The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning.
Almost invariably, the psychological skills used in sports can positively be translated into the business or personal world if adopted with conviction. In many common instances, such as being under pressure, challenged, receiving a reward or being in a competition, the mental skills of top sports people can be applied as a driving force for professional or personal development.
It appears that the ability to perform exceptionally under pressure is a learned and acquired skill. (Hallett & Hoffman, 2014). A fair amount of learning techniques are available to apply; however, transferring those principles only works if a set of attitudes are cultivated. Top athletes have a rigorous daily routine to overcome physical challenges and to master their sport. Besides working on physical skills, they address their mental approach. In short, to cope with whatever we encounter and optimise our capabilities, here are seven strategies and techniques that will help us transform our performance to reach ideal results:
Stay focused. Your start does not determine how you’re going to finish.
The mental focus in sports is to sharpen on things that will contribute to completing your tasks. Whether it is ripping a dive to bending a soccer ball, all efforts are directed to productively perfecting the exercise. The same process applies to professional or self-growth. Focusing on thoughts and actions that are instrumental in reaching your goal fades unproductive worries and builds up confidence.
Be in the Zone
“The zone is a state of mind which is marked by a sense of calmness. In addition, there is a heightened sense of awareness and focus. Actions seem effortless and there is an increased belief that your dreams or goals can become achievable and real. In addition, there is also a sense of deep enjoyment when the person is in this unique, special and magical state of being.” –Dr. Jay Granat, Sports Psychologist
Training and preparation are not enough to find flow. Other techniques such as meditation and conscious visualisation reinforce the efforts. How we apply these mechanisms is up to the individual’s inclinations. Some people tap into the past rewarding experience and re-energise the emotions they felt. End-results motivate others. A good example is when Steve Jobs asked Larry Kenyon to cut the boot time of the Macintosh by famously saying: “If it could save a person’s life, would you find a way to shave ten seconds off the boot time?” The time was cut down to 28 seconds! Consciously slipping into the unconscious to keep the flow allows you to stay in the zone and use your skills to the utmost.
Practice Emotional Intelligence
How to use our feelings to become more resilient and build up our emotional intelligence? Here are a few tips:
1- Identify your negative emotions – Once you are aware and have labelled your feelings, refrain from reacting immediately and withdraw yourself from the situation. Do not make assumptions or decisions. Include empathy in your response.
2- Evaluate your behaviours and thoughts objectively – Question your intentions, motives, reactions, communications, whether you are rational or fair. Overall look into yourself from bird’s eye view. Self-examination brings out humility which is a requisite to build emotional intelligence.
3- Communicate clearly – Conveying your thoughts with clarity and in a socially acceptable way is one of the components of Emotional Intelligence. Be an active listener, have an appropriate tone, mind your body language, eye contact, be respectful, have a confident and friendly attitude which all are essentials to reduce error in good communication.
4- Stress management – Introduce strategies to help you cope with stress and burnouts. Best ways to reduce the impact of stress and fatigue are to exercise, splash water on your face, go out in nature, learn and practice relaxation techniques, most importantly be positive and confident.
5- Practice empathy – every day try a random act of kindness, look at a situation from another perspective, make no judgment
Have a winning mindset
Champions keep playing until they get it right.
A winner’s mentality has perseverance, builds on good habits and takes action. It learns from criticism, and it does not allow situations and people to define the individual. A winning mindset sees challenges as an opportunity and focuses on things that it can control. It is grateful, looks for solutions, is curious, flexible and optimistic.
Find your core skill
Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.
Write down your skills and talents and scan through your knowledge-based, technical skills as well as your personal traits. Identify your core competencies and re-examine them by taking into account their relevancy, competitiveness and application. Hone your skills and make use of them unapologetically.
Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it or work around it.
Self-encouragement is to believe that you can overcome challenges and focus on what you have accomplished. Therefore develop a system to boost up your self-confidence to face adversity and obstacles. Whether it is through affirmations to rewarding yourself, put a productive mechanism in place to build your self up instead of tearing yourself down.
Hold on to your moral compass
Be fair. Play hard.
In essence, a moral compass is about rational consistency, dignity, truth, commitment and respect.