What is our personal best? Who knows for certain? But one thing is for sure. You know when you feel good, and that means something! One theory that I’ve been considering for a while now suggests that in order to perform at our best tomorrow it is going to take more of us than ever before! Whether we’re preparing for a presentation, sitting for an examination, or aiming at exceeding targeted goals, our best simply isn’t what it used to be. Don’t take it personally.
Achieving optimal performance just isn’t what you think. It’s not about trying harder, putting in more hours, or even that you are more intelligent or talented than someone else. I will tell you that our personal best comes from getting to know ourselves very well and then using our natural talents and rhythms to our advantage. In a previous post, I called it Extreme Self-care or Perfecting Your Process. The better we can care for ourselves, the better we can perform. Yes, just like a race car. A highly tuned engine will ordinarily be more responsive and out-perform a car that is not tuned. Simple.
Today, change and competition have become such an important aspect of life, that we have now reached a point in history, which demands greater effort, just to meet yesterday’s standards. Consider your parents or grandparents. Unless they were a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, their professional success didn’t require the same education that is mandatory today. The same effort that has helped us to achieve in the past, is the same effort that will produce only mediocre results today.
Carol S. Pearson, author of the Hero Within, said “Virtually all of us understand that we are entering a time so challenging that qualities we once expected to find only in exceptional people now are required in everyone.”
It is a time for all to recognize and to champion our “inner resources.” Could we, ourselves be our best competitive advantage? We are more sophisticated now than ever. Just a decade, or so ago, the President of the United States made reference to “the nation’s journey.” Business texts reference leaders’ “heroic journeys.” Today’s Psychology provides therapy that encourages clients to accept the challenges that we have inherited, take up the struggle whatever it is, and create a life worth living. Flow.
Standing on the shoulders of giants, we can engage fully in our lives, for this is our path, warts and all. This is what life is all about. Allow ourselves to evolve, to grow, develop beyond our wildest dreams. These are really the only dreams worth striving for. They conjure up a mood that blends uncertainty with confidence. We cannot succeed alone, we must create a tribe. Your people will be influential, each one in their own way. The culmination of their influence creates the requisite space, the goo that makes life glide. That just feels good.
Imagine yourself just slightly missing your target and achieving mediocre results. How do you feel just imagining this? Now contrast this negative emotional image with a positively charged image of you throwing everything you’ve got into your next effort, in an attempt to, not merely meet expectations but to, join the ranks of those who have exceeded them. I’m not referring to gritting your teeth and putting pressure on yourself. I’m referring to consulting your Psychologist if needed, increasing your self-knowledge, learning more about some of your subtlest strengths and weaknesses, then consciously and deliberately displaying your strengths and avoiding your weaknesses. This is the nature of sports psychology. This is the 212-degree message.
At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam. And steam can power a locomotive.
This must become the image that you see in your mind. Increasing temperature by a single degree is sufficient to move a 130-ton locomotive. The smallest changes then can make all the difference in the world. Let yourself step up and really engage with the image of struggling to join those who have already made it. Let yourself enter “flow.”
Whatever your personal best means to you, I think this will help. This will push you to the top!