First Chapter - The High Performance Mindset

To give you a bit of "pre-publish" content, I am providing you with the very first chapter of the book, the introduction.  I am still about 45 days from publish and this content will change, especially with proofing still needed.  I have poured my heart and soul into this book that is life changing while not hard to read.  I hope you enjoy and I would absolutely love your feedback!

Introduction

Is this for me?

I bet that’s what you’re asking yourself. Is the high performance mindset for me?

Let’s talk about you. You’re probably an intelligent person who works hard, takes care of yourself and the people around you, and has achieved a level of success that would
satisfy most people. However, you’re not “most people.”You want more—a lot more out of your life—you just don’t know how to get it.

So, is the high performance mindset for you? If any
of the statements below describes you, the answer is:Absolutely!

  • You’re an entrepreneur, executive, athlete, or student looking to achieve phenomenal levels of success.
  • There’s something in your way, perhaps an invisible barrier that you can’t seem to find. This barrier seems to hold you back from achieving success in your career, in sports, or in your relationships.
  • You keep getting things you don’t want in your life, while things you do want are always beyond your reach.
  • You feel stuck in a rut, like your life’s a repetitive cycle that’s going nowhere.

First and foremost, I commend you for picking up this book, because doing so is a clear sign that you’re motivated to do great things with your life. That’s where your mindset comes in. Taking this first step shows that your mindset is already bending toward what’s possible.Although you may not even be aware of it, your mind is capable of creating a better, happier, and more fulfilled life.

Many people will never take this step. It’s easy to be complacent and settle for where you are and what you have in life. The main reason for this is that most people don’t know—from a psychological perspective—how they gotto where they are right now. More importantly, they don’t know what to do about it. Why do so many people get stuck in a low-performing rut, struggling to get ahead?

And why do so many high performers get to a certain level in life and then seem to hit a brick wall? You may have to go back many, many years to discover the answer to that question. However, we’ll discuss what you can do about it soon!

Your mindset began to evolve when you were very young and while it has changed over time, beliefs established during your childhood linger in your adult mind and keep you from reaching your full potential. Becoming aware of these limitations is essential to overcoming them and developing the high performance mindset. These beliefs may have worked for you when you were younger; however, they don’t work for you anymore and operating with an outdated mindset can prevent you from achieving everything you want in life: love, a great career, personal goals, success, and even happiness. Despite these lingering, limiting beliefs, many people go on to become happy, successful adults. However, they know they can do more. They want to do more. The high performance mindset benefits anyone who wants more out of life. It’s a mindset you can develop using a concrete set of techniques that have a firm foundation in psychology and have been put to work in the real world. I put them together, I tested them, and I know they work.

Full disclosure: Who am I to tell you about the high performance mindset? I’m the last person you’d expect. I’m a guy from a small town in Kentucky who graduated eighth in his class...from the bottom! That’s right; I graduated from high school at 172 out of 179 students, with a whopping 1.448 GPA. How I got from there to where I am today—an entrepreneur, high performance coach, and author who has guided executives, athletes, and everyday people to new heights in their careers, sports, and personal lives—is a result of what I am about to teach you.

I’ve spent years putting this together: reading, learning, developing mindset techniques, applying them to myself and to my clients, and studying the results. It took a lot of work to develop and hone these techniques because the research behind them can be complicated. I believe that’s why so few people have had the opportunity to develop a high performance mindset. It seems complicated. However, once I boiled down the psychology to its core principles, I knew I could present this in a format you could learn and apply without a psychology background. Inspired by the possibilities, I developed simple tools that delivered powerful, consistent results. That, in turn, inspired me to write this book and share my knowledge with you. Anyone can do this. Discovering your best life shouldn’t be complicated, and it isn’t if you follow the instructions I’ve laid out for you in this book.

In my research as a student, a coach, and a leader, I discovered that many of the same life and sports psychology tools that empower professional athletes to outperform their competitors on the field, on the track, and in the ring can empower executives, entrepreneurs, and people
just like you to create a better, fuller life. These tools help you remove self-doubt and uncover more confidence.They also help you build better relationships. The core principles presented in the high performance mindset techniques are based on sports psychology and cognitive
behavioral coaching and are transferable across a broad range of professional and personal goals. They work fast and are extremely effective.

Let’s do a quick rewind, though. I want to tell you about my personal journey to entrepreneur, coach, and author.My life didn’t follow a traditional path and neither did my success. There’s a path that most people have been conditioned to take: You go to school, get good grades, and go to college. You graduate and land a great career. Then you get married and start a family. That path sounds familiar, doesn’t it? That path isn’t for everyone, and it wasn’t for
me. First, I didn’t care much for school. I was bored. To this day, I’m not necessarily a fan of the traditional style of teaching. It didn’t work well for me. I wasn’t interested in college or starting a career when I graduated high school, so I took odd jobs here and there. Eventually, I knew that if I wanted to achieve certain things in life I’d have to overcome some challenges. Back then, although I wasn’t sure what those challenges were, I was committed to figuring
them out, so that’s what I focused on. The ability to see each obstacle in life as an opportunity or challenge to learn, improve, and progress turned out to be a key element in my personal development and an important concept in the high performance mindset.

My first challenge would be changing my own beliefs about myself. You might think it’s impossible for people to change their beliefs, however, it is possible. I’ll tell you
how and why you should do it in Part I, Chapter 1, “What Is a High Performance Mindset?” and Chapter 2, “The Ever-Evolving Mind.”

In my 20s, I discovered another challenge that, at the time, appeared to hold me back. I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder. When you’re anxious, you can’t perform at your full potential. Anxiety was tough. It created a lot of problems in my life—or so I thought. I was put on a very strong prescription medication to help me cope with the anxiety. Essentially, the medication took away my lows, and it took away my highs, too. I felt like I was experiencing the world through a dirty filter, and I didn’t enjoy that feeling at all. During this time, I was
going to lunch daily with two buddies. The anti-anxiety medication took the life out of me, and they noticed—and were worried. I remember them saying to me, “You have to snap out of it!” I wanted to snap out of it; I felt isolated, as if I was living in a virtual cocoon separating me from
the rest of the world. I was numb!

I made a decision to take massive action to stick with my prescription until the bottle was empty and then take myself off the meds. When I swallowed that last pill, I quit cold turkey! This turned out to be a huge mistake, because I then started feeling like I was going insane.
No, seriously! I remember calling my doctor and begging him to help me make the feeling stop. Luckily, he had a sample pack of five pills at his office that he could give me. I started taking the meds again. Whew, what a relief! I returned to my “medicated state” determined to get off the medication the right way. This time, I slowly weaned myself off of it. In the meantime, I had to figure out how to manage the so-called “general anxiety disorder” I had been diagnosed with, without medication.

I did a lot of research and discovered the drugs weren’t treating the actual cause of my anxiety at all. Instead, they were only treating the effects such as my restlessness, irritability, and the racing thoughts in my head. Honestly, I could have been on that medication for years and not gotten any better. In order to free myself from the constraints of anxiety and put myself in a better place, I needed to figure out the cause of my problem and fix it — once and for all! And guess what? I did it. I learned how to treat anxiety without drugs and I’ve been anxiety-free ever since—true story!

Decreasing and even eliminating anxiety became another core concept of the high performance mindset. In Chapter 3, “Understanding Your Mindset,” I’ll explain how the conscious mind and the subconscious mind interact to create your mindset, and why treating the effects of anxiety and depression with drugs can be an ineffective short-term solution. I’ll also discuss linguistics—the words you use and your understanding of those words—and how it affects your thinking. The first exercise in that chapter will help you prove to yourself the power—and sometimes
confusion—of linguistics, and a second exercise will teach you about multitasking. This is a big chapter so take your time, read each section, and follow along with the exercises and the diagrams. It’s critical that you understand the concepts illustrated in Diagrams 1, 2, and 3 in order to fully appreciate the power of the high performance mindset—specifically, how and why it works. In Chapter 4, “Time and the Mind: Depression, Anxiety, and Happiness,” you’ll learn why the way your mind processes time can lead to anxiety and depression, and I’ll show you how to process it a different way that unlocks the happier you.

Fast-forward into my 30s, when I became a single father and was working in the IT department at the local hospital. I found myself wanting a better life for myself and my daughter. One day, one of the hospital executives asked me where I was going in my career. He said, “You can do
ANYTHING you want. What do you want, Craig?” When I told him I wanted to become the next director of IT, he asked, “Well, how are you going to get there? You don’t have a college degree and that will become a barrier for you,” and he was right. I’d been figuring things out on my
own my whole life. I would literally apply for positions that I had no clue how to fulfill, knowing that if I got the opportunity to sit in the seat, I’d figure out how to do the job. However, let’s be honest: I needed a formal educa tion to be considered for the director position. I needed to figure out how I—a guy who had never even considered going to college—was going to get my college degree and do it as a single parent with a full-time position. I could have told myself that I didn’t have time as a single parent. I could have worried about my 1.448 GPA. I could have told myself I wasn’t smart enough for college; however, I knew that wasn’t true because, by then, I’d figured out that I could always learn and grow. I could stop thinking of myself as “not smart enough” and realize I was smart enough. I overcame my self-defeating thoughts—and so can you!

How do you banish self-defeating thoughts? It starts with mlearning to control your thoughts while dealing with irrational, negative thoughts that ultimately hold you back. The most effective method I’ve found for dealing with and removing negative thoughts is called rational emotive behavioral coaching, or REBC, which was developed by psychologist Dr. Albert Ellis. Applying REBC to your thoughts and beliefs empowers you to question their validity and
determine if they’re true or false, rational or irrational. You might be surprised that many truths you tell yourself aren’t true at all! In Chapter 5, “Dealing with Negative and Self-Defeating Thoughts,” I’ll show you how you can dispel negative thoughts and replace them with positive
thinking that takes your life in a new direction. By learning how to deal with my negative and self-defeating thoughts, I was able to go to college, earn a bachelor’s degree and
an MBA, and become the director of the IT department.

Fast-forward a few more years when, as the IT director, I was working on developmental goals and performance management plans with my staff. I quickly realized that I wasn’t trained to give my people the direction and plans they truly deserved. I felt like I was cheating my staff.


Although I wanted to coach them, help them set goals, and teach them how to achieve these goals, I didn’t know how. I asked my senior director at the time if he would be willing to pay for training so that I could effectively help my staff. He wasn’t very receptive to my request, and I
knew I couldn’t wait around for my company to teach me performance management and developmental goal setting, so I enrolled in coaching classes on my own. This step ultimately changed the trajectory of my whole life. I learned how to coach my staff, and I also learned a more important lesson that changed my life.

Coaching taught me that when you do things for other people, it comes back to you. The more you give, the more you get in return. I felt like I’d stumbled on life’s most precious principle. In fact, this concept is very much the keystone to a happy and fulfilled life.

I started coaching on the side, first working as a life coach and then coaching triathletes all over the country. This experience opened a new world to me. I discovered the same coaching techniques that worked for life coaching also worked for athletes and, ultimately, also worked
for my staff. The principles were very much the same; however, the application was a little different. I began studying more sports psychology theories to help my coaching practice with athletes. The more I studied sports psychology, the more I found that those techniques continued to transfer into the world of business with ease. I had to know more! So, I enrolled in a psychology PhD program. The more I learned about psychology, the more I noticed distinctive similarities among the challenges each person I coached was facing. Business leaders, entrepreneurs, athletes, and people in their everyday lives suffered from many of the same afflictions: low motivation, self-doubt, a lack of proper goal-setting techniques, confidence issues, and a huge fear of failure. Many of them experienced occasional anxiety and depression. The symptoms, goals, and desired outcomes varied; however, the causes were
pretty much the same. It all started and ended with their mindset. I realized that if I could help them change their mindsets, I could help them become unstoppable!

Each person I coached was in a different situation. Although they had different visions of success, the fundamental techniques that worked for an athlete attempting to improve her race times worked for an executive who wanted to improve his leadership skills, which also worked for anyone striving to improve their relationships and get more out of life. That’s when it hit me: What if I combined what I knew about psychology, sports coaching, executive leadership coaching, and life coaching into one streamlined package that delivered the fastest,
most potent results? I was onto something and, at that time, I knew it was big. However, I didn’t know how big. It wasn’t until after I had put together the high performance mindset shift tools and put them into action that I realized the incredible power every person has at their
disposal. It doesn’t take any special gear, supplements, or hours of therapy to unleash this ability. The techniques are explained in Part II, “Mindset Shift Tools.” In those chapters, I’ll teach you simple exercises you can do to train your mind and develop the high performance mindset you need to live your best life.


In Chapter 6, “Create New Positive Beliefs,” I’ll show you how to create beliefs that drive and reinforce your positive thoughts. Then, in Chapter 7, “The Kick-Ass You,” I’ll teach you why affirmations are the fastest and easiest way to ignite your confidence. Let’s be honest,
you might think you can buy confidence by surrounding yourself with whatever impresses other people; however, you can’t just buy confidence at any store and you can’t fake it either. Confidence comes from within, and you already have it. You merely need to uncover it by focusing on what you have instead of what you don’t have. I’ll show you how you can use affirmations to quickly send your confidence through the roof.

Another important element of developing a high performance mindset is thought management. Thought management is a mindset shift tool that teaches you how to stay in the moment. When you’re in the moment, you’re at your peak of high performance. Being in the moment isn’t about focusing on what you’re doing at this moment in time; in a way, it’s about doing without thinking about your action. For example, a baseball player at bat doesn’t want to think about hitting the ball movement by movement. The last thing he wants to think about is the mechanics of hitting that ball. Thinking through the motions requires sending information from the subconscious mind to the prefrontal cortex of your brain and then to the motor cortex, which takes more time and slows down your actions. In Chapter 8, “Own Your Focus,” I’ll
show you how to stay in the moment. 

One of the most powerful techniques that transfers from sports to business leadership to everyday life is visualization, also known as sports imagery. Do you want to know a secret? Your mind does not recognize the difference between reality and your imagination. You read that right. Your mind processes what you visualize in your mind and what happens in real life the same way. You might find that hard to believe. Think about a time when you woke up in the middle of the night in a panic after a nightmare. Your heart was racing, you were breathing erratically and you were covered in sweat. That is the result of your body responding to mental imagery. Research—through the utilization of functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI—shows the same parts of a person’s brain fire during visualization and when that person actually performs the task they’re visualizing. Visualization is essentially mental practice for reality and a way for you to prepare your brain for what you want to make happen in your life. I’ll teach you how you can use visualization to your advantage in Chapter 9, “Visualize Yourself to a High Performance Mindset.”

The final chapters comprise Part III, “Putting It All Together.” My greatest test in life has been raising a daughter. While it can be challenging for a single dad to raise a young lady, having a strong, independent, and loving mother helped me become a great dad. Some men think they’re supposed to be warriors and not show any emotion because being emotional, for a man, is a sign of weakness. I thank Mom for teaching me that it is safe to experience emotions as a man. Her love and support empowered me to become a loving and supportive father to my own child. We’re all emotional creatures and I’m grateful to my mom for teaching me that being an emotional man is healthy. Growing up that way made me stronger and more authentic, not weak and powerless. It also taught me the importance of love and relationships in developing the high performance mindset. We’ll talk more about relationships in Chapter 10, “Relationships
with Others and Yourself.”

Raising my daughter, coaching athletes, executives, and people who want more out of life,  having a great career, and working toward my PhD could have been the pinnacle of my success, and I do feel successful every single day. However, I continue to learn and seek opportunities to do more with my life. I get there by setting goals and achieving outcomes through process work and by improving my performance, which I’ll discuss in detail in Chapter 11, “Crush Your Goals.”

In Chapter 12, “Unlocking Your Purpose with the High Performance Mindset,” you’ll learn about your most important purpose in life and how you can fulfill that purpose every single day.

 Finally, in Chapter 13, “The Finish Line,” I’ll hand over the keys to the high performance mindset so you can take the wheel and start seeing results right away. As I mentioned previously, I’ve researched, tweaked, honed, tested, and personally applied every technique I’m going to teach you. When I was developing the mindset shift techniques, if something worked for one client and didn’t work for other clients, I would tweak it until it did, or I threw it out. Every technique works consistently. I’m not going to waste your time with high performance
mindset tools that only work sometimes, for some people. Athletes and executives have experienced life-changing results in as little as one hour by using the techniques within this book through my coaching. One hour! Imagine what’s possible using these techniques every day for the rest of your life.

While you’re learning how to develop your high performance mindset, you’ll also learn to see words differently. I’ll teach you about the power of linguistics and about the words thought, self-talk, focus, attention, and concentration—and what those words actually mean. You’ll find out why meditation and mindfulness aren’t as mysterious as they sound. In fact, the backend of a high performance mindset constitutes the underlying reason that meditation and mindfulness practice work.

I hope you’ll read this whole book and put into practice everything you learn. Reading is the first step; however, the magic—your transformation to the high performance mindset—only happens if you apply it. Action through application is a critical component of this book.

What you think, you manifest. Your thoughts create your reality. I’m giving you the tools to control your thoughts and think differently, to think effectively. Once you apply the mindset shift tools, you’ll have the power to control your thoughts, change your reality, and own your destiny! 

It is a shift, transforming from a low-performing mindset to a high-performing mindset. It’s one of the most dramatic changes you can make in your life and it’s closer than you could have imagined. It changed everything for me and it can change everything for you, too!

Let’s get going!


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