Peak performing leaders never ask whether or not it’s possible to raise the bar on their performance. They always realize in order to discover the possibilities that exist in growth, they are typically found outside of the normal comfort zone.
In the words of the great Louis Armstrong, “people who want to be the best, whether it’s a musician or whatever their chosen field, there is always some suffering and sacrifice on the road to greatness.” Taking this principle seriously, peak performing leaders quickly grab hold of the fact that to raise the bar in any aspect of your life, you will tackle some form of adversity to experience significant expansion.
This is in direct opposition of our current cultural state.
Our current American culture promotes more comfort than sacrifice, and because our land has been a country of such abundance, as a whole, our sufferings have not been as plentiful, as opportunity is seemingly everywhere. However, rarely do you find victory without first battle. The question then becomes, where is the battle? Our philosophy at Clear Vision Development Group is that the battle begins within the leader themselves.
Some key questions:
How comfortable are you with who you are?
How comfortable are you with what you’ve accomplished?
The answers are telling. If you, as a leader are pretty comfortable with who you are and what you’ve accomplished, you will see hardly any need to work on improving. You’ve become a creature of comfort with yourself and your previous track record. A sports psychologist friend recently told me that in sport competition, athletes rarely achieve more than 18% of their full human potential. Can you believe that? I suppose that’s why there are a limited amount of entries into the various Halls of Fame for each sport?
The secret of continuous improvement in leadership is to maintain a certain level of dissatisfaction with your performance and scorecard. Don’t misread that as never celebrating successes. Not what I mean. It’s important to celebrate a job well done. However, once the celebration is finished, tell yourself, NEXT!
When you place a large emphasis on just the result or outcome, you create stress, anxiety and unwanted tension. When you focus on executing the process to the best of your ability, you allow yourself to relax and raise your level of confidence in what you can actually achieve. Don’t place too much emphasis on winning or losing based on the outcome, but on the maximum amount of effort and focus you put into your plan/process. Do you have the satisfaction you are doing your best as a leader, regardless of the outcome? That should be your goal.
Here’s a mini-process:
1. Ask yourself, what three specific things could you execute that you are not doing now, which would definitely contribute to your improvement?
2. Make a contract with yourself. Actually write down: “I commit to ___________ in order to raise the bar on my leadership performance.” Sign it and read it to yourself several times a day beginning when you first get up each morning.
3. Set aside some time, after you read your contract with yourself, to relax and visualize yourself doing these things. Get used to the feeling you will feel when you apply yourself the best you can.