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When it comes to performance, there are few people who know what it takes to soar to the greatest heights and John “Gucci” Foley, former lead solo pilot of the Blue Angels and stunt pilot for Top Gun, is certainly one of them. We sat down, along with legendary tennis coach Rick Macci, to discuss seven strategies that will help you to perform your best, even in the face of monumental challenges.

Remember that pressure is our friend

One of the benefits of dealing with a pressure-filled situation is that it helps us to realize what’s inside of us. The people who perform the best overall also tend to be the ones who can hold up well under pressure. This is a skill that takes practice, so we must not be afraid to venture out of our comfort zone.

Passion is a core part of success

Whether we are following our greatest passion or not, learning to love what we do will always increase our success at it. We can connect to our source(s) of inspiration by working to find the light, love, and lessons in even the most mundane tasks. And when we love what we do, it will tell us all of its secrets.

Focus is a skill to be developed

We need to treat our focus like a muscle, working to improve it each and every day. By placing our intention on our ability to focus and refocus, we can build that muscle into a strength, which can be applied to any situation or task that we face.

Utilize the Learn, Grow, and Give Approach

This three-part strategy will help us make the most of each day. As long as we learn something new, grow by applying our knowledge and understanding, and be abundant by giving first and giving often, we can ensure that we are making progress toward our true potential.

Thinking instead of acting can slow us down

We move best and most accurate when we are in the flow, not when we are thinking and overanalyzing the situation. Rather than getting paralyzed by analysis, we must place our intention on getting in the flow and “feeling it” in order to put together our best performance. Tapping into the flow state certainly takes practice, but its rewards are immense.

Visualization is an essential part of preparation

Just like for pilots, when we use visualization as a part of our normal routine, we are prepared to execute to the best of our ability. Visualization helps us manifest our plan into reality because we are able to act instead of reacting, allowing what we’ve practiced to be executed.

Emotions can’t get in the way of our execution

Experiencing emotions at work is part of being human. What we cannot do is let our emotions cloud our ability to take decisive action. We must learn to compartmentalize, especially in times of great stress, so that emotions don’t get in the way of doing our job. The first step is identifying when we experience those emotions or fears. From there, we can use the Stop, Drop, and Roll strategy to practice ending the fears or negative emotions that we are feeling.

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