When it comes to peak performance--whether it be entrepreneurship, athletics, or something more--there is a "method to the madness," so to speak. Greatness, and ultimately the legacy you leave behind, is a process that takes work, determination, but also courage. It's a mindset, and leaders in every industry, of every craft, know the power of harnessing a strong mental game. As Napoleon Hill said in his renowned self-development book, Think and Grow Rich, you must place your goal firmly in your mind's eye and every day strive in its direction.
There is a reason, though, that even the best athletes have coaches, musicians have teachers, and entrepreneurs have mentors. This is one of the keys that Ben Newman, 6-time best-selling author, international speaker and peak performance coach, emphasizes during his keynotes.
"It really comes down to being able to check your ego at the door," said Newman. "Regardless of past successes, part of continuing to grow and break through plateaus comes down to being willing to learn. In any new opportunity, I've always sought out the mentors and coaches who have been to where I want to go, so that I can understand the right habits and the work ethic that has driven their success."
So, how can you reach your own peak mental performance? Here it is, straight from a coach who has worked with everyone from the most elite athletes across the NFL, NBA, MLB to Fortune 500s to the United States Army.
1. You have the power to reframe anything in your life.
"It's all about focusing on Solutions rather than Problems," said Newman. "On any path to success, and no matter how successful you ultimately become, you will continue to face challenges and moments of adversity. What matters is whether or not you hold on to those adversities, limiting your ability to move forward, or reframing the situation to allow you to stay focused on positive action steps that drive success."
For those that don't know, "reframing" is a technique found tied to just about anything related to self-development. In it's simplest form, it's the difference between seeing the glass as half-full or half-empty. The water in the glass hasn't changed--but your perspective has.
Perspective is what can make any situation either painful or positively strenuous; stressful, or an opportunity to flex your will. You decide.
2. You have to ATTACK the process--not just go through the motions.
"ATTACKING the process is all about having a big vision and a big belief in what is possible for YOU. Once you paint that vision on the canvas of your imagination, it's time to put it right in front of your face and clearly identify the daily action steps that are within your control to bring you closer to that vision, one day at a time. We are all naturally wired to focus on the results that we can't control, rather than the daily disciplines that drive success," said Newman.
What truly separates those who achieve big goals and those who don't comes down to this, right here. So many people walk through the motions, or tolerate their day to day--instead of placing their goal firmly in their mind's eye and then striving relentlessly towards its manifestation. Just because you "did" something (like practiced your jump shot, or working a bit on your startup concept) doesn't mean you made any real progress. What matters is how you treat that time, how far you're willing to reach, forcing your skills to continue to improve and at the same time, becoming less and less distracted by the allure of some "end goal."
You'll get there. Don't worry.
Just stay focused on the process.
3. Set your Legacy goal, and then work backwards.
"Why I do what I do really comes down to having watched my mother battle amyloidosis before I was even eight years old. That experience gave me the perspective that it is our choice to stay positive about the things we think about, and that the future we build for ourselves comes down to the actions we take. Every opportunity I have is a chance to dig deeper and help individuals figure out what is most important to them, as they write the story of their lives. It's all about Legacy, and then working backwards to figure out what needs to happen today in order for that Legacy to live on," said Newman.
I love this technique. It's like reverse engineering a business model but you are reverse engineering your entire legacy. The key is knowing where you want to go, so then you can work out how to get there.
In order to cultivate a long-term mindset that will carry you over hurdles and through challenging trenches, you have to know what your Legacy is. What do you truly want for yourself? What is the impact you want to leave behind? And most importantly, how hard are you willing to work to make it happen?
These are the questions that champions ask themselves. And if you can't find the answers on your own, then remember: that's why even the best players have coaches.