How do you do it? For starters, you need understand that to get to a new level requires advancing from the current level. We will call the current level normal. Normal isn't the goal. If you have come to believe that it is, then let's pause here and do a quick mental reset. Normal isn't the goal or the expectation for very much in life. Somewhere beyond normal is the goal.
How do you get there?
In order to get beyond normal you must understand three things. The first thing you have to figure out and accept with honesty is to know where you are. Knowing where you are will tell you what normal is. If you are struggling with that knowledge you cannot progress. Whether you work for a large corporation, you are an entrepreneur, an athlete, soldier or you are just trying to progress on personal level in your sport or hobby, you have to be absolutely sure you understand where you are. I'll use an example from the Military. The Army's SF Selection course (SFAS) is famous for land navigation tests, called the "STAR Course". Each STAR course can cover 15-25 Kilometers, and you are required to pass them multiple times. You are tested in the daytime, night time, good weather, bad weather and all while carrying a heavy ruck. When you are navigating really long distances at night and with a 60-70 lb. ruck it can be very easy to lose track of where you are, on a detailed level. The darkness, hunger, fatigue and weight of the ruck on your back are all factors that can easily disorient you. You'll keep track of the big pieces of information normally and probably remember that you are in the US, in the State of North Carolina and near Ft. Bragg. But those facts are not sufficient when you are aiming for a single, very small point in the distance, and in the dark. You have to know where you are down to a specific, very precise position on the map if you expect to find your destination (usually a grumpy retired Green Beret in a tent). When you are desperate to pass a STAR course and you become disoriented, you have to stop, maybe take your ruck off for a minute, and do a map check. You HAVE to figure out where you are. There is no other way you can move forward if you don't. Each of us has our own unique factors in our lives that constantly disorient us in our pursuit of advancement. We have our own darkness, fatigue, hunger and heavy rucks to carry. How you do your own map check at your job, with your business or your own performance goals will differ based on your unique circumstances, but you must figure out where you are. You need to spend enough time on this step to make sure you really understand it. You have to remove the emotion, attitude, pride and ego from the equation, and get down to the bare bones facts of your situation. Find your own way to disconnect and gain perspective. On a STAR course, at night that means pulling out your map, small red light, and crawling under a poncho to ensure that no light escapes while you try to figure out where you are. How you perform your personal map check will be unique, but it will probably require a serious pause in your current routine, getting some sleep and finding a place you can stare at your own map for as long as you need to in order to orient yourself.
"Somewhere beyond normal is the goal"
The second thing you have to understand is what goal you are pursuing. Where are you trying to get to? What are you expected to achieve (what does your boss, or team expect of you)? What do you want your business to do? If figuring out where you are can be compared to a map check, then figuring out where you need to go is like your own personal mission brief. Only don't expect to be spoon fed the instructions or handed your mission brief by your boss or those in charge. Sometimes that happens but often especially in corporations, in business or in our personal goals, we don't have the benefit of having a clear plan handed to us. Even in cases where we are expected to perform in such a way as to achieve goals that are clearly part of someone else's plan, you cannot expect to have the instructions handed to you. This is just the way it is, especially in the modern era. Accept it and move on. You have to realize that you must create your own personal or team mission brief to guide you. You've done your map check and figured out where you are, now devote the time necessary to learn where you need to go. If you work in a large organization, you have plenty of resources available to help. Personal dialogue with those above, behind and to the left and right of you, online information from your company's website, business journals, industry news and company events are all things you can access to improve your knowledge of your organization's goals. Start volunteering for more and be present in more places, especially if it puts you in position to improve your situational awareness about your organization's goals. If you are an entrepreneur or on an individual quest, use your mentors or trusted friends to help you understand where you need to go. Remember, you've got the heavy ruck on, and it's digging into your shoulders while you are rushing to your destination. Pause and ask those in your life who have already passed the STAR course to help you understand where to go. It is important to have at least one, very clear and very specific objective in the near future that you are aiming for. Next level performance requires immediate or short term performance improvement. This isn't the time for your 5 year plan. Daily, weekly and monthly are the time frames you need to operate in, to move into the next level.
Beyond normal limits requires aggressive action and specific skill applied towards bold objectives.
Now get after it!
About the author- Brad
A dynamic leader known for operational focus and delivering results. Highly adaptable and equally comfortable leading epic outdoor adventures, corporate teams or operating in critical environments. An expert at Beyond Normal Limits performance. Brad founded AOG in 2009 to offer high impact adventure and tactical training to motivated teams and organizations. As a veteran, he lives the warrior ethos as a way of life and embodies an unconventional mindset and adaptability in all pursuits. An accomplished adventurer, tactical instructor, corporate leader and international traveler, he has trained and prepared hundreds of students to work in high threat environments, operated extensively around the world and created custom leadership events for elite teams.