|International members: Copy & paste here to translate|
First issue, first things first: I greatly appreciate each of you for joining a rapidly growing AllWorld Performance community. I realize most of us have grown to be quite protective of our overwhelmed inboxes. My goal, then, is to provide you with a meaningful ROI.
The purpose of this newsletter, like AllWorld’s collaboration, speaking, media, and cross-promotion services, is to provide high performance and well-being insights and inspiration – to help you achieve excellence in your sports, in your injury rehabilitation, in your businesses, and in your lives. Please contact me if I can increase that ROI by featuring something in a future edition, whether or not you’re sure it relates to my professional background in sport and performance psychology.
I’d also like to add a special thank you to AllWorld intern Alex Vaenberg for her design work and marketing strategy over her holiday break!
2. Unique AllWorld Community Opportunity
As a member of the AllWorld.Newsletter, you are being automatically entered to be one of 3 randomly drawn people to ask a surprise US Olympian any question about achieving success in sport, business, and life!! Winners will be announced February 20 and the answers will be posted in a Winter Olympic special issue the following week!! Anyone who registers between now and February 20 at 3pm is eligible so tell your friends, coaches, teammates, co-workers, etc!
3. AllWorld Community Survey
How much time do you plan to spend watching the Winter Olympics? Is anyone going to Vancouver for the Games? Click here to respond and results will be posted in the next issue!
4. 2009 Highlights
The core of AllWorld Performance services is the contribution of value – improving client conditions in meaningful ways. The following include a few non-confidential, milestone contributions in 2009:
Gave a popular professional practice & ethics workshop at our Association for Applied Sport Psychology Annual Conference in Salt Lake City
Gave a workshop for USA Hockey coaching certification
Created 3 media-friendly press kits: Sport & health, Performing art, Business
Interviewed by Small Business Monthly
Special guest on 550 KTRS with Andy Banker discussing psychology of athletic injury, NFL concussions, career transition decisions
Hired by Logan College to teach 'Psychology of the Athlete' in the Sports Science & Sports Rehabilitation Masters program
Recruited friend, strategic partner, & pro/Olympic runner Khadevis Robinson to webconference with the Logan class for Q&A, just 2 weeks before the World Championships
Established LinkedIn, Facebook, & Twitter profiles for additional channels of value contribution (scroll to end of page to connect)
Established a free texting service to send insights, links, entertainment right to your mobile phone – just text ALLWORLD to 41411 (no charge from me, your plan’s std. rate apply)
5. The Performance & Well-Being Connection
I was chatting with “Jen” (alias) the other day about her struggles with an employee who seemed listless and apathetic. We’d just finished watching a convincing presentation about how to positively influence others, but she still felt helpless. Jen reported already using a number of the recommended skills with this individual. She stayed positive, tried to empathize, focused on rewarding the desired behaviors, etc… but to no avail.
Jen wasn’t my client so I was limited to chitchat. My impression was that she seemed genuine, didn’t want to fire the employee, and her workplace culture seemed to allow her such flexibility. My training and experiences, however, have taught me to listen not only to what’s being said but, also, to what’s not being said – and some part of this puzzle was missing. It could have been a host of issues, but a little voice in me wondered if more was going on in the background of her employee’s life. If so, perhaps this would explain why Jen’s sensible work-centered attempts kept falling short.
While it’s probably outside Jen’s role to play therapist to her employee, it does remind me once again: Performance and well-being are not mutually exclusive.
Over the next two weeks, we’re likely to be bombarded with stories that highlight this idea - heroic stories of Olympic athletes overcoming great obstacles and personal tragedies to achieve excellence. As many of us know firsthand, though, excellence is not always the outcome when facing adversity.
My Master’s thesis, for example, examined research (over 40 studies) demonstrating life stress, not just sport-specific stress, can increase the risk of athletic injury. My flatmate in Australia recently published a sport psychology text that examines how life stress, not just sport-specific stress, can affect our risk for athletic staleness and burnout, too, and includes his own tale of devastating injuries just prior to two Olympic team trials. We find performance and well-being connected across age groups and across domains, from sport to business. I can offer many studies and personal encounters, from junior elites to retiring seniors, of this relationship resulting in a spectrum of outcomes, from greatness through catastrophe.
It’s little wonder, then, most of us will try to use inspiration from the Olympics in our own lives, whether in sport, business, or life in general – mental skills are important to success in most areas. One valuable question is why, for many of us, our Olympic inspiration seems to deflate in the days after the closing ceremony (like the weeks after New Year’s Day resolutions)?
We may take this deflation as a sign that we’re flawed, our resolve can never match an Olympian, and we should just go back to what’s familiar. Such conclusions, however, usually contain inaccurate assumptions about who we are and about, for example, what Olympians are really like. And for the Olympians in our AllWorld community, it’s often assumptions about those “other” more dominant Olympians. (Non-Olympic, non-elite athletes often believe the insecurity stops once they “make it” to that level. Oh, if the walls of the USOC sport psychologists’ offices could talk!).
These inaccurate assumptions lead to another purpose of the AllWorld.Newsletter: to shed light on myths about high performance. One myth, possibly contained in those aforementioned conclusions, is that, for example, if our goal is to become like an Olympic athlete we should compare our progress to them. Plenty of research, though, suggests most of us will be much better served day-to-day by comparing our progress to people at or just above our current skill levels – until the next level is Olympic caliber. Better yet is to compare our current skills levels to our own previous skill levels.
We need to understand that mental skills (e.g., focus, communication, relaxation) are like physical skills. To enhance performance and reduce the risk of injury, staleness, and burnout, mental skills must be practiced systematically and consistently. Most Olympians have spent their lives getting their mental skills to the levels we witness for just a few minutes or hours. We don’t see how they were as beginners. We don’t see the unglamorous day-in and day-out toiling for just the slightest improvement. We are all human, and we, too, probably wouldn’t, for example, want to talk to Bob Costas in front of most of the world about the unhealthy relationship we had that derailed our performance for 5 months. (Case in point: Tiger Woods. And so many of us thought he was superhuman because of how well he moves a ball around a course). Our understanding, based on media alone, is susceptible to a great deal of distortion.
Whether you’re like Jen or her employee, whether you are an athlete, a coach, an executive, an entrepreneur or beyond, I hope you look forward, then, to more objective insights and resources, to a more complete picture that may be in the service of your self-actualization, in future issues. For now, I invite you to:
Checkout the performance/well-being links below
Call or email me about a specific concern
Forward this issue or suggest signing-up to a friend, peer, team, etc who may benefit – little gestures like this may also be a tactful way to get a needed discussion going
6. High Performance & Well-Being in the News
'Psychology of Change' in Parade Mag, just in time for Olympic inspiration support & ongoing New Year’s resolution support
Los Angeles Lakers' Ron Artest happy to discuss work with his sport psychologist (LA Times article & blog)
Are you in pain, or do you work with people in pain? Consider meditation / mindfulness (NPR article & podcast, Kabat-Zinn)
Need some exercise or training inspiration? The last sequence is awesome! Brief YouTube video
7. Recent AllWorld Performance News
Guest of Fox2's Andy Banker on KTRS 550am (with worldwide internet stream), discussing psychology of athletic injury, NFL concussions, & more in late December
AllWorld Performance has contributed fee-exempt enhancement to a variety of philanthropies, including Moun Pou Moun Haiti. The organization is 5 years old, and the founders just returned from Haiti's devastation: www.MPMHaiti.org and on FB
Dedicated to international clientele, just had Google Translation installed on every AllWorld Performance website page
AllWorld website reaches #1 Google search result for: executive performance enhancement
I. NEXT ISSUE: Winter Olympics special featuring an Olympian contributor!
II. For more frequent, brief insights, links, & entertainment:
…to your FB newsfeed, "fan" here
…to your mobile phone: text ALLWORLD to 41411 (no charge besides std. text rate)
…to your LinkedIn newsfeed, "connect" here
…to your *Twitter feed, "follow" here
*New Twitter background image (& tweets) now include progress on my in-progess nonfiction book about the Iraqi athletes abused under Saddam / Uday Hussein
III. Important Notice:
The information contained herein is an educational aid only and it is not intended as and nor shall it be construed as legal, medical, financial, psychological or other professional advice or treatment for individual situations, conditions, or predicaments. Research findings, insights, and resources are usually based on groups and are not always appropriate for individual situations, conditions, or predicaments. The information provided, therefore, shall not constitute any type of professional-client relationship. The End User shall seek the advice or treatment of his or her own qualified professional(s) and shall not rely on the information contained herein as such.