Returning to work after a good holiday can feel like being asked to run a marathon after eating a four course meal. You feel a bit sick and under prepared. You don’t know exactly what to expect but it’s likely to be hard. You’re not even sure what the prize will be at the end. But you grit your teeth and open that Inbox anyway.
Most of us know we need to come back to exercise gently after a break. Going in too hard, too soon causes injuries which, in turn, can impact our ability to hit our fitness goals.
So, rather than taking a deep breath and just diving back in to work, let’s look at what we can learn from the athletes approach.
Successful athletes know that they are more likely to achieve their goals by developing three main elements: their physical aptitude, their technical skills/experience and their mindset.
You may be already conscious of what you eat and how much you exercise. You probably have a plan to develop enhance your skills/experience.
But what about your mindset?
An athlete’s mind:
Envisages the outcome – what it will be like to cross the finish line/make the putt/score the goal
Focuses on what matters – every activity moves them towards their goal
Takes self-care seriously – they eat well, sleep well and do what they can to avoid injury
Understands the cost of commitment – whether it’s a restricted diet or time away from family & friends, they consciously choose whether it is, or is not, worth it.
When Andy Murray teamed up with Ivan Lendl, they worked as much on his mindset as they did on his physical and technical play. An Olympic gold medal and the Wimbledon title followed. And after Rory McIlroy prioritised his desire for a career Grand Slam over his forthcoming wedding, he duly won the Open and the US PGA, just needing the Masters to achieve his goal. Breaking off an engagement is a huge decision but it was a choice and only he could make decide whether it was right for him.
If you want to adopt an athlete’s mindset to help you back to race pace after your holidays, try these questions;
What is a great outcome for September and October? Envisage, draw, write about your personal and professional outcome. Add lots of detail and allow yourself to think BIG.
What is most important to you? What are you not prepared to sacrifice for your goal?
What can you do everyday to keep you on track for your goal?
What will you do to look after yourself? NB: This is not selfish, this is self-care. You cannot do all the things you want to, or support people who rely on you if you are not in top condition.
What are you prepared to start or stop to make your outcome a reality?
Answer these questions honestly and that marathon will feel like a walk in the park.
If you'd like to talk more about careers, choices and leadership, get in touch!