How well are you performing? What area of your life, professionally or personally needs improving? Our results are based on our performance. Our performance is determined by the decisions we make and the actions we take.
Imagine you are in one of my workshops where you are learning how to improve your performance. You are asked to identify an item which you recognize as a basketball and you note, however, it is in a deflated state. Though the ball is without air, the fact remains it is a basketball. How effective is the ball? How well can it perform in the role it fills? The answers are typically quite obvious.
In a recent presentation on mental fitness to a business group, one of my points emphasized is that mental fitness, like physical fitness, is a choice. We get to choose how important fitness is to us and our level of commitment to support our claim. For example, the general manager of one of my corporate clients is a fitness trainer. This is something he enjoys and excels at in addition to his role at the organization. For many of us, his level of fitness; which he recognizes; is beyond the scope of being physically fit. Yet for him this is a way of life. In the realm of physical fitness how fit are you to maintain your health and live the lifestyle you desire? Regarding mental fitness on the other hand, how fit are you to perform in your roles and to achieve what’s important to you?
Using the basketball as a metaphor, are you inflated or deflated? Inflated can relate to your appearance, your health and how you feel. Inflation also, and more importantly, refers to performance. Your mindset or emotional state, which may initially be unknown, is eventually revealed in your action (or inaction) and therefore the results produced.
How many times have you had results you disliked and blamed or functioned as if it was the results fault? We did “x, y or z,” yet this stupid . . . . (fill in the blank). Our results are determined by the combination of our TWA (thoughts, words and actions) and we control the mixture we put together. Here’s the catch, even when you “think” your thoughts are out of your control that thought ends up becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy; such as this post seen on facebook, “I can’t change the way I think.” If it works for you, great, however in my experience that thinking only leads to ineffectiveness and an unfulfilled life.
Returning to the basketball comparison, its primary role is as a tool utilized in a basketball game. Let’s look at round one of the NBA playoffs, game six, between the Lakers and the Nuggets. This example will serve you even if you’re unfamiliar with the NBA or either team. Three of the Lakers top players are Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. Kobe played a phenomenal game six while the other two according to many reports suited up, showed up – physically, yet severely under performed. The result, Lakers lost leading to a game seven.
Many superstars have had a bad game, even a streak of low performances culminating in a slump. The key is to monitor your results and adjust before a sub-par way of functioning becomes your new norm. When we are convinced we’ve only known a particular way of functioning we more than likely have deceived ourselves. “We’ve always been this way” is a response based on our inability to be aware of the repetition we implemented as we established a pattern and ultimately developed a habit. Either route leaves us making excuses and getting in our own way of progress. We do this when we exclaim, “Why should I make changes?” as we often conclude no one else does or seems to care. Imagine if the basketball said, “Why should I be inflated?” or “Why should I work effectively with Kobe since no one else is performing well . . .” trust you too can hear how silly that sounds.
How does this apply to you? Are you performing to your potential or simply doing what it takes to get by (or the minimum required in a particular role)? What are you doing to continually improve yourself and your abilities? Unless you are consciously on the path of self-development you may be accepting less than what you are truly capable of as your best.
Though a challenge for some, or during certain moments of our lives, typically anybody can suit up and show up in most cases. Many of us do that when we go to work (whether in your own business or as an employee to someone else), visit family, network or connect at other social functions, or even attend church. How engaged with the task and people in the moment are you? What could you do to elevate your performance, even the slightest bit, in the roles of your life? What will you do? Your thoughts?