How to Use Reverse Engineering as a Performance Tool
Updated: May 14
To become great at anything typically requires a lot of work, quite a bit of pain, and a full commitment of resources, especially your most valuable; time. However, one of the most common issues that delays, challenges, and often defeats folks arriving at greatness is a lack of focus. Since focus is such a broad topic, we will address one method of establishing focus by using the concept of Reverse Engineering.
How many times do we experience the emotion of being overwhelmed with a goal or a serious problem that instantly causes paralysis from anxiety. When hit with such a challenge your body automatically kicks into a fight-or-flight response pulling all biological necessities away from the brain and turns off your ability to conduct rational thought. To stop this "punch to the gut" physiological madness you must disrupt this chaos with a conscious, practiced, and prepared pause. Clear your mind and settle your body to regain control. Then, remind yourself that everything starts with a single step and the answer to move you forward is simply to understand what that step will be and take it.
One way to do this is through Reverse Engineering. The process goes as follows; clearly define the goal or problem to solve and place a specific day or time that you must succeed. Then, construct a timeline. Seriously, stop and write it down. Put the end point as your goal and backtrack one step at a time. What must happen right before you actualize the goal or solve the problem? What has to happen before that step and then the one before that, and the one before that, and so on. Continue this exercise until you get back to where you are right now. Then, review it for accuracy, fill in the blanks as needed, and complete the most important part and that is commit to your first step on your newly devised plan and take it!
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by Tom Freedman, PSP security consultant/risk mitigation specialist