“Perfecting our process” is what exactly? Reflection and recovery activities include meditation, mindfulness, awareness of emotional attitude, cognitive mindset, our rhythm of effort, and strategy. These all intersect with each other and where they are aligned or collaborate becomes a great opportunity for us. It’s a sweet spot.
Perfecting our process means that we are improving ourselves so that whatever we participate in, whatever we encounter in life, we perform and experience it at a higher level, a preferred quality. Let me explain the multifaceted approach to how “Perfecting Our Process” creates high-performance.
Meditation Works Out Our Central Engine
Bare with me for just a quick moment of history. When I was younger, I spent time with friends in the evening and on weekends in a gym. We worked out hard with weights. I attempted to “beef up,” as I felt that I was rather skinny. It was a great pastime as well as a social event. Eventually, I took up jogging and participating in 10K races in and around my home. During the warmer months, I went fishing and hiking with the guys on weekends, which eventually gave way to golf.
From my teenage years, I had always practiced meditation on and off. Mostly off, to be honest, but as I got older, that has become more valuable to me. Although these are all healthy activities, meditation works directly on our central engine and our attitude. Personally, it assists me in creating a more desirable state of mind (central engine). A state of mind that is strong and soft, gentler, with firm yet flexible thoughts and emotions. Our most potent resource is the inner state we create. Our central engine impacts everything that we do, and it’s, therefore, essential to maintain its condition.
Do you desire life improvement? It seems to me that most people simply bear down, focus, push themselves or try harder to force something to go their way. This typically creates an increase in stress for us and those around us. I have often said we would all be better off if we would “stop trying to be perfect” and instead work on “perfecting our process!“ For professional athletes (though perhaps referred to slightly differently), perfecting your process is a practice or routine. When implemented, the process prepares the athlete for high-level competition. It relates to how they train and exercise, the quality of what they eat, how they sleep, get support, and prepare mentally.
If you are not an athlete, “perfecting your process” is still a discipline. It’s a collection of activities or rituals that you practice to impact your central engine, your mental state. It relates to how or even if you regularly prepare mentally for meetings and other interpersonal interactions. You always prepare content for meetings, but do you prepare yourself by mentally rehearsing events before they occur? It’s reasonable that eating healthy, sleeping sufficiently, and feeling emotional support are staples of performing at your best. Still, mental rehearsal improves our attitude, confidence, encourages relaxation, and leads to creativity and innovation.
“Perfecting your process” prepares non-athletes for high-level performance in these ways. This is true for both our personal and professional lives. “Perfecting your process” has less to do with getting your performance to be perfect or failing at it and more to do with strengthening positive habits that will lead you to continuously improved performance. Do you have and utilize a high-performance routine?
Get Into Your Zone
Perfecting your process involves discovering a few enjoyable or exciting activities that you can practice regularly and make into a discipline. The activities you choose are essential. Not just any activity will regulate your energy levels in the ideal direction or create a winning attitude.
Personally, I like having activities that I can use to regulate my energy levels up, like running. But I also rely on meditation and mindfulness to regulate myself down. Pumping up just doesn’t always lead to the best energy to bring to all situations. Sometimes becoming more sensitive to others and how they’re feeling in the moment is critical to responding well at the moment.
Many of us run, work out, meditate, visualize, give ourselves pep talks, and work with coaches. All these activities aim to regulate our mental and physical energy levels, putting us into the most amenable state of mind possible, our personal “flow zone.” This might be said to be the most direct path to high-performance, and it also could be called “mind management,” others call it seeding our subconscious. Whatever you call it, “perfecting your process” becomes more potent with every activity you deliberately add to your routine.
Focus Your Attention
Whether your personal competition refers to corporate communications, relations with extended family members, kids, spouse, dates, or work-related colleagues, a regular training session with your Psychologist or coach might just help you to focus your attention on your most applicable strengths and remind you where your weaknesses need to be avoided. You can call this a strategy session, a counseling session, training, or simply preparation, but the upshot is your personal process gets improved. Get the ultimate attitude. This will make a difference.
Personally, as I’ve mentioned, I enjoy the process of meditation as it provides me with the opportunity to pay attention to the quality of my mind, calms me typically, and assists me in focusing. But running still contributes, as does reading, writing, even golf. Theoretically, any activity can function as a trigger to help you achieve the essential state of mind for high performance. Customize a process for yourself. It all depends upon your nature or default position.
Recovery Time is Essential
Stop trying to be perfect! You may succeed from time to time, even often, but it may also give you anxiety, ulcers and you will not really be performing at your best anyway. Take a lesson from sports psychology. A professional athlete typically trains hard but also gives herself recovery time. It’s mandatory unless you want to burn out or don’t care about really getting the best out of yourself. It is quite common for our competitive nature to rev us up too much, and we need to regulate ourselves down if we remember.
A longtime PGA golf professional, Pat Perez personified this concept by winning the 2016 OHL Classic at Mayakoba on the Mexican Riviera. Pat said that a shoulder surgery had “forced” him to take a break that he would not have taken otherwise. Because of the break, you might say that Pat’s subconscious had been tuned up. He was fresh, eager, hungry, and that added to his already strong golf acumen. The rest is history.
Find Your Rhythm
If you have a deep desire to excel, love what you do, maintain a degree of ambition, or hold a strong work ethic, you may also have a tendency to push yourself too much. This might allow you to accomplish a greater quantity than quality of work. Pushing is excellent, but mandatory recovery time only makes sense to adequately prepare your mind and emotions to achieve your very best.
My advice to athletes is to find a rhythm of push and rest, push and rest, push, and rest. With each interval, we might expect a small improvement. This is “perfecting your process” at work. My advice to anyone else who wants to perform at their best is to find a rhythm for yourself. A process that prepares you to adequately meet the challenges of your life with quality. That’s the general look and feel of “perfecting your process.”
Your Mental Process
The specific mechanics of “perfecting your process” is unique, for each individual will have a different competitive focus. Strengths and weaknesses are unique for each one of us. To be clear, I am still referring to a “process” that you engage in, a ritual practice or discipline. One that focuses on continuously trying to be aware of yourself (your mind or emotional energy) and your own habits.
Awareness is a key attributer to know when and in what direction to regulate yourself for optimal performance. When you’re rested and feeling charged up emotionally, it is time to push yourself and your efforts, just like Pat Perez did. When you have been pushing yourself for the day or for an extended period, there comes the point when it’s time to give yourself a moment to recover and rejuvenate yourself. The most common problem I’m aware of is spending all our energy on work, not leaving anything when we get home to our families.
Beware of Your Automatic Responses
To illustrate, say I know that I have a natural tendency to anger easily, curse, insult, or generally push others away. It eventually comes to my attention that these automatic responses have been in my way of developing into a better leader, and I have a great desire to improve my leadership abilities and to influence others more effectively. “Perfecting my process” means, in this situation, that I need to change or do something different, right? Do not merely add pressure to yourself by thinking you have to stop feeling angry. This will fail. So begin thinking about how I can “perfect my Process.”
My process begins when I become aware of my vulnerability and as I cultivate a greater awareness of my related strengths, which I can use to replace my weaknesses. My process should continue to include a way to continuously grow a greater full awareness of my weakness’ “trigger points,” which are ordinarily stress-related. This greater detail will help me to refine my efforts.
Letting Your Strengths Show
I’m not always angry. But I should be aware of those specific situations that do tend to anger me. Moving forward, I can strategize about how to best perfect my approach. This will allow me to focus more on letting my strengths show and avoiding those times and situations that otherwise demonstrate my weakness. This is often accomplished through rest, meditation, and recovery, as I’ve said. Refine my strategy a little more. Consider or analyze, meditate, and refine again. Since we do not ever reach perfection, we find ourselves in a continuous “process of refinement” that I like to call “perfecting our process.”
Anytime we can become more aware of the details of how we tend to feel and behave (as in the examples above), we have an opportunity to be able to stop and redirect our energy toward something more positive or more productive. Say I catch myself starting to feel angry. I begin a quiet little meditation, and voila!
As a result, I may look and feel more credible to others, those whom I may want to influence. The best part is, I start to feel great, confident, happy, well-adjusted, and to have even more very functional relationships. This is the potential pay-off of engaging in “perfecting your process.” Personally, I started when I was younger, spending time with friends in the gym, jogging, fishing, and hiking, which eventually gave way to golf. Perhaps more important than anything was that I had always practiced meditation.