Own Your A-GamePeak PerformancePersonal & Leadership Development

Unleash Your A-Game: New Year’s Resolution Mastery

8% of the population achieves their resolutions. To help you achieve yours, use the Unleash Your A-Game chart. When it’s time to act on your resolutions assess where you are on the chart.  Then do what it takes to move the needle towards absence of fear and being fully present.

Paralysis – Use Your Body

I don’t have fear of heights, except one time when I was on the Hunt Spur near the top of climbing Mt. Katahdin in Maine. I was paralyzed! My friends were cheering me on but I was so stuck, their words were of no help.

The reason why my friends couldn’t talk me through my paralysis is because when you are this stuck, mind over body doesn’t work. This is a body over mind solution. Paralysis means that you are in a full on freeze response. When our stress response is triggered the hormones released into our bloodstream remain in the bloodstream! That means they will perpetuate your paralysis as well as accumulate in your bloodstream.

The only way to release the hormones and any unwanted physical symptoms such as paralysis, brain freeze, sweat, or butterflies, is to replicate some sort of fight, flight, or thawing out. That may look like a vigorous set of jumping jacks, leaving a situation and collecting yourself, or relaxing.

If it’s time to act on your resolutions and you’ve been paralyzed before, then get ahead of the game and  prepare with body movement. If you get stuck or frozen along the way, don’t mentally beat yourself up and certainly don’t give up. Have compassion, use your body and move through it.

On Mt. Katahdin I turned to my breath. Shallow at first, I tried sipping in a little more air with each breath. Once I got to deep abdominal breathing I easily finished the climb.

Courage – Feel the Fear and Do It Anyways – Navigate the Aftermath – Increase Preparation

Our culture applauds courage but nobody talks about the aftermath of courage. Mastery in the aftermath is the critical step. Aftermath can be broken down into 3 scenarios:

1. That went better than I thought! In this scenario confidence is gained and you’re encouraged.
2. I did okay. In this scenario, confidence may or may not be gained. You may or may not be inspired to continue.
3. That was horrible! In this scenario confidence is lost and decisions to stop trying are made.

If you’ve used courage to achieve one of your resolutions and your aftermath leaves you scratching your head, increase everything! Increase using your body to relieve the stress hormones and increase your preparation that relates directly with the resolution. Have compassion, feel the fear and do it anyways and assess the aftermath all over again.

As a highly trained violinist taking auditions, I used courage over and over again expecting a different result. The more I used courage, the worse I did at my auditions and retreated to Plan B. It wasn’t until I mastered my preparation and I massaged my Achilles Tendon 4 times per day that I was able to move beyond courage and get into a state of boldness! (The Achilles tightens automatically as a result of a triggered stress response. Keeping it relaxed had made it possible for me to keep my cool during high stress.)

Successfully navigating through the 3 aftermath scenarios can make or break your ability to achieve your New Year’s resolution.

Boldness – In the Face of Risk, Fearless Action – Assess Presence of Mind – Worst Case Scenarios List

My son, a rafting guide, was sucked under an 8 foot waterfall that delivers 2000 lbs. of water per second. After 30 or so seconds he popped up in the pocket of air trapped underneath the overturned raft. He had enough time for a giant gulp of air before he got sucked down again where he bumped into a rock, felt intense vibrations all around him in the water and then popped up safely downstream.

I asked if he knew what went wrong. He was articulate. He didn’t optimally balance the placement of people in the boat and he wasn’t far enough over to the right during the approach. While he was in the water, he could describe exactly what was occurring which is why I could write about it myself. Once in the water, he was in reaction mode. When it was all said and done, thanks to the safety strap, he surfaced with his sunglasses on.

If you look at the Unleash Your A-Game chart you’ll see the arrow that goes from sensory shutdown to being fully present. The reason why I asked my son if he knew what went wrong was because I was assessing how present he was in the moment of high risk. While many of us would go into emotional amnesia in this situation, it was clear that in the face of risk, because of his presence of mind he was able to be in fearless action. He took one day to physically rest and happily finished out the season as a river raft guide.

While my son was clearly in a risky situation, most of us perceive risk. How can you remove risk so that you can increase your presence of mind and be fully functional? Write down in exquisite detail all of the worst case scenarios that you can think of while achieving your resolution. Once you bring them to light, you’ll know how to work through them or be able to dismiss them immediately. Remove the risk and gain presence of mind.

Absence of Fear – Turn your Nervous Energy into Excitement – Personal Best

“Turn your nervous energy into excitement” is one of those statements we hear all the time but we seldom hear how to do it.

Moving through paralysis, courage and into a state of boldness is a journey of removing the unwanted effects of our fight or flight response which poses as trying to keep us safe. But no matter what, adrenaline happens. In a state of absence of fear, an adrenaline response can now support you.

Kathy had the opportunity to pitch her startup at an Angel Conference. You could say that her goal was to get her startup funded. But the purpose of her startup is to bring creativity and joy into people’s lives. When she purposefully focused on bringing creativity and joy during her pitch in front of a large audience, she was able to use that to fuel her nervous energy and turn it into excitement. Afterwards, people complimented her specifically by saying “hearing you speak was a joy”! For Kathy, this was the first time she had a personal best speaking in front of an audience and now she’s hungry for more!

Mastery over your New Year’s Resolutions isn’t just that you’ve checked them off your list, but that you achieved a personal best doing it. Paralysis doesn’t have to stop you dead in your tracks when you know how to use your body over your mind. Navigating courage broken down by how to deal with the aftermath is critical to keep you moving through the Unleash Your A-Game chart. By the time you are able to employ fearless action, even when you perceive things as risky, you can do what it takes to change your perceptions and step into complete absence of fear. And for that personal best moment, direct your adrenaline into turning your nervous energy into excitement by focusing on the purpose that inspires you the most!


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