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The Pivot Point

The pivot point. What is it? The point at which the brain responds to stimuli, but diverts from one trained pattern to another more optimal pattern. This is the gold mine of mental skills training. To be able to recognize this juncture at which the individual can choose his or her response. The response no longer chooses or controls the individual. Most athletes and professionals have not slowed down long enough to recognize where this pivot point happens in the brain, in fact most responses are just automatic. Also, most responses are derived from a belief system that is manufactured out of our negative experiences, and traumatic events. Typically, this is a dysfunctional pattern that in the past at some point was adopted just to survive.

But what if we told the brain what to do? Can we use the brain to tell the brain, so to speak? If the brain is set on automatic, then what is it, and who is it that can control these patterns? Well, the core self. The core self can recognize when thought patterns are leading to dysfunctional or less than optimal behavior, because it experiences the outcome of the choices. For example, feeling guilt or shame from a choice, is just one example of impact of that choice on the core self. So back tracking from here at this point, can the core self then select a different option based on its desired outcome and not past experiences? My belief is that YES, this can happen if the brain and the body can begin to pinpoint this pivot point. This is the point at which the self tells the brain, "No, go down a different pathway", as this process reoccurs over and over, these patterns then become reinforced. The previous patterns weakened to the extent they are no longer viable. This is why we must encourage repetition in mental skills training, just as if you were building a physical bodily muscle. One session to teach the skill, but one must not neglect the repetitions and practice outside of the session. Consistent repetition.

Finding this point for the client is key. This is the breakthrough that we as consultants hope for, because it can lead to the greatest success. Clients can then begin to teach themselves to make that switch in the moment. To leave behind what they are used to, to step into new patterns that reinforce the desired belief system, and not the belief system of past dysfunction. As time progresses, this process is re-learned and no longer has to be so intentional. The athlete or professional has re-programmed and functions now at a higher level. Repeat the process, over and over, and reach new heights. That's the power of the pivot point.

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