By Carolyn Covey Morris, Founder and President, QMobius, Inc.
A few years ago, I went to a breakfast to hear a motivational speaker and former CMO of a top global brand. His talk was boring, but by chance, I sat next to a mental trainer who works with top Olympic and professional athletes. He told me that 80 to 90 percent of an athlete’s success at each level is due to their mental game. The difference between a competent and an elite athlete is almost all mental.
I had started QMobius, a brand marketing and communications firm, about eight years earlier, and we had success, working with mostly Fortune 500 companies and global brands on interesting projects. I had a great team and was trying to decide how big the agency should grow, what types of clients we should focus on, and what kind of services we should offer to position for the future.
I started working with Mike, and I wish I had learned some of the things he has taught me earlier in my career. To help you, here are some of my biggest ah-ha insights.
First, it’s important to identify your Why. It’s your motivation. If you can uncover it and really understand it, it will lead you down the right path.
Focus on your strengths and use them to your advantage. It’s more productive than focusing on your weaknesses.
What’s Going Right
You should ask yourself, what’s going right? There is always something you can build on. You should also focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want. What you say to yourself has a huge impact. Make it positive!
We attempt the things we think we can do. We accomplish the things we know we can do. There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.
Focus on What You Control
Focus on what you can control – you can only control the controlables. Any mind space you spend on the uncontrollables is wasted.
You need stress to hit your optimal performance. Too much stress inhibits performance. When you are too stressed, it’s because your thoughts are in the future. Be in the present and focus on what you are doing now.
It’s important to set incremental goals that are achievable. If you tell a runner they are going to shave a minute off their time, it can seem impossible, but shaving a few seconds is doable. Small goals add up to big goals.
You have to have a routine to prepare yourself for success. Top tier athletes follow a routine almost like a religion to prepare themselves for competition, clear their mind and focus. I do that each morning.
Quiet Your Mind
Part of that is learning how to quiet your mind, to clear your mind of other thoughts to free a gap that you can fill with messaging that focuses you and moves you forward in a positive way. Just five minutes without a thought makes a huge difference. Use a timer and start with one minute. When you have a thought, notice it and whether it’s positive or negative. You can actually push negative thoughts away and move positive thoughts toward you. Eventually, you’ll be thought free and you can extend the time. When your time is up, think about what you are grateful for and your intention for the day.
Take other time to just breathe during the day, even for a minute or two to manage stress, reenergize and refocus. If you have an Apple watch, the Breathe program is terrific.
Control Your Time
Control how you spend your time, and make time for yourself. Sleep more. A high protein, low carb breakfast makes a huge difference.
If you are delaying action, there is usually an underlying reason.
Be Kind to Yourself
Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself for mistakes and celebrate your successes.
Is a glass half full or half empty? The reality is that it’s always full of water and air. It’s more how you perceive it that matters.
The boundaries between work and play are artificial.
Happiness is a choice.
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.
And remember… What do you call a baseball player who hits 3 out of 10 balls consistently throughout his career? Is he a C player? No, he’s a Hall of Famer.
Carolyn Covey Morris
A marketing technologist and public relations leader, Carolyn is known for sparking relationships and engagement and fostering leaps and transformations. Her specialty is brand marketing, public relations and helping organizations through dynamic times of change. She has assisted many employers and clients during crises, turnarounds, and transformations. Her experience includes the retail, consumer, financial services, healthcare, petrochemical and technology industries, and both B2B and consumer-oriented brands. Prior to launching QMobius, Carolyn led strategic communications and public relations for JCPenney during a turnaround that drove the Fortune 40 company’s share price from $8 to $85. She also directed strategic communications and marketing for Capital One’s Consumer Operations. A native of Washington, D.C., Carolyn has worked with almost every U.S. government agency, the White House and key industry trade associations. She earned a B.S. in biochemistry from James Madison University and an M.B.A. in marketing and international business from the University of Maryland. She also studied at Oxford University and holds a certificate in digital and social media from Southern Methodist University. She was the 2015 president of Public Relations Society of America’s Dallas Chapter and is a member of and past president of the CCPA advisory board.