the ability to reframe negative thoughts into positive ones. Southgate displayed this optimism when he said, “It’s a great opportunity for this team to make some history and give people memories of England-Germany fixtures for the future, that are a little different to the ones they’ve been flooded with over the last days.”


Own your performance

The final step in developing a winning mindset is to own your performance. Being proud of yourself, your team and your work are powerful ingredients that drive success, whether it’s on the football pitch or in a meeting room. Don’t be tempted to put your success down to luck or being in the right place at the right time. Similarly, if you don’t achieve the outcome you’d hoped for, bounce back from the setback by taking the learnings and moving forward. Win or lose – your goal should be to find new ways to keep raising your game so you can achieve the extraordinary.


By preparing ahead, adopting a positive outlook and owning your performance, you will be well on your way to developing a winning mindset that sets you apart from the competition. All that remains is to wish the England team all the best and remind them of Muhammad Ali’s famous words, “Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.