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The sport of business, wellness & performance

Recently I attended a great event with four exceptional elite athletes sharing insights on how they’ve taken the lessons they learned from sport and applied them in business.  

Some of the observations really resonated in relation to conversations we have every day with leaders who’d like to do better with how they prioritise their wellness and performance.

For example…

  1. Play the day

No matter how well you prepare for any sporting event, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll execute your plan precisely.  And in many cases you won’t even get close to delivering what you had in mind.  

But you still want to win right?

The same applies to nailing healthy habits.  People make exciting plans for the week but if something gets in the way of the plans half way through Monday, they abandon their best intentions and resolve to get back on it next week.  

But no matter what happens on Monday, your aims and objectives for how you want to look and feel remain the same.  

You still want to succeed right?

So play the day in front of you. 

You might not be able to execute plan A perfectly, but switching swiftly to plan B or even plan C to make the most of today will bring you way more success than pausing for 7 days before taking the next positive action.

2. Get comfortable with failure

No athlete or team ever won every single event they entered.  Or set a PB during every training session.  But these moments where they may have at some point felt that they’d failed, were actually the moments when they learned the most.  

So two things to take away from this.  

Firstly, if things don’t go ‘perfectly’, embrace this and look for the lessons for next time.

Secondly, and this is simply a build on point one, if you can learn to embrace ‘failure’ and reframe it as education and experience, you will deal with these moments quickly in future and, each time you do, this will energise you with the knowledge that rather than being stuck in a moment of failure, it’s very likely you’re on the brink of a breakthrough.

Typical applications of this for healthy habits could be:

Fitting in Fitness

Or when you plan for three workouts during the week but don’t manage any of them.  Instead of feeling bad about this, make a plan for how next week will better.  And you can guarantee this with some simple lateral thinking.  Here are 3 options:

  • Next week, aim to definitely complete just one workout but scope out 3-4 slots in your schedule for when this could take place.

  • Aim for 2-3 workouts but it’s fine for them to be very short. We're talking 5-15 minutes.

  • Rather than a formal workout next week, make a plan to increase your functional activity - walk more, walk faster, take detours to include stairs and hills.

Healthy Eating

When you’ve had a crazy week and you’d like to cook a healthy Friday dinner but you’re just too tired.  And the take out menus are calling you.  

Rather than feeling guilty, embrace the moment and enjoy the food you order in while making a plan that will help you balance next week better so that you arrive at Friday with more energy to cook and scope out some options that will allow you to eat well on Friday night even if you are feeling tired. Options that could provide you with better nutrition than a take out (and less guilt) but don’t require any more effort than opening the app or picking up the phone to order.

Things like making and saving leftovers from earlier in the week so they are there for you on Friday.  Or getting set up with a couple of super quick go-to prep yourself options for Friday nights in the future.  

3. Know your strengths and play to them

Someone asked our four athletes about how to get set up each day for success.  

Unsurprisingly two said that an early start and exercise were non-negotiable.

The other two highlighted they are not morning people and have learned to get set up the night before to allow them to ease into the day in the way that best suits them.  

If you’re not a morning person, maybe stop striving to work out at 6.30am and instead focus on the time that works better for you.  Lunchtime workouts can create two effective half days.  Evening workouts can help you unwind and move effectively from work to home / family mode.

If you’re not a gym person, forget about becoming one and seek out something you like better.  From Athletics to Zumba, there will be something for everyone if you keep an open mind and experiment.

If you’re not good at motivating yourself to exercise, get someone else to do it for you.  Pick a group class to go to, join a club or get set up with a friend to keep you company.

The bottom line is, if there’s an element of prioritising healthy habits that repeatedly blocks you, find someone to support you and / or try something different until you find the routine that works for you.

Do what you do best and enjoy and don’t worry about all the other stuff.

Phew, that’s a lot of info.

So all you need to do now is pick something that resonates with you and get stuck in!



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