Becoming your own best self in business & in life? We all want to be our best selves and our happiest selves don’t we?
When I learned about Dr.Jim Loehr, a world-renowned performance psychologist who has more than 30 years of experience and applied research, and his work theorizing that business executives, who are required to consistently perform at high levels, should train like “corporate athletes,” I was totally fascinated.
What is a Corporate Athlete?
We all know professional athletes have to practice their primary skill…A LOT.
For golfers, this is swinging a golf club and perfecting their form. For baseball players, this is years of pitching, catching, or batting. But, in addition to these primary skills, professional athletes are also working on their endurance, strength, flexibility, self-control, and focus. Ultimately, to reach their optimum level of performance they have to combine their emotional and mental competencies with their years of physical training. In doing this, that’s when they’re at the top of their game.
The same applies to business executives who have a primary skill as a super seller or a top negotiator. When they utilize their secondary skills like strength, flexibility (literally and figuratively), endurance, self-control, and focus, they continually improve at work while simultaneously enhancing their health and happiness.
Improving and working to change our lives takes a certain dedication. Diving in deep to Loehr’s research, I couldn’t help but think at Run Body Run we could all use some advice to keep in mind as we’re stepping into our own best selves.
If you’re ready to become your own best self in business and in life, you need to enhance your training with more than just physical workouts.
Use these 3 tips as you journey on:
1) Old Habits Die Hard + Bad Days Happen
I’m putting this one right at the top. Making big life changes takes effort. Even extremely motivated individuals are going to have setbacks—and that includes you.
Your brain is hard-wired to keep doing things the way you’ve always been doing things. This may be years and years of learned behaviour you’re working to change. Since you’re going for new goals and optimal performance, it’s time to start re-wiring your brain.
Neuroscience teaches us that neural pathways, which are comprised of neurons connected by dendrites, are based on our habits and behaviours. The more a behaviour is performed, the more dendrites there are. It takes about 10,000 repetitions to develop a neural pathway and master a skill.
Making new neural pathways in the brain takes dedication, and it’s totally possible and worth it.
Bad days do happen. Your sunny disposition may deteriorate for no reason. All your best-laid plans and intentions may end up on a back burner simmering away instead. Everything you wanted to do is replaced with the processes and procedures that can be life, you forget to bring the lunch you were looking forward too, and just grab what you can… Maybe you can’t squeeze in your workout.
It’s okay to say, “This is really crap,” and get on with it. Professional or corporate athletes aren’t perfect performers and neither are we.
I’ve learned that when I accept that things aren’t going according to plan, I can start to go with the flow.
Remember, tomorrow is always a new day.
2) Positive Rituals are Powerful
A ritual is one way of making an everyday moment a ceremony. Rituals are moments for reflection. They’re a “pause button” in the day to really take in the moment. The ritual may stay the same, and yet you’re able to witness your own changing self.
Have you ever heard the saying, “Music soothes the savage beast”? For me, music is always part of my ritual. When I get home, I always like to put on some music (usually hippie music that’s older than I am…), light my “fragrance of the month” candle, wash my face, and get to cooking in the kitchen.
Rituals are customizable—your rituals don’t have to look like mine. To determine your own best rituals, ask yourself these questions:
- What calms me down?
- What brings me joy?
- What am I doing when I’m my happiest self?
- Where do I like to find meaning?
- What time in the day am I most open for a moment of reflection?
Answering these questions can connect you to activities that may influence your own unique rituals.
3) Find Your Support System
When you’re working to implement new strategies and routines, finding those people who are supportive of you and the changes you want to make is wildly effective.
In Loehr’s research, they asked hundreds of athletes how they felt when they were performing at their best. Guess what was at the top of this list? Feeling good.
Loehr writes in the Harvard Business Review, “Invariably, they used words such as ‘calm,’ ‘challenged,’ ‘engaged,’ ‘focused,’ ‘optimistic,’ and ‘confident.’”
Mindset is a huge component of stepping into your own best self. And, sometimes we need a little help. Life isn’t meant to be lived on your own.
A community can connect us to one another enhancing our positive emotions. Positivity ignites performance and quells negative emotions, which can physically affect our heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and vision.
Team up with other motivated, driven, and positive individuals, especially those people who make you feel happy. Joining a gym, finding an accountability partner, or simply spending more time with people who you care about and who care about you can make a world of difference.
When you think about people you really enjoy spending time with, who comes to mind?
In the end, becoming your own best self is about progress—not perfection, and it starts with small, simple actions.
Enjoy implementing these powerful strategies into your life and reaping the benefits that are bound to come!