April 20, 2010

Inner Excellence: Do You Have it?

Have you ever wondered how Olympic athletes have so much poise under pressure?


What is it that allows elite performers to be fully engaged in the moment, totally confident, with their career on the line? It’s something I’ve thought about a lot. In fact I spent five years and somewhere around 10,000 hours pursuing that answer, along with the question:


How can I use my gifts and live a balanced, fulfilling life?


In my research for the book Inner Excellence, I’ve found one major characteristic that separates extraordinary performers from everyone else. They think differently.


Where the rest of us are continually stuck in the past, lingering over what just happened or what should have happened, they live in the moment. It’s not easy, of course. When we’ve been this way most of our lives, change can be really difficult.


In Alan Deutschman’s book Change or Die, he says that the odds of you changing your lifestyle — even if a medical professional says your life depends on it — are 9 to 1 against you. That’s why we all need help, a coach or mentor to guide us and keep us on track.


Extraordinary performers who live balanced, fulfilling lives have learned to make changes in their life. They may not articulate it but those whose lives push the limits of human potential and fulfillment all seem to be anchored by stable, empowering factors. Somehow, in one way or another, they appear to be connected to three things: love, wisdom, and courage.


Love is to lead with your heart, wisdom is to expand your vision, and courage is to be fully present.  Those three core values are the pillars of high performance as well as the  foundation to live a fulfilling, powerful life.


To lead with your heart is to connect with your true self, the life within you, connected to the same God-given energy that spins the earth and sets the sun. This true self is connected to everyone else, to their greatness within. When you connect with your true self, the egoless power within you, that is love.


To expand your vision is to see beyond yourself, to pursue a purpose beyond your own wants and needs. To seek truth and beauty. That’s wisdom. To be fully present is to be fully engaged in the moment, with no past or future. That’s courage.


That’s Inner Excellence.


Photo: Hastings bookstore, Norman, Oklahoma (Sarah Palin came and spoke there a few weeks before I came).