Everyone of us performs, i.e. undertakes actions on a day-to-day basis. In some cases these actions require extensive preparation, a training that is mental as well as physical and sometimes cause people to experience high levels of stress.
An athletic performance might lead to winning or losing a match or the race of a lifetime. An audition might lead to a breakthrough in someone’s career. A person called upon to perform in an emergency might save a life. Whoever performs must bring his or her talent and capabilities into play in order to be successful and show others a self that is different from the daily self. (Hays, 2009).
People who perform at the highest levels must satisfy expectations and demands, demonstrate coping skills, manage their own judgment as well as those of others and deal with the consequences of their own results.
An athlete is typically expected to excel and to achieve results. Often despite the injuries and risks some athletes are exposed to , there is a social expectation that they will shake them off, go back to training and continue to persevere, notwithstanding the numerous sacrifices. Most athletes think that the qualities required to achieve success are the “tough ones” such as perfectionism, rigidity, self-discipline, willingness to self-sacrifice, disregarding the fact that the brain also needs soft qualities such as compassion, understanding and flexibility. A mind and a body relaxed and powered by positive emotions impart a boost to motivation, concentration, muscular fluidity and tissue oxygenation. This makes it possible to enhance the cognitive process of learning and achieve optimal performance.
Performing artists as well as athletes are passionate about what they do and often develop their talents through the family culture at childhood and particularly through hard physical and mental training, which allows them to overcome emotional and physical hurdles. Sometimes performing artists may seek help from a specialised Performance Coach because they have run into creative blocks, or have had a negative experience of which they were ashamed and humiliated by the fans, the general public and the media or because they experience anxiety which interferes with optimal performance while on stage. Some performing artists wish to enhance their competitive capability, improve concentration, motivation or learn how to define clear goals and to relax their mind and body. Whatever the goal, performance expansion techniques make it possible to unleash inner talent, enhancing spontaneity, sparking inspiration and imagination and to moving the mind to go beyond the concrete into creativity.
Being a coach or a trainer is a great opportunity and also a great responsibility whether training an athlete or a performing artist. Coaches are guides and trainers. They aid athletes and performing artists to develop skills and hold the key to positively influencing athletes and performing artists’ thoughts, emotions and performance. Olympic coaches experience a significant amount of pressure and therefore need psychological skills to handle stress. At times, coaches may struggle to establish a relationship of trust with athletes and performing artists or might not know how to keep the team’s motivation high. Regarding this matter, the performance expansion approach will help you to develop goal setting, learn relaxation techniques, organizational skills, in order to better deal with your athletes’ and artist’ s feelings, thoughts, communications’ style and expectations.
Being able to speak in public, to be persuasive and convincing, to impart safety and trust, to be admired and approved, to make important decisions and foster teamwork are characteristics which are necessary for positions of high social standing. What makes a person a leader or a follower, what generates authoritativeness or authority and consequently reaching goals and ensures that people follow us is the outcome of personal beliefs about ourselves of how we perceive ourselves and therefore how we communicate to others by means of what we say and our conduct. By developing communications skills, leadership abilities and assertiveness, it is possible to gain important social and political positions.
Soldiers, law enforcement authorities and forces carry out highly risky tasks for their own and other people’s safety. They are requested to act with extreme mental clarity and responsibility, to make drastic decisions in a very short span of time and to organize operative interventions on a large scale and succeed in spite of the myriad of pressures to “detach the mind” from the issues and “shake off” their worries in as much as they have to replan their activities every day. These constant pressures wear down the mind and slow down its cognitive abilities. Consequently targeted psychological interventions are necessary such as coaching and reprocessing strategies in order to decompress the performance’ load.
Healthcare professionals such as doctors and surgeons in particular perform surgical operations which require a great deal of precision, coordination and calmness. These professionals manage operation as well as post-operation complication and at times find themselves in the position of informing family members of a death and not being able to save someone’s life. All of this, comes with a great emotional load that over time might generate insecurity, fear and burnout with the result of feeling dissatisfied and losing passion in one’s job. Performing and bearing this type of workload as well as the emotional sacrifice that comes with that profession, leaves these professionals at risk of becoming unwell. Consequently, in order to develop resilience, to reprocess, to increase coping strategies and to enhance one’s own resources fundamental interventions are required to preserve high performance levels.