The Olympic games are in full swing and with each event I become more astounded by the level of commitment and dedication the athletes have.
There are not many people with the tenacity for the vigorous mental and physical training these athletes endure. Training twelve hours a day, year round, for the possibility of winning a medal is beyond my comprehension.
What is it that leads these stellar athletes to pursue such greatness?
The difference between these athletes and everybody else is that they have uncovered their WHY?! They want to be an Olympic champion more than they want anything else.
They have a deep burning desire and inspiring vision of success to keep them motivated. They know why they want to be the best and are 100% committed to that potential.
I wrote a previous article about embracing your potential and the roadblocks to be aware of, but I didn’t provide tips to help you on this journey. (you can view the previous post here)
So with this article I wanted to discuss how to develop self-mastery toward the pursuit of your potential.
It will require uncovering your why, developing a plan, and remaining disciplined on a daily basis.
Just like an Olympic athlete, you too have potential that can be developed in different domains of life. Here is how you can begin working toward your potential in whatever area it may be.
Uncover your “Why” or deep burning desire by asking yourself:
“What would I like to see different about my current situation?”
“What would be the good things about changing my situation/behavior?”
“Suppose I don’t change, what is the WORST thing that might happen?”
“What is the BEST thing I could imagine that could result from changing?”
“If I make changes, how would my life be different from what it is today?”
“If I were to decide to change, what would I have to do to make this happen?”
Develop your training plan
The last question leads into developing a strategy or plan. Whether you want to better at golf, be a nicer person, manage your anger, or become a better spouse/parent, you must practice and train to become better.
There are four areas to work on when it comes to reaching our potential. These are what Dennis Waitley refers to as K.A.S.H.
To develop in these areas we need to do an inventory of strengths and weaknesses so we’ll know where we are, compared to where we want to be. Based on what you want, list where you stand with each part of K.A.S.H. and chart out where you want to be and the steps to get there.
Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to do everything. Be realistic and focus on just a few goals that are manageable from your current level of development.
Once you have set a few goals, include these tips for self-mastery to help keep you focused and on track.
Tips for self-mastery
Develop a daily practice of meditation and prayer - If there is one immediate habit to incorporate into your life I would suggest a meditative practice. Having time for quiet reflection can be a powerful source of discipline and emotional wellness. It can help with focus and concentration and allow you to have self-acceptance of where you are in your journey to be the best you can be.
Live with balance – Self-discipline is all about balancing responsibilities and making time for a well-rounded life. To have a healthy mind, body, and spirit we need to stay balanced and dedicate time to all of these areas. Here a few things to focus on that can help with staying disciplined and motivated.
- Manage stress – When stressed we are prone to unhealthy coping. Deal with stress by exercising, getting enough sleep, practing mindful awareness, and doing deep breathing.
- Exercise – Be active for at least 30 minutes a day. It can be as general as going for a walk. This will help keep your brain functioning at it’s best and keep you energized.
- Get plenty of sleep – When tired we are less focused. According to Dr. Daniel Amen our brain works best if we get at least 6 or more hours of sleep. This will help with concentration and thinking more clearly.
Do the opposite of how you feel – This may sound strange but it is exactly how we can break our unwanted behavior patterns. Use this idea when you are trying to refrain from acting on your unhealthy urges. If you want to sleep in, jump out of bed instead. If you want to lash out in anger, express kindness and your appreciate for the other person. One way to train our behavior is to push ourselves beyond what feels comfortable. As we break habitual responses we are rewiring our brain to respond in new and more healthy ways.
Connect with a support partner – The people you surround yourself with will directly relate to the level of success you reach. If you want to be great you must surround yourself with great people. Find people who are doing what you want to do and learn from them. This can include finding a mentor or connecting with a coach (learn more about SOTG coaching here) or accountability partner. Find someone who can help you stay committed to your goals.
Stay optimistic – Optimism is the belief that things will turn out well and that mistakes are short lived. Having a positive outlook helps with motivation and commitment. When we run into setbacks having a hopeful perspective allows us to keep persevering and stay resilient. When we start to focus on our mistakes it can lead us to give up. Optimism and motivation can be enhanced by setting small achievable goals and building confidence from each successful accomplishment.
Remember if you want something badly enough you will do what it takes to make it happen. Decide where you would like to expand your potential and capabilities and grow your motivation.
Then put together a plan with achievable steps for how you can reach the next level of your personal growth. Don’t give up when things get tough. Keep taking those small steps and don’t be afraid to change course and redesign your plan if needed.
I would love to hear from you! How do you stay motivated and disciplined? Where do you want to expand your potential and what is your plan to do so?