Peak Performance Begins In Our Brain
Being able to handle stress in a way that doesn’t degrade, or even improves, your performance is critical for any serious athlete or professional. Otherwise, our primitive brains can actually shut down our pre-frontal cortex and actively keep us out of the flow states necessary for us to perform properly.
When you practice and work hard at developing a skill, you are building neural connections. It is the same for a baseball player as it is for an immunologist working to write a book on creative imagination. New skills require the creation of new neural connections and how well insulated (mylenated) these connections are determines how efficient and reliable they are.
Daniel Siegel wrote the book on neurons and therapy: The Mindful Therapist: A Clinician’s Guide to Mindsight and Neural Integration.
“Myelin can increase conduction speed by 100 times. And while all neurons need to rest after firing, myelin can reduce that resting time— called a refractory period— by 30 times. The end result, you can imagine, is that if you and I are neurons in a circuit and we’ve been training well, our communication with each other will be 3,000 times faster than an unmyelinated pair of connected neurons. Three thousand times more efficiency in the brain means that our functional connectivity will outshine other neuronal communication. The brain overall can be considered a competitive real estate market: Action goes to the most active bidder. In this case, our enhanced communication will dominate over our competitors and our circuits will become a prominent player in the overall impact of neuronal firing in the brain as a whole.”
At Liminal Coaching, our reverie work aims to condense and concentrate neural firing patterns just as intense practice does. We give you new opportunities to create the connections that will improve your performance. This is in addition to our work that helps to reduce stress and anxiety so that you can be free to focus all of your energy and resources into achieving your peak performance states.
Trevor, Vancouver, Canada:
“Mike Parker and I worked together to reshape my mental game and improve my performance and effectiveness on the field. Four sessions later, I was playing noticeably better — and my teammates commented on it as well. All of our sessions were done remotely, from the comfort of my own couch, and I now feel more in control both during a game, and also over my own mental processes overall.“
In Liminal Coaching, we often use the following simplified model of the brain to help explain three key areas of the brain: the conscious mind, the unconscious mind and the instinctive mind.
The conscious mind is a linear processor. This is the part of you that pays attention, reads books, orders coffee and decides what to do. The unconscious mind is a multi-dimensional processor. It works in the background most of the time, doing many things simultaneously. The instinctive mind is concerned with survival. It is constantly scanning your environment for potential threats. It assesses all situations and information based on a binary, “threat/no threat” basis.
Liminal Coaching is largely about learning how to increase the communication and teamwork between these parts. It is about gaining the tools and ability to also get your instinctive mind “under control.”
The instinctive mind is obsessive and generally responds to situations it deems threatening with aggression, anxiety or depression. This is known as the fight-or-flight response, and it floods the brain with a cocktail of hormones designed to divert energy from the brain and prime the body with increased strength and speed, so you can either respond with violence or run away. Even more pertinent to this conversation, when people are in the grip of fear, anxiety or depression, or chronic stress, they are unable to make realistic assessment of situations. This is because the instinctive mind triggers a chain reaction within your body that is designed to take the pre-frontal cortex “offline.” Creative thinking and innovation, and indeed, all higher-level brain functions, are stifled.
Once this limbic response has been triggered, it can take hours, or even a day, to get back to normal. This is one of the main reason we can’t just “think our way out of stressful situations.” Unless we can learn to control the fight or flight response.
Our Liminal Coaching can be applied to far more than sports. It has been used by singers, public speakers, photographers and more – anything where practice, focus and clarity help produce great results.
Learn more about how your brain works.
Jason Mesut, London:
“Mike helped me through some stressful times with my work. I was suffering from taking too much on [and dealing] with some difficult client and team situations. I was looking for more perspective, but also for the ability to dial up my creativity despite the stress so I could do great work for my clients. Mike’s coaching helped me get clarity, perspective and tap into the thinking I needed to deliver great solutions for my clients.”
About Liminal Coaching Sessions
Our sessions reduce stress, focus all aspects of your higher brain and build the tools for creating more effective teams and collaboration across your teams and organisation.
In the first half of every session:
The focus is on what’s been good about your week: what you have enjoyed, what has given you moments of pure unadulterated pleasure.
We do this for a very important reason. When you focus on remembering things which had been genuinely pleasurable the blood supply to the amygdala, the core of the primitive brain, is reduced. This in turn reduces levels of cortisol and enables the higher brain to function more efficiently.
We also give you a tool that you can use to assist in charting a course through the Forest of decisions and the Mountains of demands. You can use it at any time but it is particularly powerful when put in the context of a coaching session which has the objective of enabling you to relax and allowing your own innate sense of what is right and appropriate as the next step to emerge.
In the second half of every session:
We lead you on a guided visualization exercise where you sink down into a deeper state and we can work with your deeper resources and powerful subconscious to find and reinforce the calmness and clarity that become your path out of the forest and give you a new relationship with your instinctive mind.
We never tell you what to do, but open the door to where you know.
Liminal Coaching goes around the nit picking of the pre-frontal cortex and calms the primitive brain in order to address limitations, fears, doubt and anxiety where they live. All using proven techniques in a unique combination based on indications from the latest scientific research.
All our coaches have had full professional careers that have involved extensive mentoring and coaching and a lifelong interest in the brain, the mind and human development
Each session is a conversation and a one on one video conference at a time and place that is convenient for you.
About Mike Parker
Mike Parker has over 30 years of experience in global systems and over 10 years helping clients to innovate, overcome challenges and improve performance across a wide range of business domains.
He is as comfortable at the director level in a global consulting company as he is sitting in the chair across from you and helping you overcome your blocks and anxieties.
Mike’s interests are deep and broad, ranging across psychology, anthropology, philosophy, math, business, music and economic systems. All of this is supplemented by culture studies and a life devoted to Systems Thinking. Mike has an MBA in innovation, finance and strategy and has supplemented this with further post-graduate studies in Systems Thinking and Governance. He is a qualified Solutions Focused Therapist and a Research Fellow at the Schumacher Institute.
You have choices. Always.
You can book your first, free consultation using the form below.
And you can call or email me using the addresses at the bottom of this page.