Let me let you inside my head a little bit — into a dark place…
The last few months for me have been — admittedly — a little up and down. In hindsight, I think I might have some subconscious self-sabotage going on.
I’ve been working with incredible clients, on incredible projects.
And yet there’s something inside of me that’s constantly fighting. Making me not perform as well as I know I could on a day-to-day basis.
It’s something that happens to all of us.
Especially when we step up and play the game at levels well above average.
The natural inclination — for most folks — is to let this be our ceiling. That negative part of our subconscious says, “Well, you’re just not qualified to play at that level.” And we believe it. We get back down “in our place” and fight with our higher selves to just accept it.
But true high achievers recognize those negative thoughts. And choose not to believe them. Replacing them with thoughts that support playing the game at that level — or higher.
I could have told you this years ago, but recently I needed a little reminder…
So I picked back up some old motivation and mindset programs. And have been diving into them again.
Not just to help me manage what I DO on a daily basis, but how I FEEL.
Because I’ve recognized the biggest barrier I’ve had to DOING has been my FEELINGS.
When you’re not in the right physical, emotional, and mental place, your performance suffers. As much as you might WANT to do everything you have planned, it’s impossible to accomplish it.
And no matter what kind of positive feedback you have coming from others, there’s an inner funk that you just can’t shake.
This is a fact of life for achievement-minded entrepreneurs…
I’ve come to believe it’s a life-long journey.
We step onto the field of play. We know it’s going to challenge us. We know it’s going to knock us down. We know we’re going to get dirty. Bruised. Battered.
We know greater competitors than us have retreated from this field.
And yet, we choose to play. We choose to compete.
But then, we feel the pain. We feel the agony. We feel the suffering.
We wonder if we’re qualified to be there.
We fall back, and feel sorry for ourselves.
But this is when the real challenge comes.
Will we engage again? Will we re-enter the competition? Will we keep coming back, over and over, until we feel at home?
And then, will we seek out new fields of play, with even greater glories, and even greater competition to achieve it?
Not everyone is built for this level of success!
If you want comfort and quiet, you can find it. Even in entrepreneurship.
Think of the shopkeeper in a resort town. They own their own business. They are their own boss. They answer to nobody but their customers. They can come and go as they please. They write their own rules.
And yet, once they’ve built the shop they can enter maintenance mode. Enjoying life, and enjoying the freedom.
There are many other roles — in entrepreneurship, and in working for others — that provide at least some sense of calm, and security. Where you’re not consistently challenging yourself. Where every day is not another call to growth and greater achievement.
Unfortunately, I’m not wired for those opportunities.
And so I seek out ever-greater levels of challenge and opportunity.
Which means I need the constant reminder of what the kind of high-achievers who succeed on these fields and in these arenas are doing to stay in the game. To continue competing at higher and higher levels. To continue making a bigger and bigger contribution to and impact on the world and everyone they come in contact with.
It’s been in bringing myself back into this high-achiever place that I’ve recognized the 4 things high achievers do every minute of every day…
When top-level competitors are at their very best in terms of current performance and continual growth, this is what they’re doing…
- State management.
This is where I’ve fallen down the most in the last few months, and where I’ve been most focused on improvement.
Every moment, we find ourselves in certain states.
Physically we range from dog-tired to a bundle of unstoppable energy.
Emotionally we range from the darkest sense of worthlessness to infectious joy.
Mentally we range from a belief we’re incapable of dealing with the moment to “I know how to do this and I’m going to rock it.”
There are all sorts of external and internal triggers that drive our states. Everything from the weather to subconscious scripts we developed at a young age and that influence us today. Nutrition. Sleep. The media we consume.
The absolute highest of achievers become masters of their state. They focus on the physical, emotional, and mental states they need to be in to accomplish their goals, and find a way to stay in those states for as much of their lives as possible.
Does that mean they never get sad? No! They do, when appropriate. And then, they find a way to accept whatever it was that was making them sad, move beyond it, and move back into the best, most productive state for what they need to accomplish in that moment.
The same with any negative emotions. They have their place. And then, once they’ve served their purpose, we move past them into the best state for playing the game we want to play.
So — how do you change your state?
Well, the thing I’ve been reminded about is how much our mind, body, and emotions are all connected.
And the automatic thing most of us do is try to feel better from the inside out. But the connection goes both ways.
So things like intentional breathing, reciting a Mohamed Ali speech, saying affirmations, shouting at the top of our lungs, exercising, jumping up and down, and other things to get physically in the right state can pull our emotions and thoughts into the right state too.
No matter what though, the highest achievers are constantly monitoring and managing their states of being.
- Belief shaping.
What do you believe about the world? About your place in it? About the economy? About how politics will impact your business in the next 4 years? About the opportunities available to you, in light of your age, gender, skin color, or any other unchangeable aspect of who you are?
A well-known copywriter posted on Facebook the other day that your next 4 years is 100% dependent on YOU, and not who is elected.
I don’t actually think that’s true.
I think that there’s about 99% certainty that 99% of your next 4 years will be based on you.
But there’s a 1% chance that the election will steer something a really wonky 1% off-course, and it could totally screw with your life — or even make it horrible.
I’m not drawing parallels between any current politician and Nazis, but if you told Jews in Germany during the 1932 election that 100% of their next 4 years would be based on them and not who got elected… They would have rightly looked at you like you were crazy.
Outside forces DO have an ability to throw you off course. It’s unrealistic to believe they don’t.
And yet, the point this copywriter was making was valid. Most people give way too much power to outside forces in their lives.
The boss who’s a pain. The politicians who are stupid, arrogant, power-seeking narcissists. The jerk who cut you off in traffic. Your parents. Your spouse or partner. Your friends and family who doubt you — or pull you down because they think you’re “too successful.”
When you believe that these people somehow should have control over your day-to-day behavior and especially your destiny, it makes it impossible to really get in the zone and play the game.
There are limiting beliefs that will ruin your performance.
There are empowering beliefs that will help you play the game at the highest level.
True high performers are constantly checking their beliefs and how they’re impacting every moment. They’re always finding ways to supplant limiting beliefs with empowering ones.
Because they know that the only way you can get 100% performance is by making sure your personal beliefs are aligned in a way that supports that performance.
- Goals of contribution.
I initially wrote this as goals. But lots of people make lots of goals that don’t lead to high performance.
The folks that perform at the highest level consistently throughout their life — and who are in a constant state of movement toward higher and higher performance — set goals that are outside of themselves.
We can all say we want to become a millionaire. But that’s meaningless. And it won’t get you the result you want.
The universe doesn’t respond to self-centered desires in the same way it responds to desires linked to contribution.
I know it sounds woo-woo. I know it sounds a little “Law of Attraction.” But there’s a perfectly rational basis for it, too.
If you simply want to make $1 million dollars (or $1 billion — or whatever number), there’s no reason for that money to come to you.
But if you want to help 1 million people enjoy a safer, happier, more comfortable life and you do something that justifies at least $1 from each of them, you have $1 million.
If you want to help 4 clients make $5 million each, and you get a 5% cut of sales for your help, you just made 5% of $20 million, or $1 million.
There’s a lot of ways to get there, when you focus on giving to others.
Countless self-help and personal development gurus have said a version of this quote, which I turn to Zig Ziglar for exact wording on:
“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”
And then there’s the Peter Diamandis version:
“Want to become a billionaire? Then help a billion people.”
(Incidentally, common wisdom among people who will never get rich is that to make all that money, you have to take from others. In a capitalist system where consumers have choice of where to spend their money, and where not to, the opposite is actually true, and high-earners know it.)
High-achievers set goals of who they want to be a hero to, and how they’re going to do it. Then, they continue to focus on that goal in order to make it a reality.
- Course correction.
The last and perhaps most important thing high achievers are doing every minute of every day is course correction.
Remember when you first learned to drive a car?
You weren’t used to it. You knew, at some core level, that you needed to push the gas pedal and turn the steering wheel to go down the street.
But what looked easy from the passenger seat wasn’t so easy when it was your turn.
You pushed the gas too hard, and shot forward, squealing the wheels in the process. Then you over-corrected by slamming on the brakes.
Trying to maintain a straight line, you would drift too far into the left side of your lane, then too far to the right.
Through practice, you got better. Rather than abrupt course corrections, they became smoother.
If you’d pushed too hard on the gas, you were only maybe a couple miles per hour (or KPH) faster than you intended to be, and you simply let off.
Now it’s almost mindless to drive down the middle of the lane, but if you watch your hand it’s making little tiny adjustments almost every second to keep the car going straight.
The same thing happens with high achievers.
They set their big goals of contribution, and start working towards them. They get in the right state, and have adopted a solid core of beliefs.
Then, something goes wrong.
They’re forced to adjust. To get back on track. To get back in the middle of the lane they want to travel in.
In the beginning, these corrections can feel BIG.
As we go, they get smaller and smaller.
But all along, we’re constantly course-correcting to maintain the path we want to be on.
Then occasionally, we find ourselves driving on a really windy day. A particularly-strong gust blows us off course more than we’re used to.
But high achievers don’t accept that — nor do they let it force them into over-correcting. They simply regain control with the necessary course correction, and keep on driving down the road to their next breakthrough.
Practice these 4 things every day for yourself, and you’ll find yourself achieving more than you ever thought possible!
Manage your state for your best performance RIGHT NOW.
Manage your beliefs so you have the right mindset to achieve everything you want in life and more.
Create big goals of contribution so that you can get everything you want by helping others get what they want.
And be prepared for constant course correction, because that’s the only way to stay headed in the right direction.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,