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  • Writer's pictureEmile Neethling

How to be at your best.

If being at your best is a ton of hard work and deliberate practice. Why do it?

Why does a navy seal candidate, putting himself through a week of hell? A grueling 5 day stretch where each candidate sleeps at the most 4 hours during the entire week. Runs more than 300 km and does physical training for more than 20 hours per day.

Why would a father pushes his son in a wheelchair and complete more than 1130 endurance events, including 72 marathons and 6 Ironman triathlons?

It is for the pride and the challenge. And for many it is for their team mates.

If you are going to persevere to the mountain of greatness. You have to have a WHY.

If you are like most people, you know you can perform better and work smarter. You know you can improve your skill level, your connection with people, or add more value to society. All of this can improve your wellness. You know this!

You won't have this great epiphany of purpose drop in your lap. You need to go and find it.

Conscious change starts with intention. That however, is not where the real power lies.

The real power is making intentional decisions and taking action on them.

Why wait for greatness then?

Start by asking better questions. The hard questions. You need to be bold here. The better version of you are locked up in there somewhere and ready to be unleashed.

Just a word of advice. Do not be too critical on yourself. That won't help you. You are here to learn and master every area of your life.

Here is a exercise I do with my clients. It is called the retirement dinner. Consider the questions I am about to ask and write your vision.

Imagine it is the end of your career. It is time to reflect on what you have accomplished. Gathered together are all the people that were with you on your journey. Those who know you really well. Who know what you did day in and day out.

People will get up to speak. What do you want them to say about you? Take a few moments to write this down.

I use this exercise to help clients create a clear picture. A mental representation. Exactly who they want to be in their life. Detailing the behaviour that illustrates what they value. What is important to them.

From there we look at the goals they want to achieve. Where they are not following through. What gets in the way? And how to overcome it. But it starts with a vision.

Most people who struggles in life just don't know what they are about. Their WHY aren't clear enough.

Your WHY is not a once off thing. It is a daily thing.

I challenge my clients regularly to define their WHY, VALUES and GOALS.

Then comes the big question. Are you that type of person now? Here is where you come face to face with your reality. Often what we want people to say at our retirement dinner are not the values that we are currently living. To create such a legacy, we must act our vision every day.

There are barriers to this. Feelings and thoughts can get in the way. We sometimes get distracted and lose focus and we give into desire for comfort.

Know that in the process of performance, it is essential that we keep our attention on what we value the most.

Here is an example of one of my high performing coaching clients.

Jess is a manager of a medium sized company. She is intelligent with a strong character. She puts in extra hours on the job, sometimes neglecting her family responsibilities.

When challenged to define her WHY, VALUES and GOALS, she always starts with her family as her WHY. She constantly reminds herself to have a better work life balance. The one thing she so desperately desire, is the first thing she so often neglects.

The company she works for is busy restructuring and she might be moved to another department. As a result, the following played out in one of our coaching sessions.

"What am I doing with my life? Is it all worth the effort?" That is the questions Jess raised.

"I do not know who I am anymore. I want to feel my contribution to this world is adding more value. I know I can be a better version of myself."

She knew there were a bigger purpose to her life, but got distracted.

Moments of transition is never easy and can create uncertainty if you do not live intentional with clarity.

Most people are reactive with their growth. When we become reactive we have less initiative. When we have less initiative, we have less momentum. When we have less momentum there is less progress. We then feel uncertain, confused and unhappy.

Being not intentional can cost you your wellness.

We need to be more proactive and live with more intention.

Successful people in life ask great questions.

Questions like: Who am I? What is my purpose? Who do I need to be? What do people need from me?

If you ask great questions you will have more initiative which will give you more momentum. When you have more momentum there is more progress.

Having clarity on your WHY, Values and GOALS is a major accomplishment.

Action steps

1. Create a vision for your life by doing the retirement dinner exercise. (What do you want those who know you to say at the end? What behaviour do you illustrate? What is important to you?

2. Download the Living Intentional worksheet here.

3. Make a list of words you aspire to be. Choose your top 3 words of intention that would describe your best self.

4. Set reminders by sticking notes with the words in key places.

5. Get accountability partners. Ask family members, colleagues, or your life coach to help you accomplish your daily goals.

6. Start reading about your words of intention. If you happen to find and are able to enroll in a course to develop your words, do so!

7. Contribute to society. Serving people can not only add value, but also make us feel fulfilled. How could you contribute? How can you be of service? Choose activities that is fun and meaningful to you. If you enjoy it more, your energy and motivation would increase to do it more. This action will improve your wellness by leaps and bounds.

8. Develop your skills. If you care about yourself and the world you must care about learning. Create your own curriculum. Be specific when choosing the skills, you want to develop. Break them down into smaller sub-skills.

9. Set great goals. Make sure to stretch yourself, but not to far. Goal setting is the tool to help you you reach your full potential. Every successful step toward attaining your short-term and long-term goals, builds confidence and gives you a sense of personal pride.

Being at your best is a ton of hard/smart work. Persevere to your mountain of greatness. Ask great questions and seek clarity. This could change your life.

Do me a favour. Comment and share your 3 words of intention.


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