How do you go from great to elite?

Go from good to great to elite.
Josh Waitzkin, image (c) Creativity Post

You are already “successful”, making a difference through your leadership in and for your business and beyond, but your ambitions are even greater. You wish, as Steve Jobs liked to say, to “make a dent in the universe.”

You want to #BeMoreYou, to see and always reach for your full potential. To do this starts with knowing who you are, a “superpower” for leaders and one that can have you to turn that dent in the universe into a crater.

The opening of BeMoreYou on this site, helping potential clients identify themselves

These words are on the BeMoreYou page on this site. Put another way, I work with already successful people who have already moved from “good to great” and are hungry to move from great to elite so that they can make an even greater impact on the world.

This week I was on a call with one such client who often talks to me to talk through already formed ideas, concepts, projects , strategies. On every occasion what they present is already exceptional, the focus we have is on how to take it up that “notch”, elevate it from great to elite.

In order for me to bring as much value as I can to such conversations, I am a voracious learner, with one person I am studying now being Josh Waitzkin, a truly elite performer who takes a very similar approach to the clients he supports and who I seek to learn from to take what I do up another “notch”. I’ll write more about learnings from Josh, but today a little introduction and a hugely simple yet powerful tip I recommend you action today!

Josh Waitzkin

Tim Ferris is known for deconstructing learning so he can learn a new skill “80%” within hours. He can get good at things quickly. He is also hugely curious and learns widely and from many people.

Tim has been running a podcast for about six years, with one of his first guests being Josh Waitzkin. Josh focusses on learning in a different way from Tim, living this for himself by becoming world-class in multiple fields.

In this pursuit, he learned that when people are already at the “great” level, to move from great to “elite” is not about learning more, it is about unlocking and unlearning, as he describes early in his first of several podcast with Tim:

What I’ve been focused on in recent years has been unlearning. When I think about that last movement from the equivalent of being, say, number 10 to number one in the world, it’s much more about finding subtle obstructions, finding friction points and releasing them, identifying cognitive biases blocking your way. It’s the movement towards unobstructed self-expression.

If you think about about your creative process as a hose with a big crimp in it, if you release it, it is just unbelievable the pressure that can be released. A lot of what I’m doing with people is trying to move them from very good to greater, from great to truly elite, deeply individualized work on helping them really find ways to express the core of their being through their art.

Josh Waitzkin , listen from here on the podcast

When I heard this, I started feverishly nodding, this so aligns with the way I think about elevating the great to the elite!

So, with this I am reading, listening and learning as much as I can from what Josh has learned about the process of moving from great to elite.

For now, though, I encourage you to recognise that this can be stunningly simple. When Josh talks about self-expression and expressing the core of your being through your art, this is truly key to moving from great to elite. Yes, to get to “great” you must learn and practice and conform, but to move to elite one key is to take all of that and be who you are, BeMoreYou.

For today, I leave you with one simple tip from Josh to apply right away. When asked by Tim what he sees in common among elite performers in business, this is one of the things he notes:

They’re aligning their peak energy periods with their peak creativity work. They’re building lifestyles that are just relentlessly proactive as opposed to reacting to inputs. They’re building a daily architecture which is based on maximizing the creative process.

If you think about this relative to most people, a simple case in point is email checking. Most people when they finish a break, even top guys in industries, when they finish a break, whether they wake up first in the morning what do most people do? They check their email. When they come back from a workout they check their email. When they come back from lunch they check their email.

So, what you see is this whenever they’re coming back from something after a break, they’re soaking in inputs and so they live this reactive lifestyle.

Their creative process is dominated by external noise as opposed to internal music.

Josh Waitzkin, listen from here on the podcast

Their creative process is dominated by external noise as opposed to internal music.

Stop checking your email right after a break.

Instead, listen to your internal music. This can be as simple as starting back to work by focussing on whatever problem you allowed your subconscious to solve while you took your break by getting out of your own way and listening to your internal music.

I’ve written about and taught methods around this for years.

If, in reading this, you feel curious about how you, too, can move from great to elite, book a call with me and let us explore together.

Let’s talk

Book your 30-minute meeting here.

Also published on Medium.