The Winning Edge

Have you heard the news? Serena Williams is pregnant. She isn’t the first woman to fall pregnant and she won’t be the last…but I’m guessing she is the first woman to be pregnant and win the Australian Open. She not only won the Open she won over morning sickness and nausea to boot. All in a day’s work.

Researchers have looked at peak performance since way back. At first glance they put peak performance down to talent…determination…discipline…will to succeed and focus. No one can argue with this list. Yet there are millions of people all over the world who have all of these attributes and are working extremely hard and getting nowhere fast. So what is it…what is going on? How do you become the Serena Williams in your particular field? Well I am not going to tell you just yet. It’s a bit far out …so you’ll have to bear with me …I’ve got some explaining to do first…

So there I was watching TV and I had Serena Williams at the back of my mind. I was wondering what gave her the winning edge…She has a sister Venus Williams. They come from the same gene pool….they had the same coaches…they both share the same outlook on life. They are both elite performers but somehow Serena seems to have it going on. What is it? The programme cuts to a commercial break. One advert about a funky chameleon on vitamin C and I had something to go on.

Follow the chameleon…

Apart from the ability to change colour, having eye sockets that can rotate 360 degrees and that work independently of each other, chameleons are famous for the speed of their tongues. Their tongues can be longer than their own bodies and can travel up to 20 kilometres per hour. That’s fast! If a chameleon marks you down as prey you stand no chance.

Let’s say a chameleon spies its prey in flight at point A. If the chameleon were to ‘shoot’ out its tongue at point A the prey would be long gone. The chameleon doesn’t do that. It brings both eyes together to the front of its head and lashes out at point B. The chameleon calculates exactly where the prey will be and meets it there with its tongue. The prey flies into its own death basically. In order to do this the chameleon has to be able to predict that the prey will move from point A to point B. The difference between point A and point B is time. In order to eat the chameleon has to be able to predict the future. I am talking about a split second but that split second is the difference between life and death.

Back to Serena…

When you watch Serena Williams in action you will notice that as soon as she hits the ball she starts running to the position she anticipates the ball will be returned to her. She knows exactly where the ball will land on her opponent’s tennis racket before it does and therefore she knows exactly which part of the court her opponent will return the ball. While she is running to that position she has already calculated her next move. To the observer it seems that she is moving like a machine. Well she is but there’s more. She is one step ahead of what we see. What we see in real time is what Serena predicted would happen moments before. We witness one game but actually Serena is playing two games…one in the present which is physical and one in the future which is the winning edge.

How we learn stuff…

Psychologist Noel Burch developed the 4 stages of learning that occur every time anyone learns a skill.

Example: Teaching a friend to drive.
Stage 1: At this stage your friend is ‘unconsciously incompetent’ in other words he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. This means your friend might think they know driving from watching ‘Fast and Furious’ but really they have no clue.

Stage 2: At this stage your friend is ‘consciously incompetent’. This means that they still don’t know anything but at least at this stage they know that they don’t know anything.

Stage 3: At this stage your friend is ‘consciously competent’. This means that they are making connections. They are a little hesitant but they know what they know.

Stage 4: At this stage your friend is ‘unconsciously competent’. He doesn’t have to think about driving, he drives automatically. He doesn’t know what he knows.

The difference that makes the difference

The vast majority of us are happy if we get to stage 4. At this stage you are pretty good at what you do. But the problem is that the market’s overcrowded with people who are pretty good at what they do. How do you make a different…how can you catch a break…how can you stand out from the crowd?

What I can tell you is an elite performer does not stop at stage 4. They create as many stages as is necessary for them to be able to predict the future and be one step ahead of the game.

The perfectionist
Another feature of the elite performer is the positioning of their goals and their relationship with the goal. Whereas others have their goal as something to aim for….something out there… with a timeline. Elite performers work as if the goal has already been accomplished. So Serena Williams’ goal would be words to this effect:

“I have just won the Australian Open. What did I do to win it”?
She then does what she has to do. She visualises winning and works out the detail from that point. Elite performers and people with the winning edge work from the future back to present.

But the coolest thing of all that I found is that elite performers and people who have the winning edge are really nice people.

The Winning Edge…The workbook

Do you want the winning edge? Imagine what you could do if you were able to predict your customers’ moves…stay ahead of the competition….intuitively know what’s going on and what’s going to happen next. What would you do with that knowledge? Predicting the future…even by a couple of seconds is all you need to give you the winning edge. I will give you a step by step guide. Once I have shown you the way…put your game plan into action… and don’t look back!

Go to and pick up your workbook and your future for £5.00

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