In a way, every employee should consider themselves like high-level athletes. Indeed, there are a lot of similarities between them. Like the Olympics, there are a lot of competition in the workplace. So, what we can learn from top athletes?
As the Olympic emblem has 5 rings, we will evoke 5 tips inspired by athletes in order to achieve our best performance and, most importantly, gain satisfaction!
Scientific research has proved that attention is like a muscle. It requires two main ingredients to work well: good exercises and proper breathing. To improve your “attention muscle”, you can consciously decide to train to keep the focus on a goal or activity. For example, when working on a large work project or reading the book that you wanted to start three months ago. But do it without doing anything else at the same time. Breathe deeply to oxygenate your brain. Yeah it works!
Like athletes, we should focus only on three things:
• Our talents: what are we naturally good at?
• Our own strengths: the amount of talents, knowledge and skills we possess.
• Our values: what matters the most for us?
In fact, focus on tasks, projects or competition are not relevant. Athletes focus on their talents and strengths, not on their weaknesses, which increases their chances of success and have fun at the same time. In others words, positivism and values are key to success. For the athlete, winning a gold medal is a great reward but that’s not what matters most. It’s all about the training, focus, self-discipline, but also the pleasure and the pride that the athlete has before and during the competition.
That’s not an easy thing to identify your talents, strengths, and values. Indeed, we know way better our weaknesses. But once you’ve done that, it will become your pedestal to rely on for achieving your best performance.
#2 Surround yourself with the best people
Every athlete wouldn’t be here without their entourage. Have you ever noticed how much athletes are surrounded by professionals? Trainers, coaches, psychologists, doctors, physios, osteopaths, chiropractors, nutritionists and other health experts, etc. We can also found that in the business world but in a different way: management coaches or consultants, relaxation experts… we all like to have the best people in our team.
So, do the same for you. Choose among your co-workers or outside your company the right people for you. A little tip for you: imagine that you are doing an inventory of your entourage. Who would be on your list of top 10 pros around you? Well, now you know what to do.
What distinguish athletes is their ability to fuelling their passion. This can explain why they work hard every day. However, they choose wisely what they practise on. They simply work on their strengths and nothing else. What we can learn from them? That investing energy and time for practicing your talents leads to better self-esteem. Indeed, by developing your talents in even greater strengths, you become more confident and performant.
As I mention before, the best thing you can do is to find what your good at but also what enjoy to do. This is the ultimate combination for being at the top of your game.
Athletes say they see their race, marathon, choreography … why is it so effective? According, to Daniel Goleman, if the brain reacts to a negative image, it can also respond to an image or a positive emotion. For example, seeing yourself crossing the finish line or reach a goal in two months. In the case of a positive image, the brain will signal to secrete endorphins, creating a physical and psychological sense of well-being, calm and openness.
What athletes do visualize?
• the targets
• the path
• the rewards
Athletes use visualization for achieving a goal, for example, run 100 meters in 9 seconds. They are capable of viewing their race, their running, their swing, their tennis serves, their environment… and their success. The more detailed the visualization is, the more efficient it become. So let’s do it at work! However, it is not enough to imagine yourself with a contract in hand … that’s just magical thinking. To begin, ask yourself what are your achievements this year.
In business and in our private lives, everything goes faster and faster. Generally, we are too busy or “concerned” by the next tasks or objectives to take the time to enjoy the small and great achievements. How athletes celebrate their achievements? With medals, trophies, photos, news articles. But that’s not all. They talk about their achievements and talents; they claim to be without being arrogant. They share their pride with others, and by doing so, build confidence and give recognition.
What we can celebrate at work?
• Our little victories
• Our performance
• Our sense of satisfaction
Try to remember to celebrate all along the way. Every step and not only at the arrival. For example, what victories can you celebrate this week?
To climb on the podium and propel yourself to your best performance … what better way to inspire from athletes? This article has focused on five tracks inspired by athletes: focusing on our talents, strengths and values, surrounding ourselves with a wider variety of pros, practicing, visualizing for making our brain an ally and taking time to celebrate the small and big wins of course. So what is the next step? Taking actions of course! Business athletes, on your marks, get set, go … and shine!
What does your company do to develop talents and strengths in your organisation? Feel free to send me your comments and suggestions.