How do you give yourself the space necessary to create?
Paul Jarvis

Before Every Lift

I don’t talk much, in general. When I’m in the gym, I’m extra quiet, especially once I begin lifting. I’ll throw out words of encouragements to my teammates, say FUCK a few times, grunt and scream when the lifts are heavy, but I’m not there to converse. I just nod my head or give a fist bump when my coach yells out his cues or my teammates say good job. It’s nothing personal.

You see, when I think of the word space, it begins with the one in my mind. It doesn’t really matter to me what’s going on in my physical space as long as my mind is clear and focused. To be honest, my work spaces are never clean. I could spend hours trying to tidy things up, but that’s just procrastination. This is not to say that I don’t know how to clean up after myself.

Anyways, enough about the mess I make…

The way I create this space in my mind to be calm and focused is through a routine. Free throw shooters, field goal kickers, baseball pitchers, bowlers, archers and golfers all have a pre-shot routine. They know that as soon as this process begins, it’s time to get “in the zone”. Psychologists call this state of mind “Flow.” You’re so deeply immersed in what you’re doing that time and everything else becomes irrelevant.

Whether I’m stepping up to an empty barbell or one that’s loaded with twice my body weight, I approach them exactly the same:

I’ll take a deep breath and adjust my posture. Walking about 3 steps to the barbell until my feet are properly set, my right hand grips the bar, then my left. I whisper to myself two words, “PATIENCE & EXPLODE,” as I tighten up on the bar with my hands. Finally, I pull my body down and build tension in my legs. There’s no going back after that. I’m set and ready to go.

In training, at a local meet, or on the national platform, being consistent with this process allows me to achieve peak performance.

It’s the same process when I’m designing. My pencil and paper are all laid out. I take a deep breath picking up the pencil with my left hand, holding down the paper with my right, and the sketching begins. Stroke after stroke, Paper after paper, until I produce something that makes me remotely satisfied.

Some results are more expected than others. That may be the biggest difference between when I prepare to lift and sketch out ideas, but it all begins with the space in my mind.

Do you have a routine that gets you going?

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