'He can talk as well as he fights"
That was my thought after recording an episode of the 'Mann on a Mission' podcast with World Champion and Brazilian Ju Jitsu legend - Victor Estima.
On the realms of social media there are many people who throw out words and phrases such as confidence, focus, resilience, calm under pressure, being present in the moment etc. but so often these are exactly that, words and phrases with little substance.
While these may make sense cognitively and sound good, very few people actually embody them. Victor does that in spades and it comes through in every ounce of his being in this conversation.
On being present, I asked him 'Whats taking place in you before you go into the arena at the world Championships? His unequivocal answer, without a moments hesitation was 'I'm THERE and ONLY there".
This is where high performance happens - in the present moment and ONLY in the present moment. If we are not THERE then by default we are distracted by the internal and external 'noise'.
One subject I wanted to get to talk about was the EGO (I had heard Victor talk about this to a class full of students, with particular relevance to how playing 'safe' would only serve to keep them stuck and the level they were at)
We all have an ego...good, bad, indifferent, powerful, oppressive, supportive, critical - the full range and it has a crucial effect on our mindset, our wellbeing and our ability to perform.
I've used it to great effect in performance coaching athletes who have then been able to tap into those parts of themselves that are necessary to win, under pressure when it matters.
The good news - this 'resource' isn't just held in reserve for athletes, it is available to us all.
So how would you describe the ego, your ego? Good, bad? A help or a hinderance?
Although mostly demonised, having an ego is a necessary component of our drive to push the boundaries of our performance. To 'get on the front foot' so that we can take action and develop.
I often term this an 'aggressive goal focused' mindset, which may not sound popular for some but when the other alternative is something like a 'passive negative mindset', then I think the penny starts to drop.
In reflection and although we never articulated it, I can now see that this was the mindset that allowed us to conduct Special Forces operations. It was an individual and collective mindset, that really didn't see failure. That wasn't an option on the table! It was a necessary mindset, to meet the demands of the mission and the environment.
Playing it SAFE
Passive negativity will keep us playing it safe. Often this born out of fear of failure and what that would mean about me as a person. Ego fear.
While this may not appear to impact at the time, the cumulative effect of the 'safe choice' can have huge consequences. These consequences can manifest in ways that ultimately impact not only what we are able to achieve but also our levels of belief and confidence.
So where are you playing it safe in those micro moments? What could be possible for you if you 'leaned in' to challenge?
As Victor says..."when its time to go, you've gotta go or the moment is lost. This gives you the best chance of success. If it fails...then you made a mistake...and from that mistake you can learn"