I recommend that you put them into an order and focus on the top three.
Being self-critical and having high expectations is an important component when it comes to developing a winning mind-set. Whilst being critical of your performance is important, it is also important to know that today you are ‘good enough’ and tomorrow you can be even better.
It’s important to get to know your inner critic and become more familiar with the voice inside your head. Most people try to ignore it, only to find that it appears when they least expect it. It can cloud your judgement and create the mist. Just when you realized your goal and a strategy, you hear a voice say “Yeah but” or “What if”. It can create limiting beliefs and try to throw you off track. All top performers and entrepreneurs hear it, but what separates them is their ability to deal with it.
Ultimately it is a distorted version of you that you have created through the environment you have grown up in, it is your conscious self. The inner voice is often referred to as the ‘gremlins’ or a ‘bully’. I recommend that you give yours a name. Imagine what it looks like or draw an image of it on paper, try and make sense of it. You can also draw a positive image, identify with a friendly version, a positive advisor, maybe even how you see yourself in the future. This level of awareness is essential when working towards your goals. The voice will always be there so it may as well assist you in reaching your goals, rather than preventing you.
2. Stay in the Zone
The second principle and the area of performance that I am most often approached about is Stay in the Zone. Individuals and teams that perform at the highest level have the ability to manage their thoughts, feeling, emotions and behaviours, essentially they are able to ‘manage the mist’ when they are under pressure. Being in the zone will enhance your gravitas, how you resonate with people, it will increase your awareness, clarity of judgment, decision-making and the ability to manage risk effectively. It will also define you as a person and your level of mental toughness. There are moments in our life when we act irrationally and we later reflect on this experience wondering why it happened, sound familiar? It is simply a natural response to a perceived threat. The opportunity here is to rationalize the perceived threat and put it into perspective. The brain doesn’t differentiate from one threat to another and therefore reacts accordingly.
Another key factor when developing the ability to stay in the ‘zone’ is how you perceive a threat. The bigger the threat the more cortisol is released in the body. Cortisol is the hormone related to stress that helps protect you in danger but not necessarily useful for high performance. We will go into more detail in Part Three.
3. Have a Strategy
The third principle is Strategy. Top performing teams and individuals know what they are aiming for, they have a purpose and they know how to get there. They have what I refer to as their ‘House in Order’. Getting Your House in Order is a metaphor for creating a holistic strategy using a whole brain approach. It requires having a vision for the future, a plan and an appropriate set of behaviours for achieving your goals. Whether you’re leading a team or an individual wanting to improve your own performance, having a flexible and holistic strategy is absolutely crucial. Without a strategy you will fall short of achieving what you set out to do, you will be familiar with the adage “Fail to plan, plan to fail’. Avoid failure by applying the approach I share with you Part Four and you will go on to achieve more than you ever thought possible.