What does the word performance mean to you? Really take a moment and let that question sink in.
If you open the dictionary you’ll read that Webster states… “Performance is the action or process of carrying out or accomplishing an action, task, or function.”
What areas of your life do you feel you perform? When doing so, do you feel a level of anxiety creeping in?
You see, what Webster fails to recognize is how many of us will read the traditional definition yet think to ourselves… “If it was only that simple!”
What Webster doesn’t take into consideration is the expanded definition we often insert within the word “Performance”. This includes all the potential outcomes that performing could actually create for us, and more often than not - the potential failure or letdown if we are unable to produce what we initially envisioned.
I believe one of the greatest lessons I ever learned in life was in a moment when I had just failed what I had initially set out to achieve. It was my first ever attempt at breaking a World Record.
I was given one minute and five hundred karate boards to break. To succeed I would need to break more than 415 boards within that minute.
What was I basing my goal on? Nothing that had to do with me, rather it was the number of boards broken by another individual that I had seen years earlier on ESPN. Yet with that in mind I still allowed my own efforts to be based on the someone else’s success. “That’s the way World Records are recognized.” I was telling myself.
To the best of my ability I did all I could to prepare for the one-minute moment. Weeks and months went by as I conditioned, trained and prepared to perform. As the clock was about to begin I found myself working to remain as calm as possible. Let it be noted that not only was I looking to break someone’s record, but that individual had flown from Florida to Connecticut just to see if I could do it! No Pressure!!
The gun went off and I began smashing boards as quickly as my body would allow. At first things were going well; yet as the seconds of the clock ticked I found fatigue setting in and my vision of boards breaking quickly were no longer the reality. Thirty seconds in, my hand now felt as though I was banging it against a brick wall with little to no effect on the boards that were before me.
Yet through all that I continued until the minute had expired and I found myself on the ground grasping my hand and wondering if I had accomplished what I had set out to do.
It would take some time for the judges to tally the results and it was in those moments the meaning of “Performance” became crystal clear.
I’m not sure if it was just my adrenaline from the effort speaking to me, but what all I remember is that no matter what the outcome was from my effort I knew I would be making this attempt again. That was the moment; my “A-Ha” moment on the true meaning of performance, and now my own definition in which I say “Performance is a moment of measurement.” That’s it! It is nothing more… nothing less. “Performance is a moment of measurement.”
Assignment: This week, look at the areas of your life where you feel you must perform. It may be professionally, or it may be personal responsibilities. If these areas are making you feel anxious or stressed, take a moment and remind yourself that “Performance is just a moment of measurement” and that you will continue to strive for success not matter what today’s outcome is, therefore the achievement you strive to obtain will ultimately be yours!
For more information on Leif Becker’s Breaking Barriers Programs, Circle of Mastery, Performance or achievement visit www.Leifbecker.com