Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved watching the Olympic games.
Seeing athletes from all over the world gather in one place to compete actually inspired me at a young age. As an 11-year-old, I (with the help of my parents) entered my research project on the Olympic games in my school’s Social Studies Fair and won 2nd place!
As an adult, I have even more of an appreciation for the parallels between the athletes competing at the Olympics and us as entrepreneurs, business owners and/or managers.
Athletes must function at peak performance for the opportunity to compete in the Olympics. Here are some tips that you can apply to yourself (or your company) so you too can operate at peak performance.
Tip #1: Train Rigorously
It’s no surprise that the best athletes possess acute discipline when it comes to training. That same discipline is required of you in practicing your craft and becoming a sought-after expert.
Start by writing down your target goals. Share them with your team. Develop a daily (yes daily) routine or schedule to learn new skills while honing your existing skills to achieve those goals. Develop processes and procedures that support this training schedule so your team knows how to best support you. An athlete’s playbook becomes your Operations Manual.
Tip #2: Improve Continuously
Many athletes watch recordings of themselves – they not only study their own performance but also those of their heroes and competitors.
Study yourself. Think of this as a self-performance evaluation. Metrics are a great way to keep score so you can monitor yourself and figure out how and where to improve. You can apply metrics in the following ways: 1) recording and watching yourself speak, 2) using dashboards and score cards to track the quality of your work, and 3) asking others to constructively critique your work.
Tip #3: Listen Intently
Even the best athletes have coaches and mentors that objectively guide them towards their goals. Coaches come in many forms and flavors. They can provide a compass to “bypass the crazy” that can sometimes come with a relentless pursuit for perfection.
The key to having a great relationship with your coach is to move past your ego and let them help get you to the finish line and beyond.
Tip #4: Participate Fully
Winning is a team sport. This is particularly evident when watching rowing, gymnastics and track teams compete together. Assembling a “dream team” is possible when each member complements the skills and talents of each other rather than cancel each other out. Being able to recognize top talent and recruiting them to your team is a hallmark of great leadership. Only those who are insecure in their abilities would feel threatened by top talent. Examine the great leaders around you – most assuredly they surround themselves by extremely intelligent, competent people.
Tip #5: Compete Honestly
No one likes to lose. But some people are sore losers. They see losing as the ultimate form of failure and will go to great lengths to ensure a victory, even if it means cheating. Remember the fall-from-grace stories of former Olympic champions Tanya Harding and Marion Jones? Losing hurts but not nearly as bad as having your reputation permanently damaged.
With these 5 tips you not hold not only yourself, but also your company to a higher standard. Adopting this mindset alone separates the extraordinary from the ordinary.
You’ll know you’ve achieved peak performance in your business when your leadership and work appears as natural and effortless to others. Spectators will marvel at how well you do what you do. Having the right work ethic, the right team and a business infrastructure that supports it all ensures peak performance.
Whether the prize for all your hard work is a gold medal, a best-in-class award, a certification or actual money, let it serve as a reminder that success doesn’t come over night. Think of these tips whenever you watch an Olympic sporting event. It might inspire you “up the ante” and practice your craft even more!
At Equilibria, we coach our clients on building business infrastructure in their fast growing companies. We also have a network of executive, business and life coaches we can refer you too. Request a free, no obligation consultation here.