Guest post by Jim Steele is a business speaker, leadership facilitator, executive coach and author of new book Unashamedly Superhuman: Harness Your Inner Power and Achieve Your Greatest Professional and Personal Goals, published by Capstone.
Learn how to tap into your potential and unlock the superhuman within
Full disclosure: I am not (and have never been) a superhero. I am, however, proud to call myself Unashamedly Superhuman. You too can become Unashamedly Superhuman by tapping into your hidden inner resources to perform at your highest level.
Unashamedly Superhuman: How to Harness Your Inner Power
By researching this topic, I’ve learned that you have control over when and how you access your superhuman abilities. These are not haphazard, chance abilities. These are abilities you can predict, determine, and turn towards any area of your life. You can use your inner powers to help you achieve your greatest personal and professional goals.
Sound too good to be true? I know, I was cynical at first as well. I had always believed that I had to sacrifice my well-being for performance. It was a simple trade-off in my mind, as I imagine it is in yours. It turns out, however, that well-being is a key enabler for performance and one of the keys to tapping into your superhuman abilities is to treat recovery as a performance strategy.
Here are three areas that you need to develop in order to unlock your hidden resources:
WORK BETTER – Tapping into Potential
Here the key is to adapt to your surroundings and respond to challenges and opportunities with agility. A great performance hack is to consciously reframe situations.
What words come to mind when you focus on an adventure? What specifically do you associate with being on an adventure? Challenge perhaps. The unknown, adrenaline, risk, excitement, danger, fun, fear, unpredictable, uncomfortable?
Some of those are positive words, others not so. An adventure isn’t dependent on success or failure. Of course, it’s just a play on words – semantics. However, the choice of words we use to describe the situation we’re facing can significantly impact how we experience it and how we feel about it. In the same way we can redefine a problem as a challenge, we can also reframe a challenge as being part of our adventure.
SMARTER – Tapping into Mindset
Looking at your ability to structure your thinking in order to increase confidence and mental focus is key to reaching potential.
Getting into the zone or the flow state is one of the best ways to be super productive where we both feel and perform at our best. In order to get into the flow state, we must first focus- really focus. A quick performance hack to help you do that is focus sprinting. Focus sprints make use of intense energy bursts to help you overcome procrastination and channel your concentration.
Research shows that this works best by focusing on a task in intervals of between forty-five and ninety minutes, followed by a ten-to-fifteen-minute recovery break. Pushing past this 90-minute mark can often result in decreased focus. That’s why focus sprinting is so effective. It takes advantage of your brain’s natural rhythms to capitalise on the times you are at your peak performance.
Before you start, take two minutes to set a specific goal for what you want to achieve during this chunk of time. Next, turn off all outside distractions. No social media and no multitasking, just 100 percent pure focus on your set task. Now set the timer and get started.
STRONGER – tapping into physiology.
We have extraordinary capabilities to build successful habits that ensure we can push ourselves to the edge of our abilities whilst at the same time recovering in a truly world class way.
Proactively building recovery time into our daily schedule helps keep us performing at our peak. The idea is to schedule a couple of short active recovery breaks before we actually feel we need them. Any form of light exercise will do the trick – a walk-in nature is a favourite for many people or if that’s not possible, a couple of laps around the block will also suffice.
If you’re sitting at a desk for hours on end and don’t have much time, you can try the 20-20-20 method. Every 20 minutes stop and gaze at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. The idea here is to simply down regulate any cognitive effort by widening our focus of attention, causing us to pause, de compress and re set.
Habit stacking gives us total control over our winning behaviours.
A 21-day system that relates to the formation of new and improved habits
This involves setting out to perform up to five new habits a day, across the course of 21 days. The idea is you write down five things that you would like to do every day for 21 days. However, the expectation is that you’ll only complete three or four of them each day. So, built into this is a permission to fail, but it’s not failure because it turns out that this approach to forming habits is based not so much on the specific habits that you’re trying to form, but the habit of performing habits.
So, you start on day one by writing down the five things you’d like to have as a more permanent feature in your life. This can be anything from drinking a green smoothie, going to the gym or incorporating active recovery breaks into your routine.
A bonus hack is rather than seeing this as a 21-day challenge, break it down into three-day sets. Just for the next three days, commit to making these choices a priority. Consciously plug them into your day. And remember the bonus ingredient to this bonus hack – if you have a day when you don’t perform all of them, there is no punishment, you just get right back on the horse and go again the next day.
After three days, take five minutes to review your wins, learns, and changes, then wipe the slate clean and crack on with the next three-day set. Then after 21 days, ask yourself how many of those particular habits that you were deliberately trying to engage in are now automatically incorporated into your schedule? How many of them are you naturally doing? Then, and only if you fancy it, run it again for another 21 days.
Accept that you, too, are superhuman!
We have explored just a few of the tools and techniques that give us access to a readily available, in-built system of human resources. Let there be no doubt: we all have superpowers, and these powers open the door to the more we all seek.
You have your cape, now rise up and fly.
Jim Steele is a business speaker, leadership facilitator, executive coach and author of new book Unashamedly Superhuman: Harness Your Inner Power and Achieve Your Greatest Professional and Personal Goals, published by Capstone.
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