At Performance Circle, we spend a great deal of our time sharing insights and learnings from sports teams and high performing individuals, bringing them into focus within the workplace and everyday life.
The question is, what can we learn from these examples and our own experiences, which can be applied in areas of our life?
As a coach, I see extraordinary displays of grit and determination in the exercise classes that I teach and the athletes that I work with striving to get faster, fitter, stronger. I workout daily alongside people digging deep and working exceptionally hard. Yet, isn’t it interesting that as we shower, change our clothes and walk away from the gym we can immediately fall back into less effective habits and mindsets? We seem to lack the ability to take the same ‘grit and determination’ to roll with the punches of life.
Like everyone else, there are certain times when I feel overwhelmed and I seek help from a mentor. He subtly encourages me to think of things in a different context, reminding me about my physical training where I rarely feel beaten – even when the task and ask is huge.
Last month, (when I was planning an event) he noticed that I seemed a little overwhelmed and he cleverly brought the conversation around to my past experiences when I used to compete in knockdown karate.
“Would you enter the competition focusing on the final?”
“Of course not”, I answered him.
As we talked it through, he reminded me that I would have a goal and end result in mind, but I would focus on one round and one fight at a time.
As with any competitive sport, there was months of physical and mental preparation in terms of managing my weight, so diet and nutrition was key. Training included working on efficiency and technique, conditioning, sparring, strength and mental toughness in addition to mobility, speed and sharpness to build confidence in the run up to any competition.
Gaining insight into how I broke these competition tasks helped me to apply – or ‘map’ – the same skills in other aspects of my life where I was getting ‘stuck’. And some years on from my most intense competitive training – whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed – I use this strategy to organise my thoughts and make a more manageable plan – this ‘round by round’ approach puts me back in control. I use it to overcome challenges and learn new skills all of the time.
I have helped many of my clients to map these techniques and its likely that you can use an example from your own life to help you to re-think things too.
So, for example, think about where you are achieving success in your life. Where are you taking things in your stride? How do you do this? What makes it feel so ‘manageable’? What skills and experience are you utilising? Once you have reflected on a few scenarios, consider how you can map these strategies across areas or tasks that you are challenged by.
Here are the top work related challenges and examples of where my clients have used this technique successfully.
1.Public speaking, for example pitching, presenting or teaching.
2. Social interactions, for example networking, or speaking up at meetings with senior people at work.
3. Performance management, for example exams, interviews or competitive sport.
4. Learning new skill, for example a Muscle Up in Crossfit, a musical instrument or how to write a high scoring assignment.
5. Breaking up and staying focused throughout large projects like writing a book or planning an event.
Think about how you can use ‘mapping’ at work to change your perception, your behaviour and ultimately the results that you get.