Paddy Upton

Unpacking The A-Game Suitcase

unpacking the A-Game series

In my previous blog I discussed an aha moment when I realised that those athletes and commentators who regularly use the term ‘A-game’ don’t actually know what they are talking about! And neither did I.

A two-month interrogation eventually revealed a simple six-part framework or map to guide people to towards unlocking their A-game, which I have been delivering online to groups in multiple sessions totaling five to eight hours. I promised to share framework, so here it is.

First, here are some of the key principles

  • Each of the six concepts are fundamental to your A-game, meaning that if even one is neglected, you will metaphorically have a leak in the ship you’re sailing through life.
  • Each concept is a container into which you need to pour your unique contents – they are the bones upon which you need to put your own meat.
  • These are not the ONLY elements of an A-game, but are the non-negotiable ones that apply to pretty much everyone. Go ahead and add any others that are relevant for your game.
  • I recommend building them in the order in which they are numbered (and presented below). The reason is complicated, but it works best this way.
  • By far the most common (and heart-warming) feedback I’ve had from participants is that this framework is simple, intuitive, practical and common-sense, that it’s a well-organised reminder of what we already know.
  • The value is not in understanding this simple framework, it is acting upon it! Many will just read this, nod to themselves and mutter, “I know this”. The question is not whether you know it or not, but how well are you actually doing when it comes to living these aspects of your A-game, for the long-game of life. Unless you’re nailing each one at a 10/10, there is guaranteed value here for you.

Laying the foundation of your A-game

  1. Play to your strengths, at least 5% more smartly than you have ever done before. Most of your success has and will be built upon your strengths, simple.
  2. Live your values, even more intentionally, specifically those of yours that are more other-oriented than self-serving.
  3. Move closer to your purpose, bringing your life even more into flow with the world around you.

Advancing your A-game

  1. (Long-term view). Design the ideal character legacy you’d ideally one day want to leave behind, and live into that legacy today. Your character is who you are – it is not your results – and it takes shape through your words, decisions and actions.
  2. (Short-term broad view). Assess your currently levels of satisfaction in each of the most important facets of your life such as work, family, friends, health, finance, etc. If you want an improved experience in any area, adjust your inputs in time, effort and/or habits accordingly.

Executing your A-game

  1. Like an athlete who does all their preparation and brings their A-game to a big event, excellent performance requires the right mental state, specifically that they have an undistracted focus on the task at hand.

The first step towards having the right mental state is to identify your unique distractions, those metaphorical weeds you need to remove from your brain. The most commonly occurring distractions include;

  1. Carrying unnecessary baggage from the past
  2. Incessant worrying about future events
  3. Resisting or negatively judging the present moment reality

I hope this summary of the A-game framework resonates and provides some value around these key areas of your life (over which you have control) and helps foster a healthy attitude towards those challenges that are outside of our control.

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