Practice One: Know Who Needs Your A Game
To help you tap into both the internal and the external demands of necessity, they this simple practice. Set a “desk trigger” for yourself. From now on, whenever you sit down at your desk – that’s the trigger action – ask: “Who needs me on my A game the most right now?”
Butt hits chair; then you ask and answer the question.
You have to put yourself in situations that make you good. Fortunately, research has clearly outline exactly what will help you find those challenging and immersive experiences. This popular concept in positive psychology is know as flow. According to Mihay Csiksgentmihalyi, flow happens when several of these elements are in play:
- You have goals that are clear and challenging yet attainable.
- Strong concentration and focused attention are required.
- The thing you’re doing is intrinsically rewarding.
- You lose self-consciousness a bit and feel serene.
- Time stops – you feel so focused on the present that yo lose track of time.
- You’re getting immediate feedback on your performance.
- There’s a balance between your skill level and the challenge presented. You know that what you’re doing is doable even if it is difficult.
- You have a sense of personal control over the situation and the outcome.
- You stop thinking about your physical needs.
- You have the ability to focus completely on the activity at hand.
You can use this list as a list of conditions to increase the odds you’ll bring your A game to those you hope to serve.
- The people who need me on my A game at this point in my life are …
- The reasons each of those people need me include …
- The reasons I want to become a high performer for each of these people are …
- I know that I’m on my A game when I think, feel, or behave …
- The things that throw me off my A game are …
- I can deal more effectively with those things by …
- A few reminders i could set up for myself to be my best for the people in my life could include …
Practice Two: Affirm the Why
High performers don’t keep their goals, or the why behind those goals, secret or silent. They confidently affirm their goals to themselves and others. If there is one necessity practice that seems to divide high performers and underperforms the most, it’s this one. Underperforms are often unclear about their why, and they don’t use affirmations or speak about the whys they do have.
When we verbalize something, it becomes more real and important to us. It becomes more necessary for us to live in alignment with that truth. So that next time you want to increase your performance necessity, declare – to yourself and others – what you want and why you want it.
- Three things I would like to become extraordinary at doing are …
- My whys for becoming excellent in each of these areas are …
- The people I will tell about these goals and whys behind them include …
- The things I can say out loud to myself to affirm these whys – my affirmations – are …
- Some ways I can remind myself about these important goals and whys are …
Practice Three: Level Up Your Squad
One of the easiest quick wins is to have [my clients] spend more time with the most positive and successful people in their support network. … I tell my clients that their job is to start spending more time with the best in their peer group, and less with the more negative members. That’s an easy win. But it’s not the full picture.
If you truly want to increase your performance in any area of your life, get around some new people who expect and value high performance. Expand you peer group to include more people who have greater expertise or success than you, and spend more time with them. So it’s not just about increasing time with you current squad of positive or successful peers, but about adding new people to the squad as well.
They are more strategic and consistent in seeking to work with others at or above their level of competence, experience, or overall success.
They seek networking activities or group affiliations with more successful people. At work, they communicate more with people who are more experienced and often “above” them on the organizational chart. In their personal lives, they volunteer more, spend less time in negative or conflict-ridden relationships, and ask for help from their more successful peers more than others do.
This doesn’t mean that high performers have gotten rid of all the negative or challenging people in their lives. Somewhere, there’s this myth that to be happy or succeed, you have to “get rid of” all negative people in your life. We hear things like: “If someone doesn’t support your dream, dump them as a friend.” “Your spouse doesn’t cheer you on and meet your every need? Get a divorce!” “The kids at school don’t like your son? Change schools!”
This is half-baked advice. Learning to live with people who are different from you and who challenge you is just part of becoming a mature and resilient adult. “Cutting people out” of your life just because they’re not a bright and shiny ray of light all day every day will only result in you, alone on an island, talking to coconuts.
Build What You Need
Still, you don’t need to spend extraordinary amounts of time or give tremendous mindshare to negative people. People on a path of purpose don’t have a lot of time for drama. So here’s what I advise: Instead of “getting rid of” all the negative people in your life (especially if they are family, friends, loyal peers, or those wha are just in need), spend more time (a) hanging with your positive and successful peers and (b) building a new positive peer group.
How do you do that? Here’s my go-to list for helping someone get around a more successful group:
- Add one more awesome friend. To make a difference in your life, you don’t need dozens of new friends. You need one more positive person who brings out the best in you. So find your most positive and successful friend and ask him to bring one or two of his friends to your next night out. Then start hanging with them a little more often, just a half hour more per week. One more positive person leads you one more step toward the good life.
- Volunteer. This is always my first move in working with people who feel surrounded by negative people. Volunteers are spirited, positive people. They are givers. You want to be around that spirit of service for your own personal and spiritual development anyway. You also want to be around volunteers because they tend to be more educated and successful people.
- Play Sports. Join that intramural league. Visit that racquetball club. Get that golf membership. Hit the park and join more pickup games. Being in competitive situations teaches you to pay more attention to your own performance, and as we’ve learned, self-evaluation of performance promotes increased performance.
- Seek Mentorship. I tell high performers to have one or two lifelong mentors: older, wiser, highly respected, successful people. I want you to call them once per month. I also want you to have one new “domain mentor” every three years. this means someone who has precisely the expertise you need to succeed in your field. You should also call that person every month. These two mentors, one for life and another for specific domain expertise, will give you extraordinary perspective.
- Earn It. You want to get around more successful people? Then earn your way into that party by becoming exceptional at what you do. Work hard. Practice the high performance habits. Never give up, add a tremendous amount of value, and stay on the path to mastery. When you become supremely skilled and successful at what you do, doors will open and you’ll meet more and more extraordinary people.
- The most positive people in my life who I should hang out with more include …
- To add to the number of high performers in my network, I should …
- Some new routines or get-togethers I could create to bring together the positive and supportive people in my life could include …