The Link Between Physiology and Performance

The Link Between Your Physiology and Your Performance

Written by Dr Alan Watkins

Physiological and emotional coherence in turn facilitates cognitive coherence and gives us consistent access to more of our cognitive ability whilst also preventing brain shutdown.

You’ll probably have experienced brain shutdown or seen it in others when you are in a meeting and someone gets upset or overly anxious and either freezes like a rabbit caught in headlights or starts babbling nonsense. It’s caused by chaotic physiology and lack of emotional variability. Brain shutdown can easily be prevented through the cumulative advantages of coherence – starting with physiology. But preventing brain shutdown is just part of the answer when it comes to improving intellectual horsepower. Real cognitive breakthroughs and superior cognitive processing are only really possible once we expand our awareness and develop our level of maturity as adult human beings. When we do both we have full access to the right amount and pattern of cognitive variability. We can think more deeply and we can apply the right type of thinking to adapt to complex and challenging problems in real time. As a result, we become more creative, more innovative and better able to bring our A-game to the table every day not just intermittently. In short cognitive coherence makes us smarter.

This collective internal coherence then facilitates a vast leap forward in performance which begins to manifest in the external world through behavioural coherence. When we add a greater understanding of the types of behaviours that develop elevated performance and we understand the mechanics of performance we have access to the right amount and type of behavioural variability. As a result, we do more of the right things, at the right time and have a wider range of behaviour open to us in our tactical arsenal so success becomes more consistent and replicable.

When we learn to recognise and actively manage our emotions and improve our emotional
literacy we have access to the right amount and pattern of emotional variability. By learning to harness emotions so that we use them constructively and appropriately instead of suppressing them or ignoring them we develop greater emotional flexibility, intellectual capacity and maturity and this emotional coherence also positively impacts our energy reserves. The cumulative effect of physiological and emotional coherence will positively impact our health and happiness. Ensure conscious thoughts synchronise with the body to produce coherent behaviour. Too often in life, we end up doing what we’ve always done or we end up doing something that is not what we thought we would do. In those moments our thinking and behaviour are not congruent. And often the discrepancy is down to a lack of energy, emotional upset or poor thinking.

Take people leadership as an example; when we master leadership we take another huge leap forward in productivity and performance because we understand what creates powerful working relationships and high-functioning teams. Coherent leaders appreciate that it’s not smart to treat everyone the same because people are people and the leader can adapt their interaction and approach because they have access to the right amount and type of relationship variability. When we understand what makes people tick and appreciate their motives we have far greater interpersonal flexibility which in turn allows us to negotiate more effectively, make collectively coherent decisions and develop powerful teams and strong relationships. When we implement genuine governance up and down the business then the people in the business finally come together to deliver on a shared purpose.

Coherent individuals demonstrate high integrity; they are individuals of their word who embody vast flexibility in their behaviour and inter-personal approach which is not only critical to future-proof a business but is inspirational and people become much more influential as a result.

Coherence is the active ingredient to being enlightened. Amazing things are possible when we achieve coherence in ourselves, our teams, our businesses, our industry and society as a whole.