I feel like motivation is getting a bad rap these days as some uncontrollable beast that comes and goes as it pleases.
I get it - especially after 2020. But I'm not giving up on motivation just yet, and here's why.
From my digging into the science of motivation, I've learned to think of the ebb and flow of motivation as a dance. Am I leading? If so, how? Am I trying to force the dance or am I moving with my partner? If we lose sync, is it because they're off course or did the music shift and I wasn't paying attention?
This metaphor helps me see a shift in motivation as information to be danced with. Maybe the information is telling me I let my mind and focus wander from my high, hard goals that make my heart thump.
Maybe the information is telling me I've been driving too hard and need to refocus on my recovery. Maybe the information is telling me my environment is shifting and I feel lost. Maybe it's telling me I need to refocus on my relationships.
Whatever it is, when we can...
I figured it's about time to introduce myself.
I'm a dedicated family man and human performance professional.
I am father to two young, vibrant kiddos and husband to the one amazing, adventurous @langski.life. Together with our pup named Mogli, we enjoy getting outside as much as possible: hiking, skiing, worm hunting, and general exploring. We're getting ready to elevate our exploring this summer with the completion of our #familyadventure bus.
While I started my career as a soccer coach, I quickly learned that what I loved about coaching was the mental game. So I shifted gears and have spent the last 10 years working in sport, military, and other high-risk occupations helping individuals and teams improve their mental performance, resilience, and leadership.
I love what I do and am stoked to be sharing skills, concepts, and lessons learned with you here.
Think about the last time you thought about providing feedback to a teammate or coworker. Did you hesitate?
Most people will say yes.
If we're aiming for flow state - either in business or sport - we must shift our mindset to see feedback as imperative to success.
Sometimes we receive the immediate feedback we need from the environment or process itself (a missed shot is feedback to adjust form; a disengaged audience may be feedback to adjust your presentation style).
Sometimes though, we need that feedback from those around us.
The best way to start? Shorten the feedback loop. Feel yourself hesitating to provide feedback? Challenge yourself to give it immediately. Worried you'll mess up? You might, and that will provide you with immediate feedback to improve your feedback in the future.
Risk is often an inherent part of performance - whether you're in sport, business, the arts, or leadership. But sometimes we downplay risk to make ourselves feel more comfortable which can switch off this necessary flow trigger.
Risk can be uncomfortable and make us feel vulnerable...two things we often shy away from.
In performance, though, we want to embrace the risk. Aside from being a catalyst to growth and resilience, risk is necessary to achieve flow state.
Without risk, our physiological systems don't activate in the right way to get the rush of neurochemicals and hormones that align with our highest performance states.
The next time you feel yourself downplaying the risk or vulnerability within a performance, flip your mindset. Recognize that your best performance is only possible because that risk is present.
This is one of the most beautiful elements of sport or any performance. Operating on the edge. Seeing the risk and being...
Having clear goals is one of the most potent and most overlooked group flow triggers because we often assume we're all on the same page. But even small variations can shift individual focus and impact performance and group flow.
Clear goals are critical to group flow. It is what gets and keeps everyone's effort moving in the same direction. When we assume we're on the same page, we leave room for error in that direction.
Consider this... I recently asked a sports team their team goal for an upcoming competition. Here are a handful of their answers:
-Leave everything on the field
-To win and play together from start to finish
Now, I love this list. There's some great stuff here and we might initially think "cool we've got the same idea."
But on second inspection, think about the moment these athletes step on the field. Think about how each of these athlete's actions, decisions, and play might be...
You've probably heard of "flow state" or "being in the zone"...but have you heard of "group flow"?
Regardless of whether you've heard of it, you've probably experienced it.
It was that moment your sports team seemed to be playing as one unit - communicating without speaking, anticipating movements as if you were reading a teammates mind...
It was that moment your work team got "on a roll" in a meeting and seemed to be planning, creating, or producing as if you were one brain - sharing the lead, building on ideas fluidly...
Group flow is real (like, measurable by science).
And, because of that we also know some of the "triggers" that make group flow more likely. These are those ten triggers.
Science shows is that by pulling on any one or combination of them, we can increase our likelihood of entering group flow.
Stay tuned this week as I introduce and explain a few of them. Find out which triggers you could use more effectively improve...
People who experienced the highest number of stressful events in the last year were most likely to consider their lives meaningful.
So how can stress be good for you?
Well it has to do with how you think about stress. When we believe stress is bad for us, the normal and expected parts of life can start to feel like an imposition, keeping our lives from how they really should be.
When we step back and examine the things in life that cause us the most stress, we may find that in fact they are also the things that bring us the most meaning or are deeply important to us.
Try this for yourself. Make a list of the things that cause you the most stress. Then make a list of your most meaningful roles, relationships, activities, goals, or causes.
How much overlap is there between the two lists? Why are those things important to you? How would you feel if some of those areas of meaning were no longer in your life?
The same experiences that give rise to...
High levels of stress are associated with both distress and well-being
Have you heard that stress is bad for you? Bad for your health? And should be avoided or reduced? Most people have - it's a common belief.
Unfortunately, that is neither the complete nor the most accurate picture. More recent research is showing that stress can actually be good for you. Every time I teach about stress I am reminded how few people know this critical new information.
Even though most people view stress as harmful, higher levels of stress seem to go along with things we want: love, health, and satisfaction with life.
People: "I just wish I was less stressed."
Me: "Are you sure?"
Here's a glimpse of some of the new(ish) science that's not getting enough attention:
Researchers asked more than 125,000 people ages 15+ from 121 countries one question: "did you feel a great deal of stress yesterday?" Then computed an index of national stress.
Hi, I'm Piers.
I am a human performance professional with 10+ years' experience providing coaching, training, and consulting to improve resilience, leadership, performance, and culture. I have diverse experience working with people in sport, military, and other high-risk occupations and want to use this blog to share the individual skills and concepts that can change lives as well as the lessons I've learned along the way. I hope this space adds value to your day, enjoy!