The pros and cons of being an elite performer

High Performance Psychologist Michael Gervais, PhD explains the pitfalls of pursuing elite performance
The Pros and Cons of Being an Elite Performer
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The pros and cons of being an elite performer

There can be a dark side to pursuing mastery to being able to express potential on the world class stage. It doesn’t mean that there is one but there can be one. And where it stems from is to get good at something, get really good, it takes a really incredible commitment. And sometimes that commitment can be so unifocus and so driven towards one thing that we lose track of the relationships that matter. We lose track of balance, we lose track of even sometimes who we are at our center because there’s a need for the outcome to take place. And that dark side as some have expressed to me is lonely. It’s loneliness towards the journey being the best of the world and often times I think that if parents can really understand what it takes to be one of the best in the world they wouldn’t be pushing right, they’ll actually be tempering the process with encouragement and validation that no matter what happens we love you. No matter what it is, you matter. And this dark side is so painful for people because it’s such an isolating experience that this is why see athletes that readily turn to distractions, drugs, salacious activities that are stimulating them to take them away from the pain of being alone or out of balance or out of touch. This dark side is real and it’s something to be parented and mindful of why we’re parenting across this journey of mastery. One of the first times I really understood the dark side for an elite performance; an athlete came to me, he was a world champion and he was really articulate with every time that his hand was raised and about to put around his waist, he’s a combat sport athlete. And his hand went up, it was a moment of celebration, I did it. And it was immediately followed by; I have to keep doing it. He lost the love of it, he was trapped by being the best in the world and the second thought that happened, ah, I still have to keep doing this was about his father. And his father had pushed him so strongly to be the world champion that if he were to stop now, he not only be losing his livelihood but he be letting down the person, the man who meant most to him. And so there’s a really strong challenge for him in everything that he did because he’s now the best in the world. But he no longer enjoyed being who he was.

High Performance Psychologist Michael Gervais, PhD explains the pitfalls of pursuing elite performance


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Michael Gervais, PhD

High Performance Psychologist

Dr. Michael Gervais, a licensed psychologist and industry visionary, is a founding partner of Pinnacle Performance Center. He focuses most of his time on people at the "top of their game," from NBA players, to Olympians, to military personnel. Dr. Gervais has a clear understanding of how performers become and consistently excel at a world-class level. Spending years in the trenches of high-stakes circumstances, Dr. Gervais has developed clarity for the tools that allow people to "thrive under pressure."

Dr. Gervais is a published, peer-reviewed author and a nationally recognized speaker on issues related to high performance for those who excel on the largest stages in the world.

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