Looking to the future gives us something to focus on and work towards.
Imagine a ship with no destination, the crew and captain may be completing tasks and surviving but to what end, for what purpose are they simply sailing around with no destination?
Do you remember learning to fasten your shoe laces? Probably not, as it’s a skill learned when you were around the ages of 6 or 7 and now you complete that skill without thinking twice, but there was a time when you found the motivation to learn that skill.
But for what purpose?
Although you can understand the point of learning to fasten your shoe laces, ask yourself this question – For what purpose do I want to improve?
Your answer may surprise you or a least spark some interesting internal dialogue around why you do what you do.
We all have our motivation for wanting to improve and when you really connect with your purpose, you will jump into improving with an almighty splash and begin to feel and see results quickly, but if you’re unsure as to why you want to improve, improving won’t come easily to you.
In The recent docuseries the Last Dance about the Chicago Bulls, NBA team of the 90’s, Michael Jordan, arguably the best player that ever lived, told a story about how a young player had got the better of him in a game, scoring 37 points. It was said that after the game the player, LeBradford Smith uttered something to Jordan like “good game’, Jordan took this small comment as fuel to motivate him for the next game and said he would score his opponents full game total of 37 by half time next time they met. Jordan went to score 36 and proved a point.
But here’s where his motivation goes to another level. The comment Smith made, was never made! Jordan allegedly made up the story, meaning it wasn’t the verbal comment made by Smith that lit his fire, which in itself would be a good mindset, but it was simply his inner voice, creating a scenario that fuelled the fire.
Can you imagine! The desire to win and improve so badly was simply created by imagining another player said something disrespectful to him! Now that’s on another level but it is possible to create motivation from anything and it doesn’t have to come from an external source.
In this instance, Jordan’s vision was to beat the same team that beat them the night before and get revenge on a young player.
He simply needed to tell himself the right words.
When creating your ideal vision, think short term, as in next few days, medium term, next few weeks and long terms, next few months/years and keep it realistic.
You can’t tell yourself you’ll be the best in the world if your diet is poor, you are constantly tired and you aren’t even close to being great.
But it’s important to get into good habits so you can achieve your short term, medium term and long term vision.
It’s habits that will help drive you forward.
So now, with that new perspective, ask yourself, for what purpose do I want to improve?
Improving performance and wellbeing has to be led by you. You have to take the right action and be accountable for your actions as you reflect and adjust and in this blog, I want to share the most powerful aspect of improving performance and wellbeing – your thoughts because it’s your thoughts that drive you to take action/your performance/behaviour
Be aware of your surroundings
Let me take you through a quick fun exercise that helps you understand your thoughts
Take a few seconds to take action on each suggestion:
Look around – what do you see
Listen to the sounds around you what do you hear
Notice your body position and notice the what you’re leaning on, standing on or sitting on
Place your attention to what you can taste
Move your attention to what you can smell
Our five senses help us interpret the world around us but it’s important to understand we can’t process all five at once…Try it.
We are bombarded by about 11 bits of information per second yet we can only process about 50 bits. Think about that for a moment. That’s a lot of information we are missing or choosing to ignore.
Why do we ignore bits of information? Because our minds don’t think they have any purpose at that specific moment in time and it’s the exact reason why you haven’t paid attention to your big toe until now. Spending time thinking about it serves no purpose.
You’ve been successful at connecting with your external methods of communication using your 5 senses so let’s consider your internal communication system
Your internal communication
Again, take a few seconds to take action on each suggestion
Close your eyes and think about your favourite place, a holiday, a sporting event or with friends or family. It’s entirely up to you
What images do you see?
Staying with your favourite place, what sounds can you hear?
Staying in that place, What do you feel? Warmth, cold, Comfort?
Is there a taste that connects you to that place
Is there a smell that connects you to that place?
Your external and communication systems will form the foundation for your future learning and will help you understand why you think what you think and why you do what you do, which when it comes to improving performance and wellbeing are very relevant
Now imagine a giraffe in your favourite place! Simply pop it in there.
Did you notice the change in your facial expressions, your emotions and your ability to create thoughts?
Change your thought – change your outcome
Now you understand your thoughts on a deeper level and how you can change your thoughts, knowing how to improve your performance and wellbeing should become clearer. All you do is change your thoughts. It takes time to learn and just like training physical muscles, it takes time to adjust but with practice, you will find ways to improve quickly
One of my first questions with a client is ‘what’s really holding you back?’ We have to cut through the bullshit and get to the nitty-gritty of what the real issue is so we can begin to find solutions quickly.
Back in February 2020, comparing himself to brilliance was one of the situations one of my clients experienced as a member of a pro FIFA team with the number 4 player in the world as a teammate. He felt he wasn’t good enough. He felt under-prepared and under pressure. He felt he was letting the team down.
After a few coaching sessions exploring limiting beliefs and internal communication (self-talk) we removed the sense of comparison and replaced it with ownership of his own ability for when you learn to focus on developing self to be the best you can be as opposed to trying to catch up to those better than you, great things will happen.
Does this sound familiar? Do you compare yourself to your better team-mates?
Stop it now! They had a different journey and life experiences than you and to compare yourself to them is like comparing the capabilities of a PS4 with a PS1, it’s just not fair. Learn and appreciate and accept your own journey without comparing yourself to others and great things will happen for you and your team.
New perspectives lead to improved results
You can choose to follow the crowd or walk your own path. How easy is it to follow the crowd? Just ask a sheep. This is what they do best! Following the crowd creates a sense of belonging, acceptance and common ground in which to connect with your fellow humans so why should anyone dare to walk in the other direction?
Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant (RIP), Messi. Do you think they followed the crowd?
To improve ahead of the natural curve you must do things differently, not necessarily more, but differently.
My client learned to do things differently, which led to multiple top 100 results weekly and monthly meaning he became one of the top 100 players in the world whereas prior to working with me, he never made the top 100.
UPDATE ALERT – “I played the pro for Hamburg at 27-1 who beat me a few days back. I beat him 2-0. I controlled the tempo and the whole game. I’m in the top 20 in the world for the month!”
Don’t be a sheep, be bold and grow in a different direction than the crowd.
Growth and sustained performance
Small increments of improvement add up to huge rewards and benefits and It’s only in the end result you can truly appreciate the smart work you’ve done has paid off.
This message from my client showed me the growth of his performance in just a short space of time, ahead of the natural curve. “The weekend league I finished 29-1. A handful of games finished 1-0 to me, which I now realise, is still a WIN! 1-0 or 10-0 same result! Don’t celebrate till the final whistle. My stream hit an all time high! I usually hit maximum 20 views if I’m lucky, I got tup to 7.6k at one point!! Sorry for this late message but check this 30-0 A first 30 win weekend! The amount I’ve improved this last month is crazy, your help is honestly incredible”
Coaching gives me moments like this that I cherish and value because improving takes guts. It takes a bold move to come out of your comfort zone and learn how to do things differently. But not everything will go your way and what happens when the unexpected happens? What can you do when events out of your control hit you hard? Find out next time to discover how my client dealt with Covid.
The Covid-19 Factor
Just as my client was getting ready to kick ass in competitions, a virus put everything on hold for FIFA, meaning the momentum we were building could have been lost. Some would throw in the towel; see it as a way of relaxing and use Covid as an excuse as to why their performance has dropped. What choice did my client take? Did he throw the towel in and make excuses? Here’s what he told me
“The best in the world isn’t grinding as much, it’s almost as though he’s happy with his position at the top, but it won’t last forever and that’s why I’m not sitting back while it’s off season and accepting the competitive season is on hold, since we’ve been working together I’ve developed an obsession with being the absolute best and I’m not going to stop. I feel like we’ve made incredible progress but there’s obviously always improvements to be made. So happy about this Mike. Mind-set is everything! You motivate me, knowing every Monday I receive a message from you with an update and I enjoy knowing there’s a little pressure from you. Even Covid, such a negative effect on the world but I believe I’ve used it as a positive to better myself”
Boom! The mind-set of a champion in the making right there!
There’s light at the end of this tunnel and with the momentum on his side; his mind-set has been honed and adjusted and ready for the new season.
He knows he’s been working smart and doing everything in his power to make an immediate impact.
Have others been doing the same? It doesn’t matter. Have others been slacking off? It doesn’t matter. What does matter is my client has been preparing in a way that has allowed him to unlock his potential in ways he wouldn’t have known.
With a new mind-set comes a new perspective of the world and not only in Esports but in life. The tools we explore go much deeper than sports and this quote from him demonstrates why
“The game (FIFA 21) has just dropped for 10 hours early access so I’ve been just grinding it non stop. I’m learning constantly to better myself on and off the pitch. I’m excited for the year ahead!”
The first week of competition and this happened!
“It came to the first weekend league, the first test & im instantly in the top 100 finishing 29 wins & 1 loss, making me verified first week! I’m happy with this but the 1 loss on penalties is in the back of my mind because I know I’m even better and capable of even more!“
His thoughts on the coaching journey
This player is eager, he’s hungry to grow but not all players have this mindset and for me, as a coach I have to know if potential clients have the right mind set and ask three simple questions
Do you have a need or desire to improve
Have you an open mind to learning new techniques and strategy
With my support are you prepared to take new action for improved results
“Mike, it’s amazing it’s such a great journey what we’ve been through! Good times and bad times! I’m a lot more patient, stuff isn’t going to happen overnight and the little details are so so affective! I’m using so much as motivation in everything“
Are you a gamer, A performance director or CEO wanting to know how to improve performance?