How to Unlock Performance With Two Questions

elite mindset potential Feb 06, 2020


A great question can unlock a treasure chest of self-understanding. When I'm asked what I do professionally at Elite Mindset, I will often respond, "I'm a professional question-asker."  Sports psychology and mental performance are about asking great questions. 

There's nothing that unlocks a player's psyche and heart more than asking a great question. The conversation needs to be about them. And they need to figure out what their answer is and how they will eventually execute it. 

There are two questions that I often ask athletes and high performers. They must be asked in the correct order. In fact, they are almost identical, but they are very different. The first one is quite playful. The second one is crucially important.


QUESTION 1: "What do you want?"

I don't know about you, but, my first response is to watch football games all weekend, eat pizza, hang out with friends, and smoke some meat on the smoker. Now, if I could repeat that every weekend, that would be what I would want! Besides, it's only two days a week. Only about 8 days a month. Only about 104 weekend days in a year. 

Sure, we can all laugh a bit at that. However, it's how most of the general public spends the majority of their time. They spend it chasing after what they think they want. And, they're getting exactly what they think they want with all its "rewards". The majority of people I know spend the majority of their time chasing after what they want, not what they really want. Think about that. 


QUESTION 2: "What do you really want?" 

This is a very different question, especially if it's asked after the first one. An athlete or high performer knows this is a very different question and one they have to answer: "What do I really want?" 

It's a disruptive question. It disrupts the mind and the heart, the two crucial components of deep change and growth. Unless the mind is disrupted to think deeply about this question, then the athlete's heart will remain unengaged. College and professional athletes don't stay attached to this question nearly as often as they should. They forget to answer it daily. They lose sight of it amid the fog and clouds of their distractions. This question is what I call an "anchoring question" because it's at the bottom of their deep desires. 

The athlete, to be good at their craft, has to make sacrifices. The better they want to be, the more sacrifices they need to make. They need to constantly be reminding themselves what they really want. Yes, they want the comfy recliner and the pizza too, but, they must ask themselves this deeper mindset question. 



1. SLOW DOWN. Whether you're answering the question for yourself or to an athlete or high performer, you must get real with yourself. You must lay aside distractions. Like mixing a powdered drink that when left alone the powder falls to the bottom, the top part of the liquid will become more clear. At the right moment, we have to slow down to see more clearly.

2. TAKE INVENTORY. What's important to you? Who is important to you? Why would you want to succeed? What does succeeding do you for you? Who would benefit? Why does it matter to you? These are all questions that must be answered to connect the electrical arc between your head (clarity) and your heart (conviction). 

3. MAKE A PLAN. After you know what you really want, you must determine to spend the majority of your time pursuing what you really want. A dream without a plan is wishful thinking. That doesn't cut it for elite performance. Knowing your "why" is crucial. 

4. USE MENTAL IMAGERY. Nothing will keep what you really want closer to your head and your heart than mentally picturing yourself achieving what you really want. Get in touch with this every day and you will have no shortage of motivation.



If you're a parent, coach, or great friend, and you want to see the people around you perform at their very best, ask them these two questions in order. Then ask them what they're willing to do to achieve it. Ask them to picture what success looks like in their mind. Unlock their potential by activating both their head and their heart. 


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