In this week's leadership blog, executive leadership coach John M McKee provides insight into how you perform at your best all the time.
Ever notice that sometimes everything just falls into place — perfectly?
You know what I mean: You're doing something and you just know that it's going to be great. There's a feeling of mastery. This awareness can happen when you're at work or playing ball. You might be doing something by yourself, with friends ,or with business associates. Either way, you don't make one wrong move.
But then, at other times — nada. Doesn't matter how hard you prepare or how much you focus; you're in a more "normal state." Consequently, your success rates aren't as high.
Obviously, it's better to have more "hot" days and fewer "not-as-hot" days. But for most people, getting into that zone and maintaining it can be pretty hit-and-miss. While researching my new book, I wanted to determine if there are certain tools or actions that can be used to ensure one can always get into this place of greatness. And with that, are there particular things one can do to attain this level of being "the master"?
Based on my research, together with working with our clients, I can say that the answer is a resounding YES.
If you want more days of success and fewer days where it seems like nothing is "clicking," I recommend the following action steps:1. Become more aware of how you're doing, at all times, in each activity with which you're involved. Often, most people are so involved with what's going on that they rarely monitor their own performance (and thoughts) on a regular basis. The truly great don't make this mistake — they are very conscious of their performance and, just as importantly, their attitude.
This is true for businesspeople, athletes, performers, and professionals.2. Learn how to recognize those times when you are hot and also when you are stone cold. Once you've started to monitor yourself, start noting the times when you are really performing at peak levels. Notice how you're behaving, how your mind is functioning. Those who are operating in the flow report that they can see exactly where the conversations are going and what is about to happen next. Consequently, they know what action to take to achieve their goals while others are struggling to keep up as the pace quickens. 3. Identify and create a list of 10 "core activities" that give you the most satisfaction when you've done them well. I suggest your list be a blend of business actions, personal or family activity, and physical performance. Those who rate themselves as "hot" are generally doing more things that make them happy, but I concur with the reports from other coaches and psychologists that say the most satisfied people are those doing meaningful activity in a cross-section of life. 4. Track your performance. I suggest you do this at least it once a week, and it's even better if you do it daily. Why? Because, like trying to build new biceps, repetition makes you more focused on what is working and what is not helping. You achieve your goals more quickly partially as a result of the attention. This doesn't have to be a big-time demand, make your list of core activities and then at the end of the day check it off. Did you achieve or do all 10? Perhaps 7 of them or (hopefully not) maybe none of your core activities? (Cool approach I learned: If you don't have time at the actual end of the day, then use a different time period, say from noon to noon, when you can do the self audit.) 5. Rate your satisfaction with the day/ week. You've noted how you performed in point above. Now pay attention to how you "feel" about the day. On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you feel about how everything went and how you, specifically, performed? One is quantitative, the other qualitative. Most frequently, but not always, your feelings are directly correlated to your performance.
That won't surprise you, but what will is that fairly soon you'll start doing more of those things that make you feel satisfied and happy, i.e., hotter. And with that you'll see a further improvement in your results.
Here's to your career!