Whew! Christmas blew through here with a vengeance!
We hosted almost 35 for dinner yesterday. The lead-up to this big day at our house is full of lists, projects and plans to get the house and food ready.
I’d like to report that Santa came to Akron and our family left here full of good food and full hearts!
The operative part of that statement…THEY LEFT! They left…and then the cleanup began.
The holidays can serve as a microcosm of performance or life. We look ahead. We plan. We feel pressure. We get excited… anxious…or both. Then we execute.
On to the review. The reflecting. The ruminating. The rest!
Somewhere between execution and reviewing is the clean-up!
That is where I found myself (another operative word…mySELF) last night around 10:30 pm after a 6 am start to see what Santa dropped under the tree, a two-hour driveway cleanup in frigid temps, house cleaning, hosting, lots of laughs and too much food!
As I looked around our kitchen, I looked at ALL that needed to be done. I hate waking up to a mess, so I was going to do it ALL right then!
That “ALL right then” turned into me going from one thing to another and literally trying to do it all at once.
As I was moving at breakneck speed, hoping from one task to another, I started to become overwhelmed.
And that is where this became a mindset experiment.
“If you can only think one thing at once, then you can only do one thing at a time, too! You know this, so, let’s try it!” I thought.
Oh. Don’t act like you don’t talk to yourself 😊!
And off I went. I applied all the things I study and teach.
I paused. I took a deep breath. I scanned the situation and identified the action that would make the biggest impact. And I started there.
This may seem ridiculous, but I had stuff to do.
The truth is, the more I observe my thoughts and behaviors, the more I see the benefit of mental plans!
Instead of thinking about what I would do next as soon as I started a task, I worked. I focused on the task at hand. I completed one thing and moved on to the next.
I started getting things done. I made progress. I got into a flow that seemed to propel my movement and create more energy. I created momentum!
You’ve been there before.
Think back to a time when you were plowing through tasks or skills, seemly moving from one thing to the next without conscious thought but with firm intention.
How do we get there?
We focus. We decide. We choose to be present in time.
Looking ahead was causing me to feel overwhelmed. Looking behind would have had me thinking about all the things I could have done to make my current job easier (too late for that)…or…the acts of those who made small messes that I was now cleaning up (I wasn’t in a finger pointing mood, but you can see this being an option depending on your mindset at the moment!). Neither helpful.
Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defined flow decades ago and as performers, leader and people looking to be our best, we are always in search of this state…where we are immersed in a task, not judging our efforts or why we are doing what we are doing, oblivious to time passing and, yet, getting things done with efficiency and ease!
Not that I was doing anything of great consequence, but finding a groove felt good. I won’t say it was flow as defined in academics, but I was getting after it if you will!
Although we can’t force Csikszentmihalyi’s flow state, no matter what we are doing, we can set ourselves up to be our best by choosing to concentrate on what we are doing. We can choose to do things that stretch us and fit our talent and training – meaning that there is a balance between our skills and the challenge. And we can choose to look at facts instead of assigning meaning to our actions and our outcomes.
We may not be able to create flow, but we can set ourselves up to be our best.
Before my post-Christmas cleanup flow, before I created momentum, I observed.
I noticed my approach was causing my overwhelm. How important is this?
Imagine if we could get those we lead to pause just long enough to realize they are creating their discomfort.
Then, what if we could get them to decide what the next best thing would be? No matter what game we play in the office or on the field, we always have time to decide what’s important now!
What would happen if we could improve their focus…with something like a reset technique or pre-performance routine…to help them remain present and where their cleats are?
Finally, what if they then begin to build momentum by trusting that their actions and effort make a difference? What if they build momentum through feeling accomplished and more confident?
All of this goes back to making a decision…to stop digging our own hole and start filling it with plans and intention!
It starts with implementing our mental plan…in every phase of life.
The more we practice, the better we get. Because how we do one thing is how we do all things.
What can you observe in your everyday tasks and challenges that can help you practice the steps in building momentum… achieving flow…in becoming your best?
I’ll have another chance to practice this after our New Year’s get-together. Let’s see if I can repeat my successful cleanup.
This time, my prior experience and practice should help me skip the discomfort and dive right into the plan!
How can you practice building momentum as we head into the New Year? I am certain 2023 will give me lots of opportunities to practice and I look forward to seeing how I can grow to help those I lead!
Wishing you a safe and happy New Year’s celebration!
Manage the moments….and get more done…better!
P.S. Start the New Year off right with a Mental Performance session to get your team’s mindset ready for the challenges of 2023. Reach out to set up a 45-minute team session today! Contact me at email@example.com or call/text 234-206-0946.
Mental Performance Coach
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