In a recent post we looked at the downhill skiers of Sochi and what they could teach us. You can learn a lot just from looking at the world’s elite athletes. They take their game extremely seriously and are in top shape both mentally and physically.
So as a leader how you can you ensure you are operating at that same level of peak performance?
The number one thing that you can do for yourself is believe. Do you think a winning athlete stands at the starting line with negative thoughts running through their head about how they are going to lose the race? Not a chance! Spotlight any negative thought and you may find you never leave the starting block. You need to believe that you will win at all costs. You can’t always rely on positive energy to come from others – you need to create it from within.
Often something as simple as a mantra can fuel your fire. Choose one that encapsulates your view on life or the goal that you wish to attain and focus on it as regularly as you need to. Put it somewhere so it can inspire you on a daily basis. Dare to dream big – you can do it!
2. Rest up.
An athlete who keeps on going and going will ultimately burn out and cause long term damage to their overall health. The same thing can happen to executives and leaders. Our job may not be as physically demanding as that of an athlete but we do have to learn to deal with an amazing amount of stress on a regular basis. Too much stress, too much overtime and your “health” will cry out for help – and it won’t be at a convenient time to fit in with your busy schedule.
Resting or recovery is essential to a successful career. Schedule time for yourself. Don’t be afraid to say no or take time off during quiet periods. You will not be an effective leader to anyone if you are laid up in bed because of a serious long term illness. Pay attention to your health before an issue occurs. Wealth is often a priority but what good is wealth without health to enjoy it?
3. Mental clarity.
A clear focus is key to success. You don’t want your mind clouded with negative images. You have to learn to utilise some tricks of the trade in order to stay cool and calm under pressure. One great tool to master is that of visualisation and many athletes swear by it. Think positively and learn to visualise helpful images which you can draw from; visualise yourself as the winner that you are and soon you will be reaching those goals in no time at all.
Another issue which is paramount to your mental state is your ability to relax. You have to be able to switch your brain off from time to time and let go of the issues back at the office to be the strong leader that you know you can be. Your mental health is as equally important as your physical health when it comes to your overall wellbeing.
4. Give yourself permission.
Interview an athlete and they talk like a winner even before they have competed in the competition. You need to do the same. If you’re not succeeding you will usually find that you are the one holding yourself back. Give yourself permission to succeed and win. Don’t make apologies for wanting to be successful.
5. The uphill journey.
The road is not always smooth and, like any athlete, you may not win all the races you set out to win. Setbacks will sometimes occur but how wonderful that is. What a great opportunity you have to improve and learn from your mistakes, or adapt to the changing situation around you. Without constant learning and improvement you cannot grow. We all don’t start out as experts in our field; we get there through hard work and sheer determination. You – you really are that strong.
So what did you learn? Hard work. Determination. Positivity. Relaxation. Focus. These are all winning techniques which athletes use to achieve and maintain their peak performance. They are all techniques which a successful and high-achieving leader must possess, too.
See you at the finish line!