Accomplishing any goal in life can be hard work. But, when you have that unquenchable fire inside to reach those heights, all things are possible.
Driven people often will be so intently focused, that they can keep pushing, well beyond their limits. What if your performance slackens? Or you suddenly have doubts about your abilities?
Peri Bostock is what you would call a ‘go-getter,’ the kind of person you come across that has just pure fire in their belly to succeed. For almost 20- years, she was a proud, multi award-winning, table tennis champion.
Peri competed in three Commonwealth Games, where she won two silver medals from the Women’s Teams Event and spent 13 years out of her 19-year career in the Australian Women’s Team.
She understands the pressure, she understands focus, and she definitely understands how to reach goals.
Rest and Restore
Highly driven people value productivity. They want things done, won and achieved. So, what happens when we don’t stop?
The drive that pushes you towards your ultimate success is also the same drive that may keep you awake at night.
As a professional athlete ‘rest and refresh’ is critical for not physical development, but mental performance as well. “When you’re training, it’s not just like a job, you have to be up there. You have to be totally focused, you have to be on the ball trying to improve every shot that you do,” says Peri.
“That’s where having a day off really plays a role to refresh your head. And you can actually think about it on your day off and go, ‘okay, that’s where I need to work on.’ ”
A 2012 study showed that by sneaking in a mental break at least once a week, can increase productivity, focus, solidify memories and encourage creativity. If you keep charging ahead like a bull on a red flag, your mental space can actually become over-cluttered and disorganized.
Give your brain the space to stop and process.
Combat Anxiety By Going To Your Perfect Spot
Has fear and anxiety ever taken control of your day? High performers, intensely driven entrepreneurs and creatives reach this point more often than they care to admit.
For any international athlete, the pressure can be full-on. It’s all lights, camera, action – with all eyes fixed on their every move. So, how does a champion athlete overcome self-doubt, especially when so many people are relying on them?
It’s simple. Visualisation.
“There are so many strategies that you’re given from your coaches or sports psychs to deal with the anxiety of sport,” says Peri.
In this case, practice makes perfect. Like with meditation, there needs to be a level of concentration, relaxation and a strong will to not accidentally fall asleep.
“Basically, you’d start closing your eyes in a quiet place,” says Peri, “You’re in a bubble. Nothing can affect you in this bubble, and you go to your perfect spot.”
Peri’s perfect place is the best kind of spot – her grandmother’s house, surrounded by a big purple bubble.
“You just train it. As you get better it can come faster,” says Peri. If you’re struggling, put yourself in your bubble, get comfy in your perfect spot and breathe deep.
Visualise Your Butterflies
Have you ever had that fluttering, tingly, sickie feeling in your stomach right before you’ve had to contend with something big? Maybe you get it before that career-defining meeting or even that life-changing interview, or perhaps it creeps up when you’re sitting inches away from your crush.
Those, my friend, are your ‘butterflies.’
Okay, so they aren’t actual butterflies buffeting around your large intestines, there is a much more scientific reason behind it.
That ‘butterfly feeling’ is due to a reduction of blood going to your stomach. This is caused by a big dose of adrenaline in your fight-or-flight response. Although we’re probably not going to be chased by a lion anytime soon, a big meeting or speech coming up will be just the ticket to setting those butterflies fluttering.
This “runaway” response suddenly causes your heart rate and blood pressure to increase, which, as a result, sends more blood to the muscles.
So, how can we help convince our body that it’s not in any physical danger?
Peri suggests closing your eyes and visualising your butterflies.
“Just see all the butterflies coming out of your system and flying in whatever formation you like,” she says. “Mine was always like a zigzag.”
“The butterflies are for you, they’re not to make you nervous, it’s to make you fly. To make you succeed.”
Once you visualise your butterflies physically leaving you, “Then, it sort of relaxes you and the butterflies are gone.”
The Treasure Chest
We can all become stuck within our minds – honing in on a random thought and letting it ruminate for hours or even days.
Allowing our brains to do this is a mental health no-no, particularly if you’re looking to be more productive. So, why not channel your inner pirate?
Close your eyes and picture a big, wooden, barnacle-laden, pirate-type chest.
Imagine you’re opening it up and the word or phrase that’s bothering you goes right in there. “You lock it away, and you put in the key, and you lock it, and then you throw the key away.”
So, put your “I can’t” or “she’s better than me,” into your chest. “Technically what they’re saying is that whatever was in your head is now locked away, and you can’t access it.”
Your mind is so powerful when it comes to how we perform. When it becomes overwhelmed, we lose focus. And we can essentially drop the ball. Using different visualisation tactics along with committing to some “free-time” gives it that space to reconnect, adjust and recover.
The Psychology of Entrepreneurship
For more insight into refocusing your mind check out volume 23 of the Psychology of Entrepreneurship podcast hosted by Ronsley Vaz and with special guest Peri Bostock.
Author: Ronsley Vaz
Ronsley is the founder & chief day dreamer at AMPLIFY. He is an author, speaker & serial entrepreneur.
He has a Masters’ degree in Software Engineering and an MBA in Psychology and Leadership. He is known as the creator of We Are Podcast – the first Podcasting Conference in the Southern Hemisphere, and the host of The Bond Appetit Podcast and Should I Start a Podcast. He has an audience of over 3 million in 133 countries.