“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32
In 2012, the New York Giants’ future seemed destined to end without a post-season berth. They were 7-7 and drowning in penalties, sloppy play, and low morale. After a particularly awful game, the next night the players attended chapel. There high school teacher, Gian Paul Gonzalez, spoke to them about being all in. According to Gonzalez, when playing poker and you feel confident in your hand, you go all in. Being all in became their rallying cry to action, and a call for each member of the organization to re-evaluate their commitment to success. Gonzalez challenged them to be their best selves. The Giants’ team players successfully went on to win the Super Bowl. When you know you have a winning hand, you don’t hesitate to take the risk. That’s the feeling leaders should inspire in those around them and in themselves whether they can clearly see the winning hand or not.
Throughout the course of our lives, we lose focus. At those times, we don’t present our best. That loss comes for a variety of reasons. For example, during the last few weeks, many have been tested by the throes of Mother Nature. Hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes have left many in our communities feeling harried. In these challenging moments, we have two choices—to present our best or not.
When we shift our energies from a negative focus, we reconnect to our goals. We can do so via mediation, helping others, and utilizing the team around us. When we do, we find success. We are able to rediscover inspiration and reignited spark. We must avoid being swept away in the sea of emotion that forces us to lose sight of the shore. Having a solid team to hold you accountable can help us remain tethered to our being our best.
One of the other ways we can remain focused is to train our brain to be focused on a singular task. According to David Rock, co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute, we should train our brain like a muscle. The ideal of multitasking has trained our brain to be unfocused. To train our brains to focus, we should start by spending small chunks of time concentrating on completing a singular task. Practice daily. If your mind wanders, redirect it back to the task at hand. Increase the time as you would when implementing a new workout regimen.
Another way to remain focused, in addition to brain exercises and mediation, is to pay attention to where you do your best work. According to Rock, most people do their best thinking when not in an office. So, pay attention to the location in which you are most focused. These are your touchstones, your focal points. Revisit these areas when you feel unconnected and need to reconnect to your goals.
When you feel unfocused or drifting from your goals, be an advocate for yourself. Seek out your team to help you reconnect and recommit. Getting the help you need when you need it is part of the success. That success can in turn, lead you to being your best. And, keep in mind, your team is generally well defined when you consider work, but in personal matters, your team can be advocates from a wide range of family, friends and even acquaintances that share a mutual concern or interest. Remember to accept your advocates and support from those unlikely sources so you can maintain your Power of Yes.
It is estimated that only 8% of the people who set resolutions at the beginning of the new year reach their goal. And, as you’ve probably heard dozens of times, most people have abandoned their resolutions by the end of February. While that may seem disheartening for many, most of these individuals may be able to receive better results with a slight change in the way they think and the way they speak to themselves.
What is Self-Talk?
Self-talk is exactly what it sounds like: talking to yourself. It may sound crazy but speaking to yourself, either aloud or mentally, in a positive way can have a significant impact on your everyday life.
Dr. Masaru Emoto conducted a study that can provide evidence of how positive self-talk can increase your overall quality of life. To perform the study, Dr. Emoto placed equal amounts of rice and water into two jars. One jar was marked happy, while the other is sad. Each day, he opened the happy jar and said: “thank you.” Then he would close the jar and open the sad container to which he yelled, “You idiot!”
Emoto did this over the span of 30 days. At the end of the month, what Emoto found was that the negative energy caused the rice water to become black and moldy. The water Emoto spoke to kindly, however, showed no signs of fermentation or mold.
Of course, your body is quite different from a jar of rice water, but the same is true. If you speak to yourself negatively day after day, your body will fill up with toxins that will prohibit you from living a happy, healthy life. On the other hand, speaking to yourself in a positive manner can do just the opposite. It can fill you with optimism, hope, and lead to better overall health.
You can use self-talk in many other areas of life as well, including those pesky resolutions. Using positive self-talk to reach your goals is simply about changing your mindset around a topic or goal. See how positive self-talk and changing the way you think can impact these common resolutions:
Twenty-one percent of those who set resolutions settle on the overall goal of losing weight. When you think about the idea of shedding some pounds, you don’t necessarily feel great about yourself. Most people are focusing on numbers like pounds, measurements, and even cardio times.
Instead of focusing on losing weight, consider switching your mental focus to getting healthy. Resolving to get healthy in the new year is more positive than simply losing weight. Instead of focusing on your weight, think about reaching a healthier you. Ask yourself how many times throughout the day you thought about yourself in a positive light, opposed to thinking about your weight or health negatively. Training your mind to think positively can make all the difference in your overall success.
Get Out of Debt
About 12% of those making resolutions in 2018 are making financial goals for the year. For many, this includes attempting to pay off massive amounts of debt. While being in debt may be overwhelming, using positive self-talk and changing your mindset can help reach your goals related to debt.
Instead of saying you want to get out of debt in 2018, consider telling yourself that you are striving to increase your cash flow throughout the year. Earning more cash will undoubtedly help you pay off the debt you have. You should also celebrate your progress. Don’t focus on thoughts like “I still have $20,000 to pay off.” Instead, switch your focus to your successes, like “I’ve paid off $500 of my debt.”
Fewer than 10% of resolution-makers resolve to de-clutter but many of them are likely thwarted because of the negativity their minds associated with the word this word and concept.
The prefix de means privation, removal, separation, negation, detract, descent and degrade. Clutter means a collection of things lying about in an untidy mass. Not exactly positive phraseology with the combination of the two.
If you have ever to clean a closet, garage, attic, the junk drawer…, it is easy to focus on the huge task at hand, become overwhelmed, and quit or procrastinate. Instead of focusing on the clutter, place your focus on getting more organized. When you are working on your things, celebrate small successes. For instance, many people would focus on how much work they have left to do. Change the way you think about it by placing your focus on what you have accomplished. “I have cleared almost half of the garage!” vs. “I still have half of the garage left to de-clutter.”
To change the way you think about yourself, your goals, and your abundance, you’ll need to address your current patterns. I can help! Schedule a confidential discussion to see how this process works. Contact me via email at [email protected] or schedule a call directly on my calendar.
Bridges are constructed to make connections. We make connections every day in our professional and private lives. As long as the beams and foundation of those bridges remain intact, we remain comfortable as we travel them daily. We grow to trust them. They’re familiar, thus we feel safe leaving them as they are.
When those proverbial bridges begin to break down or destabilize, they threaten our mental and emotional safety. We can clearly see the danger. We recognize it, and we know we must make a decision. Often times when making decisions, we become mired in the bog of indecision, unable to move forward. The larger the decision, the harder it is for us to put our car into drive. We’re parked on a bridge that’s failing us. Or we’re at the onset of a new road, and unable to select a path. Many of life’s natural situations can create this huge indecision: marriage, relocation, promotion.
Dan Caldwell, the co-founder and president of TapouT, said, “Burn the bridges behind you.” Once the bridge is burned, even if it is rebuilt, it’s never the same. While this may sound like a negative, it is in fact, an act of commitment. Think about how fully that speaks to your commitment once you’ve burned the bridge of the past interactions and entanglements.
Now you’re dedicated to the new path presented before you. That means you’re positioned to be the best. It means being the first on the field, the court, or in the cubicle, and the last to leave. By leaving those bridges behind, we build relationships, sometimes from existing ones and sometimes from new ones. We may need those new bridges to last a lifetime, like in marriage, or for the duration of a career. Regardless, we must possess the mental flexibility and the courage to pursue new goals and new paths fully. Practicing this art of burning bridges to create full commitment will manifest what we desire.
We discover new relationships and opportunities by being strategic. We must also be open to receiving them when they become available and patient when they are not. Mental flexibility begins when we make time. When we let go of our physical fears and frustrations, we can see the path, the one we’ve chosen, more clearly. Once we acknowledge that we are more than our material possessions, we expand into something greater. A practice of meditation and reflection can guide us to this place.
Dan Caldwell’s philosophy is what he calls, “No Plan B.” The idea is you attack your life without the idea of a safety net and burning the bridges behind you. By doing so, you are dedicated to the path or choice you’ve selected. Whether that be entrepreneurship or walking down the aisle, you are committed to seeing it through. In his words, “It doesn’t matter what your past was, your future is what you want to be.”
In reading this blog, does it make you think of your next journey? Find clarity and the ability to connect and commit by reaching out to me, AmyD, the Peak Performance Expert and Trainer.
In my last blog post, I discussed how your emotions impact your physical health. Your body is an entire system of thought, that communicates with itself so it can heal from illness and injury. Right now I’d like to shed more light on how mental awareness and long term meditation not only impact your brain, but also your mental and physical performance.
Studies reveal that meditation has an age-defying impact on the the brain. Those who commit to long-term meditation have more gray matter in the regions of their brain that are responsible for sensory perception, memory and decision-making. Older meditators, around 50 years old, had the same amount of gray matter in their cortex as 25-year-olds.
Whether you’re a professional athlete or a CEO, you can benefit from habitual meditation and awareness exercises, which not only strengthen your brain against the impacts of aging, but also increase your peak performance. Here’s how:
My clients who practice meditation and mental awareness report dramatic, positive changes in their perceptions. Through a disciplinary practice, they’ve cultivated a mindset that is clear, free from distraction, and responsive to changes in their environment. My professional athletes in particular have integrated mental awareness into their physical training regimen. The increased awareness of their surroundings allows them to anticipate their opponent’s next move with more precision than before. They know the drill. They can predict, with laser-like accuracy, when their opponent is interrupting the flow that they’ve established through their mental and physical rituals.
This altered state, called a “flow state” by experts, elevates them to a peak performance that gives them the ultimate advantage over their opponent.
Meditation inhibits chemicals like cortisol, which are associated with chronic stress. Stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine wreak havoc on our bodies, and keep our brains from sustaining that healthy gray matter so crucial to our mental focus and our memories. Chronic stress also creates a buildup of negative energy in our bodies which increase wear-and-tear. It’s why some professional athletes report being more injury prone when they’ve stopped meditating or practicing mental awareness.
Long term meditation can act as preventative for the harmful stress placed on the body. Discipline in the art of meditation and mental awareness allows you to react quickly and gracefully to everything around you. You begin to “think on your feet,” which prevents career-ruining injuries and promotes the holistic healing of your body, mind, and spirit.
If you’re in a career that requires you to be on top of your game, at all times and all places, meditation and mental conditioning is what puts you at a competitive advantage. Ask me about Peak Performance Mentoring that can catapult you to a place among the elites. Visit my contact page or email me at [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you!
What usually comes to mind when we think about addiction is the compulsive consumption of unhealthy substances like fatty food, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. While many of us take pride in avoiding these harmful habits, we rarely think about our mental addictions that can have the same debilitating impact on our mood, our personal and professional relationships, and our physical health.
Almost everyone I know has felt that obsessive urge, a persistent compulsion, to check our phones or laptops for the latest email or social media update. Some of us also struggle with peeling our eyes from our television or stepping away from our video games. In short, we as a society are fixated, addicted to anything with a screen.
What’s also shocking is that nearly everyone I’ve spoken to wishes they were less attached to their devices and more engaged with the world around them. The problem is that our digital devices actually serve an important purpose in our lives- connecting with others.
Fortunately, I am offering three ways you can gently unplug while still using technology for what’s it worth.
In my videos, I talk about the importance of setting boundaries so that you keep your mind focused on fulfilling your life’s highest calling. Thanks to technological advances, we are able to reach out to virtually everyone and anyone at any time, which makes respecting others’ boundaries very difficult. For the sake of your own peace and clarity, you must decrease others’ expectations that- through texting or social media messaging- you will always be available to them. Set a time during the day when you’re available to others, both personally and professionally, and times when you are not. If you get a text in the evening from a co-worker, explain that you’ll take care of it first thing in the morning. These boundaries are necessary if you’re to maintain a positive, balanced energy.
Stressed? Put Down the Gadgets
By not setting boundaries between yourself and the digital mediums through which everyone can contact you, you put yourself at risk of burning out. Workaholics and other people who push themselves to the brink of collapse, in both their professional and personal lives, can be successful… up to a point. They have yet to achieve the kind of long-term, sustainable, world-altering elite success that they were clearly meant for. To truly capitalize on all of your strengths, to be fully invested in long-term gain, you must know when to replenish your energy.
When you’re stressed out, anxious, frustrated or bored, put down the technology. Turn off the screens. Put your smart phone on sleep mode. Set aside time for deliberate rest, which will increase your physical and mental capacities when you’re ready to start up again. Mental clarity and focus is necessary to achieve the vision you have for your future, and you can only do that by taking a break from digital distractions.
Stop Using Technology To Multi-Task
Research has proven that no one is good at multi-tasking, no matter what people may say. Human beings are most productive when they’re mindfully focused on the challenge at hand, not having their attention pulled in different directions. Unfortunately, our computers, televisions, and especially our smart phones make it difficult for us to focus intently on one task without being driven to distraction. Those shiny screens are meant to draw our attention away from the possibilities of the here-and-now. Don’t let it happen.
To quote Nike, just do it. When you’ve set yourself up for accomplishing a goal, big or small, you must make a mental commitment to finish what you started. You can’t do that if you’re distracted by texts, social media updates, or clickbait. Take a moment to pause and reflect on the work you ought to be doing this very moment, whether it’s accomplishing a certain goal or simply being present in the world.
As the Peak Performance Expert, I can help you find new ways to mindfully approach your life so that your mind, body and spirit are all on the same team. Ask me how Peak Performance Mentoring or Team Peak Performance Training can help you re-focus your attention on your endgame – which is to be the very best you can be.