You can find Ken Karpoff on Twitter @KenKarpoff
Ever find yourself chasing a big win or striving for peak performance…only to be burned out and let down by the process? Join me as I talk with Ken Karpoff, mental performance coach to Olympians, elite athletes, and business hotshots about how the narratives and language surrounding the concept of ‘high performance can actually lead us to poorer performance and even burnout.
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Please be aware that this interview does contain some adult language.
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Ken’s Website: http://kenkarpoff.com
Head Games (Ken’s Book): http://www.kenkarpoff.com/books
Lauren Sergy: Hello. My name is Lauren Sergy and this is Talk Shop, the place where you can learn from industry experts how to become a stronger communicator in work and in life. If you’ve ever found the narrative around high performance, the way that we talk about success, about winning, about focus, about driving towards our goals, a bit on the intimidating side or maybe even a bit on the unrealistic side, today will be an eye opening conversation for you. Today, we are being joined by Ken Karpoff to talk about how our narratives, the way that we discuss concepts like high performance, could actually be negatively impacting our abilities to reach our goals.
Ken Karpoff is a high performance coach to some of the best athletes in the world. He’s worked with hundreds of elite performers to improve their mental edge in sport, including national champions, world champions, and Olympic gold medalists. A competitor himself in biathlon at the 1988 Olympics, Ken understands the intense mental pressures faced by elite competitors and he’s used this knowledge to create a unique framework to help businesses, organizations, and entrepreneurs develop their own mental game for high performance. Ken is the author of Head Games: Lessons Learned on the Road to the Olympics.
Ken, welcome to Talk Shop. I’m very pleased that you’re here with us today, because why don’t you describe a little bit of what you’re going through right now. And just for a point of reference everyone, we are recording this during the Pyeongchang Olympics. So Ken, what’s going on with you right now?
Ken Karpoff: Well, two hours from now, it’s my last competition with the crew and when the next four runs are done, I’m done. That’s it for me. No more. Done. [foreign lanugage 00:02:03]. Okay?
Lauren Sergy: So it’s kind of that light at the end of the stressful, stressful tunnel right now.
Ken Karpoff: Oh, baby.
Lauren Sergy: Oh, baby.
Ken Karpoff: Bring it on.
Lauren Sergy: Well, Ken, you are a performance coach for the best of the best in athletics. Olympians, world champions, elite, world class competitors. Now you also work, though, with world class business performers, teams, and organizations. So what would you say is the number one similarity between high performance at the Olympics and high performance in the boardroom?
Ken Karpoff: That’s a tough one, because you know, the boardroom is a very specific environment and I look at business performance … It’s structured differently. So to me, it’s not a direct comparison. When I go work with businesses at board meetings, it’s highly different and it’s very individualistic to where a company is, where a board is at a particular time. So to me, it’s … There’s a very structured way that you go through a sporting event over … especially Olympics is a four year cycle. So year one has a particular play, year two, year three, pre-Olympic year is a particular plan and year four is very particular and it’s all predictable. With boards and companies, it depends where they are in their business cycle. So I can’t really say.
And some companies are stretching, they’re trying to find new markets and they’re dealing with competitive situations, and we talk a little bit about the nature of the German situation. And I was in a meeting, a board meeting, a set up board meeting, for one company, a tech company. And they were having issues with their sales force dealing with German’s tactics. It depends what you’re doing, because everything’s individual and it’s time specific, so.
Lauren Sergy: Right, and that’s so interesting to hear, because in our, in popular business language and entrepreneurship language, there’s always these constant comparisons with athletes. You know, prepare like an athlete. Think like an athlete. Compete like an athlete. It’s not the same thing, and you know it from both sides.
Ken Karpoff: You know, that’s what I would call a reductum ad excretum. That reduces the [crosstalk 00:04:39] to shit, okay? You cannot do that to be accurate. And what a lot of proponents are saying here, they’re trying to come up with something that’s a chewy little bon mots of bullshit that means nothing, okay? Because every time you’re doing a coaching situation, you walk into it, I prepare in the sense that I’m preparing for anything. [crosstalk 00:05:06] I have to come in open, because I walk into a coaching situation with a company, or with an arts group, or with an athletic team or an athlete, and I never know what I’m going to hit.
Now, I’ll give you an example. I walked into breakfast on the day that the bobsled team, the day before they left, so it was a Friday before Saturday travel. And Shane Smith, one of the super athletes in this country, just a genius, comes up to me and goes, “Ken, where have you been?” And I’m going, “Okay, what did that mean?” Okay? And what did that mean and what is he telling me? Because he was animated and Shane Smith is the smoothest, coolest, most urbane athlete I’ve met in a long time. Super intelligent, but just smooth, and [crosstalk 00:06:00] animated. And he was basically saying, “We could have used you around more this winter. Okay? And you weren’t there.”
Lauren Sergy: Right.
Ken Karpoff: I don’t travel with the team, so … What can I tell you? But it told me a lot, just because it told me a lot about the state of the team leaving to go to Korea, okay? So that little incident informed me how I would work through the day with the guys that I was working with, and the stresses they were going to, and it’s specific to that day. If we move it down the road five days, it’s different.
Lauren Sergy: Right.
Ken Karpoff: And to say it’s the same on Friday as it would have been like Wednesday when they got to Korea, no, it’s not. Different things have … and same thing with a business situation. You’re dealing with a board meeting and then you’re moving down the road to another meeting five days hence. I can’t tell you, I can’t put it into a boiler plate.
Lauren Sergy: Yeah.
Ken Karpoff: [crosstalk 00:06:59] what it is with coaching is, you can do a rational reductive approach to coaching, either a business or an athlete, and it doesn’t work. I work from an intuitive basis. And so, can I block it in to say something that’s like a business school blueprint for an MBA program, and I can’t do that. Everything changes and the dynamics of a situation is huge in working with a business or working with athletes and it changes in an instant.
Lauren Sergy: It can change, it can change those dynamics so, so, so fast and an area where I think some of, some of where we’re missing the nuance is this notion of context. You know, we can’t, we need to disassociate the language that we use to speak about performance from these, like you said these bon mots, these broad global contexts where it sounds really good, but in the end means absolutely nothing, and take into consideration the words that we should be using to refer to this specific moment, with this group of people, at this point in time. It’s different.
Ken Karpoff: What we’re dealing with, in terms of the language set, is we’re trying to reduce language to a thing. So we’re talking about a dynamic situation that changes and we use a word that sets it up, as not a process or an activity or it changes over time, as a thing. And it tends to be then result focused. So you take a word and it takes you to the end of the process, but it doesn’t take you through the process. And it doesn’t give you any structure to get there. And ultimately when you do that, it skews the meaning to the point that is opposite of what you need to do, which is a convoluted way of saying that when you take and reduce something to a word and [inaudible 00:09:07], as we do in especially business speak, it takes us to the wrong place and a wrong conclusion. And so it traps people and then they try and do it and they’re frustrated. “Okay, I’m trying to do x, y, z, and I can’t do it, and what’s wrong with me?” It’s wrong with the construction.
And the previous conversations, we’ve talked about a few things that, a few hang ups in terms of language, and we talked about like one of your pet peeves is balance. Okay?
Lauren Sergy: You just like … right into the heart, you hear. And that’s something that really seems to be thrown at women entrepreneurs and women business people. “You need to achieve balance.”
Ken Karpoff: Okay, well let’s think about balance. Okay? From Ken’s perspective, it’s-
Lauren Sergy: Help me, Ken.
Ken Karpoff: Okay. So you’re wearing flats, right? You’re wearing flats?
Lauren Sergy: Yep.
Ken Karpoff: Stand up and you balance on one leg, okay? So you take your heel and you put it on your toe. So your heals up in the air and you’re balancing on one leg. Perfect balance, right?
Lauren Sergy: Yeah.
Ken Karpoff: Hold it for an hour. For an hour. What do you learn from that hour in balance? One, first thing, it’s exhausting, right?
Lauren Sergy: Yes.
Ken Karpoff: You’re going to fall down.
Lauren Sergy: It hurts like hell.
Ken Karpoff: It hurst like hell and two, you’re bored blind. Okay? The other thing is, okay, somebody rings the door bell, your child calls, you can’t move. You’re in perfect balance. You cannot physically move. You can’t go A to B. Right? So balance, as a notion, is bogus. Okay, walking is a series of sequentially imbalanced positions. You take a step and when you take a step, you’re falling forward. You catch yourself with your other foot, you’re trailing foot. That foot then, you go up and you fall and you catch yourself with the other foot. It’s a series of imbalanced movements, but if you are perfectly in balance, you cannot physically move.
So the notion of balance, as a notion, is bogus, because you’re not looking to be balanced. You’re looking to either control the degree that you are imbalanced and the second thing that you’d be looking for is energetic control, because when you’re really working as a female entrepreneur, whereas a male entrepreneur, you’re dealing with energy going out, and you’re getting tired and you need to rebuild your energy. So you have to have energetic control or you have issues. That’s entirely different discussion.
Now what balance does, it takes you away from the discussion you need to have is, how do you control the degree of imbalance without ever getting into a balance position, which is static and how do you control your energy so that you can keep moving? That’s a different discussion. It’s a totally different world view. Okay? And in our present, overarching, high performance narrative, we don’t talk a lot about energetic control. We talk about things like, oh gee, balance, right? Magic fairy dust. And it’s just, it’s nonsense, because you don’t want balance.
So balance then becomes what I call mental malware, and it does two big things. It’s first of all, it’s false, so it stops your discussion, right? Oh, achieve balance. Great.
Lauren Sergy: Check mark.
Ken Karpoff: Check mark. Done. Right? Then it’s misdirection malware because since it’s wrong, it takes you away from what you really need to do. And in this case, you need to work with controlling the level of imbalance strategically and tactically and then you need to be able to control your energy. Okay? Because if you’re a female entrepreneur, usually you have kids, or little ones, kid, husband and then you’ve got all this other stuff going around, so you’re getting bounced. You need a lot of energetic control. Which as we know, it is not in our high performance narrative. We don’t discuss this. How do you do energetic control? It’s through your … If you don’t do it, you’re too exhausted and if you’re looking, you’d balance … As an entrepreneur, you’re going crazy because it’s something when you think about it, okay, first of all, it’s not achievable. And it’s also, you don’t want it.
Lauren Sergy: No. No, and that’s very true. The times where I’ve created things that I’m most proud of or have been most productive has been in periods when I’m completely out of balance with other areas of my life, because I’m hyper focused on one thing, just one thing.
Ken Karpoff: Yes. Yes. One of my mentors built an oil company from scratch, and he’s a golf fanatic, just golf fanatic. And I asked him once … it wasn’t a question of balance, I just said, “How many years, when you were building your company, were you not able to play golf?” He goes, “13.” Okay, that’s what we talk about entrepreneurial balance. Thirteen years, golf fanatic, never touched a club-
Lauren Sergy: Yep.
Ken Karpoff: … to build his company. The idea that you can do balance and build a company is, that’s daft. And trying to then achieve balance as a female entrepreneur, trying to build a company, you’ll go crazy. You’ll just go mental. And that’s … it’s just part of the bumpkin-ism that we’ve put into the dialogue, and the language we put in that just kills us.
Lauren Sergy: It really, it really is and that language is pernicious. You know that was one of the reasons why I was so keen to get you on this show and talk about our narratives surrounding high performance. I’d love to touch more on the mental malware topic that you’ve got. It’s a good one. Let’s talk a little bit about winning. We lionize it. We lionize winning and success and there’s, this person is a winner and this person is a winner, but for a totally different reason. You know, it almost like … We want to have the big success story, but we also try to be democratic in terms of who gets identified as winners. What is happening to the winners themselves, or to the people who maybe were just runners up, or who almost one but didn’t quite make it? What is this narrative doing to us mentally?
Ken Karpoff: Okay, I’d like to come at it just from a little bit different tack. Okay? Will you-
Lauren Sergy: Oh, please.
Ken Karpoff: The winner and loser thing is a dichotomy. It’s either win, lose. The economy, down, up, down, back, forth. Okay? So it’s just you have a point and a point and it’s between the line. But the problem with the narrative is we’ve set it up with a win or a loss, so you’re either a winner, or you’re a loser, which is [crosstalk 00:16:27]. Not good, okay?
To me there’s five points of inflection on the scale, right? For me there’s a big win, when you win huge, there’s a win, then there’s a not win, then there’s losing and then there’s cracking on the spectrum. If you win big, usually you’re setting yourself up to lose.
Lauren Sergy: Okay.
Ken Karpoff: Typically because you’re in the winning position, it causes you to become really stupid. You win big and then you think you’re great, and then you go down. Now, we did that in 2013 with the bobsled team. We won 5 of 8 world cups, won the most points ever in a two-man overall title, and then the driver came to me in 2015, after a disastrous 2014, and said, “We won in 2013 to set up to lose in 2014.” Yes, we did. Okay? Win big usually put you next time into the lose position.
Winning is a much easier position to work with going forward, because you can work it so you can kind of stay up at a high performance level, typically. Usually, you don’t go dumb and then crash.
Lauren Sergy: So you need that, kind of that second level, to keep driving towards another target to hit?
Ken Karpoff: Well, sometimes you know you have a winning, you go in winning, and you hold it. You try to hold that position. And then you have the not winning position, which is where you get the most growth from.
Lauren Sergy: Okay.
Ken Karpoff: When your team is in the not win position, like we were last year at the world championships, where we came in second overall, was the perfect position for the Canadian bobsled team because they needed to go up to this level, okay? The German team came across at this level, because [crosstalk 00:18:19]. And they came together in the two man race and guess what? Dead heat. Tie. Both teams won gold medal. But they were, one came from the win position last year, one came from the not win position. They met at the same place at the top of the Olympic podium. Depends where you’re at, where you’re moving to, but saying it, “You’re a winner or a loser,” or saying … Last year, we had a troll go after Jesse Lumsden saying, “Well, you didn’t win a silver medal. You lost a gold medal.” I’m just going … I mean, the level of stupid, that [crosstalk 00:18:55], is incredibly, powerfully stupid.
But there’s five points. And the other thing is we don’t look at, in a losing position, you have a hit to the head, and then it takes a lot of work to come back from that. So anyways, then the worse position is of course if you have an athlete who cracks. So when we … after 2014, because we went like this, boom, and the teams crashed. Team one broke. Team two broke down. Team three broke down sequentially. And the task in 2014 for me as a coach was to have a team in a position where you’re not going to win anything, because the team’s done. You don’t want them to slide into the crack position because then they’re damaged. They’re finished.
So when you talk about winning and losing, it’s too trite because you have these five points of inflection on winning and losing. It’s not a dichotomy at all, and our dialogue says you’re a winner, or you’re a loser. The problem with the dialogue is that the most powerful position in go forward terms is the not win position. That’s where you learn the most, where you grow the most. So if you’re a parent with children, it’s when they’ve had a bump in the road, and they’ve gotten, they haven’t passed, or they’ve been kicked off a team, or they didn’t make it. Now, Michael Jordan, by the way, was cut from his high school basketball team. Okay? It caused him to go. Right?
Lauren Sergy: Little bit higher. Little bit higher. Reach way higher.
Ken Karpoff: A little bit higher. Just a little.
Lauren Sergy: Way higher.
Ken Karpoff: So the power position, from a teaching perspective, a growth perspective, is when you’ve not made it, when you’re not there, but it’s a nuance again. It’s where are you, what do you need to do, where do you need to go? And there’s often times when you’re better not to win to set up to win down the road.
Lauren Sergy: Right. And you know, Ken, I can see a direct correlation there between a lot of the dialogue that goes on. A lot of the conversation that you see in many of the online entrepreneurial groups, like you get on Facebook or wherever, these online entrepreneurial groups, where you see the vaulted six figure launch. You’re going to launch this product or this service, and you’re going to get six figures out of it. And then when people don’t achieve that, they assume there’s something wrong with them or wrong with their business, or many people get really discouraged. They give up all together. And the nuance that’s missing there is, “Okay. So maybe you didn’t hit the 100,000 or maybe someone did hit that $100,000, but what were their costs? What was the time sync? What was everything else that went into it? What is behind that number?” And I would think that a better goal to reach would be a more modest number. So I didn’t hit the 100k. That’s fine, because I kept my costs low, my margin was really high, and I did this without sacrificing every other iota in my life.
Ken Karpoff: There was another factor that came out I just saw a piece today on. That in terms of launch, in terms of launch mixed with social media is that it was, in 2016, it was easier to hit a home run than in 2017. So we have to realize, as we move down temporally, through time, these ideas that you can launch and do 100k, it’s getting more and more difficult and if you’re … What we’re going to get into very quickly is that we’re not going to get an instant launch for a product. You’re going to have to fight very long term to build brand and name over a 10 year period. Not just one, it’s going to take you [inaudible 00:22:52] to build product, or it’s going to take you like two, three years.
Now, people were able to come out of the gate 10 years ago and start a product, and it would rock. The window, okay, it’s getting longer to get to the same point, just because of the nature of the business environment. And it’s changing within every month, so that you’re setting yourself up for a head break, saying, “I’m using 2016 numbers in 2018, and I’m going to achieve a 2016 goal in a 2018 scenario.” That’s nuts.
Lauren Sergy: Like you said, at the beginning of this interview, the circumstances are totally different. You can’t have the same approach.
Ken Karpoff: You cannot. And the other thing about it is, each individual pursuit or performance, when each athlete goes to the Olympics, they get hit by a different set of circumstances, Circumstances also don’t usually come in one. Okay? They come in sets. I call them waves, sets of waves like you surf. So as an entrepreneur, or in any performance scenario, you have to surf the waves that hit you, these waves of circumstance. If you fail to do that, you’re crushed on the rocks. And one of that biggest things that people think, “Okay, if I do x, y, z, I’ll be successful.” The answer to that is, “Good luck.” Okay? Circumstances are going to bounce you around and usually you get hammered hard, where you think you’re dead just before you’re good, you come through.
And the number of companies that I’ve seen over the last decade or two decades, that have come … One company, I was talk to the executive this week. They came within a one week window of a billion dollar IPO. They were out one week. One week. It personally cost them $100,000,000. Okay? An entrepreneur, okay? Once you [inaudible 00:24:56] out on a window, you’re dead. Okay? End of story. It has to line up, the stars, circumstances have to line up really, almost perfectly, to hit the big home run.
So, and we’ll go back to winning. If you drop from, “Okay, I was going to be a big winner. I’m going to have $100,000,000. Now I’m out,” and you’re going from a not win position to lose position, and there, if you think about it too hard, you go into a crack position, and your brain shatters, and you’re finished. That’s one way, right?
And so we’re seeing a lot of entrepreneurial casualties, because the headsets not there and the expectation’s there. The metrics are crap, and “Oh, you’re going to be a winner, you’re going to be a winner, you’re going to be a winner.” No, not true. If you look at restaurants, typically, one starred chefs, or Michelin starred people have had three failures, or they’ve been in the woods for like 5 to 10 years before they got traction. Okay? It’s the idea, okay, with entrepreneurs, “We’re going to be big right now”? I think that window has closed or is [crosstalk 00:26:10] closed. And if you’re not prepared to play a long game now, you’re kidding yourself. It’s …
Lauren Sergy: Let’s talk for a moment about the term high performance as well, because that’s one that seems to be tossed around very casually.
Ken Karpoff: It’s super casual, and it’s dangerous.
Lauren Sergy: So what is true high performance and why is it dangerous to use that term casually?
Ken Karpoff: Well, because if you’re going to have high performance, you’re have to be highly imbalanced to get there, and you burn so much energy that you’re extremely fragile. We don’t do anything to set people up so that they can ride this through. Winner or loser? Oh, you lost your Michelin star. You’re a loser. Well, you can still cook, can’t you?
Lauren Sergy: Yeah.
Ken Karpoff: But that doesn’t play in the head. It plays in the head that I’m a loser, and I’m done. And it’s insanity, but we set up the heads so that heads are fragile, and by using high performance, like, “We’re going to do peak performance.” And I think about, when you’ve really done something and created something huge, you’ve gone to a very imbalanced position, you’ve dumped a ton of energy into it, and you finish it and you’re tired.
Lauren Sergy: Yes.
Ken Karpoff: Okay? You’re tired. And your family’s cranky too. Okay? Let’s not forget that part, okay? People… because you’re glued on to doing the thing. So you’ve got family issues, you’re physically exhausted, you’ve got no energy, and you have to recover. Now, you cannot do peak imbalance forever. You have to ratchet that back. So you have a series of performance pops, but they have to be met with energy recovery and head space. Your head has to come down. So [crosstalk 00:28:06] people saying, “Bang, bang, bang. Stay there. Stay there. Peak, peak, peak all the time.” That’s completely nuts, and we’re having casualties, a lot of casualties. And the idea that you’re going to be in peak performance, it’s one of the big toxic nonsenses in our narrative, the high performance narrative. We’re going to have high performance all the time.
The other part of this is that you have to consider the nature of performance. Do you want to have a peak, unbalanced place where you wipe yourself out or do you want to be working in the middle zones of performance where it’s a steady state, and you can roll it over a 30 year career?
Lauren Sergy: You can surf the waves.
Ken Karpoff: Yeah, and you have to have … You know, you’re going to have ups and downs in terms of energy and in terms of how much stress you have, but you’re working in the center part where it’s a 30 year, no problem. You can do it that way. Performance is like you go boom and then if you keep going boom, you’re dead.
Lauren Sergy: Yeah.
Ken Karpoff: You’re done. The idea that you’re going to be at high level or peak performance, no you have to come back down. And thing two is, if you’ve seen any of my blogs about preparation, is you have preparation to a big event. You’ve come up, up, up, up, up, up like this and then you have to stop, rest and put what I call a [inaudible 00:29:27] in there. You have an energy build before the performance. Most people don’t do that. They think you can prep, and you can grind right to the big … And there’s nothing in the tank, then you can’t do the performance because your energy tank is drained.
Lauren Sergy: Right.
Ken Karpoff: And so there’s this whole series of things that are critical for high performance if you’re going to do it at the top level. Like with the guys at the Olympics, the crew going in I think were overdone. They were overcooked, and their nervous systems are fragile. So I’m not expecting a medal out of the group tonight. I think they were cooked, and they were pushed past where they needed to rest, and so they’re low in the energy tank. So I’m looking at like sixth place. Now I could be wrong. They could still sneak one out, but it’s very difficult to get the big performance unless you have a full energy tank.
And the other thing to about this is an Olympic cycle, you’ve got one, two … years one, two, and three and then the Olympic year four. Year three you push hard, training the hardest. In year four, your shift goes from technical and physical preparation to an energy build. If you don’t have energy in the tank, it doesn’t matter how fit you are, you can’t drive a performance. You need gas in the tank to drive the car. The car could be a super car. No gas, no go. Right? You could be a super entrepreneur. You got no energy gas, you’re done. I don’t care who you are.
Lauren Sergy: So do you have … Ken, do you have any recommendations in terms of changing our narrative? And this is pulling back to the business world, the entrepreneurial world. Any recommendations for changing the way we talk about performance that we can get out of this habit of lionizing impossibly high performance, of using high performance as one of our favorite terms to indicate success or this thing we want to achieve and want to embody? What other narratives could we use?
Ken Karpoff: Well, first of all, we have to get a little sophisticated in our narrative. And sophisticated means we have to get out of saying things like success is a thing. Okay? Or winning is winning, and it’s losing, it’s a dichotomy. You’re a success, or you’re not a success. Well, that’s not true, because winning is not two points. It’s at least five points. And it depends where you’re at on the scale of those positions after an event. Am I in a big win or am I in a win, not win, lose, or crack position? Because that determines your go forward. It’s not like I’m a winner, and I stay a winner. It’s winners usually become losers immediately after they’ve won. And then they’ve got to work back into the win. You’re not always at the win position, and the notion that you’re a winner, or you’re a loser, and then you add a moral connotation to that, is nuts.
Lauren Sergy: Yes, it is.
Ken Karpoff: Okay? So you’re a high performer or a lazy bum. Moral connotation. If I work hard, I’m moral. If I don’t work hard, I’m immoral. I’m a winner, I’m moral. If I’m a loser, I’m definitely a schmuck and immoral. Crazy, idiotic, simplistic, bumpkin-ism. And our high performance narrative is just one toxic swamp of bogus bon mots and nostrums that are just completely nuts.
What’s happening is when I’m working with performers, meaning entrepreneurs, they’re completely frustrated by the narrative that they’re dealing with. It’s keeps coming at them and coming at them. And I’m finding more and more and more, when I’m working with people, it’s simple. Can we take the mental malware out and we shift over to here and calm down. And then from that point, we start to build a structure in the head, in a headset structure, to get us to a mindset that’s functional, that allows you to roll with, “I’m in a win position. I’m in a not win position. I’m in this position.” So you can come back and you can play along. Because we do have that thing called a life, and it’s not just like we won this year, right? And I know, it’s boring. I’m not a winner this year, but I might be next year. Right?
Lauren Sergy: You know, and that’s a great lesson to take forward, actually just realize that it’s not always this constant, it’s not always this constant state of winning, and performing, and doing everything right, and being 100% focused or 100% balanced. It’s these things will ebb and flow. And once we can start getting that into our narrative and discussing those as a real part of our life, like you said, it’ll help us calm down and then surf that wave, surf the up and down, and be able to roll with it. And with that … Sorry, go ahead, Ken? One more point?
Ken Karpoff: Just to wrap up-
Lauren Sergy: Yeah.
Ken Karpoff: … where we’re at. Thing is, if you come at it from a dichotomy, winner or loser, you put yourself in a position where you have not nuance or sophistication how you go forward. If you’re in a not win situation, you have to realize you’re in a really powerful position, if you use it to move to this level. And if you’re in a big win situation, you have to be scared to death, because almost always you go down to lose position. So you think, “I’m a great winner. I’ve won bigger than anybody.” In a coaching scenario, that makes me the most nervous of any [inaudible 00:35:29]. Okay? You’re the biggest winner. You’re the biggest winner of all time. And that usually, in my experience, 100% of the time leads to off a cliff and down.
Lauren Sergy: Right.
Ken Karpoff: The thing is, the idea that winning is a good thing, okay, it can be a good thing, but winning can be a dangerous thing.
Lauren Sergy: Yes.
Ken Karpoff: [inaudible 00:35:50] looking going forward and that’s never considered, never considered. “Oh, you won. It’s obviously good.” But it’s, from my perspective, obviously dangerous.
Lauren Sergy: Yep. It’s such an interesting area in which you work, Ken. Now if people want to see more of what it is you’re doing, first up, check out Head Games. This is a really interesting book. I’ve been through it a couple times and there’s so many parallels into multiple areas of life that you can apply Ken’s knowledge and the lessons that he has drawn from years of working with the elites, with the top performers in the world, and some of the very heavy lessons that can be learned of that. Now, peoples, you need to get this book. Ken, where can they get this book? Where can they find more of you, so that you can come in and help them out in their organizations?
Ken Karpoff: For the book, amazon.com, amazon.ca.
Lauren Sergy: Perfect. It’s up there.
Ken Karpoff: And go to my website, kenkarpoff.com, and get into the resource section. So I’m building out a series of blogs and vlogs that cover off a lot of these topics, but what I do with coaching is, we start with the basics of the book, so set up the head, and to look at the parameters of performance, what is not included in the dialogue, in our narrative. And our narrative is missing some huge components that we need to put in place to be confident with higher levels of performance. Plus as you know, in the book, there’s a lot of circumstances that, warn people, be careful what you wish for. There’s a downside to high performance and that book … Okay, I’ve been through this for years and boy have I seen a lot of casualties from people who’ve won. And winning is [inaudible 00:37:50] a safe place, guys. Really. Be careful. Be careful there.
Lauren Sergy: Yeah, and that’s a great note to end on for, especially for the people who watch this program. I know that for many people who love watching this, who like listening to information like this, usually what we’re doing is trying to boost our performance. So be mindful, everyone. Be mindful of what you’re reaching for. Manage that energy and be very aware of the different circumstances that they’re in.
So of course, I will provide links to Ken’s book as well as his website in the Show Notes down below. Now, if you have found this episode useful, if it’s given you some food for thought for managing your own energy and your own performance, please give it a thumbs up. Subscribe to this channel, and then head on over to laurensergy.com and make sure you sign up for the newsletter. You’ll get these interviews, more information from me, from people like Ken, lots of great resources that I only share with my email subscribers. Thank you so much for being part of Talk Shop today, Ken. I always look forward to our conversations and to our interactions. And to everyone who’s watching and listening, thanks for hanging out with us today. I look forward to seeing you again on the next Talk Shop. Bye-bye.