In the previous post, I talked about the three ingredients that define your potential:
1. Knowledge & Education
2. Natural ability and talent
3. Compelling urge to do or be better
If that’s our potential, why don’t we always operate at the peak where those three converge? The relationship between potential and effectiveness is depicted in the picture above. The iceberg, above and below water, is your potential; the tip above the water (about 10%) can be thought of as your effectiveness.
The “gate-keepers” between potential and effectiveness is your self-image—how we see ourselves—and self-esteem—how we feel about ourselves. The combination of those dictates our performance, which, in turn, determines our effectiveness[hyperlink] and therefore how sustainable we are. The link between effectiveness and sustainability is explained in a previous post.
There is a feedback loop you have inside you that looks like this:
As we go through our daily life, we’re always talking to ourselves, not literally (although I do on occasion) but in our brain. That self-talk reinforces we how we see ourselves and how we feel about ourselves.
I’ve seen estimates that we have tens of thousands of thoughts each day and other data that says 75% of those are negative. What do you think one negative thought, let alone 75% of 10,000 thoughts, does to our performance?
The bottom line is that we need to be very aware of our thoughts and to take it one step further, infuse thoughts that reinforce where we want to be or what we want to do. We automatically move toward whatever we hold uppermost in our minds.
There are a few key characteristics to our self-talk that make it compelling to move toward our “vision” of ourselves. These are:
Personal – “I”
Positive – what you want (not what you don’t want)
Present Tense – as though it is already happening
Positive Emotion – words such as happy, enjoy, sensational (emotion is a powerful motivator)
Realistic – words such as consistently (pre-forgive yourself for mistakes)
Specific – use measures when you can
When we receive negative criticism, we have to filter those comments, decide if they have merit and then be our own best critic by changing those negative thoughts into positive self-talk to achieve a higher level of performance.
When I was a soccer coach, it always befuddled me that my team would play at the level of the team it was competing against. If the team was poorer, that’s the level my team would play at and vice-versa.
f I knew then what I know now, I would have tried to instill in them that instead of playing the other team, in their minds, they need to play their own best self. I first heard this idea from Chrissie Evert Lloyd, tennis champion in the 1970s.
We need to always play our own best self. Are you doing that?