red your internal and external environments, implemented KISS into your planning, and learned to anchor your peak performance, then you’ll want to habituate success by performing rituals around these principles. We want to prevent the internal and external “junk” from taking over our lives again. We want to ensure that we lock in our performance drivers and never go back to mediocrity again. This is where the Power Rituals comes into play. The Power Rituals are simple practice of checking in with your thoughts, goals, and major actions morning and night, and before and after major events in our lives. This ensures that we are aligned and accelerating toward self-mastery and making success a habit.
Exercise: The Power Rituals
When you wake up drink a large glass of water, then sit comfortably with your journal, ask yourself these empowering questions, and write down what comes up:
- What and who am I grateful for today?
- What am I excited about and looking forward to doing today?
- What is my purpose and do my plans for today connect me to it?
- How can I move the dial toward my goals today?
- Who can I reach out to and serve, or thank, today?
- Are my goals still aligned with my purpose?
- Next, before you rush off to work, quickly review your Daily Focus Plan. Make any adjustments and block time in your schedule as Build / On, Maintain / In or Play / Out. Your Focus Plan is a simple worksheet where you list the following to help keep you on track throughout the day:
- PRIORITY TASKS (must complete today)
- PROJECTS (work on one step at a minimum today)
- CONNECTIONS (call / email people I need to connect with to offer help, or b/c I need something from them to move a project along)
- IDEAS (any ideas that came up during the Power Ritual)
EVENING RITUAL: Before you settle in for the night, find some quiet space and with your journal perform a “look back” review of your day, from start to finish. Note whether you were “on” and in the zone today or “off” and unbalanced. Why? Lack of sleep, diet, a relationship, stress? Then ask yourself what were the top three positive things you accomplished or that happened to you today? Then ask yourself if there are any unresolved issues or questions. Do a short concentration practice and perform a mind gym exercise. When in the mind gym put the question or problem that is bugging you “out there” or directly to your counselor. Also review your major goals. Pay attention to your dreams and any waking thoughts – the answer will usually be there for you.
PRE-EVENT RITUAL: Use this ritual when facing a major mission, race, or challenge and you simply must be at your peak. Once habituated this can be a 5-minute exercise with a powerful impact on your performance.
- First, as you approach the time of the event take action to avoid external distractions (some events have a known start time like a race or workout. Others are not as known, but this principle applies in either situation). Finding a quiet space where you can be alone, or sitting in the car, or in a separate room. If you are in a crowded area, just sit and close your eyes and people will leave you alone. Don’t worry about what others think about you, they are likely jealous that you have the courage to take care of yourself and not need to engage in the nervous pre-event chit chat that is so common.
- Next, perform a Dirt Dive visualization to “size up” your performance in the event and “size down” the opponents or enemy. The enemy can be an actual opponent, other competitors, or your board of directors! In this visualization see yourself dominating the situation, totally in control, and see your competitor as capitulating, congratulating you, or weak and ineffective – whatever is appropriate for your situation. Basically you want to see yourself as powerful and crushing the challenge and your opposition as weak and easily overcome. It is important to do both parts of this visualization because we tend to give our opponents or challenges more power than they deserve – we make them bigger than life. We need to cut them down to size and build ourselves up. Focus on your physiology and psychology during each stage of the event as you see it unfold in your mind. Perform deep breathing during this dirt dive. This sets the stage for the rest of the ritual.
- Next review your goals and your strategy for the mission or challenge. See yourself accomplishing the goals with ease. Double-check your strategy against the reality of the moment. Is it KISS? Are there any last minute modifications you need to make? Is there a way to make it even simpler? Are you prepared for the unknown with contingency plans?
- Finally, initiate the Performance Anchor process – See, feel and hear your ideal performance state start an internal dialogue with a powerful mantra to maintain a positive mindset, speech, posture and state of being as you finish your pre-event ritual and launch into performing. Your Performance Anchor should include deep breath control exercises. Elite athletes and Navy SEALs utilize breath control to prepare for missions and events, so should you. The act of psyching you up physically and mentally includes deep diaphragmatic breathing, forced exhalation breaths combined with powerful visualization and positive affirmations. The breathing doesn’t need to be fancy or esoteric – simple long inhale holds followed by a powerful forced exhale and short exhale hold will do the trick. Repeat it twenty times while performing your visualization.
POST-EVENT RITUAL: When the event, challenge or mission is complete, again find some quiet place with your journal to perform this ritual.
- First, remember who helped you along the way by asking yourself gratitude questions. You have survived, or accomplished something big, so who can you thank and be grateful for? Certainly include yourself, but also think about your family, teammates, mentors, support staff, even your enemy.
- Next, reflect on your performance. How did I do? What did I learn? Did I move dial on my 20X Goals? How can I improve and do even better next time? Was the event worth the time and energy – would I do it again? Write down your reflections. You don’t need to make any decisions, just make sure you write down key thoughts before they get lost or changed with our memory processing.
If, upon reflection, you find aspects of your performance that you are not happy with, then reframe with a positive lesson. What did you learn, what was the silver lining? Why did it have to happen the way it did?
You may not have won the event, but you can win the aftermath with how you choose to view what happened and your positive response to
- This is a very powerful process that can keep you focused on feeding the courage dog even when you fall on your face!
- Next, we want to re-direct our attention to a new mission or challenge, and re-engage our planning and training. This will be an iterative process, but it can be started in this post-event ritual with some ideas jotted down about what’s next? When I competed in the CrossFit Games Open, I had to think carefully about whether to do it again. The time commitment to train for the unique skills is intense and took me off-course a bit from the core SEALFIT physical training model. This post-event course correction can reveal a lot of interesting things. What if you voluntarily took a challenge like an IronMan race, but you really did not enjoy the process or the event? Would you do another IronMan just because you can? I wouldn’t waste major chunks of life training for something you didn’t enjoy the first time! What is another goal or 20X challenge you can set? For a business venture, it may be that your first shot was off mark. Would you try the same thing again? Most entrepreneurial ventures take 3 or more shots to find the product or revenue model that gets the gears to click. Reframing, reflecting and redirecting your efforts will help you stay on purpose and moving on the right goals. Ensure that in this process you also reconnect with your “why” and get squarely behind the new goal to re-energize yourself so you can hit it hard when you get back to the playing field the next day.
- Finally, make sure you reward yourself with something simple and meaningful. Even if you feel you screwed up, you deserve to reward yourself for the effort it took to get through the challenge. Maybe take a day off with your family? Or perhaps you have something you would like to buy but do not need, so you have been holding off? I plan to buy a new car when I hit a certain goal this year. Do I need the car? Not really – my 04 Lincoln is still putting along…but I plan to reward myself when I accomplish the mission.
Performing these Power Rituals daily and as needed helps train your mind to start and end each day and each important challenge in a positive, powerful “performance zone” state. It starts by asking good questions. The quality of our lives is dictated by the quality of the questions we ask ourselves. Answering the questions in the Morning Ritual and completing a Daily Focus Plan will lead you to take “power actions” throughout the day, not wasting time on anything that doesn’t move you toward your goals. When you get super focused on those top two or three things every day that are connected to your passion, purpose, and mission, your thoughts and actions will naturally align. When you’re in alignment, it’s easier to stack up victories. Stacking up the small victories develops confidence, which in turn reinforces the KISS principle and propels you forward in a full throttle cycle of success.
I want you to trust me on how these power rituals lead to power thinking and power action and can create a self-perpetuating engine of success. You should feel compelled to integrate them into your daily routine. I’m proposing that you discipline your mind with new habits that will lead to exceptional results. The secret underlying this process is “alignment.” If your dreams are to be a successful entrepreneur or a Navy SEAL, yet you don your suit and go sell insurance daily with no viable plan for how to get from where you are to where you desire to be, are you in alignment? No, because all day long you’re fantasizing about something else, or worse you’re sabotaging your dreams. You don’t like what you’re doing. You don’t want to be where you are. This was me at 23 years old. I was miserable and wouldn’t admit to being misaligned, because I didn’t know what that meant at the time. I had to dig deep and learn the skills of contemplation in order to find my passion and purpose. Once I was clear on those the rest started to line up. Front Sight Focus will help you align and move out toward your dreams.