You Should Find Your X-Spots

February 22, 2014 § 3 Comments

X Spot-Boston MarathonThe 26.2 mile marathon is a physical and mental endurance event. What’s amazing is that near it’s end, as exhausted as runners are, when they have line of sight of the finish line they speed up and sprint to the end!  Dr. Lewis G. Maharam, board chairman of the International Medical Directors Association calls this the “X-Spot.” It is the place “where runners first see the finish line and know they are going to finish.”

The X-spot, is where the brain sees its dear goal so close to being achieved. It then releases adrenalin and other chemicals that serve as accelerants and give the mind and body the energy and ability to achieve (like the stories we read of wives, mothers and daughters lifting cars off trapped loved ones).  The X-spot phenomena is so powerful and predictable, it’s the place Maharam recommends marathon paramedics station themselves to provide 1st aid.  In 2011 alone, Maharam had ten successful resuscitations at the X-spot.

When the brain learns what WAS POSSIBLE has NOW BECOME PROBABLE, it does all it can to make you get there.  It happens at work too.  Just think how you’ve felt when an important project neared it’s end.  Relieved perhaps, but also very motivated to get it done.  Like football running backs who run harder and faster the closer they get to the end zone.

We can use this natural process to help accelerate our abilities to be better leaders.  If it’s true that the closer we perceive success to be, the faster we move towards it,  then we need to find our  X-spots early and often.

For example,  let’s say you believe it’s important that you become more appreciative of those that work for you/with you (if you don’t beleive it, you should!)…then,

  • At the end of a day, make a list of 3 people who did something you liked that day.
  • Leave that short list on your desk.
  • Start the next day with a note of thanks or praise to one of those people.
  • Repeat this for 21 days for it to become a habit of appreciation.

The result:

  • You will be achieving goals that are important to you.
  • This will make you feel happier and stronger.
  • High performers prefer to stick around leaders who feel happy, strong and appreciate them.

X tic tac toe

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§ 3 Responses to You Should Find Your X-Spots

  • Bob Faw says:

    What a great post.

    I love the way the term “X-Spot” captures that accelerant dynamic.

    That activity you offer is a wonderful positive psychology type of personal accelerant. Very cool.

    I just realized that I may use an X-Spot visualization technique. Tell me if you think this is correct or not, Allen.
    When I’m about to get on stage to do a motivational speech I visualize the great conversations I had with people at a highly successful speech I previously gave.
    Doing that seems to change my “inner movie” from one in which I’m nervous about what will happen, to an inner movie in which I feel surety that I’m simply finishing the previous speech that I’d already knocked out of the park. Feeling that I feel so confident that I start off strong, and have a sense of rapport with the audience. This seems to help the audience quickly feel rapport with me as well.

    • That’s great Bob. Positive mindset means everything in situations like that. Really helpful suggestion. One thing I do just before kicking off a session is to change the focus on me to them by reminding myself how much I care about the people in this group and asking myself the question: “What if this was the last time?” Saying those 7 words has become a habit I employ a few times during each day. Helps me focus where I need to focus.

      • Bob Faw says:

        I really like those techniques, Allen. I do the caring piece sometimes, but have never thought of the “last time” question. I can see how that can imbue you with purpose and focus.

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