Staying in Tune for Peak Performance
Updated: Mar 13, 2018
Imagine yourself as an acoustic instrument — let’s say a guitar. Now, when you play a chord, how do you sound? No matter if you’re an older “vintage” model or a brand new shiny instrument, most of us would strive to at least be in tune.
If you’ve ever heard someone play an out-of-tune guitar, you probably winced uncomfortably as the chords were strummed. If you heard the guitar along with other instruments, then the dischord was probably even MORE apparent. On the flipside, when a guitar is IN TUNE, a chord rings out with satisfying harmony. Each note works together to make a cohesive sound, and when played with other tuned instruments, the result can be magical. A good musician knows to take a few moments every time they pick up their instrument to tune the strings for that optimal sound.
When we’re out of tune as human beings, it leads to overwhelm and burn out; and even worse, it leads to a clash with the people around us — those we live with, work with, and lead.
So are you taking the time to tune yourself on a regular basis? Many of us think of our weekends as an opportunity to tune up. But oftentimes, we get busy with errands, chores, or doing things for our families, and our personal tune-up gets postponed. Or we think of our yearly vacation as the time to recharge. But once a year isn’t nearly often enough. If we wait too long, we are so far out of tune that our “strings” are no good anymore. We’re warped and rusty, and had we just kept it up on a daily basis, things would be much simpler.
Instead of waiting on big chunks of time to re-energize ourselves, why not integrate the tune-up into our lifestyle, into our daily patterns? Be proactive; not reactive.
Here’s a simple technique to keep yourself in tune on a daily basis. It’s all about creating simple rituals that keep you aligned and centered. Think in beginnings, middles, and endings of each day. If we can tune in three micro moments throughout the day, it will create macro benefits for ourselves and the people we interact with. Choose one of the following or do all three. Whatever you choose, make sure you can commit to it.
Morning ritual. At the beginning of your day, take a few breaths and set intentions for what you want to create throughout the day and how you want to show up in the world.
Midday ritual. Clear your mind and reset. Maintain proper nutritional intake. What you take into your body directly influences your base level of operation for the remainder of the day.
Evening ritual. At the end of the day, take some deep cleansing breaths, stretch, take a warm bath, or listen to soothing music. Reflect on your day, and sink into a moment of gratitude for the good in your life.
As you create your rituals, think about whether you are tuning yourself in the right direction. You can tailor the activities in your ritual to whatever your needs are. Like a guitar, our “strings” can be wound too tight (creating a sharp note) or too loose (creating a flat note). So we either need to burn off the energy or let go of it.
Burning off the energy often involves a physical release like going for a run, having a dance-off in the kitchen with your kids, or going out after work with friends. Letting go of energy often involves a mental centering like deep breathing, energizing walks, meditation, or using essential oils. We often think of “recharging” as only being calming activities, but a high-intensity workout can be just as rejuvenating.
When it comes to incorporating these rituals into your day, schedule them into your calendar like those Monday morning meetings. Make yourself a priority. Being the best, healthiest, most tuned-in version of yourself is essential for being an effective leader and resonating with those you lead.
Right now is your opportunity to evaluate: what are you currently doing that is working for you, and what might you be missing? We simply cannot lead others to greatness when we ourselves are operating at the bare minimum. When we take the time to frequently tune ourselves, like instruments, we can create beautiful harmony with ourselves and with the other “instruments” with whom we create the music of life on a daily basis.