This is an excerpted chapter from the Clinical EFT Handbook; vol 2, Energy Psychology Press, 2013. We’d like to thank the publishers for permission to reproduce this here. Find out more about the Clinical EFT Handbook here: Volume 1 / Volume 2
New to EFT / Tapping? Find out more here
Note: As this chapter is quite long (7210 words) we have split it into two parts. Part One (3,560 words) is below, and Part Two (3,641 words) can be found here.
Author: Steve Wells
Abstract: This chapter provides
guidelines on how Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and meridian tapping generally can be used to cultivate peak performance in business, whether in building your own business or assisting others to achieve peak performance. It begins by outlining some basic principles of peak performance and how tapping can be used to facilitate this. Some personal tapping protocols are provided, along with basic guidelines for using tapping within a personal peak performance program and for coaching others. The author outlines a seven-step teaching process he has researched, refined, and modified over 15 years to help entrepreneurs and people in business achieve peak performance and explains how tapping is used within this process to help people overcome their emotional barriers and internal resistance. Also included are important details on the author’s “Connecting with Success” process, which involves the use of intention combined with tapping to create an energetic connection with important business or personal goals. Protocols and advice for using tapping to cultivate peak performance within the corporate sector are also provided along with specific examples from the author’s experience.
Keywords: peak performance, success, tapping, EFT, coaching, business, corporations
Peak performance does not happen by accident. It is usually the result of a powerful vision and a workable plan put into action over time. However, there are some definite strategies and mental/emotional patterns that can accelerate your success and leverage and enhance your performance. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and Simple Energy Techniques (SET) are two of the newest and most exciting tools to be applied in the area of peak performance, and I have had significant success in applying them to boost performance, both in sport and business.
This chapter focuses on how you can use EFT and meridian stimulation generally (“tapping”) to promote peak performance in business, whether that is building your own business or assisting others to achieve peak performance. It includes important steps I have developed over time in using tapping when coaching people in business—to help them, and the business as a whole, achieve peak performance. We’ll look at the basic principles of peak performance, the key elements of a peak performance program, and how you can utilize tapping within that program to facilitate this goal. Of all the elements in such a huge subject, the most important are addressed in this chapter, as an overview.
Basic Principles of Peak Performance
Peak performance begins with a commitment to an important vision or goal.
The impetus for peak performance is a typically a definite, committed decision to achieve something great. You can’t achieve a vision if you don’t have one! Decide what success is to you and commit to being successful.
Arguably the biggest thing that a business needs to succeed is a compelling vision. This is an image of the business in the future being a peak performing business. What would that look like, what would that feel like to work in, and to work for? What would it be like? What are the important values, goals, and strategies?
There will be blocks and barriers to realizing that image. First there will be an attachment to current reality—all the reasons why you can’t change, and why change will be difficult. Essentially, all change begins as a personal issue, whether we are talking about you as a business owner, CEO, or employee in a business. You can apply tapping to these “objections” in context.
Tapping, in short, can be used to help people:
- Gain clarity
- Create their vision
- Release emotional barriers to achieving it
- Connect emotionally with that vision, and
- Go for it!
Action is the difference that makes a difference.
The decision to become a peak performer, or to create a peak performing business, must be backed by action. When peak performers in all fields are analyzed, it is the difference in their actions, not their intelligence, sex, race, or another factor, that makes the most difference in explaining their results. Getting into action can be challenging, and a crucial use of tapping protocols is that of overcoming fears and other emotional barriers to taking action.
Commitment and persistence is king.
Research from Swedish psychologist K. Anders Ericcson and colleagues (Ericcson, Krampe, & Tesch-Römer, 1993) indicates that 10,000 hours of practice is associated with becoming a world-class expert in a wide range of areas. In summarizing this research in his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell (2008) states: “The thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works” (p. 39).
The key distinction for tapping is that “hard work” need not be associated with “hard feelings.” In order to persist to the degree required to achieve peak performance, the end result must be associated with an individual’s highest values. Tapping can be used to help people to get clear on exactly what their key values are, since values are (at their core) emotional drivers of behavior.
Peak performers work harder at improving.
Blind persistence and hard work won’t by themselves bring success; results, feedback, and adjustments based on learning from feedback on results are crucial. Peak performers’ commitment to ongoing improvement leads them to constantly strive to go beyond where they were before. In business, the return on any investment of energy, time, and resources is crucial. This requires feedback about the results of the actions, using measures of success that are important, and sources of feedback that are helpful.
Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz (2003) in their book The Power of Full Engagement state: “We grow at all levels by expending energy beyond our normal limits, and then recovering…. Expanding capacity requires a willingness to endure short-term discomfort in the service of long-term reward” (p. 44). “We must systematically expose ourselves to stress beyond our normal limits, followed by adequate recovery” (p. 47).
Tapping can help with the discomfort of moving outside our comfort zone, to reduce or ameliorate the negative effects of pushing beyond our normal limits (going from the known to the unknown induces apprehension), and also increase our resilient capacity to recover.
Business Peak Performance
Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, coined the term “Mastermind Principle” to describe the leverage power of a number of committed individuals coming together to focus on achieving a definite objective. His definition of his term is “coordination of knowledge and effort in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose” (1960, pp. 168–169).
The added dimension in business is that of people and their complexities: businesses achieve peak performance by engaging people in collective action toward an agreed goal or vision. There is leverage potential when people come together to achieve a result. Challenges come when there is lack of clarity or agreement about the vision and resistance to achieving it. Much energy in business is wasted on resistance. These are all issues with emotional roots that can be helped by tapping.
Resistance may be internal. Parts of us are pulling in different directions. We might fear having the success or doing what we think it will take to get to success. Success might conflict with our identity belief (Cialdini, 2008). People within the business may be pulling in different directions. Resistance can also be external; there may be people who object to or oppose our personal or business growth (including competitors) and provide obstruction or barriers we need to go through, over, or around.
These resistances are experienced as emotional issues or values conflicts. Dealing with and desensitizing them requires a technique that can provide an emotional shift—such as the tapping techniques. Clarity of values and alignment of values may in fact be the most important factors for peak performance in business. Tapping enhances this process enormously.
Finally, goal setters do better in all areas of business and life. If managers regularly set goals and encourage staff to do the same, the company develops a success identity. With feedback comes encouragement and personal development. The underlying catalyst for this process is managing emotional difficulties. This is the province of tapping for many reasons; it is portable, effective, efficient, and quick. Thus it is ideal as self-help in the daily life of the people in the business.
Personal Tapping Protocols
The most practical way to utilize the effects of tapping when dealing with complex, multilevel issues is to tap on any available points during the process of exploring and inquiring about the problems. Use at least three points, or your favorite group of points; order and sequence of tapping is not important—just tapping is. At once you have the relaxation of meridian stimulation, and the possibility of addressing difficult issues without overreacting. More important, Dr. David Lake (see chapter 37) and I have found that when a complex issue or belief is identified, the processing of the associated negative and excessive emotion continues after the tapping session, sometimes for many days.
A habit of regular daily tapping, from a few minutes daily to up to one hour can also lead to more of the “generalizing effect” of EFT. This type of tapping involves simply tapping on the points without any requirement to focus on a problem or issue. We also recommend tapping for “first aid” while the problem is present.
This simplification of using EFT (called Simple Energy Techniques, or SET) means that you are using only the tapping part of EFT, without worrying about the words. You are free to roam around the issue while it is being desensitized at the same time since tapping “works” only with the negative. (Many practitioners use tapping to install the positive after clearing the negative, but I do not believe that anything is installed, merely that the blocks to that belief are released.) Note that you can also add tapping to your preferred coaching or therapeutic strategies to enhance the results.
Tapping can help you overcome doubt and transcend negative perceptions and false connections caused by “current reality” and past failure experiences. Using tapping to help you through that doubt may be the greatest use you find for these techniques.
In general you are actually tapping on the manifestations of:
There is always a part of you that objects to a goal, often because there is an immediate conflict with a preferred value. It might also be true that you don’t—and can’t—feel successful at present. You might have objections to getting started, to getting into business in general, to becoming the sort of person you think is associated with success. You might not like setting goals or anything about that. You might feel inadequate, unable, incapable or just plain undeserving. Or you might have a negative emotional association with the process of becoming successful.
In the next section are specific techniques you can use with tapping to overcome these negativities. It is often more personally productive to work with a coach, and it is unlikely that you will uncover all your unconscious blocks in a single tapping session, either by yourself or with a coach. Typically, a good coach is also a peak performer and is action oriented. Ideally, the work is with both the levels of energetic issues and the task/action ones. This is a holistic approach.
I define real success as inner satisfaction and achievement of your values through real action and results in the world.
The Steps to Becoming a Peak Performer
Over the past 15 years I have researched, refined, and modified a teaching process that is designed to help entrepreneurs and people in business achieve peak performance. It has seven steps:
Step 1. Decide to Be a Peak Performer
Step 2. Break Through the Barriers
Step 3. Clarify Your Values
Step 4. Set Inspiring Goals
Step 5. Build Commitment
Step 6. Engage in Organized Planning
Step 7. Take Action and Persist
Tapping can assist at each step since there is inbuilt resistance and negativity throughout. In this chapter, given the confines of length, I concentrate on steps 1–3. They are the most important.
Step 1. Decide to be a peak performer: Decide what success is to you and decide to make it happen.
All the true peak performers I have met decided to be there. Even though many used different approaches to get there, they all at some point decided that was what they were going to do. Peak performance begins with the decision to do or create something. In business, this means creating a vision of success, deciding to create a peak performing business, deciding what that will look like and deciding to make it real.
In their book Built to Last, Collins and Porras (2002) looked at success habits of visionary companies and found that they are committed to core values and enduring purpose. Though their operating practices and business strategies may change over time, their core values don’t. In looking at even very large businesses, the importance of an inspiring original vision to enduring success becomes clear.
At the point of creating a vision, at that very moment you set out to create it, you will experience resistance. This takes the form of doubts, fears, and worrying objections. Tapping can be very helpful in dealing with these negative emotions. Because a belief is an emotional attachment to an idea, it is natural that your negative beliefs will rise up when you set yourself a big goal.
Step 2. Break Through the Barriers
This step is about breaking through mental-emotional barriers to peak performance. Many of the blocks and barriers to success are unconscious on the part of the business owner, CEO, and others in the business. They are typically based on negative emotional associations to the achievement of the goal itself or to the process of getting there.
One of the best ways to identify the unconscious blocking beliefs is to identify goals for change. At that time the blocks will come to the surface in the form of objections, resistance, and emotional distress, which is stirred into action. This then becomes potent material for tapping.
The minute you set a goal to change something, there will be resistance. At the personal level, the goal will trigger all your unconscious blocking beliefs and objections. Then you also have to deal with the triggered reactions of others, who will try to influence you—usually triggered by their own fears.
At the business level, when you decide to change something, there may be resistance triggered by the fact that people fear the change—usually a result of a conflict of basic values, often, for example, involving security. Most of these barriers are related to fears such as fear of failure, fear of success, fear of self-promotion, and so on.
Question: What are the things in your job that cause you the greatest challenges, and what is the biggest problem they cause you?
The reality is that the greatest problem those problem people, events, or things cause you is, ultimately, how they make you feel. Emotions are typically what underlie all internal resistance and the resistance of people within businesses to take action. People are strongly influenced by how they feel and whether they perceive that certain actions, certain goals, certain directions, and certain changes will lead them to feel good or feel bad. Obviously, if they feel bad or expect that they will feel bad as a result of change, there is conflict at once.
This is where tapping comes into its own: helping the processing of negative emotion triggered by negative beliefs.
Tapping on goals and objections to goals. Here are four strategies that are very productive for individuals.
(i) Treating negative beliefs
Ask: What prevents you from having that (vision, goal, success) right now?
This brings up the person’s blocking beliefs and issues immediately. Then apply tapping and monitor the path of his or her reactions.
Example: One business owner who was initially embarrassed mentioned that he had a goal of building $40 million in personal wealth through his business. I asked him to imagine having that money. He was not able to visualize it clearly and felt “blocked off” from it. I then had him do a few minutes of tapping on his objections and then tap while holding the intention to connect with the feeling. He excitedly exclaimed that he could really feel and believe that he could have this, and went away excited to put his plans into action.
(ii) Detaching from the effects of the emotional “push-pull”
Individuals are often conflicted—part of them is pulling emotionally one way and part of them is pulling another way.
The best approach is:
- Identify the pros and cons of each course of action.
- Tap while focusing on the aspects of each in turn.
This can lead to greater clarity about the direction forward, or trigger the creative search for additional win-win alternatives. Presumably, the mechanism involves a reduction in the felt intensity from the internal struggle of beliefs.
(iii) Taking action
The major difference between people who are successful and those who are unsuccessful is the actions they take. Those who are successful are able to get themselves to take action, despite any fear and negative associations. This is where tapping can help, by working directly on the fear or the “disliking” of the action.
Use tapping to:
- Treat your “objections” and ambivalence to taking action
- Treat your desire for inaction or alternate action
- Treat yourself for feeling bad when you are not taking action, or for procrastinating
- Treat yourself for your fear of taking the wrong action (perfectionism).
(iv) Getting into an expansive, free-flowing mental-emotional state
I believe we need to be expansive in the initial stages of thinking about goals, thinking without limits. I am most interested in getting to the big goals that people have been harboring inside but holding back on. I want them to get into that free-flowing state where they can explore new realms and generate new possibilities. When most of us try to do this, our current reality interferes. We tend to see the future only through the present, and even if we do see advancement, we tend to do so in an additive fashion rather than seeing our true potential for exponential growth. So the perfect time to tap is during the early stages of goal setting. This allows us to access more free-flowing and expansive states by settling down our conscious judging mind and its associated negative emotional states.
Tapping in a group or larger business.
Two things are required for peak performance: (1) collective action; and (2) alignment with a common goal, vision, or purpose. All peak performance could be said to depend on aligning with important goals. In larger business, that alignment includes many people. In a business involving just one person, the issue of internal alignment is crucial. This also applies to the key leaders in any business—business owner and CEO being the most important.
Tapping can be used strategically with individuals to deal with emotional blocks to “seeing” success; this facilitates goal setting of the best kind. Some people are reluctant to take the actions essential for success, for example, making sales calls, doing presentations to get business, inspiring employees and others to act, and confronting problem behavior and poor performance.
Helping an organization to rebalance is a similar process. There is often a push-pull going on between those who want to go in one direction and those who want to go in another direction, between those who are championing corporate changes and those who are resisting them.
Tapping can help align the two camps if they are willing to participate. It is inherently relaxing and reduces the tension of emotional confrontation. At the simplest level, tapping can be used to deal with fear, which is the number one factor holding most people back from achieving their goals and performing at their peak.
Step 3. Clarify Your Values
Values are particular types of beliefs that are crucial to all goal achievement. At their core, they are our beliefs about what is most important to feel and experience. As such, they represent our strongest emotional drivers, and are crucial to all of our decisions. If you are unclear about your goals and your values, you need to access these and find a way to:
- Clarify what each really is
- Connect with each
- Align with your highest values
The fascinating process of how to clarify your values is beyond the scope of an overview. In essence, it starts with finding your most important values and then humbly putting them through the process of reality testing. For example, you may feel that connection is your number-one value, but if you actually spend most of your time on the road, year after year, then that value cannot be at the top in the real world. Likewise, if you fancy yourself as a risk-taker and entrepreneur but cannot ever act because you fear losing money, then security might just be your number-one value (or near the top of the list)!
Using tapping while ordering such a list is essential to avoid the paralysis of logical impossibilities. All values are important, but some are more important than others. Finding one’s true high values is defining for one’s identity. This is a core part of my work with individuals and businesses.
Coming in Part 2:
The Process of “Connecting with Success”
Tapping Protocols for the Corporate Sector
Practical Coaching Examples:
About the Author:
Steve Wells is a psychologist, international peak performance consultant, leadership coach, and co-creator of Simple Energy Techniques (SET). He regularly consults worldwide with business achievers and conducts unique personal and business success programs.