Some people I coach get a little surprised and shocked when I tell them to drop their goal of aiming to be # 1 in their field of endeavour, whether it is in sport, life, business or their career.
I shall even be telling my beautiful daughter who I am about to help, who is currently Miss Galaxy Berkshire (Berkshire is one of the English Counties for my overseas readers) not to aim to be # 1 too.
Why You Shouldn’t Aim to be # 1
Aiming to be # 1 in whatever field you are in is out of your control. There will always be someone, somewhere, who is better than you, faster than you, smarter than you or even better looking than you (In the judge’s eyes).
This same rule applies in business too. There are far too many external factors beyond your control that can prevent you from “becoming # 1”.
Currently, one of my clients is a great 15 year old UK Go-Karter and I am not asking him to aim to be # 1 either. Why? Because he cannot control that outcome. Why? Because a rival racer could have a better and faster Kart; a better mechanics team may be, funded by a bigger sponsor.
You may be surprised at how much better you can perform than you think you can
But what he does have control over, he can look to improve. For example, he has control over his self-confidence, his self-discipline to work harder in the gym in between races, his self-belief, how he handles the kart on cornering and a host of other things.
You see, he can control how he performs. It is my job as a coach to help him unleash his real potential and go beyond what he thinks is his best performance.
Likewise, my daughter can control her self-confidence, how much time she puts into practice and rehearsing her answers to questions, how she walks etc so she can perform at her peak on the day of the final.
I remember when one of my greatest sporting heroes, Sebastian Coe set the 800m at 1.42;96 (Or similar) and then said in an interview not long afterwards something like, “I am pushing that 800m time to a place where other runners will find it hard to reach”. He wasn’t aiming to be # 1 in the world. His goal was to achieve faster times by finding ways to operate and perform at peak performance and beyond.
He went on to clock 1:41:73, a record that stood for over 17 years. He set 17 indoor and outdoor world records at 800m, 1,000m, 1,500m and the mile.
(If you want to know why having a hero can be good for you, you can read a post I did about it Do You Have a Hero )
In my own life I once set UK, European and World Records in my career within my industry. Not once was my aim to be # 1. My goal was to achieve the lowest cancellation rates I possibly could (Timeshare Industry). I wanted to push my own rates, which were already extremely good, as low as I could. In other words, I set my own personal bar and looked at ways I could improve it. I was never interested in what rates others were achieving around Europe.
By asking myself the question, how could I do this? it threw me into learning as much as I could about the psychology of buyers, purchasing processes, ‘Buyer’s Remorse’ and further study of body language.
(The world records were achieved by a fabulous team I was fortunate to lead. We achieved a cancellation rate of 4.7% based on over 1,600 sales in a month with a 10 day cooling-off period)
In business you can simply set bigger targets or what I like, stretch targets, made popular by the great Jack Welch at General Electric in the 90’s. You can also ask, How can I better serve my customers? What value can I add to my services? (Examples) And keep raising your own standards.
You can ensure all your teams in all your departments are also performing to their peak too. This inevitably achieves bigger and better results for your business.
It Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Do This…
This doesn’t mean you don’t or can’t dream big. Neither does it mean you cannot visualize podium finishes, receiving an award in business or winning a major event (Or whatever), because you should.
When I set the European record for the lowest cancellation rates I visualized myself performing all the task involved and the end result. I even visualized the company owner calling me, congratulating me, asking me how I did it , saying I could ask for anything and that I would ask for a company car, which was unheard of for someone in my position (That actually happened incidentally and I got the car).
You should also visualize yourself happily and successfully performing the tasks necessary to achieve your outcome too.
Whatever arena you are competing in whether it be sports, business, your career or a beauty pageant, on the day or days of your event, you can only perform at your peak. Your aim should be one of excellence and continuous improvement. And definitely, NOT perfection.
My role as a beyond peak performance coach is to help my clients, whether they are an athlete, an entrepreneur, a CEO, a highly talented Go-Karter or a young, beautiful lady (Inside and out) entering a pageant, is to achieve performances they once may have thought were impossible; or beyond what they think is their peak.
For True Success
When all’s said and done you only have to answer to one person…and that is you.
If you can look in the mirror and ask, “Did I give it 100% in all that it takes to succeed, to achieve at my peak?” and answer with a resounding “Yes,” and you will know that you gave it all your all and some. You will be overflowing with a sense of personal fulfillment – win or lose – and success without fulfillment is not really success.
That is all you can do.
And strangely enough, that will usually get you those awards, podium finishes and crowns more of the time.
Robert D Hamilton is a Beyond Peak Performance Coach, a qualified NLP Practitioner and Life Enhancement Coach, Author and Marketer. He has studied the Mind, the Subconscious Mind and the Self-Improvement sector for over 27 years.