Prior to creating my model for self motivation, I studied the research on motivation in education, employment and athletics. All three of these fields involve tons of money, so there is no dearth of research available. One model involving motivation in athletics that I particularly enjoyed was a model involving high performing athletes, the Resonance Performance Model used by high performing athletes. RPM was developed by Dr. Doug Newburg at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio, after interviews with hundreds of high performing athletes. The model he developed can be used by coaches to help athletes achieve their best performances.
There are three elements of RPM:
• the dream,
• extensive preparation,
• a strategy to overcome obstacles.
The dream refers to one idea, one concept, that captures a person 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, express meaning to send out. That’s what resonance refers to; his physical world, the outer world or environment, is in accord with his inner world.
In RPM, the dream is not a goal you set. A goal is specific, quantifiable. It is external to the person. Goals may help you measure your improvement in your performance, but they are not the dream. The dream is something inside of you, something you live every day.
Extensive preparation is the second element in resonance. Preparation involves all the activities you engage in to make the dream happen. But for a high performing athlete who is in resonance, 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 indeed a integral part of the dream. The incredible amounts of time the high performing athlete spends in preparation makes the dream a part of his 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 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. Newburg found that the way the high performing athlete deals with obstacles is different than how we lesser performing athletes deal with them. Instead 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 athletes first revisits the dream. Instead of going back to the second stage, the preparation, the high performing athlete returns to the first stage, the dream. The high performing athletes interviewed by Newburg explained that when they revisit their dream, they are reconnecting, in a reflective posture, to the feelings that motivate them to do the activities they do. Revisiting the dream can include watching videos of performances, reading journals the athlete has kept, listening or just thinking about what is important to them. It may include redefining the dream.
This contemplative, internal activity allows the high performing athletes to reconnect to the internal, which allows them to start once again on the integration of the external to the internal, in other words, resonance.