The phrase optimal performance is used often in my field. Here’s what the term means to me, how it influences my work with clients, and how we can achieve it.
It sounds very exciting… optimal. Optimal! That means the very best, right? That means I’m going to be #winning soon. I will definitely achieve my goals, right? Wellll, let’s get to that part in a minute.
What is Optimal Performance?
I see optimal performance as putting our best selves into whatever performance area we choose. This could be sports, playing an instrument, or a business endeavor. It could also be parenting, investing fully in a relationship, or preparing to take the SAT and go to a great college. To do any of these things well, we need to have the highest levels of focused engagement possible.
This means we’re not just prepared in the elements of the task. It also means we bring a mindset that facilitates being able to use our skills to the best of our ability. We need to be committed, resilient for when things don’t go our way, and free the mind so the body can create.
We need to learn how to get out of our own way, so mind, body, and spirit work as a synergistic whole to achieve the goal.
When we learn to do this, the champion mindset becomes applicable to a much wider range of life activities.
Winning and Losing
I think we can all agree that winning is awesome, and losing sucks. Still optimal performance is about recognizing what you can control, and doing that as well as you possibly can. The results of a competition, by default, depend on many things beyond our control. Optimal performance training helps you bring your best, most authentic self to the performance environment. When you do this, you get a true measure in competition.When an average performer puts the whole self into the task, being brave in the face of overwhelming odds, resilient in the face of failure, focusing entirely on the task without fear or anxiety, that person becomes awfully hard to beat.Click To Tweet
Since so few people truly bring their best selves to the performance environment, those who do often come out on top. Not only do they compare well with others, but no matter the outcome, they leave the performance arena knowing they have given everything they had to the task.
How do I become Optimal?
I take the long view of optimal performance. I know it’s enticing to think we can just sprinkle a little fancy psychology stuff on there, and suddenly, I’ll be completely out of my own way all the time. #WinningAgain.
If only it were that easy! However, I’m a believer in the notion that anything that can be done quickly and easily, can be undone just as quickly. Put another way, I have a healthy skepticism of quick fixes.
The work I do (you can read more about this elsewhere on this site) focuses on daily practices that train the mind and body to work together. Like many performance consultants, I teach the mental skills we know correlate with top-level performance. These include:
- Maintaining positive attitude and self-talk
- Visualization and mental practice
- Maximizing mental and emotional arousal states
- Setting goals and expectations
- Engaging in routines that facilitate consistency and focused attention
What makes your work unique?
What sets my work apart is the use of techniques from psychophysiology in addition to mental skills, for maximum benefit. Aside from teaching and daily exercises to help mental skills, I use neurofeedback, which trains the mind directly to work effectively with the body. You can read more about neurofeedback elsewhere on this site. I encourage you to contact me with any questions you have about this remarkable technique. My clients have had tremendous success with my integrated approach, and I can offer this technique to clients from a distance using the cutting-edge Versus technology.
I encourage you to contact me to discuss how I can help you reach new heights of performance.