We are all performers living the drama of life in different ways, in different contexts. We are all capable of pursuing our dreams and reaching meaningful goals. We all possess incredible strength when we draw on the full power of our focus. When we strengthen the quality and consistency of our focus, we add quality and consistency to our performances and joy to our lives.
Seven critical elements guide the pursuit of personal excellence: focus, commitment, mental readiness, positive images, confidence, distraction control, and ongoing learning. These elements combine to form the wheel of excellence (see figure 2.1), a puzzle of interconnected pieces that applies to every sport and performance pursuit.
Use the parts of the wheel that give you strength and focus. Choose to improve the parts that you believe can benefit from improvement. You can strengthen any part of the wheel of excellence at any stage of your development by deciding to do it and by focusing on making small improvements every day. After you have woven all the pieces of the wheel into their rightful place, the puzzle is complete, and the wheel runs smoothly, even in bumpy terrain.
Focus is the first and most important element of excellence. Focus is the core of excellence, the center of the circle, the hub of the wheel of excellence.
People who perform their best, or excel at the highest levels, have learned how to focus. To perform your best, you need to find a focus that frees you to be the way you want to be within your performance context and within your life. Excellence begins to blossom when you find ways to focus that connect you completely and absolutely with each step in the moment-by-moment process of your performance pursuit. A totally engaging focused connection frees you to raise the level and consistency of your performance.
Improving your focus allows you to continue to learn, experiment, grow, create, enjoy, and perform closer to your capacity. Excellence flows naturally when you develop confidence in your focus and know that your focus will take you where you want to go. Consistent high-level performance depends on consistent high-quality focus. When you develop, direct, and connect your focus, you strengthen all elements of excellence that add quality and consistency to your performance and joy to your life.
The other elements of excellence (commitment, mental readiness, positive images, confidence, distraction control, and ongoing learning) grow out of your focus, take direction from your focus, connect you and reconnect you with your mission, and make excellence possible. The combination of the seven elements in the wheel of excellence empowers you to become the person and performer that you have the potential to be. And each of these elements is within your personal control.