It’s all in the news now. The man who was considered by many to have been the greatest athlete ever, has come clean – no pun intended. I am talking of course about Lance Armstrong admitting he doped. That he doped I don’t think came as a shock to many people. That he admitted it was more of a shocker.
But that athletes use whatever advantages they can to succeed, even illegal ones, is no surprise. Baseball’s doping scandals prepared us for it, and there will undoubtedly be other sports in which doping and illicit drug use will come to light.
It’s all because athletics is big business. There is a lot of money to be made in athletics. But that it is a big business can have positive effects on us run of the mill athletes, athletes who will never make money on their sporting abilities.
One such effect is the research that is done on motivation and sports. Were this not a big business this research would not have been done. No one would have been interested and no one would have sponsored it. But it is a big business and the research was done.
There have been many models on athletics and motivation but my particular favorite is the Resonance Performance Model, or RPM. It had a large impact on the creation of the self motivation model I created and unveiled in my recently published book, iMotivateMe: Take Control of Your Motivation to Reach Your Goals and Achieve Your Dreams.
RPM focuses on the motivation of high performing athletes. Dr. Doug Newburg, at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, developed it after interviews with hundreds of these athletes.
Just as my model for self motivation has three elements or factors, Dr. Newburg’s model has three elements:
1) the dream,
2) extensive preparation,
3) a strategy to overcome obstacles.
The dream refers to one idea, one concept that captures the athlete so totally that he makes a commitment to making the expression of this one idea his life’s work. The person has a dream, and he wants to express that dream in his life. This is why the word resonance is in the model’s name. The athlete’s intent is to make his or her external reality (what’s actually going on in his athletics) be in conformance (in resonance) with that inner reality, the dream.
In RPM, the dream is not a goal you set. The dream is inside of you, something you live every day.
Extensive preparation is the second element in RPM. Preparation involves all the activities you engage in to make your dream happen. For a high performing athlete who is in resonance, however, this preparation is not drudgery. It is not something the athlete is compelled to do. Instead it is something he wants to do, something that has real meaning to him, something that is an integral part of the dream. The incredible amounts of time a high performing athlete spends preparing for competitions makes the dream a part of his or her every day existence. The preparation becomes part of the resonance, that merging of the internal with the external. Newburg asserts that striving for the goal may actually be more resonating than achieving the goal.
The third element of RPM is the strategy to overcome obstacles used by the athlete in resonance. Newburg uses the term “obstacles” very broadly. There are external obstacles, such as rejection, losses, and injuries, and internal obstacles, such as fear and self-doubt. They sound like the detractors we all have in reaching for our dreams, so the way the high performing athletes deal with these obstacles is instructive to all of us. Newburg found the way the high performing athlete deals with obstacles is different than how lesser performing athletes deal with them. Instead of taking the obvious step of just returning to the preparation stage and increasing the duration or intensity of the practice, or modifying it in some other way, the high performing athlete first revisits the dream.
Instead of going back to the second element, the preparation, the high performing athlete returns to the first element, the dream. The high performing athletes interviewed by Newburg explained that when they revisit their dream, they are reconnecting with the feelings that motivate them to do the activities they do. Revisiting the dream can include watching videos of performances, reading journals the athlete had kept, or just thinking about what is important to them. It may also include redefining the dream.
This contemplative, internal activity allows the high performing athlete to reconnect to the dream, his inner world, which allows him or her to integrate that inner world with the physical or outer world, the performance.
This model may have come from high performing athletes, but there is nothing to stop you from using it as well. And not just in your sports – you can use it in everything that is important to you.