The Moment of a Lifetime

How to stay in the moment when performance matters

medalsThe Olympics offer a great opportunity to witness how the best athletes in the world succeed at the highest levels in their sport. We are enthralled by the Olympics precisely because of the action in the moment, not a three-hour game or an entire season, but sometimes a split second.  One of the key differences between Olympic champions, such as Katie Ledecky, and most everyone else is their ability to stay “in the moment” when the pressure is the highest and the margin for winning or losing is the smallest.

For the athletes competing in the Olympics this is the moment they have worked for their whole lives. It may be their first time appearing as it is for Simone Biles or their last time to compete on this world stage as it is this year for Michael Phelps. How do they not succumb to all of the mental thoughts and pressures that are now riding on one single moment of performance that can boil down to 1/10th of a second?   Olympic success comes from the Olympian’s ability to lock into “the moment.” While in action, gold medalists do not think about past or future performances. They stay in this performance because all that matters is the moment here and now.

In training athletes on the mental aspect of performance, Apex Performance emphasizes that when “a moment” comes along, you either define the moment or the moment defines you.  The ability to do that requires deliberate training and preparation. It is a given that you need to be among the very best in the competencies that define what you do, but that is not enough to win a medal.

Recognizing and acting on a defining moment does not just apply to Olympic athletes but to all performers who need to be at their best when it matters most. Whether you’re an Olympic athlete, a high school athlete, or a business executive, learning how to focus and stay in “the moment” is crucial to your success. In the business world we often hear staying or performing in the moment as “mindfulness.”

Apex views being able to perform in the moment, or practicing being mindful as being mentally prepared. Mental preparation techniques such as adaptive thinking, mental agility and imagery, all significantly increase the potential for recognizing a defining moment and acting upon it. These are the mental capacities that Apex teaches clients how to train and develop.

The stage for most performers is not the Olympics, however you can train like an Olympian by improving your mental performance through systematic and deliberate training of skills that allow you to define your moments.