by Chris McNeil
Much has been written about the “zone”: a state of peak performance highly treasured by athletes and artists alike. Can you remember times when everything seemed to flow? When you were filled with inspiration and immersed in what you were doing?
Fields like Sports Psychology and NLP study this “peak performance” state with an eye towards methods to create it more consistently and utilize it in the service of higher achievement.
With our attention scattered by multiple devices and a steady stream of emails, learning and implementing the peak performance flow state has more relevance an strategic advantage now than ever. So, let's consider a simple 4-step process for bringing more peak performance to your team and your life:
Define - Discover - Analyze - Implement
1. Define the state of peak performance
Charles Garfield, in his book Peak Performance, defined the state as having the characteristics of
2. Discover a set of peak experiences
Make an inventory of some of your personal peak experiences. Remember a specific time when you were really in the zone, and you felt extremely focused and successful about whatever it is you were doing. The context isn't as important as the feeling. Find at least 3 or 4 personal peak experiences and give each one a name and short description that will jog your memory.
Bring these experiences more to life by associating into them. Relax and. . see what you were seeing . . . hear what you were hearing, feel what you were feeling . While they immersed in these peak experiences, your body positions, posture, and facial expressions will shift.
3. Analyze Once you have a few peak experiences at hand, a little analysis goes a long way to showing these things don't happen by chance. There are both internal and external controllable factors that bring them about. Doing a "mind map" is one good way of mapping these experiences with free association thinking where one idea leads to another.
4. Implement. By studying these mind maps of your personal peak experiences, you can discover and utilize peak experience drivers" that you find are common to all of them. This way you can design your environment and actions so peak experiences happen more often. For example, if you find that having a coach was common to all of these, you know to build having a coach into your current plan.
By digging into and analyzing your personal peak performances, you can draw from them to utilize the factors you may have used to bring them about unconsciously now in a more conscious way to live at a higher level of inspiration and success.
Reprinted with permission from the longer version of the blog at The Mental Game of Business.
Chris McNeil has won multiple innovation awards for web applications, is the founder of Pensarc Marketing and the creator of the e-Merg program that combines digital marketing with customer touch point optimization and team alignment.