haime-contender-cover5-1Very often, where a person comes from is a factor overlooked in performance. Most examination in how a very high performer reached their heights looks at how much work they did to get there – we’re hearing all about a 10,000 hour threshold now – and how great performers seemed to work on the right things to get to where they are.


And all of that may be true – and obvious. Yes – work hard and on the right things and results may come. But, lots of performers work hard and on the right things – and fall short.


How often do you ever hear about the performer’s background, the stability and support provided by parents and caregivers – and how important this might be in where the person is now? How can this possibly be overlooked when your foundational memories and experiences happen during this time and this memory shapes your thinking later in life?


It has been my experience working with performers in different areas – that their backgrounds define who they are and this shapes their thinking in performance. Some performers come from what I call a “Peak” background where parents and homelife were stable and emotional experiences were positive. These performers had positive relationships at school … and at work and had the foundation to give back later and reach the “peak” of performance. Some performers come from a “wedge” background where home life was unstable and parents lacked self-awareness. These performers may have stuggled with relationships at school and at work and are left with negative emotions “wedged” inside of them. These emotions take up the space and focus inside the person and there is less to give back.


It is very possible a “wedge” person can move to the peak side “and back again” – and vice versa for a peak person. Circumstances in our lives can create shifts.


My point is that in order to look at average and outstanding performance and performers, a factor that must be considered is the performer’s background. Their emotional memory and experiences shapes thinking later on – shaping behavior and ultimately shaping performance.


This is another piece of self-awareness – performers must understand their emotional memories and what key experiences shape their thinking. Negative emotional memories have a very bad habit of popping up and shaping thinking when pressure increases for performers – and many performers don’t understand where this comes from.

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