If you have something coming up that you want, you need, to be on your A-Game for—how do you make it for sure that you will be?
You can be as physically prepared as is humanly possible—and you should be—but you know there’s that X-factor that will determine more than anything else you do to perform at your best.
Your state of mind, your attitude, your aims, and strategies will all ensure success.
Or, if misaligned, no matter what else you might be doing your performance is going to be lackluster, subpar.
We all know what the ideal mindset feels like: “I had it completely together,” “I was on it!” “Total flow'” “I was in my element.”
We just don’t know how to get there—it’s a blessing when it happens and a curse when it don’t.
Here’s a little known secret weapon that not only ensures the greatest likelihood of you showing up at your very best, but will even point the way back to your groove when you are knocked out of your saddle by some unexpected challenge.
Keep reading, but know this: the price of admission is that you pick some event, some something that you want to be at your best for, and you do the damn exercise. Actually do it—you’ll see.
Here are the instructions and a couple of examples…
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”
This tool has become a crucial way for me to get clear the noise in times when I’m gripped by anything less than easeful confidence. I will always use it to get prepared for a known challenge—an interaction with someone I find difficult, or perhaps a task I haven’t dealt well with in the past.
That would be useful enough, however, the CPR process was first introduced to me as a way of preparing to participate in occasions that are less about me being uncomfortable, and more about my need to simply be at my best and add the greatest value. It’s been a way of putting my excitement to good use.
The power of this approach is found in the shift that happens when you stop focusing on the things outside your control, and address instead the question: Who do I want to be, such that when I later look in the mirror I get to say “Well done”?
Answer that, and you are ready.
CPR – Context, Purpose, & Results
The process begins backward with writing the desired Results, then identifying the underlying Purpose, and finally naming the Context that, as a touchstone, you can keep coming back to.
First, decide upon a coming event or situation that has you tighten up or is in some way a challenge.
Now do this:
Take a couple of minutes to imagine all the results you wish having been accomplished.
Write down each one in the past tense as if they have already happened. Define Success in terms of concrete measures and attainments, and also include some descriptions of how you would like to feel and view things (my example CPR should clarify this point).
Next, in writing the Purpose you will be addressing the question of Why is it so important, why does it matter?
Try out the following template where you are being guided in stating (i). what kind of person you will be being, (ii). your approach – how you will get there, and (iii). the impact that will have on you, your life, and even on the lives of others – why it will matter..
“The purpose of my <doing or participating in ________________________ event> is to _______ through ______________ so that ____________ <impact rippling out into the world>”
Lastly, create a short phrase, a metaphor, or perhaps just a word or two that captures the essence of your stated Purpose.
Try responding to: Who will you be to get the results you want?
Maybe a couple of potent adjectives will do the trick.
This personal ‘tag-line’ will serve as a reminder that you can return to in order to reconnect with your best motivations. You can regain your composure through recognizing that now is always an opportunity to be the person you most admire – to act in a way that your future self will thank you for.
Here’s a couple of my own examples. The first was connected to an upcoming visit by my elderly father who was staying with us for a couple of weeks a few years ago.
Suffice it to say that in the past things have got strained as I fall into the pattern of trying to extract from him what I have never really gotten, while he understandably tries to ensure nothing changes. Not fun! Here goes…
- I really miss him after he leaves
- I discovered over and over how easy it is to just enjoy his company
- When I noticed uptightness arising in myself, I took that as a sign to breath more deeply, relax my shoulders, and resolved to get out of my head and come back to the present
- I took ‘feeling connected’ as my goal in all our interactions, reminded myself often of how precious these moments were, and so felt the poignancy and fragility of the time we had together
- We got out onto the golf course as often as he was able to!
- I made sure the boys were around/in town to connect with him
- I consistently made use of humor to dissipate tensions between him and others
- In moments when I felt appreciative – in ways big and small – I shared that with him
- We all said this trip was the best yet.
“The purpose of my hosting Dad with love, appreciation, and awareness of the impermanence of our connection, is so that we all feel closer and more heartfelt with each other, and will have given ourselves further evidence that we truly are making the most of this life.”
CONTEXT “Slow down, get here. Delight.”
The CPR process can be done in five minutes: 1 minute to imagine the desired results, 2 minutes to write them down, 1 minute to nail the purpose, and 1 more to generate the Context.
Here’s mine for Spring Break on working-from-home-when-my-family-is-here:
- I got up when I decided I would and spent some time sitting in silence as the first priority of the day.
- I communicated clear expectations to MY family as to my availability on what for me is a workday.
- When interrupted I was clear, firm, and gentle in my responses
- At days end I took a few minutes to learn what I could from the days’ events.
PURPOSE “I am both productive and flexible through having set clear tasks, expectations, and scheduling, so that I am in touch with my appreciation for loved ones, and maintain the ‘bandwidth’ to continue To Get Shit Done.”
CONTEXT “Get up, Kick ass, Repeat”
So, do give it a whirl, and tell me how it goes!