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    Health, Sport

    “Mindset for Anyone, Everywhere at Anytime”

    How Gazing Performance Systems can offer accessible and practical techniques to harness the ability to perform under pressure
    6 March, 2024

    Exceptional performance has become the norm. Whether it’s through winning in professional sport, achieving success in the business world, or accomplishing personal goals, individuals hold themselves to account, and are held to account, like never before.

    Developing mindset and the ability to harness pressure are proven ways to enhance performance at the highest level in the most stressful situations. Put simply, an individual who can gain control over the way they think and react in pressurised moments significantly increases the likelihood of achieving their expected outcomes in these situations.

    We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Martin Fairn, CEO of Gazing Performance Systems, to get his take on how pressure and mindset impact performance and how the current economic and social climate is affecting this.

    Gazing Performance Systems and the Red2Blue Framework

    Founded in 1998 by Martin, alongside Dr Ceri Evans, Renzie Hanham and John Esposito, Gazing Performance was established to equip individuals to help manage high-pressure situations in a way that increases the possibility of favourable performance and results.

    The organisation drew inspiration from Miyamoto Musashi, a 17th-century Japanese swordsman, philosopher and strategist whose ‘double gaze’ philosophy centred around keeping one eye on the immediate situation and the other on the bigger picture. In Musashi’s realm, the immediate situation often reflected a duelling opponent, while the greater context constituted an entire battlefield.

    Since its inception, Gazing has supported a multitude of professional athletes, some of whom operate in life-or-death situations just as Musashi did, as well as hundreds of businesses varying in size and specialisation.

    Much of Gazing’s coaching is delivered through the simple but effective Red2Blue technique, which helps develop the structure, skills and mindset needed to perform when it matters most. The practice enables an athlete or business leader to recognise and accept the presence of a chaotic, uncontrolled and mistake-heavy environment (the red) and pivot into the relative serenity of the blue, whereby clarity, intensity and accuracy are proactively achieved.

    Mindset for the Moment

    The success of the framework relies on its accessibility and how it can be implemented by anyone.  The simplicity of the one-page map allows for application in those pressurised moments when you need to reset and refocus the mind for performance. It teaches that while the intention is often to be successful, it’s crucial to prepare for all possible outcomes, including ones which are ultimately negative. By using techniques such as ‘zooming out’, individuals can gain a sense of perspective which in turn can decrease the pressure of a difficult situation.

    In the sporting world

    Gazing’s sporting client book is impressive, especially in the world of rugby union, having worked with the RFU, the New Zealand All Blacks and England Women’s record point-scorer and former World Player of the Year, Emily Scarratt.

    The Red2Blue principle was also adopted by Toutai Kefu, who recently led Tonga at the 2023 Rugby World Cup as Head Coach, where he was tasked with preparing his side for a group that consisted of reigning world champions South Africa and the highly ranked Ireland and Scotland.

    Gazing is also making big moves in outdoor adventure, working with Louis Alexander, a professional adventurer and endurance athlete, as well as Adriana Brownlee, who is on course to become the youngest person in history to summit all 14 of the world’s 8,000m peaks. In the environments where these athletes perform, deliberate thinking can be a real challenge but the decisions they make are crucial. The ability to think clearly, feel in control and act effectively can be the difference between life and death.

    Application to business

    However, it’s the business world that Gazing sees as its bread and butter, having operated with business leaders for the past 25 years, representing names such as Xerox, LexisNexis and Sage.

    By focusing on how pressure can be used as an enabler and a catalyst for positive business change, rather than a barrier, Gazing’s principles help business leaders ensure their employees and teams are ready for the most pressurised situations. The framework teaches that coping with pressure is not a problem that needs solving, but a skill that has to be developed to empower individuals to respond to what happens to them.

    While the pressure to perform has always existed, the current economic climate means more and more companies are facing increasingly challenging times and pressurised situations where performance and results are of paramount importance. Coupled with that, we’re living in a time where employee wellbeing is very much at the top of the agenda.

    Businesses have a responsibility, now more than ever, to make sure their people are ok. Recognising that pressure impacts how employees feel, and giving them the tools to be as mentally ready as possible to perform in the manner that’s expected, is a credible and practical way of doing this.

    Another factor at play in the modern world we live in is the magnitude of scrutiny that’s now experienced. Be it from sporting pundits, social media commenters, board members or quality assurance protocols, the scrutiny faced by individuals significantly increases the intensity of an outcome and how pressure is experienced. As such, the ability to think clearly under pressure is vital.

    In the words of Martin, once a business leader recognises that pressure in the workforce has always existed but that the level of pressure has changed in recent years, that leader can take dynamic, proactive actions that will help their business cope and thrive in difficult situations.

    The time to act is now

    Gazing Performance Systems works across a myriad of industries, applying its framework to all kinds of businesses from bakeries to banks. They also work across the education sector implementing Red2Blue in nurseries, primary and secondary schools, and Further Education. This engaging, practical and empowering approach to mindset can be developed from an early age, preparing students for the pressures they may experience during the critical years of their education.

    Gazing also provides one-to-one coaching for many aspiring athletes including an F1 Academy driver, a Young Lioness football star and an England Under 18s female golfer.

    The beauty of their Red2Blue framework lies in its accessibility and practicality. Users aren’t required to understand the complex science behind the learned techniques and it’s possible to get going and achieve results immediately.

    The academic foundation and core of Gazing represent a stamp of quality and credibility, setting them apart from other operators in this growing space.

    If you are interested in finding out more about the role that pressure plays in a business environment and how you can harness it for good at your own organisation, we’d love to put you in touch with Martin and the team.

    Blend Group
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