6 mins read

Performance – Unleash Yourself

Stellar Performance is Competence and Confidence Unleashed.

  • Stellar Performance – This is the level of performance for those that consistently come out on top – in sports, business, play, and life.
  • Competence – In order to do well, one has to have a certain level of ability. While this level is relative (it might be a hobby, a passion, or a profession), the skill is necessary. If you want to play golf, you must be able to hit the ball.
  • Confidence – Some people think they can, some people think they can’t. While positive thoughts alone cannot ensure success, the lack of positive thoughts is a huge barrier to peak levels of performance.
  • Unleashed – Competence and Confidence alone are not enough to provide the highest levels of performance. Every endeavor has seen “mechanical” participants, those that have a very high level of skill and composure, but who, for some reason or another cannot achieve great success. This sort of individual is unable to let go and allow their whole self to become the performance.


But the skills for sailing are different

I don’t mean to pick on those that love to sail, but I do want to use them as an example of those that may read this relatively simple advice to better performance and immediately claim that the thing they want to do is a whole lot more complex than three little components. And I disagree. These three components are more than enough to perform at the top level in any activity.

I’ll make it up as I go along.

Whatever it is that you want to do clearly has a specific background and training that you need to have – the competence aspect. This may be an educational background in chemistry, business, or computers, or it may be a physical fitness component of cycling, running, swimming, or kicking, or it may even be a strategy and tactical background for poker, politics, or coaching. No matter what endeavor you are involved in, you have to have the background before you can work at your best level.

If you think that you can get along with a regular skill level, you can. But your performance will be regular.

If you don’t see that it takes extra effort to excel in any endeavor, you aren’t looking hard enough.

You, and only you, are in the best position to plan your training. Other people can help (with written instructions, as coach or mentor, or with financial support), but it is essential that you take a lead role. No one has a more vested interest in your future then you.

And don’t think that the background that you had that got you to the top level of performance will keep you there. The training, conditioning, and strategies of yesterday will both fade over time and be replaced with improved training, improved conditioning, and improved strategies and tactics.

The spotlight on stage is hotter

Yes, stage performers face hot and blinding lights every night they are out there, but the soccer and scholarly stars face their own kinds of pressure. And reading this you will say – sure – sports stars have to perform under difficult conditions, but scientists – come on.

And while it is not a performance with 50,000 people watching, publishing the latest research in the most prestigious forum is definitely stressful. Being confident in the outcome is vital to both types of performances.

Those new to a field don’t yet know they “can” – this is why we like to see “rookies” succeed – they face the additional challenge of getting past themselves (and are known for having great starts but faltering under the pressure).

Experience is a great supporter of confidence, but even the best must eventually face the pressures of “can I still do it”?

I need to stay in control

You may think that you perform better under control, but to get to the next level, you must unleash yourself. If you are thinking about “how to”, you aren’t doing. If you’re trying carefully to color within the lines, you’re not coloring well, just precisely.

One aspect of the unleashing is allowing the skills, experience, and faith to take over and do their thing without hindrance. Ever “think” about something as simple as your signature? You can do fine without thought, but if you stop to think about the strokes that go into each letter, you may find yourself halfway through, with a result that doesn’t look familiar, and the need to think of just what the next letter is.

The other aspect of unleashing is allowing your natural creativity to flow through. Every person has the ability to create something unique, but also has the choice and strength to suppress that creativity. Sports and music stars have fans that want to be “just like” their idol, but those trying to imitate can, at best, become a slightly inferior copy. The best performers leave the shadow of mimicry and control and find their own way, and become better for it.

What can you guarantee?

Nothing. There are no guarantees in life.

But if you have hit a plateau in your performance, look into each of these three areas and determine – is it something I have to get better at (competence), do I need to believe in myself more (confidence), or do I have to get into the flow and not think about it (unleash yourself)?

One of these three areas will not be as strong as the others and should lead you to be able to make changes – that will get your performance level to its peak.