Monday, May 23, 2011

Peak Performance: Playing it Safe?

  • Erin's Story
  • Preparation for Peak Performance
  • Action Steps: "Fear Inventory"

Erin's Story

In most every individual's performance issue there hides a life-long pattern of thinking that was necessary "back then" and now bites them in the butt.

Erin is a 39-year-old accomplished university professional and an avid cross-country mountain bike racer. Her concern: "I'm a slow descender.  I pick good lines but I'm slow...I'm afraid of getting hurt."  We could apply some simple EFT to these surface complaints, but it's my job to dig deeper and give her the most effective, fastest change.  I zero in on "I'm afraid of getting hurt" and ask a couple questions... "Well my dad...he liked to tease...constantly humiliated all of us kids."  In repeated comments about her biking and life, I hear her state, "I plan and prepare for potential pitfalls and how to avoid them...or something bad will happen."

Life Patterns for Safety 

Ask yourself:  How fast or effective can anyone be when they are preparing for something bad to happen?   How might you be holding this similar pattern of fear?

Erin's long-held pattern of how to avoid danger is a common theme in every client's story.  We all have unconscious patterns developed for very good reasons. They served us well - in fact, were necessary when we were younger. They kept us feeling some sense of control and safety in an environment that didn't offer enough of either.  As adults, the patterns that kept us "safe" back then are now biting us in the butt.  They block, stop - and painfully create a sense of being stuck, preventing us from moving to our most desired goals.  They literally say, "No, you can't do what you want - it's NOT safe!"  It's like living life with one foot on the accelerator and one foot on the brake. 

It's not safe to play full out.

Preparation for Peak Performance

The typical way athletes prepare for continual improvement is through good coaching and physical practice.  They learn the skills and continually fine tune more complex aspects of each  skill (same with musicians, speakers, business people).  Elite athletes focus on positive, inspirational messages, success behaviors, self-affirmations, visualizations - all good and essential.  What's missing, however, is one of the key elements in peak performance - mental preparation - clearing out all negative emotions, all expectations (good or bad), mental effects of injuries, fears, and self-doubts.

Ask any athlete when they haven't performed well.  "I just couldn't stay nerves got the best of me...I started falling apart after I took such a big lead...I just couldn't get my "act" together."  They're not talking about their physical preparation or their lack of affirming visualizations.  They're really verbalizing deficits in mental preparation, though most seek remedy with more "physical" practice!!

Consider Erin's case of going slow on the descent.  We can clear her belief that "I'm not safe" with focused EFT, and her need to plan around pitfalls will fall away.  Her focus will shift from "danger - slow down - be careful" to a safe, fun, feeling of full out "GO!"  This is the physiology and intense belief of a winner.  This is where EFT shines as a power tool.

We don't have to clear every humiliating incident that set this belief into place.  We just clear enough humiliation out of her system that the lack of safety starts to not feel relevant (this happens physiologically!)  We then strengthen the positive behaviors that now feel safe to accomplish.  The process is systematic and literally creates a shift in how she experiences safety for herself.  After applying this new safety to specific bicycling skills, the internal biological, psychological conflict is over, and she's free to GO! 

Interested in how EFT does this

Action Steps for Athletes:  Fear Inventory
(Please note this tool is equally useful for any peak performance issue)

Becoming mindful of the negative things you say to yourself is crucial if you are to clear what's blocking your best performance. 

Construct a "Fear Inventory" to help you identify what things need some EFT tapping for resolution.  Set a timer for 10 minutes and list as fast as you can every self-doubt, fear, or statement that comes to mind about your current playing or upcoming event.  Here are some examples.
  • Erin (cycling) - I'm afraid I'll miss that sharp third turn and fly over the ledge.
  • George (tennis) - I don't like playing Sam  - or - I hate playing in that stadium.
  • Sarah (swimming) - I'm struggling with my turns in the 100 meter butterfly.
  • Robert (golf) - I always slice the ball on the 13th hole at ...
Artful, investigative EFT can quickly get to the specifics of these negative thought patterns and clear the way for optimal performance.  I think you will enjoy hearing triathlete extraordinaire Matt Smith's experience with EFT and his amazing performance in the Hawaii Ironman!

Shout Out!

CONGRATULATIONS to Sybil Praski, Xterra mountain cyclist & former client.  Sybil won the South Central Xterra Championship in Texas this April and has earned a slot to the world championships in Hawaii this October!  "I guess it works - I won!" she emailed. "This is what I really wanted!"

Note:  Sybil went from sport to expert class racing less than one year ago and is already beating the pack in her age category of "expert".  Wahoo!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Warm Eyes for Peak Performance

I was singing well in my voice lesson the other day and my teacher says, "Now warm your eyes." So I did.  "Beautiful!" she says.

It was that fast.  How did I know what she meant?  I just did it.  I shifted into my heart and felt the love and warmth move into and through my eyes.  Voila - that energy immediately came through in the pitch and tone of my voice.  The sound got fuller, more beautiful; "better."  It was ever so slight, but oh, so much more exquisite.  It's one of those "peak performance" differences!
You can "warm your eyes" whether you are working to lose weight, be more proficient at tennis or golf, or give the best public speech of your life. Your success always takes on a new powerful level when you "warm your eyes!"

As someone who desires to always be "better," to improve in your talent, your craft, your life, you know the drill.  If you are an athlete, speaker, or musician, you practice and practice - then perfect it with the subtle, powerful techniques that separate good from great.  And this comes from the irony of letting go of thought and moving into that mysterious area of heart.

I worked with a young tennis player of amazing talent.  She would get so frustrated that she would just "give up" when the going got tough.  She beat herself up for losing a big lead.  She would be negative about particular stadiums, or her hotel room, or decide she didn't like the girl she had to play against in her upcoming match.  Talk about negative vibes taking control of her tennis swing!

These kinds of demons can waste an athlete's talent.

There were so many distractions of "hateful" emotions that there was no "warm eye" energy to move the ball.  So... I set to work with her using EFT tapping to diminish the aggravation about all this focus on everything "wrong" with the moment.  We worked to move her energy into the realm of warm eyes - for herself, for the match, for her desire to play well and win.  She moved on the Emotional Scale from hatred, anger and doubt to optimism, positive expectation and actual freedom.  The freedom moved through each stroke and she won matches she never would have otherwise won!  Her talent was allowed to show up.  And SHE showed up in all her glory!

That is what I want for all my clients - and it is entirely possible!

"It's always amazing what fears lurk on the 'braking' side of the line. Crossing over that line into YES opens the door to the other side - ease and flow - and relishing the JOY of doing what one loves - and doing it well!"                                                                    ~  Bernadette Hunter

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sometimes you can just "See it Coming!"

I sensed a bad performance coming before she got into her skating pose to begin her routine.  I felt "bad" for her already, and she hadn't even begun.  Her breathing, the look on her face, the visible nervousness as she skated to the center of the rink -- she was telegraphing her inner state before beginning her final skate at the Four Continents Ice Skating Championships in Taiwan just a week ago.  She was in second place.  This skate was going to make all the difference.  

Have you ever felt this way before your big competition?  Especially with a lot on the line. Trembling, unsure, trying to pump yourself up and talk yourself out of what was unconsciously choking you?

This Canadian champion knew she had it all on the line.  Her first move, a very doable axel was "shaky" (commentator's remarks).  The next was a triple lutz.  She fell.  The next triple toe/double toe was easier and she did much better.  "She looks slow and sluggish to me," said the codmmentator.  Cynthia was not having a good skate, not having fun, and she ended the entire international competition falling from 2nd to 6th.

No doubt she has done each of these moves, and probably the entire routine, with ease and excellence.  But not this day; not when it really counted, not on her final skate to determine the champion of the Four Continents Ice Skating Championships.

This ever happen to you?

I'd love to hear about your experiences - and what you've learned about these mental performance slips. We can discuss some of your biggest challenges - I'm here to assist.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tina Turner and Peak Performance:  Part II

Last week was the first in my 3-part series on Tina Turner and Peak Performance.  We spoke of aligning your heart and head - and the culprit, often non-conscious, of the belief, "I'm not good enough," and some recommended action steps. (3/22/11)

This week's Part II is:

Why do I need Self-Love?

  • Does your talent far exceed your performance?
  • Are you losing confidence in your ability to play your best consistently?
  • Do you hesitate because you're afraid of making a mistake?
  • Are you choking in pressure situations?
  • Are you so stuck on perfection that you beat yourself up when you make a mistake?

People who've done EFT with me for any concern know the power of this method by adding doses of compassion, forgiveness and self-love.  It does wonders for catapulting the performance results for athletes, musicians, and public speakers.

One of the main tools of my EFT work with clients is the use of love.  What the heck do I mean? 

It means transforming:
  • the negativity of backlash for mistakes
  • the impossibility of unreachable expectations and standards
  • the vision of true success
It means infiltrating our systems (thought, feeling, physiology) with:
  • self-compassion
  • forgiveness
  • tenderness
  • ~ did I mention compassion?
You can tune into my recent interview, "What's Love Got to Do With It?" with EFT practitioner, Alina Frank.  We talk about how I use EFT with athletes and musicians to create their best performance.

You can also read my earlier blogs that will give you full EFT tapping protocols to use for enhancing your performance in many areas of your life.

Happy Tapping!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tina Turner and Peak Performance

What’s Love Got to Do With It?
(can't you just hear Tina Turner?)

I help talented and smart clients who know they are under-performing.  My clients possess a deep passion that must be realized, the talent to do so, and self beliefs and emotions that just plain get in the way.

During the next 3 weeks I'll be talking about how LOVE and compassion are key components for Peak Performance ...  so keep tuning in!

  • Love and Peak Performance     3/22/11
  • Why do I need it?                     3/29/11
  • When will I know I have it?        4/5/11

Power lies in Aligning Your Heart and Head

“Get your head in the game!” screams the coach, as his start tennis player double faults on match point.  It’s true – you do need your head in the game!  You need the mental toughness and clarity to stay present through every stroke in a competitive tennis match.  And your physical fitness level must be top notch. Coaches, music instructors, and trainers are all excellent at getting you in shape for your performance.  But often what’s forgotten in training is emotional management – the HEART of the performance.

I’m talking about the performer’s emotions about themselves before they ever step foot into their performance arena.  The root system of mental/emotional poise; calm and confident performance, is the performer’s sense of self – that “I’m good!” feeling.

Sounds like a small matter, perhaps, compared to raw talent, tons of practice, and pure grit - but in 24 years of working with individuals, no matter how high their ranks, the #1 “enemy” is “I’m not good enough.”  It lurks in the subconscious like a poison; infiltrating every stroke, sentence, melody.  It’s the powerful, subtle force that rips the player from their most inspired, awesome performance – and their most exquisite joy of accomplishment.

Consider how important it is
to move from, “I’m not good enough” to into your heart when you’re playing a round of golf.  In The Spirit of Golf, Feb.2011 edition, the author writes:

The only reason we want to hit good golf shots is that we think we will feel better when we hit them.  That seems to make enough sense.  The problem comes, however, when we ignore the behind-the-scenes energy that it takes to see the shots unfold. If we don’t feel good along the way, there can be no good shots to experience.  In other words, a mind that is full of frustration, anxiety, anger and doubt is not going to be able to set into motion an energy that can crystallize into positive results. 

As this speaks of a mind that’s full of these negative emotions, consider this:        
The heart produces the largest rhythmic electromagnetic field of any of the body’s organs. Its electrical field is about 60 times greater in amplitude than the electrical activity generated by the brain and its magnetic field is 5,000 times greater!  In truth, the most powerful source of our inner power lies in the heart and in our ability to experience and manage our emotions. (The Institute of Heart Math)
My advice to you? Go out of your mind! And check your heart. Then get them aligned. Think how powerful you will be when you’ve got both those energy forces going in the same direction!  Click here to learn more about how important the heart is in maximizing your performance.                                                                                          

Action Steps:

1.  List out what thoughts you tell yourself about your upcoming performance.
2.  Notice... are they creating anxiety, worry, fear? ... confidence, strength, power?
3.  Choose one negative, blocking emotion and apply EFT (you may find the recipe 
     for EFT by scrolling down to middle of blog below this one)
4.  Keep tapping until you have your negative emotion/belief down to zero or one.

Happy Tapping, and . . .  I'd love to hear from you - 
what does love have to do with it for YOU?
Remember to stay tuned for next week's  "Why do I  need it?"