This week we have an exceptional book by Jason Sleek about mental toughness and mind training. This is high performance program for athletes, as well as anyone who wants to improve in any area of endeavor. He is the director of sports Psychology for the St Louis Cardinals.
Jason is a high performance coach. He has 2 awesome books on the subject. In addition to the “10-Minute Toughness”, “Executive Toughness”, one which we will cover shortly, and “Organize Tomorrow Today”, his latest one.
To get the full benefit of this book you have to read it. Even though this is a 10-Minute daily practice program, in order to get full benefit, you will have to go deep and practice the exercises. Here is his site, https://enhancedperformanceinc.com/
Make success permanent and failure temporary.
If you are looking for other exceptional books on mental training as well as mental toughness here are my favorites:
You can check on my TotalSuccess app for my most important ideas about these exceptional books.
- How Champions think by Dr Bob Rotella
- The Champions Mind, by Jim Afremov
- With winning in Mind, by Lanny Bassham
- Chasing Excellence, by Ben Bergeron
- Mind Gym, by Gary Mack
- Tom Coughlin, by him
- No Limits, by Michael Phelps
- Relentless by Tim Grover
- Unbeatable Mind, by Mark Divine
Here are some of the most important ideas and action steps I got from the 10-Minute Mental Toughness;
Basically the 10-Minute Toughness program gives you mental tools that will help you perform better and more consistently. The same thing there are nutritionist, and fitness experts, there are mental toughness experts. It’s about getting your mental edge.
I guess we could also call them “mental Excellence” experts.
Even though is designed for athletes, anyone can benefit from these techniques.
Self-confidence is probably the most important and influential mental aspect of improving performance. When you have a strong belief in your ability to perform well, you dramatically improve your chances of doing so.
(This happens in everything, from sales, to marriage, to getting your ideal job, to finding investors for your start up. Everything is influenced by your confidence level and the belief on how you are going to perform. Your belief shapes your performance)
The 2 best ways to develop self-confidence is to perform well, and to prepare yourself physically and mentally to do so. This implies a precise evaluation of what it will take for you to perform at your best.
So, here are the 5 steps for the 10-Minute Toughness Mental Workout:
This works best when it´s done 60 minutes prior to practice or competition.
- CENTERING BREATH This is a 15-second-deep breath (diaphragm breathing) to help you control arousal state. You can use the 6-2-7 for this, inhaling for 6, holding for 2 and exhaling for 7. Kids under the age of 12 can perform a 4-2-5 system.(I personally have trained in deep breathing for a long time and use the model 8-4-10, practice with different time frames to find which one fits you better, also this time can be adapted in different situations and conditions. It also affects if you have an empty stomach or full.There is another system create by Mark Divine which also I encourage you to study, practice and evaluate which is Box Breathing, it’s a little variation of this one, your holding periods are a little longer. You also hold at the end of the exhalation.You can read about in “Unbeatable Mind”, you can check on the TotalSuccess App in the Book Club section)One of the benefits of centering breath is to be able to control arousal, or excitement levels, another one is controlling and lowering heart rate. When you control arousal state, you control heart rate.
At 120 beats your mind will not be as sharp as could be, and at around 150 beats, the mind will basically shut down. So, probably the most efficient way to control heart rate is through focus deep breathing, or box breathing.
- THE PERFORMANCE STATEMENT:
This is a major concept in the whole book. PS is a specific self-statement (self-talk is the conversation is going on inside your head, or affirmation) that will give you focus and improve performance. This should be a simple, short and concrete statement.We have about 000 thoughts per day and, unless you do something about it, the majority tend to be negative. They tend to embodied self-doubt and negativity.Extensive research shows that an athlete internal dialog significantly affects performance. How you talk to yourself makes a huge difference on your performance, and in every area of your life.A performance statement is a thought or idea to help an athlete improve performance. Basically, It identifies the process of success.(I use this one: Back straight, shoulder back, smile and be confident)The key is to identify the most fundamental idea of what it takes for you to be successful. Identify thoughts that produce great performance.(when I am going to exercise and I don’t feel like it, I tell myself “I LOVE exercising, I love moving, I love getting stronger”).You need to stop the negative thinking and develop the discipline to REPLACE IT WITH MENTAL TOUGHNESS, thoughts that help you improve performance.The most effective method to stop negative thinking is to replace it with PRODUCTIVE or constructive thinking.Decide what you want and put your energy in acquiring it. Don’t wait for life to happen, make your life happen. You need to supply something else instead of the negativity.—————————————–
- The Personal Highlight Reel:This is a form of visualization to improve performance. Creating a mental video is more effective than watching a video. Visualization is the act of watching something in your mind before doing it.In the personal highlighted reel, you, 1. Remember your biggest victory or performance from your past, for 60 seconds. 2. Visualize success from your future. This can be a couple of minutes’ exercise, another 60 seconds.(for me, works better while doing deep breathing exercise, otherwise I tend to lose time and think about other things come to my mind, also for me, tends to work better while using a chronometer…the great soccer legend Pele, used this technique in an expanded form, he used to spend about 30 minutes doing mental training before important matches; he would spend about 15 minutes remembering his best past performances, and another 15 visualizing the game he was going to be playing performing at his best)There are three camera angles, you can watch from your mind’s eye.
One is as if someone is recording without you being in the scene, the second is someone is recording, you being in the scene and the third one, which is the most powerful, you are living the scene, you are actually seeing what the camera is seeing.In the third one, your muscles can get stronger and muscle memory can develop. Muscle memory is a successful sequence of muscle contractions that can be consistently repeated. Here the mental image becomes a ·D physical experience.Some Visualization Guidelines:
–Choose one camera angle, ideally number 3
–Pay attention to detail
–Frequent and short visualization is better.
–Visualize from beginning to end sequence.
–Emotionally feel the way you want to feel.
–Replay it constantly until you get it right.
–Operate at game speed.—————————————
- The Identity Statement:A self-statement to enhance self-image and confidence. (one example could be: I am the hardest worker on my team and I am a dominant player)This is similar to the performance statement but directed towards reinforcing a strong identity. The reality is you can´t underperform or outperform your self-image for very long.(Connor McGregor, the legendary martial arts fighter has this one:” I am an animal. I have an insane work ethic. I am the best”. Listen to Tony Robins podcast interviewing him, it´s awesome. Maybe he doesn’t know this is his identity statement but it´s sure a powerful one)For this think about your strengths or how you want to be.————————————
- The centering Breath:
Same as in step #1, to help you perform well under pressure.
Phase 2 of the 10-Minute Mental Toughness is a Goal system to help you achieve and improve. It has 6 steps,
One of the most important for goal attainment is go public with them. When you go public you create pressure for yourself to deliver results. People will hold you accountable.
- Vision Clarity: Ultimate goal you want to achieve associated with sports
(You can use it in any other field or area, for example your ultimate goal in business).
- Product Goal: A result oriented outcome, one that can be measured, and usually is better optimized and most effective when is used in the next 12 months.
- Process Goals: The daily actions you must take in order to accomplish your product goals, and your ultimate achievement goal. Write something you want to improve in the next practice or session.
- Success Log: Daily ritual to help you focus on your strengths as well as what you want to improve.
- Personal Rewards Program: in order to identify the athlete’s personal preferences.
- Personal Incentive Style: Your motivational style in order to enhance training and performance.So, the three levels of goals are, the ultimate goal or vision, product goals(in the OKRs system they call it OBJECTIVES, check the other summary we did on the great book, “Measure what Matters” by John Doerr) and process goals (OKRs system call them “Key Results”)
Phase 3 helps you develop a solution focus attitude. Here you always have a solution ready, and you use a great question for that:
WHAT IS ONE THING I CAN DO THAT COULD MAKE THIS BETTER?
(I personally prefer a little twist to this question, one that use frequently: What is the ONE thing I will do that will make this Better? I like the format of this question better because it assumes you will make it better by assuming action as if already is happening. Use whichever first you better)
–Play the Can´t say, “I don´t know game”. Force yourself to answer something, to look for solutions.
Remember, the harder you practice, the easier will be when you are competing. 5% of the people tend to do 95% of the winning because they are willing to do the work, not only what coaches tell them, but an additional 20% or so to become the best they are capable of becoming.
It’s always about doing the work, either physically or mentally.
In summary, these are three critical actions you want to take,
1. Create your Vision, with your ultimate goal, yearly goals, and your 3 greatest priorities in your life.
- Perform your 10-mental work out before practices and competition with the 5 steps.
- Complete your success log, with your achievements and things you want to improve every day.
The best place to do these steps is on my TotalSuccess App and platform. It will help you become the best you can possibly become. You can download it at www.turboday.com
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–Mike Mussina, a major league pitcher with 270 victories in regular season as well as the Baseball Hall of Fame, when he was a kid his father put a strike zone in a barn, 60 feet away. He would image he was pitching in large stadiums in front of 1000s of people.
When he went to the Yankees, the local press asked him how he would deal with such extraordinary pressure situations in one of the most demanding stadium sin the world.
He calmly said, when he was little, and he was at the barn, he would imagine he was playing in large stadiums, now that he plays in them, he will imagine himself playing in the barn.
MY TOP IDEA from this book:
Your identity statement is very POWERFUL, as well as your performance statement.
Your performance statement is one you give to yourself to get ready to perform at your best, like, “Straight back, breathe deep, smile and be confident”. Create your performance statement. It can help you in any situation. You can even create one for different situations (relationship, business, career, sales, passion for life)
Your identity statement creates your reality because if every time you tell yourself you are unworthy, or you will never achieve anything, this is your internal reality, that will create an external mediocre world.
On the other hand, if every time, you try to make a sale, and you receive a negative, you tell yourself something like; “I am the master closer. I always find a way to make the sale. I love selling”, if this or something similar is your identity, eventually you will live that reality. There is no other way around.
You can´t underperform or outperform your self-image (identity) for very long.
The most effective way to stop negative thinking is to replace it with PRODUCTIVE or constructive thinking. In other words, positive thinking.
Remember, the harder you practice, the easier will be when you are competing. 5% of the people tend to do 95% of the winning because they are willing to do the work, not only what coaches tell them, but an additional 20% or so to become the best they are capable of becoming