What is the doorway to your performance?

How can all performers create a solid stable mental/emotional foundation to insure consistent performance?

The more I work with athletes, artists or executives on elevating performance, helping them get to where they want to go, the more the importance of self-awareness is clear to me. It gives high performers the opportunity to access who they are at the deepest level and use that information to maximize performance and unlock other key behaviors necessary for high performance.

The notes, calls and e-mails I receive from the performers I work with make it clear they understand this is the key piece of the puzzle as they begin their journey to change their behavior and stay out of their own way in their performances. Here is a typical comment from a top performing client – he recently wrote, “John, I am sure of one thing, performance is all about self-awareness.No improvement can occur until we learn to be self-aware.”

That has been my experience. Without self-awareness, great, consistent performance is not possible.

Yes, confidence, self-reliance, focus, resilience (mental toughness) and other key behaviors, and approaches to build them, are critical to high performance – but it is difficult to unlock and develop these competencies without an adequate level of understanding of yourself and how your emotions impact your performance minute to minute.

And you can’t just go get it. It’s not that simple. There are many facets to it and it involves everything you are as a person.

In my work, I have the opportunity to work with some very talented and smart people who are often approaching the top of their field in sports, business and the arts. I see and assess their strengths, their limits and their overall capabilities. The process usually starts with a leading-edge assessment tool to measure their competency in the behaviors characteristic of top performers. It is interesting to note in our assessment of performers, about 8 out of 10 do not have an adequate level of self-awareness to be an elite, consistent performer. This is across the board at all ages.

Without self-awareness—the basic fundamental of emotional intelligence—I have found that more sophisticated behaviors are virtually impossible. A person with a lower level of self-awareness will struggle to…

  • develop consistent, sustainable relationships with others
  • reach a consistent level of confidence
  • understand and apply strengths,  be aware of limitations and understand triggers

It doesn’t matter what the performance area is—whether it’s sports, business, the arts, or performance in everyday life. If you lack self-awareness and some basic layers of emotional intelligence, you will struggle to be a consistent performer.

Understand how to build this key area of performance through initial assessment, customized exercises and a targeted plan.