Category Archives: performance

secrets of super-performers …

“Temperamentally anxious people can have a hard time staying motivated, period, because their intense focus on their worries distracts them from their goals.”
― Winifred Gallagher

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Are you a super-performer?   Do you want to be one of those who is able to do more, live more and experience more than others?

So what do these super-performers do that makes such a difference?   One thing they do is capture an idea and with intense focus that they that idea and do something with it.   Most people have an idea and think it is great and then do nothing with the idea, other than say, “I had a great idea …”.   The high performers do something with ideas.  They take a risk.  They focus and they execute.

What else does a super-performer do?   They enable their genius.   Everyone has the ability to be a genius and yet only a few enable that genius in them.   Instead of expecting instant results genius thinking involves time and focus.   Putting both time and energy into one idea equals genius.   This isn’t about having a high-IQ, it is about doing something with what you have.   Think of those who have had startling breakthroughs in their lives, what really was different.   They maniacally pushed through those that said, “you can’t do that.”, and did it.   They took their dream and pursued it.    They didn’t give up.

You knew that didn’t you.   Did you know that super-achievers spent time with the thought leaders they wanted to emulate?   Top performers spent time with those they wanted to be like.     They raised the bar of their own thinking by learning how those who have achieved great things thought.    In a sense our beliefs and actions are limited by those we associate with.  As we raise the bar, we raise the bar for those who surround us.    That isn’t as easy to do as the others, and that is one of the key differences between average performance and super performance.

Here’s a story of a peak performance.    What did you notice about the story?

be mindful

“Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.”
— Christian D. Larson

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Practice relaxing your mind so that you can be present to the world around you.

In the busyness of life it is easy to get caught in the maelstrom of noise that surrounds you.  Take time to step away from the noise and relax your mind.

Mindfulness or meditation can take just a few minutes of time each day.  As little as five minutes of meditation can restore energy, clear up negative thinking and improve decision-making.   When life is just too busy, stop, and take a break, your mind will appreciate creating a quiet space for you.

You can find out how to meditate here.

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breaking free

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“Autumn is the hardest season. The leaves are all falling, and they’re falling like they’re falling in love with the ground.” ― Andrea Gibson You can taste the fragrance of fall as leaves fill with color and float to the … Continue reading

the Zone

“You’re right in the work, you lose sense of time, you’re completely enraptured, you’re completely caught up in what you’re doing … there’s no future or past, it’s just an extended present in which you’re making meaning …”  Mark Strand

What does it mean to be in the “zone”?    For some it is a magical experience where time seems to stand still and the mind and body are fused in harmony.   Some would call it the perfect moment a synchronous dance between the external world and your internal world.   Athletes are in the zone when they are at their peak in terms of experience, this harmony, or flow, or being in the zone often produces great results.

The key ingredients to getting into the zone include:

1. A clear goal

2. Activity that provides feedback

3. A focus that becomes intense.

The idea is to achieve a balance between anxiety (fear of failure) and not being challenged enough (the goal is too easy).   Somewhere between failure and challenge is the zone, a zone of mental harmony and maximum results.

 Some athletes prepare to get into the zone by using visualization techniques.  

“We have all experienced times when, instead of being buffeted by anonymous forces, we do feel in control of our actions, masters of our own fate. On the rare occasions that it happens, we feel a sense of exhilaration”, writes Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi the author of the book, “Flow”.      Getting into that experience even for a short amount of time is a worthy experience.   Staying in that experience for a long period of time proves to be a challenge.   The zone is a space between challenge and ability and as the ability increases there is a shift out of the zone.   If the challenge increases without a corresponding increase in ability then there is too much tension to stay in the zone.

The zone is a place of harmony, appropriate challenge, the right frame of mind and sufficient capability to maintain the experience.

When have you been in the zone?

What was it like to be in the zone?

What kept you in the zone?

The zone is emphasized in sport, but what about other areas of life and how do you get into the zone?

 

reinvention … you … your organization …

“People who cannot invent and reinvent themselves must be content with borrowed postures, secondhand ideas, fitting in instead of standing out.’
Warren G. Bennis

Reinvent yourself.    There is no denying that the rate of change for organizations are changing fast, yet many of our processes and principles rely on methods that are old, very old in an age of exponential growth.

In many cases we are using principles and processes that were developed for the industrial age and many  of those processes are outdated.   Organizations are struggling to find their identity in a time of unprecedented change.  

The old ways are indeed the old ways.   New ways of thinking and acting are required today and certainly for the future.  Gary Hamel a leader in business thinking has some suggestions on how organizations need to change.

After looking at the model Gary Hamel explores, what do you think you need to do to keep pace in the world we live in today?  

1. Adaptability – new ideas, new methods, new processes are informing organizations and people on how to act and thrive in an ever changing world.  How adaptable are you?

2. Resilience – the ability to respond to events quickly and without becoming overly emotionally constrained.  When change occurs are you quick to respond or do you find yourself trapped in the past?

3. Outlook – what does your future look like, are you focused on the past or on what you can do today?

4. Social Intuition – I notice people their actions and emotions or people blend into the environment and I don’t notice them.   What do you notice about the people around you?   Are they visible and important or invisible and unimportant?

5. Being self-aware –  Who are you?   Do you really know the answer?  Are you open to finding out?

6. Attention –  I have the ability to put my energy into the right thing at the right time or my energy is scattered and little gets accomplished.   Where are you putting your attention?

 Organizations implement processes that support their key goals.  Anyone who is a part of an organization needs to have personal processes that support their activity in that organization.   If you are finding yourself mimicking patterns of the past and struggling to adapt to the new organizational landscape then what things do you want to change so that you can contribute to a larger measure?

Reinvention isn’t something that others or organizations do, it is something you do to respond to fast change.   Practice being more adaptable, resilient, generating a positive outlook, being aware of others, being self-aware and putting your attention into the things that are the most important.  

Practice reinventing yourself.   Here take a look at what reinvention can do in organziations.

Joy – The responsibility equation

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”   Albert Ellis

Joy, what is it?

Is joy happiness?   Is joy the sustained sense of well-being that we experience when our needs are met and some of our wants are met?   Is joy a sense of contentment in the midst of all of life’s circumstances?

Some people would say that joy has no definition, it is a state of mind that defies description.   It is a feeling that is different for every person.    Let’s look at an example, two stewardesses on a plane with basically the same job, the same pay, the same circumstances and yet one is happy and the other is grumpy.    The conditions on the plane are the same for both stewardesses, yet one is happy and the other isn’t.   What is the difference?

Where does joy come from?    Does joy come from things outside of you?    Joy seems to be manufactured by the interpretation of the situation you  see yourself in right now.   If you find yourself being anxious, upset, worried, fretting, angry, or depressed about how things are in your life there will be little space for joy.   If you find yourself at peace with what you have and where you are in life right now then you’ll probably sense some joy and happiness.

The difference it seems between feeling joy and not having joy is about taking responsibility for joy.   If you take 100% responsibility for your life then you will start experiencing more joy in your life.   Responsibility means that you are doing all that you can to create the outcomes you want in life for you.   It means that you are giving more, you are more concerned with others than yourself.  It means that you give with the expectation of getting nothing in return.

For many people getting more stuff provides some level of increased happiness yet that only lasts a short amount of time.   Hedonic adaptation takes over and that new car, new home, new bike, new clothes, or new something only has a short impact on happiness.      So while new things provide momentary happiness that happiness dissolves within a relatively short amount of time and as a result there is an increased sense of dissatisfaction which increases the pressure to get a happiness fix.

The responsibility equation replaces those momentary happiness fixes with a sense of long-lasting joy.   That is taking 100% responsibility for all things, giving more and doing more.   Think about it, what would living the 100/0 equation do for you?

Take a look:

Intention

Before you agree to do anything that might add even the smallest amount of stress to your life, ask yourself: What is my truest intention? Give yourself time to let a yes resound within you. When it’s right, I guarantee that your entire body will feel it.   Oprah Winfrey, O Magazine

It is what gets you from point A to point B, intention.   It is a motivating and driving force that enables you to do and to be.   Everything that you do starts with with an idea.  The idea grows in size and power until there is action.   The natural growth of that idea into an energetic force is intention.

Intention to do.   Intention to be.   Intention is like a compass pointing you in a direction.    Attention that follows intention is what starts you on that journey to reach that goal.   The intention precedes attention to the goal.

Often what is needed to transform and idea or thought into intention is a catalyst.    Words can acts as catalysts,  words like “creativity”, “kindness”, “love”, “beauty”, “abundant”,  and “receptive”.

Take each word and expand the meaning of the word in terms of being a catalyst for doing and being.

Creativity

What can you create?    What idea can you take and add to it.    How is creativity like a flower?

 

 

Kindness

What does kindness look like to you?   What acts of kindness can you do today?  What does intentional kindness look like?    What does kindness feel like?

 

Love

What is the intention of love?   What does it take to be intentional about love?  What can you do to be intentional about love today?

 

 

Beauty

Observe.   Take some time out to discover beauty around you.   Just look and notice.   The act of being intentional about noticing beauty may be eye-opening.  What are you noticing?

Abundant

What does abundant mean to you?    Does it mean available?   Does it mean large in quantity?   Does it mean high in quality?   What is abundance?   Lack of want?  What do you have abundance of?    What are you desiring to be more abundant in your life?

Receptive

Open to something new.    How are you being receptive to your thoughts?   How are you looking at your thoughts in terms of creating more abundance, more love, more beauty, more kindness and more creativity?   Intention starts with your ability to receive into your life the very things that surround you today.   Use what you have to get what you want.   Use your creativity, use your kindness, use your love, use the beauty, use your abundant ideas to live with greater intention.

Listen to what Deepak Chopra has to say about intention.   What are you doing to be more intentional about your life?