When I was a competitive junior tennis player I often noticed that there were a lot of really good tennis players who rarely made it to the late rounds of the tournaments. When they warmed up they looked great, they had beautiful strokes, and in so many ways they looked unbeatable. But when the matches started, and the points got tough, these guys always lost. Why was this? What were they missing?
Recently, after talking with one of our clients, I realized that many of our clients have the business equivalent of the same experiences. They improve their awareness of their current habits and they immediately see several things that would be easy to change. They become a little more positive, they drink more water, they start eating breakfast, they add a little more movement into their day, they take a couple of breaks throughout their day, and they may even start making sleep more of a priority. As they do these things they get more energy, they feel better, and they even report that they feel more productive.
At this point they have more energy, more resilience, and a better performing brain. They have moved from being a floater to being a swimmer but they still aren’t winning at their key events (i.e. meetings, presentations, etc.). How could this be? What are they missing?
When the competition is tough and the demands are high, being a swimmer gets you into the game but it’s strategic preparation that helps you win. As one of our clients shared, when she finally started to prepare for her key meetings, for her travels, for her tough phone calls, for her transition from work to home, she noticed a shift. It was a shift from not only feeling better but to actually being better.
So what did she do that was so powerful? Instead of just being positive, she set clear intentions, she visualized her performance, and she ruthlessly focused only on those things within her control. Instead of just eating healthy, she purposefully planned snacks for her meetings and ate brain foods to be mentally sharp. Instead of just getting some exercise, she incorporated movements to improve her posture, to reduce muscle tension, and to engage her right brain. Instead of just taking an occasional break, she used specific breathing techniques to change her emotional state and she oscillated after meetings to help her stay energized for the next meeting. What she did was make the conscious decision to shift from just being healthy to being a high performer.
What is it that separates Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and most recently Novak Djokovic from the rest of the pack? Why is it that when the matches get tough these guys get tougher? The reason is that these guys expect themselves to win and why shouldn’t they, they prepared to do just that. So how’s your preparation for your key events? Are you really preparing to win or are you just happy to feel good?
By Jogi Rippel
CEO // Founder