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Peak Mind Pro: Be Your Best Self

In order to be your best self, you must be able to handle tough situations. To describe these situations we use the acronym “VUCA”: 

  • Volatile
  • Uncertain
  • Complex
  • Ambiguous

Situations and experiences that can be explained by one or more of these characteristics are particularly tough for us to handle. And if you think about it, is there a better word to describe the experience we’ve all been living through the last 18 months? (Seriously, if you can think of one, hit reply and tell us!)

VUCA situations are particularly tough for us because of our mind’s natural tendency to seek out predictability, familiarity, certainty, and stability. Our mind’s natural survival instinct sees a predictable, unchanging environment as one that is safe. It’s known. It’s one where we can let our guard down. We feel calm, confident, and at ease in predictable, familiar situations.

Let’s unpack that for a second. Our mind’s natural tendency is to feel at ease in predictable, unchanging circumstances. This is our comfort zone. So naturally, when things tip in the “VUCA direction,” we feel it, and it doesn’t feel good. It’s hard to be your best self when your mind doesn’t feel at ease. 

So, is it really surprising that anxiety and depression have risen exponentially since the beginning of the pandemic?

We’ve heard from countless organizations over the last couple of months, and there is one common theme: people are feeling the stress and pressure of the ongoing VUCA situation we’ve all been living in. 

But, people still have jobs to do and goals to achieve. Our businesses and organizations still depend on our teams in order to move forward, even during challenging times.

So, what can you do to support your team so they can show up as their best, even in the face of adversity?

Monthly Tip

This month’s tip is to take a page out of the book of a true high performer. Michael Phelps is the most decorated olympian in history. He won 28 medals (23 gold), and has been lauded as the “greatest of all time.”

What contributed to that level of performance?

Sure, you can point to his natural physical ability to account for some of it, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

When you dig into Phelps’ training regimen, you see a series of rituals, like his race-day ritual above. These rituals are carefully crafted to put Phelps in a state of mind that allows him to show up and perform at his best. 

He primes his best self, and your employees can do the same. By priming our best self, we put ourselves in the mindset that allows us to handle more uncertainty. The repetitiveness and familiarity of a ritual like a race-day routine helps calm our mind during VUCA times.

Ask your employees to answer the following questions:

  1. When was a time that I was at my best? (Describe it in detail)
  2. How did I feel? (Be specific! Were you confident, calm, assertive, engaged, etc)
  3. What activities tend to elicit or detract from those feelings?

 For example:

  1. I was at my best when I reached my set goals while working on a big initiative last quarter.
  2. I felt in control and in a state of flow.
  3. My work was planned out – I knew when to do what. I had uninterrupted time.

Your employees can use the answers to these questions to craft their own “race-day routine” to prime themselves to show up closer to their best self each day. Not only does this further personal development, but it can trickle into other areas of your life. In this example, this employee could spend some time each week to plan out their work. They could consider blocking work time on their calendar to ensure adequate time to focus. 

By priming our best selves, we put ourselves in the best possible position to weather the inevitable challenges that a VUCA situation can throw at us.

Ready to help your team build psychological strength?

Ready to support your team to help them manage stress and perform at their peak? Check out our ASCEND program! 

“The goal is not to be better than the other person, but your previous self.”
– Dalai Lama
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What Does Your Best Self Look Like? 

If we’re all being honest we’ve all had days where we showed up as our BEST! …and then there were those days where we feel like we fell short.

Here’s something really cool: There’s INSIGHT in that.

Hear me out! Think about what you’re like when you’re at your best. What are you doing? Thinking? Feeling? 

Take 5 minutes to jot down some thoughts about the characteristics that would describe you when you’re really firing on all cylinders.

If you’ve done that, you should now have a picture in your mind of the type of person you’re hoping to be on most days.

Now, let’s go a little further. If you really sit down to think about it, there are probably other tangible, circumstantial differences between the days when you were at your best and the days when you weren’t. It might be:

  • How much you had on your plate
  • How well you had been taking care of yourself
  • How organized you were
  • Whether anything unexpected came up

There’s likely a whole slew of characteristics you can name. 

Take 5 minutes and jot a few of them down. 

Now let’s evaluate!

Based on what you wrote down, there is a certain set of circumstances that had at least a partial influence on how you felt and experienced your day. Some of those circumstances are inside of your control, and some aren’t.

Take a critical look at those factors that you can control, and think about how you might put some structure in place to support you, going forward. Answer this question: How well did you pay attention to how you felt achieving your goals?

I’ll give you a tangible example.

When I’m at my best, I feel organized and in control. One of the circumstances that helps me feel that way is when all of my upcoming tasks and responsibilities are written down and accounted for on my schedule.

When this happens, I can let my mind relax because I know I’m not going to drop a ball. 

So, one thing I’ve started to do on a daily and weekly basis is look ahead and pencil everything in on my calendar. I mean everything. If it’s on my calendar, it’s not in my head.

This simple task helps me show up closer to my best ever single day.

This approach is a great fit for me. Perhaps your needs are different, after all, we all have different skills and experiences. 

Take just a few minutes today to identify what you look like at your best and the circumstances you can create to make it more likely that you’ll get to show up as that person. Set an intention to practice and experiment with those things for the next couple of weeks.

If you really want to dive more into a set of practices and routines that will support you in consistently showing up as your best, you’ll appreciate our Self-care [by Design] mini-course. 

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”
– Steve Mariboli