Something I see all the time in my research and writing and talk about frequently in my coaching practice is the need to marry fierce self-discipline with fierce self-compassion.

On sustainable success, peak performance, and career advice.

Self-discipline: Pursuing what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it; focus on task hand; showing up consistently, even when you don't want to.

Self-compassion: Being kind to yourself in the midst of struggle; creating space to hold softly what you are feeling.
Research shows clearly that both self-discipline and self-compassion are associated with sustainable peak performance.

Self-discipline is your fuel as you move forward on your respective path. Self-compassion is your guard-rail: it keeps you on course when you go astray.
Self-compassion is especially powerful when things are hard or when you experience failure.

Why? Simple.

If when you fail you are judgmental and beat yourself up all you are doing is wasting energy. If you are kind to yourself, you can simply get up, adjust, and go again.
Self-compassion makes you fearless.

If you cultivate strong self-compassion you can take risks and fail and go to hard places knowing you can hold it all and still be okay.

It doesn't make hard things less hard; it makes you more able to handle them. (See work: @DennisTirchPhD)
Self-compassion is not automatic—it's a quality to develop.

Notice when you are being harsh on yourself. How does it make you feel? What would it look like to change that self-talk?

This isn't about brushing off every misstep. It's about not wasting energy beating yourself up.
When you are blowing energy beating yourself up or in a ruminative spiral ask yourself: what would I say to a friend in this situation?

We tend to be much kinder—and equally important, much wiser—when we are looking out for our friends than when we are looking out for ourselves.
"This is what is happening right now, I'm doing the best that I can."

A mantra I use all the time, with myself and my coaching clients. It snaps you out of your head and puts you back into the present moment. Also, if it's not true, you realize that immediately and make it true.
Self-discipline takes you to the hard places. It is the firm persistence to keep going.

Self-compassion is what gives you the courage when you are at the gate, and what helps you get back up when you are thrown down.

And then self-discipline gets you moving forward again.
If you want more evidence-based content on peak performance, sustainable success, and career advice give me a follow. I post threads like this 2x/week.

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More from @BStulberg

12 Feb
THREAD: 7 mental habits that work great until they get in your way.

Wisdom is knowing when a helpful quality no longer serves you, and being able to release from it at that point. This is the stuff of next-level performance and sustainable paths to success.

Sometimes we over-glorify perseverance, sticking with something simply for the sake of sticking with it when it would be more skillful to move on.

In doing so, we forfeit opportunity to try other approaches that might be a better fit. (For more: see RANGE, @DavidEpstein.)
Trying Really Hard

To reach a state of flow—the experience of being in the zone, completely absorbed in what you are doing—is to release yourself from trying.

Flow is an absence of conscious effort; as you approach potential peak moments, trying too hard can lead to choking.
Read 8 tweets
9 Feb
THREAD: Research shows if you go for broke you often end up broke. If you swing for home-runs you often end up striking out.

But if you just put the ball in play—over and over again—good things tend to happen.

6 tips on consistency, peak performance, and career advice.

Heroic efforts tend not to end well.

Pulling all-nighters, working out till you vomit, going on extreme diets, etc., may be fun to talk about and even feel good for a bit, but usually end in illness, injury, burnout.

Ignore people's social media posts on this stuff. It's dumb.
If you are addicted to visible progress you will not last long in what you do.

This is why so many people burnout after a big success. Because it's not forever.

-Frame the work as an ongoing practice
-Measure and judge the process
-Let progress be a byproduct of that
Read 8 tweets
6 Feb
As promised from my recent thread on deep reading, here are my 50 favorite nonfiction books. These books have had the most influence on how I think, write, coach, and live. They are wonderful teachers. I am grateful they exist.

In no particular order 👇👇
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
To Have or To Be
Escape From Freedom
The Sane Society
Mastery (Leonard)
Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart
Full Catastrophe Living
The Recovering
Crossing the Unknown Sea
The Wisdom of Insecurity
Suicide (Durkheim)
Radical Acceptance
The True Believer
The Hero with a Thousand Faces
A Liberated Mind
After the Ecstasy, the Laundry
Almost Everything: Notes on Hope
Deep Work
Digital Minimalism
The Craving Mind
The Inner Game of Tennis
Rising Strong
Read 6 tweets
5 Feb
THREAD: deep reading is an absolute joy—good for mind and soul. It is also a competitive advantage for knowledge workers.

Here are 7 insights on nonfiction deep reading. All are based on the latest research and real-world practice.

On how to read more and read better.

Use a hardcopy book 📚

Research shows you comprehend and connect information best when you read physical pages.

Two reasons:
1. No distractions, which e-reading and audiobooks invite (nothing wrong with them, but not the same as deep reading)
2. Brain likes tactile experience
No digital devices nearby.

Even if your phone is facedown on silent, or your laptop is closed and asleep, the mere sight of these devices and everything they represent—not to mention the willpower it takes not to check them—is a huge distraction.

Keep them in a separate room.
Read 10 tweets
3 Feb
Of all the analogies for getting through COVID-19, an endurance event seems to work best.

Emphasizes qualities:
-Expectation setting
-Fierce discipline
-Big compassion
-Playing long game
-Balancing future goals with present moment
"Planning for forever is essentially impossible, which can actually be freeing: It brings you back into the present...What matters is eating a nourishing meal, telling someone you love them, walking your dog, getting enough sleep." —@BlairBraverman…
"The brutal paradox in a marathon is that right when you can sniff the finish line, usually between mile 20 and mile 22, the race invariably feels the longest. It is utterly critical not to lose focus here. Restraint pays off. Just keep going."…
Read 4 tweets
31 Jan
THREAD: Here are 8 principles to successfully navigate disorder (this is hard to do!) that I've observed over the last few years coaching executives, entrepreneurs, and athletes.

On sustainable success, performance, mental health, and career advice:

Stop Resisting What Is Happening

Resisting change and disorder may feel good in the short-term but invariably leads to distress in the long-term. To work through a challenge you've got to engage with it. Not what you want. Not what you wish. But what is actually happening.
Focus On What You Can Control, Don't Worry About What You Can't

There's a difference between worrying about a situation and taking productive action to influence it. Whenever you catch yourself doing the former, use it as a cue to do the latter. Helps both you and the situation.
Read 10 tweets

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