Mastery, Presence, and Inner Peace: Keys to Peaking Performance

April 09, 2014

April’s Theme is Peak Sports Performance

If you want to peak your sport performance, choose something you want to work on every week. As you do, you will acquire increased understanding, insight, and confidence in your mechanics and mental skills – over time. Practicing helps you build confidence in your mechanics, which 90% of athletes do; but I encourage you to treat the mental side of your game just as importantly. Practice the mental skills on a regular basis, so you can reinforce them and be excellent on all levels, when you are ready to perform in your sport and win.

How do you achieve peak sports performance? I believe you acquire it with mastery, presence and inner peace. You also maintain it with those same three elements. What is mastery? Mastery is the practicing of your skills; regular, deliberate, intentional, mindful practicing, so you can master whatever you choose to put your mind, energy, time and effort into. The more you practice your skills, the less you have to think about them as you play. Mastery frees your mind from self-doubt when it is time to perform. That is very important in any sport, since it allows you to be present as you perform.

Presence, or to say it another way ‘being present’, is the ability to be focused in the moment. Athletes know they need greater focus but what they try to do is just focus harder, or stare harder, but having presence is a lot more than that. It is the realization that you are in this moment in time, doing what you know how to do, wrapping your mind around the very action you are getting ready to complete. Having presence is about reaching the mindset that allows you to perform at your peak, no matter your sport or profession. I tell my clients you have to believe that you can do what you can do in this very moment in time and nothing less.

Then there is inner peace. Inner peace causes a lot of confusion with athletes when I start to talk about it, because they think they need that ‘go-get-em’ edge or fighter’s mentality to win. That creates a lot of resistance toward their pursuit of inner peace. What I can tell you through my observation and training, is that inner peace is different than what you may assume. It is a matter of having peace in your mind. You are not a ball of mush, but you are completely relaxed. I read a Dalai Lama quote this morning that helps describe what I am talking about. It states: ”When we are angry, we are blind to reality. Anger may bring us a temporary burst of energy, but that energy blocks the part of our brain that distinguishes right from wrong. To deal with our problems we need to be practical and realistic and if we are to be realistic, we need to use our human intelligence properly, which means we need a calm mind.”

I thought that quote was perfect. I definitely agree with it and have witnessed it with many clients, and in my own life. You may be deceived in thinking your anger and fit of energy are going to help you in your sport but in reality, they are not. There are a lot of reactions that take place in your body when you experience anger or fear. ‘Fight or flight’ sets in and you do not think clearly. A bit of a fog exists in your mind and you are in the illusion of your thoughts and then reacting to them, rather than what is really happening around you. So inner peace (having a calm mind or peace of mind), is definitely what you need to strive for in order to win.

You can see this also if you watch professional athletes on television. When they start getting angry and trying too hard is when things start falling apart. Even though they may have mastered their skills, they need all three components of mastery, presence and inner peace to truly achieve peak performance.

The suggestion from my hypnosis product that I have chosen to write about today is: “Each day I practice with a confident mindset, focused intention, & positive way of viewing myself, my life & how I play.”

Each day I practice with a confident mindset…this goes back to mastery of your mental skills and not just waiting for an event, hoping you will be able to have confidence or that maybe you will have a focused intention or mindset. You cannot hope for things like that. A lot of athletes feel like being in the zone is kind of a fluky thing that they have no control over, and it just randomly or haphazardly happens. But I have seen and helped clients master the skill of being in the zone, and then apply it at will whenever they feel like it. So each day, you need to practice a confident mindset if you want to improve your sport performance.

Now you know you need to practice a confident mindset, but what exactly does that look like? You need to pay attention to when you lack confidence in some area of your life, and get to know what that feels like. Then, pay attention to when you do have confidence in that particular area and learn to recognize the difference. Then when you practice in your sport, eliminate any thoughts or language that reinforce a lack of confidence, and make sure you feel confident in each of the elements that go into it.

When you think about focused intention, treat it like goal setting. You can have focused intention in the morning for your day, or your particular practice round and what you want to work on. You probably do that already. Sometimes you decide you want to practice your putting for a while. Well, that is a focused intention. You recognize the strength of when you pull your mind in and keep it focused on one particular task. You can do that throughout the day, or one round of golf, or clay shooting or running.  Whatever your sport is, this mantra will work. You set your intention up front and say “I want to maintain a confident mindset and inner peace” throughout the entire round of golf, or clay shooting or running. You set that intention and decide that is what you are working on. Or let’s say that you have a tournament. If you have been practicing a confident mindset and your ability to maintain a focused intention, you go on out for your event and you can set your intention for that also.

As you practice having a focused intention, then you will begin to recognize when your focus wanders. Any time you start to stray from the path you have chosen, you just bring yourself back in. Let’s say you want to practice that inner peace while you are playing, but you start to wander from that (say you get upset about a bogey, a missed target, or something). You recognize it and pull yourself back in. So you practice having a confident mindset, focused intention and positive way of viewing yourself.

I know I have addressed this in different articles and trainings, and from many different angles. Why is it so important to have a positive way of viewing yourself? If you go out there chewing yourself out in your mind for not being very good, saying that you don’t deserve to be there or any thoughts like that, then you are definitely going to struggle no matter how much mastery you have of your skills.

So it is definitely important that you practice having this positive way of viewing yourself: and as I have said before, don’t just practice in your sport but practice throughout moments or days in your life. You can master this positive way of viewing yourself. Catch yourself when you are being negative or thinking life shouldn’t be a certain way, and replace those thoughts with something positive. Catch yourself if you are thinking down or limiting about how you perform in your sport, or what you are capable of doing. You can even choose to focus your intention on viewing yourself positively, and look at the areas you perform well in already. Build on that and remind yourself of that, instead of allowing negative thoughts to affect your confidence or impede your performance.

So each day, I practice with a confident mindset, focused intention, and positive way of viewing myself, my life & how I play. Really let this soak in and start practicing what it says. It will bring you great mastery over the mental side of your game, and over the mental side of everything in your life, actually. I highly encourage you to apply this to all areas of your life, so you can get even more opportunity to master it. Hopefully you can see how all of this can be directly applied to anything in your life. Take the ‘I apply’ part out, or the ‘I practice’ part, and say to yourself: “Each day, I have a confident mindset, focused intention and positive way of viewing myself and my life”, and carry it over to include how you are at work, or how you are in relationships or at home with your family. The more opportunity you find to perform in this way throughout your daily activities, the more you will master inner peace; one of the critical components to achieving peak sport performance.

So have mastery, presence in each moment, and inner peace; be confident in your mindset, have focused intention, and decide what you are going to work on this day. Then have a positive way of viewing yourself, others, your life, or situations you are involved in as you go about daily living. If you need any additional assistance as you start working this in your life and sport, I am here to help you so please feel free to contact me. As you strive toward mastery, presence and inner peace, I know you will see improvements in your daily life as well as your sport performance. Just get started! Thanks for reading. InJoy your day!


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