Most of your decisions in life are made pre-consciously in a micro-moment, before you are even aware of it. These decisions are dictated by the three factors of the micro-moment that you can learn to control.
Seventeen years. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been living in Nashville that long, but this month marks my first trip here for a job interview. Ultimately, I would be offered that job and start down a path I could not have predicted and one that I am often amazed and humbled that I’ve been on. It seems like a lifetime ago I started studying what causes customers—humans—to make decisions that change their lives.
The Micro-Moment Before a Decision
Decisions fascinate me. In one moment we identify as a person who does not behave in a particular way or have something specific. Then, in the next moment, we change. And, for the rest of our lives we cannot go back to being the person who never behaved that way or had that thing. Decisions have a sense of definiteness to them. When we decide, we are defining who we are in that moment.
I find the micro-moment just before a decision is made to be the most intriguing and exciting to study. “What are people thinking?” is constantly running through my mind. When I read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink, years ago I knew I was not the only one who was fascinated by the thinking that happens in the micro-moment before a decision.
“Intuition strikes me as a concept we use to describe emotional reactions, gut feelings–thoughts and impressions that don’t seem entirely rational. But I think that what goes on in that first two seconds is perfectly rational. It’s thinking–its just thinking that moves a little faster and operates a little more mysteriously than the kind of deliberate, conscious decision-making that we usually associate with ‘thinking.’ In Blink I’m trying to understand those two seconds.” -Malcolm Gladwell, Author of the Bestselling book, Blink
Mental Performance Coaching
A few years ago my conference schedule gave me the opportunity to reconnect with Dave Austin. I’d met him briefly years earlier. He is a mental performance coach and former professional tennis player, actor, musician, best-selling author and more.
I was intrigued by his work as a mental performance coach to professional athletes. As we talked Dave described how he coached quarterbacks and baseball players to instantly transform fears, doubts and worries into strength and confidence and how to prepare themselves for the micro-moments before a decision by visualizing these decisions and their outcomes in advance.
Taking The Beast Mode ON Challenge
I joined Dave for his 30-Day Beast Mode ON Challenge where I learned the 12-steps of his “Be A Beast” program that develops the extreme mental focus required for peak performance. In the program he incorporated an animal with each principle, giving it a unique name like RESPA (the crocodile who can calmly adapts to its environment) or LASPRO (the peregrine falcon who can dive down at over 200 miles per hour and hit its prey every time). These names and the images of the animals they represent created an easy recall of the mental trigger I needed to change my state in the moment before I made a decision.
As I continued to develop my awareness of these tools I learned how and when to apply them for maximum impact. As an example, to write this article I had to employ several of the principles. Here are just a few examples.
=> I had to stretch outside my comfort zone (StretLit the giraffe) when I decided to write the article last week. It felt scary because I thought about the negative things people might think or say about this article and me. But, I knew there was a greater purpose and I decided to pay attention to that rather than the imagined opinions of others.
=> This morning, I noticed that I was being distracted by other important tasks even though I had set my intention and blocked the time to work on this article. I reminded myself of InRock, the eagle, who represents integrity. I made a commitment to myself to write this article today. I decided to live from that commitment.
=> While sorting through the ideas and starting the article at least four times, I felt a bit of frustration rising up within me. I could hear the voices in my head telling me each idea was stupid or not really what I wanted. I was thinking about the future opinions of readers, or the past experiences I had. I turned on some music that tunes me into my creativity and I decided to be in the moment, and recalled ETMO the hummingbird.
If this is your introduction to the “Be A Beast” principles and the animal triggers, you may not fully understand them. That’s okay. My point is to share a few examples AND to show you why they work.
Applying Beast Mode ON to Micro-Moments
A careful reading of the examples above may reveal a pattern that takes place in the micro-moment before I made my decision. That micro-moment before the decision is critical to success in everything you and I do. Note that researchers have discovered that a psychological moment is about three seconds long. This is why I call the segments of the moment prior to decision micro-moments.
Micro-moments have three characteristics: They are fast because the happen in anywhere from a fraction of a second to a few seconds; they focus your pre-conscious attention even before you are aware of it; and, they are loaded with feelings that guide your pre-conscious logic and the decision that follows the micro-moment.
When you learn to become aware of your feelings that are emerging in a micro-moment, you have the power to change the trajectory of your life. Look at my examples above. I experienced feelings that were contractive, that caused me to withdraw and pull back from an opportunity to grow. When I became aware of the feelings, I chose to re-evaluate the pre-conscious decisions I made and consciously make new decisions.
=> I chose to write the article instead of leaving the idea pass me by
=> I chose to stop the distractions and live from my commitment
=> I chose to be present to the moment and write instead of imagining the negative opinions of others
This is the beauty and the power of the “Be A Beast” principles and the animal triggers that are incorporated into the program. Once you know them and practice with them, you can pause and re-evaluate your decision in the moment. You can leverage the micro-moment to change your decision and to live, as you truly want to live. You can choose a more expansive trajectory for your life or your business than the one that you previously chose pre-consciously.
What Others Have Discovered
I am not the only one who has seen the power of these experiences. Here are a few quotes from individuals who have seen how the “Be A Beast” principles have impacted their ability to leverage micro-moment experiences.
“In law enforcement it is crucial to stay alert and focused, while maintaining complete control in pressure situations. As with all first responders, we are tasked with making split second decisions that could mean the difference between life and death. The “Be A Beast” program is a great resource that provides important mental tools for our trade.” -James Slayter, Law Enforcement Professional, Honolulu, Hawaii
“Of my 25 years in the SEAL Teams, I have come to understand the qualities and attributes of a warrior mindset. It is a quiet mind capable of adapting to disruption and violence of action. It is the ability to shift into the moment and step into the moment with a clear mindset knowing the appropriate course of action to execute. ‘Be A Beast” principles calm the mind and allow me to be present in these circumstances.‘” -Robert B. Ekoniak, US Navy SEAL, Retired
“Turning Fear into Commitment — I think we can all say that failure can be a fear that all of us have to overcome. Fearing to fail on a call (more even when it is amongst peers) and fearing to fail as a team. I know we can succeed but reflecting back I haven’t fully committed myself. Moving forward, starting now, owning that fear and become committed to that task/job at all costs. Beast Mode LIVE opened my eyes to a better way.” -James Hall, Group Sales Manager, Canton Charge
Extreme Focus Certified Coach
Tony is constantly seeking to understand the nuances of human experience that separate the high performers from everyone else. His discoveries have led him to publish two #1 Bestsellers and to found or co-found five companies ranging from customer experience consulting to small business training to television. He is an international speaker at personal growth seminars, as well as, business, analytical and technology conferences. Tony is an award-winning coach certified by both the Life Mastery Institute and Extreme Focus. He’s built the customer experience programs for some of the world’s most respected companies and has provided highly-acclaimed mental performance training to the Olympians, CEOs, professional athletes, the US Army (including Army Rangers), and Navy SEALs.