What if You Were Already Performing at Your Best?
“What if you were already performing at your best in every situation?” I asked the woman across from me.
She got quiet. She laughed. A wry smile crept into the corner of her mouth.
I could see that she had heard something new so I gave her space to process; to see the insight that was emerging.
She laughed again.
“Ha! That’s really interesting,” she replied.
“I meant it!” I said.
A participant in my Future Leader’s Project, she had been worried about her performance and was looking for ways to fix or improve herself.
Through my direct and unexpected question, she was seeing — maybe for the first time — that she could simply show up and do her best, given the resources she has, the way she feels, and her state of mind in any and every situation.
“Sure,” I said, “you might consider what ‘better’ means. You might want to develop your skills, to learn something new, gain more experience perhaps.
“But you don’t live in the future, you live in the present.”
She continued to watch me with a curious look in her eyes.
“You live in this moment,” I reiterated, “and your best is, literally, all you can do right now.”
There was a lightness in the air we hadn’t had before in conversation around her work.
I knew she was a relatively new mother and I wanted to give her another example, so I continued,
“I know, from personal experience that being a parent, especially a first time parent brings lots of questions. Sometimes I’d think ‘OMG, am I going to break the baby!?’
“And I know my husband has stood in the supermarket, many times, asking himself ‘What kind of nappies am I supposed to buy?’ but the reality is that we did the best we could with our new baby, no matter how unfamiliar or uncomfortable it felt to be holding the life of our tiny newborn in our hands.”
She looked at me, tipped her head back, and laughed again.
That laughter told me it had suddenly become real for her.
New parents often feel anxiety, yet it’s doesn’t mean anything about how we will do as parents. Most of us do OK despite our nerves.
Being ‘the best’ is what naturally emerges when we show up with love and connection. Love for, and connection with ourselves, our partner, our children, and — taking it into the workplace — our colleagues and customers.
I didn’t say these words to the client across the table from me, I just thought them later,
“Life can be wonderful when we cherish each moment, when we allow ourselves to indulge the newness and settle into the squishy pillow that is the experience of life. Whether it’s good, whether it’s bad, whether it’s joyous, whether we feel in the flow, or we feel frustrated and annoyed.
“Since the only thing we can do in life is perform to the very best of our abilities in any given moment, why not enjoy the experience we’re having?”
When it comes to coaching, the questions I asked her may not be the questions I would ask you. Everything is personal; everything we talk about relates to what’s going on for you, and what’s coming up for me.
That’s the power of having a coach; the power of having someone who understands how the human mind works and can support you to achieve the dreams you want to achieve and overcome the obstacles you want to scale in your life and work.
It’s the power of having someone who understands what it means to perform at your best — and still be able to reach for better.
We all deserve that in our lives.
P.S. If coaching is something you’ve considered, and it feels like this year could be the right time for you, please email me at info @ cathypresland dot com. I’d love to hear from you!