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THOUGHTS

MUSICAL TRANSITIONS

Jake Marx

One of the biggest challenges executives face today is trying to be your best every day at work. An even bigger challenge is trying to be your best at home. This is exacerbated if you are a parent since kids rarely understand how your work demands have somehow left you fatigued. Almost every parent that I coach starts off our calls with, "Forget about work; what I really struggle with is not snapping at my kids when I get home." Sometimes, even when you are trying to do a good work-to-home transition, your energy is still not quite there. If you've ever felt this way, one strategy that may quickly replenish your emotional and cognitive resources is to create your own walkout song. This song can help you get your energy up and elevate your mood right before you walk in the door.

The therapeutic effects of music have been studied so much that a new field, neuromusicology, has spawned. Neuromusicology has taught us that music not only increases the mood-enhancing hormones of serotonindopamine, and oxytocin, it also decreases the stress hormone, cortisol. If you were to make a neurotransmitter/neurohormone cocktail to create the feeling you would want to have when you walk through the door to greet your family, this combination would be it.

Most athletes have been using neuromusicology for years without even knowing it. You can see them listening to their anchor songs on the sidelines or at the starting point of a race to transition them into their optimal game mode. During my American football days, this meant blasting Metallica in the locker room until we were ready to run through the wall. So the question is: what is the right music for you to enter your office at your best, to deliver the best presentation, or to walk into your home at your best? When I'm switching to my parent mode, I try to choose something slightly slower and more melodic with lyrics that resonate with me. I use artists like Jack Johnson, The Avett Brothers, Norah Jones, Amos Lee, and Xavier Rudd. What would work for you? Is it reggae, classical, rock, country, or something else?

Here are some proven tips to help you get started. Try making your own transition playlist or create a couple of stations on whatever music service you use. Make sure you include some variety and novelty. I’m sure you’ve experienced that even your favorite songs can burn you out if you listen to them on repeat. Research has shown that this familiarity can diminish the emotional impact of the song. Once you have the music cued up, decide where and when you’ll use it. You could put your playlist on as soon as you start your commute. Or, simply listen to one song in your driveway as you set your intentions before walking into the house. Making a plan is critical to ensuring you'll actually follow through.

Finding some music to quickly replenish your emotional and cognitive resources is the perfect way to begin a great transition and set the stage for you to be a focused, intentional partner and parent when you walk through the door.

Here are some premade playlists from different music services if you want some extra help getting started (click on the genre to access the playlist):

Available on Spotify:
_Alternative Music
_Jazz Music
_Modern Rock
_Pop

Available on Pandora:
_Classical Music
_Pop/Beats (Pretty Lights Radio)

Available on Amazon (dependent on location):
_Norah Jones & friends
_Classic Rock
_Modern Country

I hope you enjoy the benefits of Ruling Your Impact and would love to hear how you use music to improve your performance.

By Jake Marx
Tignum Performance Specialist

RECOVERY: THE MISSING PIT STOP FOR EVERY ENTREPRENEUR

Chris Males

The term entrepreneur is thrown around a lot these days. Being entrepreneurial is a sought-after trait that has become synonymous with being adventurous, problem-solving, risk-taking, world-changing, and a thought leader. Even within the teams we work with, people are encouraged to be more entrepreneurial.

I've recently had the opportunity to spend a considerable amount of time around many of these successful entrepreneurs. I am amazed by how they approach their entrepreneurial endeavors with a lot of energy, enthusiasm, and engagement. Equally, I have been sadly surprised at how many are missing one key entrepreneurial skill - the skill of recovery. More importantly, they're missing Performance Recovery.

Many of these entrepreneurs basically work nonstop. They are full of drive to achieve their end results, but in mid-launch, they often find themselves not enjoying the ride as much as they once did. The spark in their eyes becomes a little duller, and their creative ideas don’t come quite so easily. They have lost some of their passion for their cause. By the time they've reached this point, they can’t (and won’t) stop.

A mindset that is characteristic for this group of go-getters is beautifully illustrated by a description I read on the website of a young entrepreneur's project, describing him as someone who:

"...can’t stop and won’t stop. That’s probably why coffee is his best friend. Running on sheer drive and a relentless vision, he will cross the finish line and keep on sprinting for miles. For him, there’s no point in slowing down when there’s limitless potential for change."

I find this last sentence particularly intriguing because someone once defined energy to me as the potential for change. The more energy you have, the more potential for change you have. And a lot of modern entrepreneurs think of themselves as game changers. The irony is that very few of these entrepreneurs have the Sustainable High Performance strategies to actually sustain this drive, which could be why such a high percentage of start-ups fail (8 out of 10 according to Bloomberg).

What does a relentless pace and not slowing down do to our energy levels? What does a huge passion without the strategies to sustain it do our emotional state? Do we really maximize our impact and our potential to change the game through nonstop effort? At Tignum, when we ask our clients these questions, we can see that "aha" moment when they realize the sad reality of the answers to these questions.

Picture a Formula One race team taking this approach - trying to win a highly competitive race, getting the most out of a highly engineered machine (nothing compared to the human brain and body), and never stopping for a pit stop. At Tignum, we view Performance Recovery strategies exactly as a race team views its pit stops. They are quick, they are strategic, they are designed, and they are a performance-enhancement tool.

What fascinates us is that many of these entrepreneurs pay amazing attention to detail. They prepare for their big pitches, and most approach their movement and nutrition with the same intensity that they pursue their dreams. Unfortunately, the key element that they have missed is strategically building in Performance Recovery. Many of these hard drivers are like addicts when it comes to the stimulation they get from their pursuits, and like an addict, they don't even notice their effectiveness, their creativity, and their impact suffering.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself as a quick check in:

_When you cross the finish line on a project, do you continue sprinting for miles or do you celebrate, reflect on your success, and allow yourself to restore your critical resources?

_Do you find your life has become one big sprint or do you oscillate daily so that you have short sprints followed by Performance Recovery?

_Do you plan for your recovery and build it into every day, every week, every month, and throughout the year?

As you reflect on these questions, remember that the more energy you have, the more potential for change is available to you and the more energy you have to give others to inspire change around you. There is nothing more powerful and exciting than a passionate entrepreneur with a great idea, a huge drive to positively impact the world, and the strategies to make the idea come to fruition.

As always, I'd love to hear what you think.

By Chris Males

Director of Performance Coaching

EMBRACING UNCERTAINTY

Scott Peltin

When I think of the skills that make up a Performance Mindset, there is one that most people rarely think of but is one of the most critical. It's so critical that some call it a mentality - an entire way of thinking. This skill is the ability to embrace uncertainty.

Over the years, I have seen clients do some pretty crazy things simply because they could not embrace uncertainty. They have taken jobs they didn’t want, they have married people they didn’t love, they have said yes to projects they didn’t want to do, and they have sacrificed opportunities to learn and grow.

As human beings, there is nothing the brain hates more than uncertainty. Throughout history, we have created myths and stories to try to explain the unknown just so we could have some kind of certainty in a world of certain uncertainty. Our brain creates binary choices so that it won’t have to deal with the middle ground, which is unclear, uncertain, and often ambiguous. Unfortunately, this pattern of thinking prevents us from being able to challenge our own bias, explore unknown territory, try the untried, and lead us to actually discover a new solution. Without learning how to embrace uncertainty, we really can’t become more creative or personally achieve our full potential.

As with the development of any Performance Mindset skill, there is no magic recipe for developing the ability to embrace uncertainty. So, rather than present 3 quick and easy steps, here is a process of thinking that has helped many of our clients:

_Raise your self-awareness to recognize the feeling you experience when uncertainty raises its evil head. What do you feel? Where do you feel it? What is your first reflexive reaction? Do you run? Do you poll everyone else to get their opinion because you're falsely thinking that they must be more correct than you? 

_Make a list of some of your previous experiences where you had to face uncertainty. What did you learn? What surprising outcomes and benefits did you experience? How are you different or better from that experience? Where would you be had you avoided that experience? How are you better equipped today than you were then to deal with future uncertainty? Personally, when I reflect on the experiences that I wanted and planned for and those that I didn't want or plan for, I find it was often the latter which shaped me to be who I am today.

_Ask yourself, "What is the best and worst outcome of this uncertainty?" This helps you put boundaries on your uncertainty even if they might be a little hyperbolic. You'll find that you can deal with the worst outcome and get excited about the best possible outcome.

_Ask yourself, "What would it look like if I were to embrace this feeling of uncertainty? How would I act; what would I feel; how would I move forward?" The latest research shows that you can actually retrain what we previously thought were pre-wired emotional responses to things like fear, anger, uncertainty, and more.

_Reflect on how you performed while embracing your uncertainty. This reflection is where we rewire our brain with this new skill to make it easier to embrace uncertainty the next time and the time after that. You may be asking yourself, "Why would I face this lesson again if I am already learning it?" The answer is simple... because you are human. It's the same reason why you would continue to practice a song on the piano after you've already played it once; it's a skill that you need to continue to develop and can't be mastered after just one successful attempt.

A Performance Mindset is made up of skills which are practiced, developed, and improved. The skill of embracing uncertainty is a big one, so keep an eye out for your next lesson/opportunity. The ultimate demonstration of being at a high level of this skill is when uncertainty presents itself, you quickly recognize it, take a few breaths, smile, embrace it, and tell yourself, “I’m okay. I got this. I know I will figure it out as it unfolds.” One day you may look back on this situation and find that it was actually one of the most positive and impactful experiences of your life.

As always, I'd love to hear what you think.

By Scott Peltin

Founder / Chief Performance Officer

THE PERFECT MOVEMENT LAB ON THE ROAD

Jake Marx

You are on the road. It's snowing or raining outside. There's either no gym or the hotel gym you do have could fit into your bathroom, yet you want to enjoy all of the immediate benefits of movement (decreased anxiety/depression, increased growth hormone, boosted immune function, improved sleep, and enhanced creativity). Where could you go? One great place is the stairwell.

At Tignum, we love efficient, effective, and fun movement strategies. This is one reason why we love Energy System Development training (commonly known as interval training). The research-proven benefits from this type of training include:

_getting way more done in less time

_activating your aerobic, anaerobic, and threshold energy systems

_teaching your body to recover faster from stress

_teaching your body to burn fat more efficiently

_having more fun

_ immediately improving your mood

For our executive clients, we know that time and logistics are always a challenge. This why we love the simple solution of combining Energy System Development training with the stairs. Here are a couple very effective and easy-to-follow ways to get all of the above benefits even on the road. Note: Always check that the stairwell door will not lock behind you - a mistake you don’t want to make, but you can always exit on the ground level if you do forget to check.

 

For beginner movers, follow the 3:2 method:

_Go into the stairwell and find a floor where you want to start.

_Walk up 3 flights of stairs (you will feel like you are getting out of breath at the end, but this is what you want to feel).

_Walk down 2 flights of stairs to recover (a great opportunity to learn control of your hips and knees; go slowly).

_When you feel like you have caught your breath, repeat.

_Complete this sequence 3 times.

 

For intermediate movers, follow the 3:2 method with these more advanced progressions:

_Go into the stairwell and find a floor where you want to start.

_Run up 3 flights of stairs (you will feel like you are getting out of breath at the end, but this is what you want to feel).

_Walk down 2 flights of stairs to recover (a great opportunity to learn control of your hips and knees; go slowly).

_When you feel like you have caught your breath, repeat.

_Complete this sequence 5 to 10 times (based on your time limits, your current fitness level, and your body’s current state of recovery).

 

For advanced movers, follow the 5:2 method:

_Go into the stairwell and find a floor where you want to start (starting at the bottom makes it more fun).

_Run up 5 flights of stairs (you can run one flight one step at a time and the next flight 2 steps at a time to add variety).

_Walk down 2 flights of stairs to recover (a great opportunity to improve control of your hips and knees; go slowly).

_When you feel like you have adequately caught your breath, repeat.

_Complete this sequence 5 to 10 times (you can do more, but remember that you are on the road and your recovery is as important as your movement).

When you apply these simple solutions and proactively create the benefits of Sustainable High Performance, you suddenly gain control over movement. This feeling of autonomy is empowering and a true mindset changer. Give this a try, and I'll see you on the rooftop.

As always, I would love to hear what you think.

By Jake Marx

Tignum // Performance Coach

How To Avoid Criticism

Scott Peltin

Is there anything worse than being criticized? You work so hard on a project or proposal, you put together your best presentation, or you reach out to a colleague to ask for their opinion hoping to get accolades but instead get criticism. Being a person who writes a lot (blogs, a book, articles, etc.), presents in front of others often, and puts some new thoughts and approaches out there, I have felt the sting of receiving criticism from others. Being a coach who has worked with many successful executives, I have heard the pain of our clients as they have tried to be bold, tried the untried, and stepped outside their comfort zone with a new idea. Recently, while engaged in a team discussion on how to develop a Performance Mindset, someone asked a great question, “I understand the concept of feedback but it somehow turns into criticism, and that hurts. How can you avoid criticism?”

I paused for a second, and the answer came to me. I replied, "This is super easy... just do nothing, be nothing, and never take a risk." Suddenly, a quiet came over the room as I stood there waiting to see how my answer would be received. There is something powerful about that awkward silence where the light of the truth collides with the frustration of realizing that the truth is not acceptable.

The truth is that the root of criticism is perfectionism. It hurts us because we want to be perfect; unfortunately, perfect rarely exists. One observation I have made is that when I think of the most transformative leaders I work with, they all share the Performance Mindset skills of vulnerability, authenticity, and self-compassion. They have given up on trying to be perfect because that is based on external expectations that can't be controlled or achieved. They have learned how to avoid the seduction of perfectionism, which can make them think that they can avoid criticism - but they can’t. No one can.

So, what is a better approach? Instead of foolishly trying to avoid criticism, try embracing it (another version of embracing the suck). Criticism becomes harmless when you defuse it by choosing to see it as a confirmation that you are imperfect (an assumption a high performer must already accept) and seeing it as an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve. Criticism is also a confirmation that you took a chance and put yourself out there. It is a confirmation that you want to be better tomorrow than you were today. It is a reward for playing the game rather than sitting idly on the sideline.

The truth is, if you want to explore your full potential and make a greater impact on yourself and others, criticism will be a part of your future. While you may never learn to love it, you can certainly learn to embrace it, detach from it, smile at it, and learn from it.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts.

By Scott Peltin

Founder/Chief Performance Officer

A HIGH PERFORMANCE APPROACH TO NEGATIVE PEOPLE

Scott Peltin

No matter who you are, there's been at least one time in your life when you've encountered negative people who can suck the energy right out of you. In fact, when we ask clients about their mindset killers, the one thing that consistently shows up is dealing with negative people. It could be due to how busy we have all become, the constant amount of change we are exposed to, or even the 24-hour news cycle that tends to focus us on negativity, tragedy, and drama. Regardless of the reason, the need for each of us to bring our best to deal with negative people around us is critical. Here are 10 simple things that you can do to help you prevent having your mindset killed and, more important, to help you have a greater impact on others.

.01 Get more sleep. You may be thinking, “Why should I get more sleep? They’re the one that has an anger problem.” Research by Anderson and Platten published in the Behavioral Brain Research Journal, clearly linked sleep deprivation to a lower inhibition and an enhanced impulsivity to negative stimuli. The more sleep you get, the more likely you will have a higher tolerance for negative people.

.02 Get consistent exercise. Research shows that exercise improves your mood by causing an endorphin release. It reduces your anxiety, lowers your blood cortisol levels, and improves your emotional control. It also makes you feel great... and when you feel great, negative external influences rarely affect you.

.03 Avoid low blood sugar. There is a reason that Snickers has produced some of the funniest commercials about avoiding being “hangry”. The brain is an energy hog that uses between 20-30% of your total calories. The biggest energy hog of the brain is the prefrontal cortex, which contains our inhibitory and control of anger functions. When you’re hungry and your blood sugar is low, you will always struggle to be unaffected by negative people.

.04 Reduce the amount of caffeine you drink. Caffeine is a sympathomimetic, simply meaning that it acts exactly like adrenaline. While this may wake you up, it also prepares the brain for fight or flight. When you face a highly negative person, the last thing you need is a brain that is ready to fight. Simply switching to green tea can make a significant improvement in your ability to deal with negativity because it contains 1/3 of the caffeine of coffee and it has the amino acid L-Theanine, which calms your nervous system.

.05 Use self-massage with a foam ball or foam roller to reduce pain and tension. These simple tools, when consistently used, can reduce nagging pain and alleviate tension to help you feel better. When you’re already hurting somewhere in your body, it doesn’t take much of a negative influence from other people to push your buttons.

What do you notice about the first five strategies? They have absolutely nothing to do with other people (whether they are negative or positive). Instead, they focus on you improving your Sustainable High Performance so that others will have less of an impact on you. Now that you’ve taken care of your foundation, let’s look at your mindset.

.06 Keep perspective, and reframe your self-talk. It's easy in our busy lifestyle to quickly take anyone who is complaining as a negative, emotionally-draining, sucker of your mindset, but this would be a mistake. There is a big difference between a person who is full of drama ( I’m a victim; you’re a villain; I’m helpless) but can't shift towards any solutions; and a person who is simply stating the facts (all be it, negative and complaining) but who then shifts towards learnings, actions, and solutions. When you are at your best due to your Sustainable High Performance strategies, armed with your Performance Mindset, and make this distinction, you will find that you will feel energized instead of exhausted.

.07 Prepare for the negativity you may face. Preparation is about setting clear intentions. Who do you want to be when you are around negative people? How do you want to be perceived? How do you want them to feel when they interact with you? The human brain contains a group of specialized nerve cells called mirror neurons. These neurons not only help us learn behaviors from watching others, they also help us understand the feelings of others and develop empathy. These neurons have a powerful place in our evolution because they help us develop relationships. Mirror neurons are one very important component of why a person’s mindset is contagious. By preparing for a negative person and pre-arming yourself with a deeply-rooted, authentic intention of compassion, connection, and positive influence, you have a far greater chance of impacting other people’s mindsets than allowing them to impact yours.

.08 Meet them with empathy and compassion. Many times negativity persists because people want to be heard and understood. Meeting negative people with empathy and compassion lets them know that you hear them and that you feel their frustration and pain. It does not mean that you agree with them or that you (or they) are right. Empathy and compassion open the door for a real conversation where facts, opposing views, and new solutions can be shared.

.09 Visualize success. Once you’ve completed the previous strategies, you are ready to visualize success. Find a quiet place, get yourself into a relaxed state (breathing is a great way to do this), and visualize yourself applying your Performance Mindset skills of humility, vulnerability, optimism, emotional control, compassion, empathy, etc. to the situation of interacting with negative people. When you do this, you use neuroplasticity to rewire your brain for success even in these previously very difficult and trying situations. Remember, mental visualization is a skill, so it requires practice.

10. Reflect on success. Practice helps us improve, and nothing helps us rewire our brain more for future success than reflecting on the things we did well. While you can not control whether you have changed a negative person, you can identify the things you have done well (see 1-9 above) so that each time you have a similar encounter, you will make more and more of a positive impact.

At Tignum, we are all about helping you Rule Your Impact. This includes the impact on yourself (your energy, alertness, resilience, effectiveness) and your impact on others (energy giver, collaboration, role model success, team building). When you apply these strategies, you not only assure that you aren’t the negative person that is dragging everyone else down, you may also find that you are the example that helps others become Sustainable High Performers.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts.

By Scott Peltin

Founder/Chief Performance Officer

SLEEP IMPERFECTION

Patti Milligan

The hunt is on for the “perfect" night of sleep. More and more studies on sleep are showing up in the scientific literature, and the media is all over it. You can hardly read a magazine, skim a newspaper, or watch a news show without seeing something about how important a great night of sleep is. At the same time, you may be wearing a device that tracks your sleep, only waking up to be frustrated by the imperfections the data reveals.

Ironically, we have found that this strive for sleep perfection may actually prevent you from getting the recovery you need. The purpose of sleep is to allow your brain and body time to recover from the load you took on throughout the day, not to get a certain score on your wearable device. In fact, research has shown that through our history as humans we probably woke up multiple times throughout the night. Even our sleep architecture suggests that, like most mammals, we may have woken up, hunted or gathered a little (our old way of working), and returned to another 4 or 5 hours of sleep. It's true that sleeping through the night may be a relatively recent development in sleep pattern, likely stemming from the introduction of artificial light and the design of our biphasic (sleep all night/work all day) society.

The question we often ask our clients is, “What if looking at your sleep data in the morning actually shifts your mindset to worry and you begin storytelling about how poor your sleep was?” This low performance self-talk could certainly reduce your performance and impact throughout the day. When this becomes your norm, it's important to remember to focus on what you can control when it comes to getting a good night's sleep. One great way to do this is to create an individualized sleep routine before you go to bed and to monitor the changes in your sleep data. In this way, you are reviewing the thing you can control (your sleep ritual) and using the data more as an outcome of your routine than a predictive analysis of your upcoming energy.

A "good" sleep routine helps activate your parasympathetic nervous system and allows you to go into quality deep sleep. It also begins the shutdown process for your brain so that you can reduce or eliminate ruminating thoughts (those nagging thoughts of your problems and worries that block it from turning off). This is a common need for many of our executives when it comes to getting High Performance Recovery. Sleep rituals can be highly individualized, but they all include having multiple strategies in your toolbox so that you have a variety of ways to solve the problems of restlessness, ruminating thoughts, and waking up throughout the night.

Here are a few strategies to help build your sleep ritual and focus on what you can control when it comes to getting a good night's sleep:

_Go to bed and wake up at a consistent time. Consistently going to bed at the same time on weekdays and weekends will help you synchronize your circadian rhythms, establish consistent hormonal shifts, and get higher quality sleep. Even waking up at your normal weekday time on a weekend, going to the restroom, getting a quick glass of water, and going back to sleep can work.

_Use your breathing techniques, such as 4:7:8 breathing, to help you switch off your ruminating thoughts when you are struggling to fall asleep. Inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, then exhale for a count of 8. This stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system and helps your brain focus on your breathing instead of on ruminating thoughts.

_Read for fun to help take your mind off work and as a great transition from your busy day to high-quality sleep.

_Drink a non-caffeinated tea to help your brain and body relax. Chamomile tea is a great option due to its relaxing properties.

_Dim the lights in your room/house 30 minutes before sleep. This helps your brain begin the release of melatonin and helps lower your brain frequency.

_Take a hot bath or shower to relax your body before bed. This will slightly warm your core temperature so it can naturally fall when you enter your cool bedroom. It's also a trigger to begin your natural hormonal shift into a good night of sleep.

_Listen to soothing sounds and music (we like Pzizz) to relax your brain.

_Reflect on things you did well and/or appreciate from the day. This is a great way to optimize your brain plasticity during sleep and to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system.

Recovery is a critical part of high performance and Ruling Your Impact throughout your day, and that's how you should treat it. Perfectionism can destroy progress. Focusing on what you can control by establishing a sleep routine can help overcome the pressure of getting the "perfect" night's sleep. Creating a personal sleep ritual helps you get the “best” night of sleep you can. You might be surprised at how much more prepared you feel in the morning when you are able to let go of your quest for perfection (in all areas of your life but sleep is a great place to start).

As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts.

By Patti Milligan
Tignum Director of Nutrition

The Jet-Lagged Olympian

Chris Males

Last week, while traveling across 9 time zones to present in 2 different countries within 2 days, one of my colleagues sent me an interesting Wall Street Journal article about how some members of the US Ski Jump team were approaching this year's Winter Olympics. The article claimed that jet lag could possibly be used to the advantage of these ski jumpers as a stress and monkey mind management tool. The thinking was that brain fog that comes along with jet lag would help them switch off their sometimes overactive minds to rely more on muscle memory.

Although I love the curiosity of finding individual and contrary to popular belief approaches to optimize performance, I wondered if this approach was inadvertently setting them up to fail since research has shown that jet lag causes a reduction in power, fine motor control, balance, and overall cognitive function.

At Tignum, we work with high-level business professionals that are under constant pressure to perform where expectations are high, non-negotiable, and relentless. They cannot afford to wing it, especially when they are traveling across time zones.

For the US Ski Jump competitors, there was a clear purpose to their approach: to reduce the impact of nerves and to quiet the low performance self-talk of the brain. However, their method for reaching this outcome was a little questionable. The better approach would be to learn how to control their breathing, detach from their overwhelming emotions (mainly fear), learn to embrace their suck (that feeling in their gut that makes them want to throw up), and master reframing their inner dialogue.

Sustainable High Performers take control of their performance and preparation. They develop and master strategies to defeat external performance killers like jet lag and others' expectations. They become highly skilled at recognizing and defeating internal performance killers like fear, doubt, anxiety, and lack of confidence.

By learning, developing, and refining these skills through repetition, they give themselves permission to feel all their emotions, acknowledge any fears, and refocus their energy to the task at hand. This allows them to regain the most critical of preparation variables - control.

This Winter Olympics will no doubt have many great examples of those who have mastered their Sustainable High Performance and those who have not. I, for one, can’t wait to watch them. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

By Chris Males

Director of Performance Coaching

STRATEGICALLY FLUX YOUR WORKOUTS

Jake Marx

In my previous life working with professional baseball players, the number one predictor for injury was a sudden increase in a player's stress or workload. My colleagues, who work with elite special operations soldiers, see the exact same thing. Interesting enough, it's been my observation that the same is true for executives.

In baseball, one surefire way to break down or injure a pitcher is to drastically increase the number of innings he throws year to year or the number of pitches he throws game to game without adequately planning for his recovery. For that reason, most teams have long-term training plans to gradually increase the pitcher's load and create resilience over time. The more players did on the field, the less they did in the gym, and if possible, the less they did away from the field.

This phenomenon applies equally to executives even though it's often overlooked. One reason this happens is that compared to an athlete, your load is much more difficult to quantify. You probably don't count the number of time zones you cross, the number of critical conversations you have, or how many fires you put out on a daily and weekly basis. Think about the last time you were promoted or took on a new role. Did you modify your exercise program to account for the increase in your meeting load or the number of direct reports you just inherited? You may not have thought of it, but you are most likely to get injured during these times (at least initially). Unlike professional athletes, who have a medical team to adjust their movement and recovery programs, many executives tell us that when they are under stress, they often like to train exceptionally hard to blow off steam. While this may emotionally make sense, it does not make sense from a physiological and recovery standpoint.

The right amount of movement can be an excellent way to recover, but extremely high-intensity workouts or new movements during times of increased load may only pile physical fatigue on top of the cognitive and emotional fatigue you are already experiencing. This can even cause the opposite of what you intend by causing brain fog due to the increasing amount of stress on your body. But that's not the worst possible outcome. Time and time again I hear stories from clients about getting off a long stretch of travel full of negotiations, meetings, and presentations only to jump back into their intense workout and severely injure themselves.

Don’t let this be you. Build your capacity and resilience through more difficult workouts when work is relatively slow, on weekends, or during vacation. Increase intensity gradually as you get used to higher intensity loads, and back off a little when your travel, emotional, and cognitive loads are especially high. Being strategic by putting your movement program into context with your overall load can help you show up with your best game on when it matters most to you.

As always, I'd love to hear what you think.

Jake Marx

Tignum // Performance Coach

HAVING ENERGY IS NOT GIVING ENERGY

Scott Peltin

It's that time of the year again. You're sitting on the couch or maybe lying in bed, and you ask yourself the same question you probably asked yourself last year at this time, “How can I have more energy this year?” This is a common, and very logical, question we often get when coaching our top executives and business professionals. To be honest, it may be the wrong question.

When it comes to multiplying your effectiveness, driving better results, making an impact, and being a Sustainable High Performer, the better question is, “How can I be an energy giver this year?” This may appear to be a small difference… maybe even a play on words, but it's not. The difference is huge and can affect your performance and impact throughout the year.

You will certainly be able to improve your energy if you consistently get enough sleep (enough is unique to you and to your past, present, and future demands); exercise with the right frequency, intensity, and duration for your fitness level and stress threshold; and practice clean eating by reducing/eliminating simple sugars, staying hydrated, and eating plenty of vegetables. This is undoubtedly a great starting point, but to become a consistent and sustainable energy giver, you will need to purposefully and strategically bring a Performance Mindset to your events and build a robust Performance Recovery plan that continuously and dynamically recharges your physical, cognitive, and emotional resources on a daily, weekly, and yearly basis. In many ways, creating more energy comes from your To Do list but becoming an energy giver comes from your To Be list.

As you look at your schedule today, next week, and this year, ask yourself a series of questions:

_How do I want to show up at my most important events?

_What Performance Mindset skills do I need to develop and bring to my day? Some skills you might want to consider include focus, confidence, control of emotions, sense of humor, authenticity, curiosity, ability to listen, vulnerability, concise communication, resilience, alignment to your values, presence, mental visualization, reflection, creativity, trust in self and others, and self-awareness.

_What would I look like with each of these Performance Mindset skills during my events?

_Who can I trust to give me accurate and compassionate feedback on my goal to be an energy giver?

_What Nutrition, Movement, and Recovery choices do I need to make and create habits out of to support my Performance Mindset?

_Do I have a trusted coach/mentor to help me constantly get better as an energy giver?

While you answer these questions, you'll also need to be careful that you aren't an energy sucker to your team and those around you. You can do this by being aware of your, and your team's, mindset killers. You can manage these by looking at the reality of the situation, determining what is and isn't within your control, exploring what the drama is trying to tell you, shifting your mindset from a reactionary/emotionally-driven state to a best self/problem-solving state, and reflecting on what opportunities these mindset killers and challenges actually create for you and your team.

The truth is that we are all busy. Thinking we will magically create more time or get less to do is futile. But becoming, practicing, and role modeling being an energy giver is a significant game changer.

This year we encourage you to stop talking about how busy you are, and start talking about the impact you and your team are making. As CEO and Founder of CEO Works, Sandy Ogg says, “What good is having energy if you don’t give it?”

As always, I would love to hear what you think.

By Scott Peltin

Founder/Chief Performance Officer

GREAT CHOICES EQUAL A GREAT YEAR

Scott Peltin

Here we sit again at the beginning of a new year. New dreams, new challenges, new goals, and likely some new projects await you. You took a couple of weeks off (if you were lucky), you ate some great food, you hopefully slept in a little to catch up on your sleep, and here you sit facing a new mountain wondering, "How am I going to pull this off?" You may even be thinking, "Here we go again." It feels like deja vu with a mountain of pressure to deliver on this year’s targets. Somehow, the fear or anxiety of what’s next holds you hostage and prevents you from truly developing your Sustainable High Performance habits for this upcoming year.

The key is to focus on those things that are within your control. What will you do to bring your best self to work every day? What will you do to develop your Performance Mindset (focus, control of emotions, confidence, etc.)? What will you do to build your own energy and to give energy to others? What will you do to optimize your performance every day? What will you do to bring the right effort and attitude to everything you touch? Will you remember to reflect on and learn from every experience you have? These are all within your control, and these are the things you actually want to do to create success throughout this year.

When you focus on these things, you not only feel better about what you achieve, you feel better about the person you are becoming, which is usually more impactful than a traditional New Year's resolution. When you approach your performances in this way, you build an authentic belief in yourself. This helps you start the new year with confidence and excitement instead of anxiety. This approach helps you know that whatever challenges or setbacks appear, you will have the inner will, skill, and belief to succeed. When you do this, you are not at the mercy of the external things out of your control. Instead, you become immune to the noise around you as you truly are a Sustainable High Performer.

From all of us at Tignum, we wish you a happy New Year, and we encourage you to look forward to who you will become this year. As always, I would love to hear what you think.

By Scott Peltin

Founder/Chief Performance Officer

AFTER UNWRAPPING YOUR PRESENTS, WRAP UP YOUR YEAR

Scott Peltin

This time of the year is one of our favorites because it provides us the opportunity to reflect on our year, the lessons we’ve learned, the trends we’ve seen, the people we’ve had the opportunity to impact, and the amazing impact so many people in this world made on their teams, brands, and customers. Many of the lessons we learn throughout the year are expressed through our Tignum Thoughts, and this year we want to share the top 5 blogs of 2017 along with the lessons we learned from them.

.01 Preparing for High Performance Presentations - While each person's preparation can be highly individualized, this blog highlights a routine that can be applied and adapted to most of your big events. This preparation plan combines small yet effective strategies in Mindset, Nutrition, Movement, and Recovery to give you control of your own performance to help you break your previous cycle of uncertainty before a presentation.

.02 Leading Through Adversity - Leading isn’t easy, and leading through adversity is even tougher. No one ever said it should be easy, but is there any better feeling than being tested in the heat of the battle and emerging successfully with your entire team/organization even better than it was before?

.03 Invisible Fatigue- Emotional fatigue can often be overlooked and invisible. Like all of our Tignum approaches to recovery, if you wait until you are suffering, it's too late because your performance is already compromised, and you're already losing impact. Sustainable High Performers front load their performance by building recovery strategies into every day, every week, and every month.

.04 Coaching Makes the Difference - Although many people have the knowledge, the application of that knowledge (even simple knowledge) and the ability to apply this knowledge to the how, the why, and the when can be challenging. Great coaches help great players with the application of their knowledge when it matters most. This coaching technique also holds true in the business world. While business schools may do an exceptional job of teaching the frameworks of business, we are seeing more and more of the best performers turn to coaches to stretch themselves and stay at the top of their game.

.05 Is Winging It Killing Your Impact - In today’s busy, highly-demanding world, the days of winging it are over. The days where teams and leaders could hang out all night and party and then come into work and wing it during a critical meeting are waning. In some ways, just making ourselves overly busy with stuff is the new hangover.

As you shut down at the end of the year, we would like you to think of this transition/celebration in three phases. Phase one is to unload from last year. This is the process of taking off your armor, dumping your backpack, and allowing yourself to be free again. Phase two is to reset. This means celebrating what you have achieved, recalibrating your adrenal/stress system, and resetting your expectations for yourself and your team. The final phase is the restart. This phase should probably start right before the new year where you get clarity around your own Sustainable High Performance, your first steps you need to take at the start of the new year, and the self-image you want to enter 2018 with.

From all of us at Tignum, we want to thank you for your support all year. Our passion is helping you become a Sustainable High Performer, and we know that this is always a work in progress. For us, 2018 is going to be our best year yet as we continue to develop our content, strategies, coaching, and our digital platforms to best support you. As always, we would love to hear what you think, what you need, and how you’re doing.

By Scott Peltin

Founder/Chief Performance Officer

HOLIDAYS ARE A GREAT TIME TO EAT

Patti Milligan

Every year the US media reports that the average adult gains 7 to 10 lbs (3.2–4.5 kg) during the holiday season. While that number might be slightly exaggerated, the fact is that many of our clients tell us that they often stop their regular nutrition, forget about their usual portion sizes, and drink way too much alcohol over the holidays. I’m completely supportive of friends, family, and libations, but you don't have to forgo your High Performance Nutrition strategies this time of year.

At Tignum, we are all about easy-to-maintain strategies to help you stay on track. However, this doesn't mean you should prevent yourself from enjoying the celebration of food around the holidays (remember 80/20). Food brings generations together through traditions and large family meals. For many of us, those special meals from our childhood and passed-down recipes of yummy foods are what we look forward to all year long. I know I do! We encourage you to use food as celebration, and we also encourage you to consider how many opportunities there are to actually choose High Performance Nutrition options during this time of the year.

One strategy you may want to try during the holidays is intermittent feeding. This is where you don’t eat any food or drink any alcohol for 12 to 16 hours during a 24-hour period. This can be easier than you think because it includes the time you are sleeping, and you can eat normally the remainder of the day (be sure to stay hydrated). An easy way to do this is to simply choose to skip either breakfast or dinner. You may find yourself more in control of how you feel and what you eat by incorporating intermittent feeding during one or two days of the weekend.

This strategy can help your metabolic flexibility, give your body a chance to detox after one too many eggnogs, and support your immune system. All of these can be a huge benefit after your end-of-year push and celebration. We have also found that intermittent feeding is a great mindset tool to increase your awareness of your eating and help you gain control of your choices.

When you choose to implement High Performance Nutrition strategies, you're able to celebrate food, have more energy, support your immune system, and have more passion for enjoying the holidays. Don’t wait for the new year to revamp your nutrition; just build it into every day to help you truly enjoy this special time of year.

As always, we'd love to hear what you think.

By Patti Milligan
Tignum Director of Nutrition

THE ULTIMATE BIOSENSOR

Jake Marx

With the holiday season in full swing, you may be considering buying one of the latest wearable technology devices. Over the last few years, we’ve tried just about every consumer wearable device on the market. You’d be amazed at the looks people give me when I walk into a coffee shop with flashing lights coming from under my shirt thanks to all the rings, arm bands, watches, headbands, and other sensors covering my body. While some devices may be more accurate or more aesthetically pleasing than others, we've found that the most important thing is how you use the device rather than which device you get.

Wearable sensors have pretty much the same limitations and benefits regardless of the brand. Becoming knowledgeable about the limitations and benefits of these sensors can help you pick which one is right for you. Here are some of the limitations we've found through our testing:

.01 Almost every device overpromises and underdelivers. This typically manifests as either poor quality of data or overstatement of the usefulness of the parameter being measured. If you already have a device, you most likely have tried to check your heart rate or measure your sleep and knew immediately that it was inaccurate. Although sensors have come a long way in improving their data, there is still a long way to go. When talking with my colleague at Stanford about the wearable industry, he simply said, “It’s the wild west out there.”

.02 There are very few products that make the data useful to consumers. Ok, you completed your 10,000 steps. What does that mean? My sleep quality was poor... what should I do with that? In reality, the impact that these data points have on our performance is highly individualized and means very little without adding subjective feedback. There are a few products beginning to tie these data points together and create a “virtual coach” feel. However, at this stage, none of these feel truly tangible enough to keep users engaged (especially not this user), but they are getting closer.

.03 The nocebo effect. Many products are now combining sleep measures with movement and other data points to provide the user with a “readiness score.” In theory, it sounds great. I can learn how to maximize all my data points to ensure I’m ready for the day. But, what happens when I’m traveling all over the world, sleep deprived, and my readiness score is 45%? This can have a significant detrimental psychosomatic effect because you’re already starting to think you're in trouble before the day has even begun. In reality, there are times when we can actually perform well, despite a suboptimal readiness score, as long as we’re strategic and plan for High Performance Recovery afterword.

We’re not suggesting wearable devices have no utility. They can be very powerful when used correctly. In fact, we’ve found time and time again that we can multiply the power of wearable technology by combining it with the ultimate biosensor: YOU.

Many of us have been on the speed train for so long that we become numb to the impact that our habits have on us. By using a week or two of consistent data from wearable devices, you can heighten your awareness around how your movement, sleep, resting heart rate, etc. actually impact how you feel and perform. We refer to this as an awareness sprint.

Here’s how to do it:

.01 Pick one variable that your device measures reliably, and track it closely for 1-2 weeks. Let’s use movement as an example. It’s likely that most devices would track steps, intensity of movement, and frequency of movement and also give you the option to manually log activities.

.02 Reflect on how you felt and performed each day. Do you still have energy left in the tank or are you burnt out at the end of the day? How solution-oriented, creative, focused, or purposeful were you? How does your body feel? You could ask yourself any number of questions that you find important here based on which variable you're testing.

.03 Cross-reference your answers to those questions with your data each day. Do you notice any trends? Do you notice an ideal number of steps, intensity of movement, or frequency of movement that optimizes your performance? Was there a specific type of movement that made you feel great or one that really drained you?

After 1-2 weeks of analysis, you'll identify some unique trends of your own. When we do movement awareness sprints with clients, they usually find (to their surprise) the most important movement variable for their performance is actually the frequency of movement rather than making sure they hit those 10,000 steps each day.

Creating this heightened awareness around how certain habits impact your performance helps you create the context to modify or focus your current approach. No matter which wearable device you have or decide to get this holiday season, we recommend you multiply its utility with an awareness sprint. The holidays are actually the perfect time to experiment, especially if you sometimes feel like you struggle with your movement, sleep, etc. this time of year.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Jake Marx

Tignum // Performance Coach

EFFORTLESS CHANGE

Scott Peltin

Change is hard: it requires discipline, it takes energy, it is painful, it takes hard work, it never lasts, it is no fun..... Have you ever heard any of these? Better yet, have you ever told yourself any of these?

While it is true that the human organism loves homeostasis (a state of stability and balance), it's a total myth that change has to be hard. In fact, through our experience of coaching tens of thousands of executives, I would argue that when we make change a chore, it rarely happens and even more rarely lasts. The problem isn't in the changes you want to make; it's in the resistance and the lack of alignment that your new behaviors have with your current self-image.

As you have heard many times from us at Tignum, most human beings operate off of their default self-image. This self-image has been given to you by your parents, your culture, your societal norms, your religion, your group of friends, your... you name it... With this self-image, your brain aligns your behaviors to make this default true, even though you didn’t purposefully or consciously design it. Interestingly enough, this doesn’t take any discipline, extra work, or pain; it just happens. What if you could use this same approach, habitual pattern, and effortless thinking to actually be better? You can.

When you purposefully and consciously design your self-image, everything changes. You are no longer imprisoned by other’s views. Instead, you are empowered to grow, expand, and become who you truly want to be. When the vision of success is clear, your brain will naturally help you align your behaviors to get you to that vision. For this reason, it's critical that you create the right vision of success (self-image) for you to be your best and implement the change(s) you want.

Once the destination is clear, the next step to making effortless change is to get rid of the goals, the guilt, the shame, the accountability, and the self-talk of the discipline you don’t have or the failures you have had before. Instead, you simply ask yourself, “What choices do I need to make today to become the person that I purposefully created and want to become?” This is exactly what your brain has been doing your entire life anyway; it just might have been taking you somewhere that you didn't want to go.

Over the years, it has fascinated me how many our clients have changed their behaviors, their habits, and their impact by aligning their choices with the self-image they consciously created. Of course, creating your self-image, consistently reminding yourself of who you want to be, asking yourself what choices you want to make, and reflecting on what choices you did make requires some effort, but it's probably less than you think. Most importantly, it's actually fun effort rather than painful effort because the reward you get is the greatest reward there is for a human being - you get to be in control of creating a better you.

As always, I would love to hear what you think.

By Scott Peltin
Founder/Chief Performance Officer

 

INVISIBLE FATIGUE

Scott Peltin

Fatigue is a funny thing. Sometimes you know exactly where it comes from, like when you've been moving furniture all day, but other times it seems to come out of nowhere. The human body is complex, and many of the forces working on the human body are invisible. Things like changes in the seasons (weather and light cycles), your immune system fighting a bug, or even the impact of pollution can all drain your energy.

At the same time, as many of you have probably experienced before, there is also fatigue lag. One night you get 8 hours of perfect sleep, yet you feel tired the next day. Another night you get 4 hours sleep, and you feel great the next day. How could this be? One reason is that the way you feel today is actually the product of your last 3 to 7 days. Muscle tightness and soreness may be due to physical activity you did 3 days ago. That lack of energy you feel today is often due to your cumulative sleep over the past 5 to 7 days. Even more mysterious is the impact that emotional fatigue has on your energy levels and your ability to self-regulate your response to your emotions.

Like all fatigue, the cause, symptoms, and remedies of emotional fatigue can be very individual. This is why it is so critical that you constantly increase your awareness and proactively build your comprehensive recovery strategy. One key thing to remember when it comes to emotional fatigue is that it isn’t the event or trigger that causes the body’s response to fatigue. It's actually your perception, your current capacity and condition, your emotional history, and even your self-image that dictate the emotional cost of that event.

Common causes of emotional fatigue can include: fear, change, hard work on a project without progress or impact, negative people, drama, achievement of something you have worked long and hard on, a lack of team support, emotional roller coaster experiences, losing someone close to you, situations out of your control, caregiver responsibilities (elderly parent, sick kids, friends, etc.), and many other situations. Interestingly enough, almost every person is dealing with at least one of these situations. The problem is, in today’s highly competitive and complex world, you may be so focused on winning or driving results that you don’t even see these things around you.

While there are a plethora of symptoms of emotional fatigue, the most common ones we see are apathy, emotional outbursts (inability to control reaction to emotions), insomnia, negative ruminating thoughts, emotional flatness, and an excessive desire to sleep. The problem is that by the time you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or an array of other symptoms you may experience, you are already late to the game. Your emotional fatigue has not only been draining your energy, it's also been destroying your performance.

There are many strategies (too many to cover in one blog) to help repay your emotional debt and help you be better in your future performances, but here are a few that we have found to be particularly powerful:

.01 Reconnect with your purpose. Why are you doing what you do? How do you and others benefit from you doing what you do? How do you add meaning to other people’s lives? Who are you a role model to?

.02 Serve others. Nothing rebuilds your emotional bank account more than giving to others. This not only helps you gain perspective, it also fills you with positive emotions like kindness, gratitude, helpfulness, and love.

.03 Reflect on your successes. When you are emotionally fatigued, it is too easy to see the pain and miss the progress. When you reflect on the behaviors, actions, and choices you are making that create your success, you stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system (recovery system), you rewire your brain to the key behaviors you want to do more of, and you energize yourself to keep going.

.04 Plan for fun. In today’s busy world, we forget that most of what we do is not life or death. We also forget that, without fun, life can quickly feel like a grind. Pull out your calendar and start planning at least one thing to do each week just for pure fun. When you get this down, try planning something daily.

Emotional fatigue can often be overlooked and invisible. Like all of our Tignum approaches to recovery, if you wait until you are suffering, it's too late because your performance is already compromised and you are already losing impact. Sustainable High Performers front load their performance by building recovery strategies into every day, every week, and every month.

As you rethink your strategic performance planning and build emotional recovery strategies into your calendar, we would love to hear what you think.

By Scott Peltin
Founder/Chief Performance Officer

ISN'T REFRAMING JUST LYING TO YOURSELF?

Chris Males

Recently, I was leading a group discussion on reframing low performance thoughts and stories into high performance thoughts and stories. At Tignum, we consider low performance thoughts and stories as those that are filled with drama, involve being a victim, make ourselves appear to be helpless, and focus on those things out of our control. I was using some common examples such as, “I am not good enough”, “I can’t handle this anymore”, and “I will never get through all of my email”. As we started to create some powerful reframes, someone raised their hand and asked, “How do you know you aren’t just lying to yourself?"

This was a great question because, if not done properly, reframing could just be an exercise of trying to fool yourself. The difference comes through in a few nuances. A high performance thought or story is one that is highly aware and true, one that identifies/focuses on those things within your control, and one that is action-oriented and moves you towards a solution. This is different than simply looking at the bright side or just staying positive. This latter type of thinking suggests that we tell ourselves things such as, “fake it until we make it” or “look at the bright side; at least it’s a beautiful day outside”, even when targets are not met, decision-making has stalled, and our team’s budget is cut.

A High Performance Mindset approach moves us forward, captures those things within our control, and brings us closer to a solution that will create a better outcome. A system we use is:

_Is this thought true? Or, am I awfulizing, dramatizing, or over-assuming? Sometimes a low performance thought can be partially true such as, “I will never get through all of my email.” While it might be true that you won't get through all your email in one sitting, the word never is a little dramatic.

_How does this thought serve me? Our brain doesn’t do anything by mistake, so even a low performance thought has a purpose. It may be to create an excuse, to make a smoke screen to cover a perceived failure, to support a poor self-image, or a legitimate call for help.

_How can I reframe my self-talk to be more high performance? This could be something like, “I won’t get through all my emails in this sitting, but I will quickly prioritize my email and answer the 3 that are most critical."

Using the above questions to quickly filter any impeding low performance thoughts, is a skill that is developed over time. It takes high awareness, quick recognition, and practice. This requires a mentally agile brain that is well nourished, fully recovered, and synchronized/energized with movement. In many ways, the actual lie is the low performance thought, and the high performance reframe is the truth. Naturally, we all have doubts and low performance self-talk, but challenging these thoughts and stories help you become more authentic and impactful.

Like all our strategies, consistent practice will make high performance reframing a habit that moves you closer to Sustainable High Performance. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

By Chris Males

Director of Performance Coaching

LEADING THROUGH ADVERSITY

Scott Peltin

In today's business world there are very few guarantees, but one that I promise will come your way is that you'll hit some adversity. Whether it's a bad quarter in sales, an unexpected crisis, an unanticipated competitor, or a company-wide transition, no leader I've ever met has had a pass on leading through adversity. Over the years, I have seen this and coached so many leaders through it, so I thought I would share some lessons that I have found critical for success.

.01 Embrace the suck. The truth is that it sucks to deal with adversity. Who has the time and energy for it? Unfortunately, and to be brutally honest, you are only paid the big bucks for one reason - to foresee the adversity your team will face, to solve it, and to come out the other side as winners. I’m not saying you have to love leading through adversity, but I am encouraging you to embrace it because doing so will make you smarter, tougher, and better, allowing you to quickly move on to the next lesson you will face.

.02 Do not personalize the setback. Just because you hit some bad times does not make you a bad person. It also doesn’t make anyone else on your team a bad person. Beating yourself or anyone else on your team up will waste your time, destroy their confidence and belief, and leave you with some serious scar tissue to repair later. Get outside your own head and double down on your experience, fortitude, and High Performance Mindset because these are the things you will have to draw on during times of adversity.

.03 Avoid the drama trap. It is so easy to get overly emotional and reactive during adversity rather than to get curious, practical, logical, and precise. The drama of the situation can easily coerce you into a dramatic response of thinking you’re a victim and everyone else is a villain. This drama trap will lead you to finger pointing, table pounding, shaming others, and saying things you will later regret. This can potentially damage the foundation you need to solve the situation. While drama is normal and natural, once it does its job of waking you up, you need to squelch it and move on to real solutions.

.04 Learn, process, and move on. Great leaders move from crisis to learning to action faster than the rest. They ask smart questions, look at the problems without bias, and recognize the root of the problem rather than the low-hanging fruit. Once they recognize the true problem, they keep an open mind and stay diligent, so they can dig beneath the surface to find the true causes and true solutions. Great leaders don’t have to state the obvious or make those around them feel bad for the adversity. They quickly address the situation with conversations that make everyone feel like they are part of the solution by asking for their input. At the same time, the best leaders I have seen have the ability to process what they hear and bravely take action. They blend collaboration, empowerment, decision-making, speed, and action.

.05 Teach don’t preach. During adversity, it’s too easy to forget that these situations are the ultimate teaching opportunities. In the absence of problems, there is very little real learning. For some reason, adversity has the ability to make subpar leaders suddenly become know-it-alls. Worse yet, it somehow inspires them to stand on the table and begin preaching. Great leaders don’t preach, they teach. They realize that no leader, no matter how magical or inspired they are, can overcome adversity alone. Great leaders spend their time helping those around them learn, get better, and move forward. They share their experience and beliefs to inspire others and teach them to succeed through adversity by believing in themselves, their teammates, their leaders, and their strategy.

.06 Role model success. If there is ever a time that a leader’s Sustainable High Performance matters, it is during adversity. When a leader demonstrates trust, care, and excellence, it raises everyone’s game. It creates a team of problem solvers, and it leads to better solutions. This takes energy, resilience, and mental agility. It requires preparation because every interaction with an employee, another leader, or the public is an opportunity to either build or destroy belief. Great role modeling gives everyone energy to take action and believe in their own ability to win.

Leading isn’t easy and leading through adversity is even tougher. No one ever said it should be easy, but is there any better feeling than being tested in the heat of the battle and emerging successfully with your entire team/organization even better than it was before? As always, I'd love to hear what you think.

By Scott Peltin
Founder/Chief Performance Officer

HOW TO CREATE YOUR MOVEMENT AUDIBLE

Jake Marx

As a young strength and conditioning coach, I was taught how to design the most effective training programs for our athletes. We would begin with a thorough sport analysis that would include the types, numbers, and speeds of required movements; the specific energy systems utilized during competition; the layout of a normal game and season; and every other aspect that would help us be as specific as possible. This would lead to complex training programs that would include long-term, detailed planning of periods of high intensity, low intensity, and different types of training. Everything was designed to help each athlete peak at the time of his/her competition (peak performance). In my professional baseball days, we created an annual workout plan for the players with workouts designed down to each hour of the day.

When we work with executives, we take the exact same approach. As it turns out, the real world is a bit more complex and unpredictable than most sports. You have to be on all the time. You have to come to work at your best, and go home at your best. You need to peak for a meeting here, a presentation there, a key negotiation tomorrow, jet lag next week, and on and on and on. Physically training an executive to maximize his performance is really quite complex. When we train athletes, we get an incredible amount of data to show us how our training is working, how our athletes are recovering, and what loads they are under each day. When we work with executives, we must create the same impact with much less information.

With this in mind, we take a flexible and adaptable approach to help executives develop their movement programs and achieve their goals. First, we work with our executives to develop a high level of self-awareness to help them self-regulate their workouts. This means an awareness of their current status, short-term load, and long-term load as well as their personal needs, strengths, and limitations. Second, we want our executives to have an array of movement options to help them “stay” on their program no matter where they are, no matter how tough or easy their day is, and no matter what equipment, time, or space they have available. Finally, we try to get our executives to use their self-awareness to help them choose the best workout to get the results they need that day. We call this the audible approach (similar to an NFL quarterback calling a change of play on the line as he assesses the reality of the situation the team is facing).

To use the audible approach, here are a few (not comprehensive) key questions you can ask yourself:

_How do I feel today (bad, ok, great)? How much sleep did I get last night (too little or enough)? How much sleep did I get over the past 5 days (ideal is 35 to 45 hrs)?

_Is my tank full, 3/4 full, 1/2 full, or near empty?

_When are my peak performances (yesterday, today, tomorrow, next week, etc.)?

_What do I need from my movement today (wake myself up, build strength for the future, reduce pain and feel better, prepare my brain to be more creative, recover from previous stressors, etc.)?

These inputs will help you develop a versatile movement program that ensures you have tools at your disposal to help you be your best in any situation. For example, if you're running on empty and giving a presentation in the afternoon, you may want to refrain from doing a high intensity workout first thing in the morning. You'd likely find yourself yawning or double dosing espresso right before the presentation. On the other hand, starting your day with some light movement like Tignum Daily Prep would be a great way to wake yourself up and get you on track to prepare for the presentation. Following up your lunch with a quick walk as you set some intentions and do some visualization will raise your energy and synchronize your brain to help you give your best presentation. Not only does this allow you to be your best today, it also sets you up to put more fuel in the tank to reap the benefits of higher intensity training in the days to come. When you use this movement approach, you are strategically using movement to be a Sustainable High Performer.

Do you have your own movement algorithm? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

By Jake Marx

Tignum // Performance Coach