In the complex and demanding business world that you work in, there are always going to be tough days. In fact, one could argue that how you perform on these tough days is what separates you from the competition. The golfer who can perform when the pressure is the highest and the fatigue has set in (day 4 on the final 4 holes) is the one who will win more often. The fire chief who can process information the best, keep emotions under control under stress, and maximize performance over the duration of the fire (their tough day) is the one who will be most effective and save the most lives.
Unfortunately, the big difference between the professional golfer and the fire chief, and most executives we have met, is that the first two actually diligently prepare for their tough days. Of course there is always “the argument” (a nice way to say “the excuse”) that you don’t have time. The truth is, if you don’t have the time to prepare - do you have the time to pay for the outcomes of sub-excellent performance?
The fact is, we will all have tough days so we better be prepared for them. This is why we take our clients through a planning process to purposefully and strategically prepare themselves for these days. Here are a few of the key ways our best clients prepare for their tough days:
_Set clear and concise intentions for the day and for each meeting/event in the day.
_Start the day with some movement (even 5 to 10 minutes can turn on the whole brain, reduce anxiety, and create the optimal performance state for the day).
_Start the day with a high performance breakfast to raise the brain’s acetylcholine levels for sustained high performance (eggs, avocados, blueberries, wheat germ, nuts/seeds).
_Carry high performance snacks (balanced with protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates) with you to keep your blood sugar steady.
_Take mini-breaks between events (even 5 minutes with centering breathing can have a big impact on brain performance, your emotional state, and the accumulation of stress throughout the day).
_Take advantage of the small movement opportunities throughout the day (taking the stairs, walking between buildings, standing in meetings) which can improve lymph flow, generate energy, and keep your brain firing on all cylinders.
_Take 1 minute between events to quickly reflect on what went well (this is a great way to keep your confidence high, help you bring your best to your next meeting, hard-wire your brain for success, and rebalance your autonomic nervous system).
_Keep your portion sizes small (staying below 500 to 600 calories/meal can prevent your digestive system from stealing all your energy and help keep your brain sharp).
These are just a few simple, non-time consuming ideas but if you incorporate these into your rough days you will see a significant difference. The truth is, your toughest, craziest, busiest days are also the days that are most latent with game-changing opportunities. The problem is, if you are aren’t prepared for them, you will spend too much time feeling overwhelmed to make the most of these opportunities.
This is why we say, Sustainable High Performance doesn’t happen by luck or chance. It must be a choice and it must be designed. As always, we would love to hear what you think.
By Scott Peltin
Founder & Chief Performance Officer