Karen Ross - Start with you

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As part of Karen's Resilience 7 week online series, she caught up with Steve:

Resilience is an inside job: Interview with Steve Gurney

October 23, 2015 by Karen Ross


Last month as part of my 90-day Resilience for Leaders programme, I caught up with the ever-energetic Steve Gurney to talk resilience: what it is, how it applies to life and performance, and what it takes to win against the odds. Steve, one of New Zealand’s most respected adventure athletes, inventor, speaker and author, speaks candidly here about some of his biggest adventures, coming back from the brink of death, and overcoming some of life’s biggest challenges – including losing his home in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. He has just a bit of experience to draw from!


At the heart of what he shares here about resilience is the central role our mind and our internal state plays in dealing with life’s unexpected challenges and coming out on top. He makes it clear that we can be relaxed and do well – and probably better than if we are over-extending ourselves and pushing too hard. More on this in my previous blog about being “addicted to ‘hard”.


Make your state the most important part of how you’re being, because it really does make the biggest difference.


Steve talks a lot about the nuts and bolts of managing your state in his first book, Lucky Legs, and explores resilience in Eating Dirt. Like Steve, I’m big on the ‘how’ and here’s what he suggests if you want to prepare your emotional state and mind-set before a performance, competition or simply a busy day at work.


Ask yourself this core question:

If I was to have fun and it seemed to take very little effort, what state of mind and physiology would I need to have?


Take time to really think about this. What would you be feeling in your body, what would your attention be on, or what would you be saying to yourself when it was feeling fun and seemed to take very little effort?


Visualise this, get a feel for it, write down what you discover. In this way, be intentional about how you go into that race, meeting or presentation.


This is simple but profound. Steve says so, right?!


Prioritise your state. No matter how intelligent, brilliant and experienced you might be, how you feel in the moment will determine how brilliant you are there and then. Period.

Can you believe it? Feeling good is at the heart of peak performance – you don’t have to wait until you’ve won the race to feel great.


The irony.

Karen x

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