Accountability Challenge Week 49 Journal Your Way to Better Performance
I mentioned last week that a huge key to improving your performance is to be able to control and reduce your level of “performance” anxiety. Taking time out of your day to practice deep breathing is essential to your long-term (I’d even go as far as to say lifetime) success.
I’d like to share with you in this week’s lesson another extremely effective tool achieving better performance.
It’s called Performance Journaling-it is another tool that is deceptively simple, but highly powerful.
Whether we are aware of it or not, daily stresses from our lives and from the pursuit of our goals can deceptively build up until they actually inhibit our performance. If left untreated, or undetected, the way that we cope with these high levels of anxiety is to avoid or to reduce the amount of productive performance oriented behaviours that we undertake. This is actually a natural reaction to the situation we face.
However, if our goal is in fact improved or increased levels of performance, than it is essential that we master all of the strategies for effective relaxation.
Getting out a pen and pen, and physically writing for about 10-15 minutes about what you are doing, or not doing, and how you are feeling is called Performance Journaling. It is not a common strategy; in fact it may be one of the best kept secrets of high performance behaviourial management.
I learned this technique about fifteen years ago from studying the work of Clinical Psychologist and performance behavioural expert, Dr. Aaron Hemsley, PHD. Dr. Hemsley completed over 40 years of research in the field of studying high performance athletes, and salespeople in the investment and insurance fields.
He outlined the simple strategy of spending 10-15 minutes a day to write about what you what you were doing, how you were feeling, and what you learned from the experience of writing this down. The end result is that by performing this simple activity on a consistent basis, we were able to understand our internal areas of resistance and anxiety much better.
When we go through this writing process we are able to reduce our present levels of anxiety until we reach what is known as the “performance range”. This is the area that we often referred to as being in “the zone”.
When we are in the zone, we are able to effortlessly achieve peaks levels of performance. It is our natural state when we are in this range to want to perform more. We look forward to taking risks, we automatically move out of our comfort zone. We feel energized, light, motivated, and eager to perform. It becomes unnatural for us to not want to do otherwise.
Truth be told, this strategy worked so well for me, that I stopped doing it. I experienced the increased levels in my own performance, until I reached a point of “comfort” where I felt that I didn’t need to do it any further. What I failed to realize until recently, was that left unchecked these old levels of performance anxiety had crept back into my own life, and had begun to seriously impede my own performance toward the achievement of my own goals and dreams.
What I can tell you from my own experience is that performance journal writing is one of the most effective strategies for performance improvement that I have ever come across, and I am once again applying this strategy in my own life-This time the commitment is for life.
So what exactly do you write about? The good news is that it doesn’t really matter what you write about, just that you do write. There are no rules, or protocols to follow. You write what you feel.
I do have a few suggestions for you that might prove helpful, in the form of questions that you can ask yourself. Here are just a few:
The Power of Performance Journaling:
What did I say I was going to do today towards my goal(s)?
What did I actually do today?
How did I feel about that?
What did I learn by going through this exercise?
What is the source of my anxiety? What is holding me back?
What is it costing me to hold onto this anxiety or block?
What will happen to me if I take action to overcome it, right now?
These are just a few examples to get you started.
The key is to write. To write often, to write when you feel anxious, and to write when you feel fine.
Write, RIGHT NOW.
Q What are my Goals and my PLAN for next week?
Thought for the week: “Right now is the only time we have, so write, right now”
Mark Hudon, CFP™, CCS™
Financial Fitness Coach, Certified Cash Flow Specialist™
Creator of The Core Conditioning Program™