What Business Executives Can Learn From Winter Olympians
If you’ve been watching the Winter Olympics closely, you’ll have noticed that many of the medal winners are using special mental rituals to maximize their performance.Many of these same techniques can be used by executives and entrepreneurs to improve their results.In today’s column, I’m going to outline four of the best sports psychology techniques that anyone in the business world can use to lift their level of achievement in the workplace.
1. GET IN THE RIGHT STATE BEFORE YOU BEGIN WORK.
Every Winter Olympic champion takes the time directly before their event to steady themselves, get focused and in the optimum state to perform at their peak. Yet, most business executives rush into work and just start on tasks. Big mistake. Spend a few minutes getting centered and really present before you begin work and the rest of your day will go a lot smoother. The state you’re in creates the results you get, whether in sport or business.
2. CHOOSE TO ENJOY TOUGH COMPETITION, NOT FEAR IT.
Gold medal snowboarder, Torah Bright, stands out from all her competitors because she clearly loves what she’s doing. Before every run down the mountain, she actually smiles and reminds herself to enjoy the experience. Yet, other less successful snowboarders are a mass of concern and stress. Remember, you can choose your reaction to the challenges ahead of you. You can get tense or you can choose to love it and have fun. A lot of entrepreneurs could learn a lot from champions like Torah Bright.
3. FOCUS ON YOUR OWN PERFORMANCE, NOT YOUR COMPETITORS.
Watch the post race TV interviews with the elite Winter Olympians and you’ll notice that they all speak the same way. They speak only of how they performed, they virtually never speak of others who are competing against them. They’ve been taught by their mental coaches that the only thing they can control is their own performance and they have virtually eradicated any concerns about others.The business world could learn from this. Focusing on your own work rather than others clears your mind and increases your concentration. You have less fear, less negativity and less overthinking. The result? Higher levels of achievement.
4. HAVE A PRE GAME RITUAL.
Watch carefully as the cameras pan across competitors prior to their big event. They are often listening to music through headphones, talking positively to themselves, or have their head down visualizing the upcoming race.This is no accident – almost all top level athletes follow a clearly organized pre-game ritual, to make sure they are totally ready to perform. Why shouldn’t we, in the business world, do the same? For you, it could be reading an inspirational business book, reviewing your quarterly goals or seeing yourself performing outstandingly at your upcoming meetings. It almost doesn’t matter what your pre game ritual is, what matters is that it gets you in the zone for elite business performance.
The world’s best Winter Olympic athletes didn’t get there by chance. And it wasn’t only a result of physical practice either. They all dedicated themselves to winning the mental game of competition as well, and thrived as a result. Business has so many similarities with high level sport. So let’s take the best of the athlete’s methods and apply them to our work performance.
– Siimon Reynolds