Other than Tony Robbins, Brendon Burchard is one of the world’s leading high performance coaches, and one of the most requested motivational speaker of his generation. Every year, he holds a weeklong camp in which he discusses what it means to be a high performer. Burchard believes high performers should be masters in four categories: psychology, physiology, productivity, and people/persuasion. Although I can’t attend this year’s camp, I began to think more about what it meant to be a high performer, and why Burchard had selected those four specific categories. In this week’s post, I’m going to explore what I believe it means to be high performer, and how you can master those categories, even if you can’t attend a weeklong seminar.
In my opinion, this is probably the crux of personal development, one’s psychology. Psychology can mean a lot of things, but for me, what it boils down to, is how do you manage your thoughts? Thoughts control of everything. When a typical coach encounters someone that’s overweight, the first thing they want to do is give them this fascinating workout plan and intricate food/diet regime. In reality, none of that really matters. I’m sure these fat people have had the information for years and have known for a very long time that they should not eat that extra slice of chocolate cake, but they do so anyway. Their thoughts, their inner chatter, their self talk, and how they relate to problems is what makes the difference. I can give anyone any type of diet plan and exercise routine, but if they don’t follow it, what’s the point? So how do we hack our thoughts? How do we battle these emotions? How do we control these urges? How do we get up when we just want to hit the snooze button? I think there’s four things you can do right now to make psychological shifts that will have a great impact on your current life right now.
Show Up: Whatever event it is, whatever challenge is in front of you, whatever it is that scares you and makes you a little unsure, show up anyway. Put two feet forward and just show up. Many times in life, I’ve found that just showing up is 80% of the work. Often, the alarm goes off ,and we don’t want to get up. Or, we get off work and we don’t want to go to the gym. But once we are up, or we’ve gotten into the gym, the rest takes care of itself. It’s simply a matter of showing up.
Create Space: When it comes to our emotions, we need to create space between the stimulus and our response. When we are triggered, we never think this space exists, because most of us, are stuck in this reactive mindset. Something happens to us, and we are automatically triggered to respond a certain way, and unfortunately we get the same results. People die in fires, because they try to go out the same way they came in. We need to think outside of the box. When there is space between our emotions and reactions, we create possibility.
Stick to Your Core: Define your core values. Who are you? What do you stand for? What’s important to you? Live that. Embody that. Be that. When the storm comes crashing down, and your boat is about to sink, your core values will become significant then. How will you act in moments of extreme pressure? Will you crumble, or rise to the top?
Forward Lean: Keep challenging yourself and looking for new ways to grow. Never be satisfied with your current level of success. Always look for ways to improve and move forward.
Physiology is simply a fancy word for saying your overall level of health and I would even say fitness. Now, in order to be a high performer, I don’t think you need to be some kind of bodybuilder, but I think maintaining a certain level of fitness is crucial. Why? Well, working out or having some type of movement practice induces beneficial responses in the brain, which “is accompanied by an increase in BDNF, a trophic factor associated with cognitive improvement and the alleviation of depression and anxiety.” Bottom line, your brain works better when you workout.
Secondly, working out causes a surge of hormones to be produced, giving us that feeling euphoria or what some have referred to as “runners high.” Anytime I am feeling sluggish or moody, I know the quickest way to alter my state is thru exercise. I quickly run downstairs and do a set of high intensity intervals which usually consist of four minutes of burpees. In just four minutes I can completely alter my body and my overall sense of well being.
Another reason I think high performers are drawn to exercise is they recognize that exercise is not easy. In order to lift heavy weights or complete high intensity intervals, there’s a certain level of grit that’s involved. When you finish your workout and come out the other side there’s a new level of confidence and positive momentum that is generated. Bottom line, if you’re not exercising now, start slow and find simple routines like the four minute exercise I described above. In order to get to the most bang for your buck in the shortest amount of time, studies have shown high intensity intervals to be the most efficacious in terms of longevity, energy production, and increased endurance. There are some great apps out there like the 7 Minute Workout that are free for those just getting started.
This is an area of personal development that clients are consistently telling me they are trying to get better at and often say things like “well I don’t know I guess I’m just lazy.” You’re not lazy, you just haven’t found something big enough to drive you and move you every single day. Something that keeps you up at night because you so badly want to accomplish it. I think a lack of productivity typically stems from a lack of a clear vision. What’s the one goal on the top of your list of things to do every day that if you only accomplished that one goal, the day would be a success? Often, most of us know what that one goal is, but we put that goal or task off in order to “busy work.” The next thing you know, all that busy works adds up, and at the end of the day, you look yourself in the mirror and say, “What the hell did I really accomplish today? I felt busy, and I’m tired, but what actually got done?” Be clear about what you want to accomplish, and make sure that task gets handled first thing in the morning. The longer you put it off, the less chance that task will be completed, as it’ll get swallowed up by the wave of busy work.
People & Persuasion Mastery
This is a category that I think is a little less obvious than the first three pillars of high performance. I think there’s a general belief and understanding that high performers are positive people who break through indomitable obstacles, generate massive output and energy, and are extremely disciplined and productive, but if they can’t communicate their message or get people to see their message, then really all that performance falls flat. Because at the end of the day, if you’re a high performer, you should be doing more than just being the best that you can be. Who are you serving? Who are you making better? How do you contribute to the world to make it just that better every day? So, how do we communicate our message to the world so that it’s resonating with people and influencing others in a beneficial way? To influence people, you need to challenge them and tell them what to do. It might almost sound egotistical, and you’re probably asking yourself, “like what, you want me to tell people what to do? I can’t do that, I’m not bossy, that’s just not me.” No one is asking you to be bossy, but when you challenge people to do more than they are expected, they push past their boundaries, and become a stronger, better version of themselves. Very often, people need to be told what to do. We live in a world where obtaining information is easy and instantaneous, but what people do with that information is entirely different story. Most people have the necessary information but are doing nothing. Put them in motion. Get them to act.
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