Our Mindful Peak Core

Mindful Performance Enhancement Awareness and Knowledge (mPEAK)

Overview

In this 8-week virtual or 2+ day intensive workshop create the conditions for optimum performance, flow and well-being in your career and in your life!

This program is suitable for leaders, executives, athletes, law enforcement and first responders, performing artists, or anyone who pushes themselves toward excellence.

It was developed in conjunction with the US National BMX cycling Team in 2014 as a collaboration between the team’s coaches, UC San Diego neuroscientists Drs. Lori Haase, Martin Paulus, and the UCSD Center for Mindfulness leaders Executive Director Dr. Steven Hickman and Managing Director Allan Goldstein. It was designed to support high-level athletes in becoming more resilient to high demands and pressure in competitive sports and ultimately optimize sports performance (see Haase et al., 2015). A mindfulness-based intervention that today is applied to many areas of performance.

The foundation of this program is drawn from the empirically supported Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. It includes specific practices, exercises and themes built on the latest brain research on peak performance, resilience, focus, and “flow.”

mPEAK Performance Enhancement

Tap into your brain’s ability to cultivate peak performance, focus, resilience and flow

Upcoming Courses

February 1 – March 22, 2023, Weekly Live Online
Instructor: Derek Covington

This cutting-edge 3-day intensive or 8-week training program is built around the latest brain research on peak performance, resilience, focus, and “flow.” The next 8-week Live-Online course will take place on Wednesdays from February 1st to March 22nd, 2023 at 6:00pm–8:30pm EST. The half-day hike or retreat will be scheduled: TBD.

Cost: $520CA + tax

First Water is committed to providing equitable access to our programs. If the cost of the program is prohibitive for you, please contact us for other payment options / group or discount pricing.

What to expect when signing-up:
When you click register you’ll be asked to make your full payment for the course. If afterwards, you decide this is not for you or you can’t make it – even after the first class but before the second – our policy allows for a full refund.

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Some of the themes covered during mPEAK include:

  • Mindfulness and resilience
  • Interoceptive awareness and self-regulation
  • Working with pain and difficulty
  • Performance stories and performance anxiety
  • Understanding the stress reaction cycle
  • Priming for flow
  • Inner-criticism and perfectionism
  • Self-compassion
  • Cultivating the good
  • Optimal use of strengths
  • Motivation
Download mPEAK Journey Map

Program Deeper Dive

Format:

This program is an intensive course in mindfulness training for those who seek to draw upon this evidence-based practice to achieve goals and discover, expand or redefine what is possible in life, both personally and professionally.

As with physical training, this mental-emotional training is based on the understanding that optimal outcomes occur when participants engage in the practices and use these skills regularly.

The program is highly experiential and involves a progression of skills from week-to-week that you will be able to incorporate into your daily life and areas of performance. We blend coaching, meditation practice, topic presentations, group discussion and experiential-based “insight” practices.

In the online 8-week format, we meet regularly for 2.5hours each week, plus there is a separate silent mindful group hike that is scheduled on a Saturday during the course. As much as possible, the group hike is done in person.

In the intensive in-person format, the course is typically conducted over a weekend, starting early Friday afternoon and ending early on Sunday; with the silent mindful hike scheduled on the Saturday morning. Follow-up online sessions over six weeks are offered to participants, supporting their ongoing practice through inquiry, discussion and mindfulness practice.

Program Resources Included:

  • Live-online or in-person course instruction with a certified mindfulness teacher (10 hours contact time)
  • Weekly “homework” to integrate into the curriculum of your life and areas of performance
  • Audio meditation recordings customized to support weekly intentions
  • Participant Workbook and Journal (pdf) that support weekly exercises
  • Individualized modifications and ongoing personalized support throughout the course
  • Course material and powerpoint slides

Program Outline

The four key pillars of mPEAK are interoception (sensitivity to body experience); intentional versus default mode of thinking and acting; orientation toward pain and difficulty (versus avoidance); and rejection of perfectionism (acceptance or tolerance of what is).

Week 1: Mindful and Performance – Mindfulness is introduced both experientially and conceptually with the intention to expand your perspective on how these practices can be integrated into areas of performance. Mindfulness is more than just brain building or attention training; it’s an attitude and a way of being that can be practiced in every moment, before, during and after your “performance”.

Week 2: Performance Anxiety – The physical stress reaction caused by performance anxiety can be crippling even for seasoned performers. The downward spiral starts with sweat soaking through the shirt. The fear of letting others see you sweat, triggers the heart to pound. The mind goes blank and your words come out slurred. It can easily get worse from here, or you can move through it mindfully. In this session, we’ll be focusing on practicing mindfulness to self-regulate the “interoceptive” experience of performance anxiety as well as the brain changes that correspond to mindfulness and stress resilience.

Week 3: Performance Story Shifting – Stress is initially felt as a physical sensation in the body but is quickly narrated by the mind, which interprets the challenging experience based on a collection of questionable assumptions. The brain is wired to make meaning of everything that happens and the meaning it makes will impact your performance and well-being. In this section, we’ll explore the way your mind’s “stories” effect your resilience. Mindfulness and positive psychology practices will be suggested to help you notice and either shift or drop the stories.

Week 4: Priming for Flow – Flow is the highly sought-after state of optimal performance that has a high likelihood of producing extremely effective results while being equally intrinsically rewarding. In this section, you’ll gain a better understanding of the nature of thoughts and mind wandering and how mindfulness can anchor your attention more firmly into the present moment. We’ll then connect the dots between how your focused attention and the embodiment of the foundational attitudes of mPEAK can increase your likelihood of “getting in the zone”.

Week 5: Working with Pain and Difficulty – Difficulty is part of life, but especially so for those who take big risks and live at their edges. How you manage these difficult moments will have a significant impact not only on how well you perform but also your longevity as a performer. In this section, you’ll be introduced to a more mindful way of accepting and responding to these inevitable moments of difficulty. Although a good portion of this section is devoted to physical pain, the application of mindfulness is the same whether working with physical, mental or emotional difficulty. Rather than habitually repressing, distracting or struggling against the difficulty, mindfulness is the radical practice of allowing pain or “stepping into the fire”. With a wide-open, curious attention, you’ll learn to change your relationship to pain so that you can see it for what it really is and make a wise choice on how to best work with it.

Week 6: Thriving with Compassion – Inner Coaching for Motivation – Striving for perfection is an applauded quality within high performance cultures. In this section we’ll explore your relationship with perfectionism and its connections with the inclination towards Inner Criticism. Practices will be introduced to clarify the voice of your “Inner Critical Coach” and its antidote, your “Inner Compassionate Coach” –the aspect of your Self that nurtures shame, learns from mistakes and encourages you from a place of kindness.

Week 7: Practicing Positivity and Spotting Strengths – mPEAK lays a foundation for performance enhancement in the establishment of mindful awareness, which is allowing or accepting things as they are. When combined with the insights and practices from positive psychology, the conditions are created for making intentional shifts towards more positive mental and emotional states. This section will explore the intersections of mindfulness, character strengths and gratitude.

Week 8: Goals, values and intentions – Embracing the Journey – This section will explore the cost and benefits of setting goals, how to approach your performance goals mindfully and how to even use goals to stabilize and inspire your mindfulness practice.

Silent Mindful Hike – This hike may very well be unlike any other hike you’ve ever taken. The intention of this hike is not to burn calories or get in shape. It’s not a social event. It’s not to conquer the mountain, check another peak off the list or be the first to the top. This hike is more like mindfully walking a non-circular labyrinth that has elevation gain. The ancient practice of walking the labyrinth is a metaphor for a sacred journey and its path represents the path we walk in life.

We don’t view mindful performance as a single event or a future outcome, we hold it as a present moment experience of the performer at their authentic best: in flow, at choice, and navigating with grace and grit. – mPEAK

Want to visualize this journey for yourself?

Grab our free mPEAK journey map that outlines how you can enhance your capacity for mindfulness related to peak performance, resilience and flow. Download for free at right.