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State Management 101

In her “top three business priorities that you must make time for every day, before you do anything else,” Katrina Ruth (formerly Kat Loterzo) includes “your mindset work”. Tony Robbins refers to it as, “Managing Your State”. I use the term “state management” to mean everything you do to get your head in the game, to boost your mood and enhance your mental clarity, so that you can work at your highest level. And I don’t believe we should leave that up to chance—like happiness, entering our peak state is not an occurrence that happens reliably without our participation.

“I don’t ‘hope’ I’m going to be in a good state, I demand it.” -Tony Robbins

I call it “state management” because it is a constant. You can’t just “fix it and forget it”. We all have moods, things happen (negative reviews, complaining emails) that can potentially distract us or make us angry or discouraged, we get tired, we get hungry, we lose sight of our goals, and on and on, every single day.

Alison Armstrong once said, “It’s okay to be high maintenance if you’re high performance.” Most of us creative types have that twisted up. We operate as if “high performance” should mean “no maintenance ever needed”. We stubbornly (or unconsciously) refuse to be our own managers. We seem to think we are that one mythical Olympian who can bring home the gold on an empty stomach. We are the nonexistent Ferrari that can lap its competitors on fumes (or the memory of fumes). We think, “Tony Robbins never gets discouraged by negative reviews!” or “Kat Loterzo never sleeps!” So why should I…?

Just because they don’t show us their down times or exactly what they do every day to keep themselves in their peak state, does not mean our favorite high achievers don’t ever need to manage their states. It’s the opposite, really: they have trained themselves to regularly get what they need when they need it. They are expensive racehorses on a winning streak, and they are also the trainers who know that that winning streak must be maintained at all cost. You do not run a valuable racehorse into the ground; you don’t allow it to starve or to eat any old junk it comes across, to never leave its tiny stall, or to let its muscles atrophy. You treat that gorgeous animal like it’s made of solid gold—and, as a result, it becomes and remains a High Performance Beast. A Winner.

Starting today, from this moment on, you are now Your Own Trainer. You are Mistress (or Master) Of The Win. You are your own Royal State Manager. Figure out exactly what you need every day in order to get into your peak state, stay in your peak state, and quickly get back to it when something threatens to derail you.

In other words, what maintenance do you need in order to consistently perform at your highest? Write it down. Test it. Refine it. And come up with a go-to list that you refer to again and again until it becomes second nature. (And then stick it on your office wall, anyway, just in case. Remember: consistent high performance requires consistent high maintenance.)

A Few Of My Favorite State Management Tools:

Music – Whatever uplifting music you prefer, play it often, starting first thing every day. Think of it like a (triumphant, victorious) soundtrack for your winning life. Change it up for working, exercising, visualizing, and so on.

Exercise – Get moving! Grab your music and go for a walk or a run. Crank up some tunes and take a 5 minute dance break away from your computer.

Get Outside! – Even if it’s just a quick walk around the block—ideally while listening to upbeat music—getting out in nature, moving your body, filling your lungs with fresh air, exposing your eyes to sunlight, and seeing new visual stimuli can immediately generate a huge shift in your mood, energy levels and creativity.

Physical Grounding or “Earthing” – Go outside, take off your shoes and socks, and walk around with your feet in direct contact with the soil, sand, or grass for at least five minutes. This process is known as “earthing”. Research has shown it has many health benefits, including: reducing inflammation and chronic pain, improving blood pressure and blood flow, increasing energy, lowering stress, normalizing biological rhythms, improving sleep, relieving muscle tension and headache, and more.

Eat Something (Healthy) – Hungry? You can’t do your best work when you’re distracted by a growling stomach or your blood sugar is low! Stop working for ten minutes and get yourself something healthy to eat. And prepare for your busy work schedule by stocking up on fast, healthy food. (Two of my favorites are “Bliss Balls”, and a bag of peeled, hard-boiled eggs from Trader Joe’s. I always keep some of both in my fridge.)

Take A Quick Shower – A splash in water followed by some bright smelling lotion (like Lemon Verbena) can be extremely energizing. If I don’t have time for a shower break, I’ll just spritz my face with a bit of refreshing Avène Thermal Spring Water and rub my hands with nice smelling lotion.

Change Clothes – If, like me, you work at home, you’ve probably found yourself still in your pajamas hours after you first sat down at the computer (intending to write one quick blog post or answer only a couple of emails). When you need a state change, get up, put on “real clothes” (ideally something that makes you feel smart and professional), brush your hair (and teeth), wash your face, put on some fancy moisturizer and sparkly lip gloss, and get back to work feeling fresh and fabulous! (Guys, adapt this tip as desired.)

Meditate or Do A Self-Hypnosis Session – If you aren’t an experienced meditator (and even if you are), start compiling a collection of guided meditation and self-hypnosis programs on various topics, such as relaxation, grounding, motivation, feeling happy, getting energized, and so on. Ideally, they will be short (15 minutes or less) and in a voice you enjoy. Whenever you need a quick state change, put on your headset, sit comfortably in your chair, and turn on the appropriate program.

Watch or Listen To Inspiring Programs – Sometimes I pop over to YouTube and watch a short Kat Loterzo video. Other times I put on the audio version of a useful book, such as “Becoming Magic” or “Feel Free To Prosper”. (You can also convert videos to mp3 files so you can just listen to them on any mp3 player. Double points if you get outside and walk while you’re listening to an inspiring recording!) I rarely do housework without having some kind of “up-leveling program” playing in the background. (Multi-tasking!) I have deliberately loaded my iTunes playlists with many inspiring and educational mp3 files and often have the Kindle book version, as well. (If I really want to immerse myself in the material, I’ll read the Kindle book on my pc while listening to the corresponding audio.) Consider it part of your job as a state manager to find, collect, and use educational and inspiring programs pertinent to your interests.

Write In My Gratitude Journal – My primary gratitude journal is a file on my computer. It’s part of my morning routine (“getting into peak state”) to list as many things as I can think of that I am thankful for. Doing this puts me instantly into a state of appreciation (not lack or complaint) and generates happy, motivated feelings. Any time throughout the day that I suddenly feel the need to “get back to happy” and/or to remind myself of how much I really have and how much is working in my life, I open the gratitude file and quickly type in everything I can think of. This takes only a few minutes and causes an immediate mood lift. You can also pick up a small notebook and carry it with you to hand write your gratefuls (and jot down ideas!) whenever you feel the need to do so. (Remember: it’s when you’re feeling the least grateful that you most need to remind yourself just how good you really have it.)

Use The Timer Method – This is a method I frequently use to manage my productivity on work days. You may have already heard of “The Pomodoro Technique”. To use it, set a timer for 25 minutes and work exclusively on the task at hand, no distractions, until the timer rings. Then take a quick break (no more than 5 minutes); ideally get up and move around. Then set the timer for another 25 minutes and repeat the process. After 4 cycles, take a longer break (15 minutes or more). You will be amazed by how quickly the time flies and how much you can accomplish during those 25 minute intervals!

Alignment – No matter what techniques you try, if you’re living The Wrong Life, dragging yourself to a job that’s sucking the soul out of you, forcing yourself to stay in a miserable relationship, or otherwise denying your True Authentic Self, you will never be able to reach (let alone maintain) your peak state. Let’s set up an introductory coaching session and start strategizing your Alignment Breakthrough.

So those are some of my (current) top methods for managing my state. I hope this was helpful, boss babes!

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