5 Secrets of Motivation

For much of his career, Tony Schwartz has been an elite performance coach. He traveled the world studying tennis greats, in an attempt to discern the differences between the #1 or #2  player in the world from #65 in the world. What separates a champion from someone who is just really good at their sport?

Lots of people want to know what are the distinguishing TACTICS and strategies of champions.

  • What do they eat? Are they vegan?

  • Do they practice for 4 hours per day, or 6? 

  • Do they lift weights or not? If so, how often? 

And so on and so forth...

After a year of watching a great many tournaments, Tony concluded that he could see NO real tactical difference between the number one player and his/her less talented adversaries. This also meant that his year was a waste and he might have to pay back their publisher.

As a performance psychologist, Jim's goal was to understand the factors that set apart the greatest competitors in the world from the rest of the pack. After spending hundreds of hours watching top players, he became increasingly frustrated that he detected almost no significant differences in their competitive habits during points. However, he began to notice how players behaved in between points being scored. While most of them were not aware of it, the best players had each displayed a highly consistent set of routines. These included:

  • The way they walked back to the baseline after a point
  • How they held their heads and shoulders
  • Where they focused their eyes
  • Pattern of their breathing
  • The way they talked to themselves

The actual technical training that each athlete did was very similar. They all worked hard, rested, found diets that kept them lean and energetic. When it came to the actual champions and the runners-up, the only differences that could be measured at all were on focus and mindset. Here is a short list of those mindsets.

#1. Pride

Confidence and certainty in who they are at this moment and what they can accomplish. Champions have a strut and swagger with rock-solid self-confidence. They BELIEVE they can win as long as the DO what they know.

#2. Focus

The next step is crystal clear when that is all you are focused on. This is a simple concept, but take a step back and consider how much energy gets sapped when you are looking at the whole mountain versus looking at ONLY the next handhold. How great can you make your next article, blog post, or shift at the factory if you ONLY have that next task? The truth is, you always have only one task. With that in mind, isn't your next step crystal clear?

#3. Self-Compassion

When you make a mistake (and you WILL make mistakes, Ms. or Mr. Perfectionist), your first reaction might be to criticize your performance or preparation. Breathe through that and RESPOND with compassion. 

E.g. "Yes, I just accidentally emailed that person without editing. I send hundreds of emails each month and several typos slip through. Time to move onto the next task."

That kind of measured response will save you TIME and ENERGY, the two most powerful variables in your work.

#4. Measure success against actions taken, not outcomes

When you measure your performance around big goals, make sure you measure the factors you can control. The lagging indicators are the outcomes and we don't directly control those. How much fat you lose, the muscle you build, strength gains, etc, are the outputs. The inputs are the number of training sessions per week, kinds of reps, how much food and when, sleep quality and quantity, etc. Those factors are what you are truly measuring when it comes time to weigh in. You are measuring the effectiveness of the plan and your adherence to it. If you are moving closer to your goal, stick to the plan. If you are moving further away, change it up.

#5. Think long-term

You will not become a champion overnight. 

"We were an overnight sensation 20 years in the making." 
-The McDonald Brothers, founders of McDonald's.

"People get paid in public for things they have been doing for years in private." -Tony Robbins

"A black belt is just a white belt who never quit." -Maxim that is painted on the walls of many a martial art studio

If your long-term plan is to be in great shape, enjoy your family and work-life balance, then you have time to get in shape. You get the flu and have to miss a week of training, that's fine! That means more time to practice your meditation and get your breathing dialed in. The perspective that what you are doing today serves your long-term vision actually makes each step a bit easier a bit more enthusiastic and a bit more effective.

Take these 5 lessons and apply vigorously until you win!

Coach Josh here, helping you bring out the warrior within.