Have you ever found yourself working hard, doing all the “right” things, and getting a big fat nothing in return? I know I have. Many years ago this was a pattern with me. Part of me would seem to be totally on board with my goals and actions, yet “something” always seemed to pull me down.

“What is this something that keeps messing me up?” I would yell in my mind! Well, the truth of the matter was that I wasn’t playing full out. I wasn’t giving it my “A” game. And it showed in the results I was getting and in my constant stress level.

What are the symptoms of playing a sub-par game?
You feel “off” or burnt out

You’re not motivated

You give it “your all” but feel disappointed

You’re distracted and off-focus

You do not follow through or keep all of your promises

You’re not getting the results you seek

Secretly inside you want to be doing something else

You blame others, the economy, illness, bad luck, “the system”…

Mediocrity Vs. Excellence
I suppose being mediocre does have its advantages. For one, you get play it safe and not look foolish. You get to avoid risk and safely hang with the crowd. But is that really safe? Or is it actually an illusion?

Growth, which in my world equates to personal power, comes to those who push their own limits. It comes to those who take risks and are willing to fall down and get back up!

Careful avoidance of life’s lessons doesn’t equal growth or fulfillment. You have to be willing to make a fool of yourself, over and over, and to be constantly learning and refining your game. A real “expert” always has the heart of a novice.

What does a “C” Game look like?
You Resist Stress and Discomfort

You perceive stress as “bad,” so you try to avoid or resist it. Rather than dive into the deep end of the pool, you stay in the shallow water and blame circumstances for your tepid performance. You blame co-workers, teammates, bosses or corporate policies. You blame the weather or your allergies. You blame the magnitude of the task at hand. You are always in conflict with what you’re doing. Resistance saps your energy and ensures you won’t contribute your best effort.

You Hang onto Preconceptions

You decide you already know the best methods, steps and strategies, so you close yourself off to input. You strive to keep things the same and resist change. Fear takes over. You lose your “in the moment” presence and become one-step removed from the challenge. Your struggle is with yourself rather than the task at hand. You are not engaged enough to see the lesson that is being offered.

You Work Harder and Harder, But Feel Unfulfilled

Seeing that you’re not getting the results you want, you double your efforts, rather than open yourself to change. No rest for you! Slavery is alive and well as you push yourself ever onward without reward. There is no opportunity for celebration and recovery because you have nothing to celebrate! You’re repeating old patterns again and again, which is a sure-fire formula for burn-out.

Most of us, sadly, have been conditioned to play a “C” game the majority of the time.

What does an ‘A’ game look like?
An ‘A” game consists of three stages:

Stage One: Accept Stress & Discomfort

Any challenge that demands our best will create stress. The key is to view discomfort as natural and necessary for growth. Go into the discomfort and the troubling emotions, instead of around them. Work through them by staying with the challenge, pushing your boundaries.

Stage Two: Break through Illusion/Get the Lesson

Be prepared to make the changes that growth demands. Let go of what you think you know and be willing to see something new. Stop being an “expert” and be a novice. Be open and curious. See the truth, deal with it, and push forward.

Stage Three: Apply and Recover

Apply what you’ve learned. Celebrate by resting and recovering from all your hard work. Reward yourself for flowing with change and growing as a result.

What if you’re playing your “B,” “C” or “D” game? What do you do?
FIRST- wake up and see what you’re doing. In Brad Kearn’s book, How Tiger Does It, he talks about the approach of balance (pg 144). The winning strategy for training any great athlete is balancing stress with recovery. That doesn’t mean avoiding stress. It means facing it full-on and then giving yourself the gift of recovery.

The funny thing about stress is that by failing to face it, we never get past it. It remains in our lives forever as a steady background irritant. If we tackle it fully we get to experience reward, recovery and rest. Balance.

Here are 6 steps to getting back to your “A” game
Detach emotionally and observe what you’re doing without any judgment.

Rate your commitment from 1-10. Keep it at a 10.

See the outcome you want, then let go of it.

Be open to seeing the truth so your can get coaching about how to improve.

Be coachable/teachable.

Adopt CACI as your standard (Constant And Continual Improvement)

An “A” Game is Friction-Free
The ultimate “A” game happens when we’re in “flow,” the state athletes call “the zone.” How do we get to this state?

By giving up all resistance and surrendering to the task at hand.

By getting out of our minds and becoming fully present.
When we are in the zone, all friction with the world and ourselves disappears. Even though what we’re doing may be hard work, it doesn’t feel like work because the friction is gone. Without friction, we maximize every effort and produce “A” results in everything we do.

Remember: Your behavior is always something that is in your power, so choose today to “up” your game and see what power is within your grasp!

Oh yes, and most importantly, always remember to have FUN!

Author's Bio: 

Personal power expert Michelle Rigg is the author of You Must Be OUT of YOUR MIND: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating More Power In Your Life. Her clients usually see remarkable improvements in income, relationships, communication, focus, and clarity after completing just one workshop or telephone laser session. For a FREE 5-step course that will supercharge your personal power, visit www.createpersonalpower.com