I have been following different court reporters around the country on Twitter, and the main topic this week was “hoping and praying” to pass the RPR, CRR, and CMR on Saturday. I hope everyone passed. I did say a quick prayer, as I promised, for one of my Twitter pals.
What impressed me the most about the Tweets was the effort, energy, and dedication reporters are putting into making themselves better. There were Tweets about getting home in time to get an hour of practice in on the machine after a day’s work. Some court reporters wrote about being nervous that they would be nervous during the test.
The types of people attracted to our profession are perfectionists and achievers. (I have stopped using the term “overachiever” because I believe the phrase is somewhat demeaning. If a person achieves something that is great, it is because they chose to put the time and energy into that achievement.)
Perfectionists and achievers have a tendency to put a lot of pressure on themselves, are many times very critical of not being good enough, and sometimes these personality types can be their own worst enemy. Negative thinking about not being good enough takes a lot of energy with thoughts going round and round in your head until the thoughts take over, pushing out logical thinking.
The successful test taker, I believe, is able to harness the wonderful attributes of being a perfectionist/achiever and force the thoughts to shift. Many of us have a tendency to slip into old thought patterns. They are oddly comforting, especially when you are tired and worried about an upcoming event, such as a speed test. Because this personality type is also typically very disciplined, I know with practice and true intent, the thoughts can shift to knowing you are going to pass the test and that the words will flow through your fingers. You can trust yourself that you will practice and do what it takes to have the skillset to pass.
It is the nerves that need to be controlled.
Believe me, I have been there. Here are a couple of tricks I use to pass speed tests:
- I use my thighs to push the machine up into my fingers so my shaking fingers are forced to write the words. I basically bring the machine to the fingers rather than the fingers to the machine. I do the same thing today when I am writing a really fast talker in a deposition. It reminds me of a typical sports stance when you bend your knees to get your center of gravity working for you so you are standing strong ready to hit the ball.
- I have taught myself to be in a fog (literally) with a blank mind staring, focusing on a spot on the carpet or the wall. When I am in that foggy state, I am incredibly relaxed and focused. There is no shaking. I believe it is what athletes talk about when they are “in the zone.” This trick I often use during fast and furious depositions. It is one of my favorite states of being.
One of my goals in life is to keep forcing the negative thoughts from going round and round in my head. I figure I might as well face the fact I will always do what needs to be done to pass “tests.” The ultimate trick is to harness those thoughts and shift them to excitement about the future, rather than fear about what might happen.
I hope all of my Twitter friends passed the different NCRA www.NCRAonline.org tests this week. It is all so exciting.