How to Get the Most Out of Yourself, Even On Your Worst Days

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When it comes to performance often worry about the ceiling, the greatest performance that someone is capable of. What’s their personal best? How good are we on our best day, when everything clicks? But the more I’ve coached, the more I’ve worried about raising the floor. Establishing a performance that you can accomplish, no matter if you wake up feeling wonderful or like a thousand pounds of bricks.

Recently, I was fortunate to work with Roberta Groner, who was 6th at the world championships and 5 weeks later she ran 2:30 in the NYC marathon. Roberta is a prime example of someone who raised her floor. Athletes like Roberta have figured out how to get the most out of themselves, regardless of the situation or the day. In observing floor raisers I’ve noticed a few trends.

1. Know What They Are Capable Of.
When we’re inexperienced, we often shoot for the stars, setting our sights high. Instead, those who are consistent are experts at knowing what they are capable of. They know where their performance level lies, and set themselves up to shoot for just beyond this.

2. Know what puts them in the right frame of mind.
We all have a particular ‘zone’ in which we perform best. This applies to the types of emotions you experience AND how much/intense those emotions are. Understanding where you need to be, and the different tactics and strategies to get there are vital.

3. Execute Their Plan, Not Someone Else’s.
Whenever we’re performing, it’s easy to get sucked into someone else’s plan or strategy. Maybe we get dragged out to fast in a race, or give in to our co-workers planning demands instead of sticking with what works best for us. Consistent performers understand what works for them, what doesn’t, and they are able to zone in on it, blocking out what others are doing.

4. Know How to Flip the Switch.
Consistency isn’t about being average. It’s about putting yourself in position to perform at your best that day, and if the stars align, the best in your life. Consistent performers give don’t try to force a breakthrough; they give themselves a chance for one. And if that opportunity presents itself, they know how to flip the switch, throw caution to the wind and go for it.

— Steve

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