We’ve all heard the cliche “Work Hard, Play Hard”. This might even be the formula that motivates us. Unfortunately, this is also an approach which gets many of us into trouble. We mistakenly believe that if we go “all out”, that at some distant point in the future, we will have the opportunity, energy and desire to “play hard”. It is unsettling to question whether this methodology can ultimately deliver on its promise.
Athletes have it figured out. Athletes know that results don’t come from intensity on all fronts, but rather from a balanced strategic approach which integrates effort into a broader context. The athlete’s secret sauce involves five major components which we should all incorporate in our lives.
1. Plan. Athletes identify their objective – a pace, a race, a result- and then “back-engineer” a plan that will get them to the desired goal. Without a plan, even hard training will not prepare them. The same applies in our lives. For what purpose, goal or priority are we “working hard”? Have we developed the strategic plan to achieve the desired result?
2. Building Blocks. Athletes know that a significant goal can only be achieved by executing series of incremental steps. The starting point is a solid foundation coupled with proper equipment. Brick by brick, additional skills are added. Steps are skipped or rushed at the peril of sacrificing the goal.
3. Focus. Athletes have laser focus on their objective. They remove or disregard distractions. A gymnast executing a trick on the balance beam tunes out the music in the arena. An elite athlete reduces his or her participation in non-priority activities. Focus may be simple, but maintaining it can be a challenge. Tools such as the Pomodoro technique can help us to learn to concentrate on the task at hand. [The Pomodoro technique involves using timed 25 minute focus sessions alternating with rest periods.] Long term focus requires dedication, discipline and vision.
4. Exertion + Rest. Athletes know that an intense workout will only yield the desired results if it is directly coupled with quality rest. We often forget that a good performance requires good sleep. Unfortunately, too many of us are on a downward spiral whereby we fail to get adequate rest, perform poorly, increase work time to compensate for our sluggishness, then have less time for rest, and so on.
5. Endurance. Athletes know that success does not occur overnight. Athletes recognize that accomplishing their objectives will involve discomfort, a series of progressive steps, pacing, and time. We all need to commit ourselves not only to the objectives, but to embracing the time and challenges of the growth process. Again, the athlete knows, most significant goals are a marathon process, not a sprint.
Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com