What Rock Climbing Can Teach You About Work Performance

Over the years, rock climbing has taught numerous lessons that can be applied elsewhere in life: How to push your limits, overcome fear and go well beyond your comfort zone; how to persevere and push through even the toughest obstacle (crux); how to lead a group and manage risk; how having a strategy is always beneficial and to not be afraid

Just like in climbing, anxiety and stress can pump you out and force you to fade out in the boardroom or during your presentation.

Don’t let go

Have a plan

Know when to rest

Don’t’ be Afraid

Learn This: The Over-Gripping Myth

Improve endurance by learning the science of stress

As you move ever higher above your last piece and further outside your comfort zone, you grip the rock for dear life, even though you know the route is well within your ability. Yet here you are, only halfway up and too pumped to continue—everything feels way harder than it should. Most climbers have experienced this unfortunate situation: When you get scared, you hold on too tight and waste precious energy. The perceived solution: Focus on relaxing your hands to stop over-gripping the rock, thus lasting longer. While this does seem to make logical sense, over-gripping is actually not a significant factor in this perceived fatigue. Studies in applied physiology, neuroscience, and sports medicine point to stress itself as the culprit for accelerated fatigue. Anxiety can trigger the release of a certain hormone that can make you feel more pumped and tired than you actually are. Here we’ve provided some tips and tricks to conquer your fears and prevent the dreaded pump.

Physiology of Anxiety

When we attribute poor performance to over-gripping, the situation is usually the same: We’re uncomfortable and experiencing a stress response. When we get stressed, whether out of fear, competition, anxiety, or any other worry-inducing factor, we experience a few common physiological changes. Our heart rate increases along with breathing. We switch energy systems from the slow-burning aerobic system, which runs primarily off stored fat, to the faster anaerobic system, which runs primarily off carbohydrates. Our core body temperature starts to rise, and we start to sweat more (another con in climbing). All these changes are mediated through one primary hormone: epinephrine (also called adrenaline), which is necessary when intensity suddenly increases, like powering through a crux.

If the only type of stress we experienced was the stress of exertion on the wall, and the only time we experienced it was during strenuous moves, then epinephrine would only ever be positive. The problem is that fear and anxiety cause stress before we even leave the ground, and therefore cause changes that are less positive/adaptive and more damaging to our performance. A study published in the Journal of Exercise Physiology in 2000 corroborates this: Novice climbers had significantly higher heart rates not only during a climb, but before it even began. The most likely reason for this is anxiety. An increase in mental stress causes an increase in epinephrine release, which then increases heart rate. The novice climbers began the climb with a body already in stress mode—the same physiological state more advanced climbers might only experience during a crux. This means that instead of moving smoothly through the easy sections and reserving stamina for the tough ones, precious energy gets wasted due to an unnecessary increase in epinephrine, caused solely by anxiety.

Read the entire article here:

http://www.climbing.com/skill/learn-this-the-over-gripping-myth/

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Photo credit: Black Diamond Catalog (2012)

Best Article I’ve Read This Week: How to Believe in Yourself by Jim Cathcart

This week’s “article” comes from the master of motivation, the prince of public speaking and the sales and marketing guru himself, Jim Cathcart.

Jim is known as one of the best public speakers, strategic planners and coaches of his and my generation.  I had the pleasure of watching his TedTalk below and then the honor of virtually interacting with him.  Jim is a passionate communicator and a gentleman who can truly connect with his audience, no matter what their demographic.  A prodigy of the late Earl Nightingale, Jim helps us lay a foundation in Human Development with this insightful TedTalk.

Best Article I’ve Read This Week: 5 Easy Ways to Become a Better Public Speaker — Fast

by:

Carol Roth
Contributor
Entrepreneur and author

Speaking at events is a great way to enhance your status as an expert and generate PR for your business. However, becoming a great speaker is an art, not a science. The good news is that with some tips and some practice, you can leave a lasting impression that you will want people to remember.

Here are some easy ways that you can become a better speaker.

1. Memorize concepts, not content.

You may think that the best way to give a flawless speech is to memorize the content word-for-word.  But trying that can create a lot of problems for speakers. Memorization not only lends itself to sounding over-rehearsed (aka not natural), but also, if your mind goes blank at any point during the presentation, you will lose your place and potentially create an awkward silence. Or worse, start to panic.

Instead of memorizing the content, focus on the concepts. Do this by creating bullet points of the content, stories, data and key takeaways that you want to get across in each part of your presentation. Then, speak naturally about them. If you remember all of those key points,….

Read the full article here:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236611?newsletter=true

Seminar Hall

When Communicating, Watch Your Body Language, It Tells More Than You Think

If you think that you can judge by examining someone’s facial expressions if he has just hit the jackpot in the lottery or lost everything in the stock market — think again. Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at New York University and Princeton University have discovered that, it just doesn’t work that way.

Rather, they found that body language provides a better cue in trying to judge whether an observed subject has undergone strong positive or negative experiences.

In a study published this week in the journal Science, the researchers present data showing…

http://www.huji.ac.il/cgi-bin/dovrut/dovrut_search_eng.pl?mesge135584551205872560

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This is extremely interesting data, since it flies directly in the face of everything we have been previously taught.  Nevertheless, if you want to be an effective and persuasive communicator, you need to pay attention to all facets of your presentation; and this means your body as well.

So, remember, when giving presentations, be sure you know the message you’re conveying non-verbally as well.  A great way to address this is practice in front of a mirror, a friend or videotape.  I find video taping to be the best medium and achieve the most accurate results, because as they say in show business, the tape never lies….

-David W. Mykel

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