The Step-by-Step Process to Develop Poise Under Pressure
Inner Excellence is about maximizing the amazing moments in your life. It’s about living fully, not missing the moments; it’s about capturing them. Like a photographer captures a sunrise, you can learn to connect deeply with experiences that in the past eluded you.
The key to maximizing your potential over the long-term is your willingness to learn and grow. Every performer, playwright or pickleball player that has unlocked their gifts has gotten comfortable taking risks (at least comfortable enough to take the risk), which means they’ve gotten comfortable with failure.
Poise under pressure comes from those who (are):
1. Comfortable being in the big moment (when so much is out of your control), which means…
2. Comfortable being uncomfortable, which means…
3. Comfortable taking risks, which means…
4. Comfortable with failure, which means…
5. Realize that in order to reach your potential you must continue to learn and grow, which means you must…
6. Reach beyond where they’re at now, try new things, many (most?) of which may fail. The trying of new things, most of which may fail, is the vital discovery process that gets lost to those who aren’t willing to face their fears.
7. Learn to get out of their own way, so they can face any feeling, and embrace the fearlessness that comes to those who are selfless.
Let’s do this!
Note: Please take a moment and pray for those wounded and attacked in Ukraine and in conflicts in Myanmar, Haiti and around the world.
“We are all failures – at least the best of us are.” – J. M. Barrie, playwright (Peter Pan)
Yo Yo Ma is the greatest cellist in the world. He wasn’t always that way, however. Years ago, he had a breakthrough moment while performing. In the middle of a concert, one that was going very well. He asked himself the question that changed the course of his life: “Am I trying to get it right, or am I trying to find something?” It’s the pursuit of magical moments, and the discovery process of connecting with them, that turned him into Yo Yo Ma.
“If your goal is to play the piece perfectly, I don’t believe you can have mental toughness. If your goal is to give the audience something beautiful to listen to, that’s when I think you have mental toughness. It’s always the passing on to someone else. Mental toughness comes from letting go of your own ego.” – Simon Sinek, from Inner Excellence, p. 218
The primary obstacle we all face in performance and in life is that we’re going after the wrong things, setting goals that are far too limiting (if we set them at all), obsessing about temporary, external things that come and go.
Why do we want to achieve our goals? Is it not to live a meaningful, fulfilling life, with amazing experiences, deep, enriching relationships, learning and growing in how to live with absolute fullness of life?
To have a chance at maximizing the potential for your life, you must cultivate and develop the person that’s doing the performance… the person meaning, the heart and character of the performer… so that you become the type of person who’s more curious than afraid, who would much rather try and fail than not try at all.
Here’s three things to remember in your pursuit to capture those magical moments (where you feel fully alive):
- You don’t know what’s best for you. Yes, you want to achieve your goals, but do you know that achieving your biggest goal will give you that life described above? Do you really think you’re limited mind, based on your limited experiences, really knows that you should get what you want?
- Your greatest asset is your heart (as Muhammad Ali shared) and transforming it into one that loves greatly and experiences magical moments (by definition, without judging the moment), is the foundation for all your goals and dreams. The process of learning and growing is a discovery process, like a good photographer or journalist, capturing the moment without bringing one’s own preconceived notions of how that moment should be.
- Be willing to face any feeling. The great achievement is not the external success (when the lights are brightest), it’s capturing the moment with all your heart, which means bringing all of you to that moment, warts and all. To capture the moment, we have to let go of our attachments to how the moment should be, and be willing (as Muhammad Ali shared to have any feeling that may come with not achieving what you think the world says you should.
Yo Yo Ma changed his life pursuit from external perfection to human expression and connection. What about you? Are you willing to do the same? Are you willing to miss the putt in order to have the freedom to roll it true? Who’s your opponent? He does not exist. He’s merely a dissenting voice to the truth you speak.
With a hint of good judgment, to fear nothing, not failure or suffering or even death, indicates that you value life the most. You live to the extreme; you push limits; you spend your time building legacies. Those do not die.” – Criss Jami
I’m writing this on my way to Athens, Greece. I’ll be there until Sunday and then off to Florence, Italy for a week. I’ll be leading an Inner Excellence retreat in Florence. If you’re in either city, let me know! Or if you want to find out more about this life-changing experience, just reply to this email.
Audiobook update: It’s coming along! I’ve got great help and should be finished in a week or two once I get back to the states.