After a great performance, athletes often describe a feeling of being “in the zone.” In this state, they feel invincible, as if the game slowed down, the crowd noise was silent and the game became easy.
As spectators we see the results from the performance on the day, not what goes on to get to this stage. However, to get to this level of performance the athlete will have prepared meticulously by mastering skills, athleticism and mental toughness from implementing superior technique and effort which is underpinned by constant training and coaching. And the athlete probably also remained injury free which is either related to preparation, genetics or even pure luck.
So if being match fit enables you to perform at the peak of your powers, are you match fit for work? Are you constantly performing at a high level, is it all too fleeting or are you just turning up and going through the motions?
I ask these questions because many of us have had some time off work over the Xmas / New Year period. Whereas athletes undertake an extensive pre-season training program, in the workforce we often just have a rest to recharge the batteries and expect that to be enough. However, how often do we hear people say within a week being back at work that they have already forgotten about their holiday?
The bigger question to ask is are you in the right job?
- Interested in it, like it or are passionate about it?
- Have the necessary skills / confidence?
To determine this you might have to explore whether you:
- Feel energised or de-energised at work?
- Enjoy work?
- Get distracted easily?
So let’s assume you are in the right job then the next step is to consider the factors which contribute to how do you do your best work:
- At work is the pace right – too fast or too slow?
- Are you a morning or afternoon person?
- Do you work better on certain days?
- Do you work better under pressure? (such as an impending deadline)
- Get enough sleep?
- Eat the right food?
There’s a lot of questions here but the issues undermining peak performance are complex by nature. As is the mindset as to whether you are a victim of circumstances or whether you can proactively do something to deliver sustainable results.
Like athletes preparing through constant targeted training and coaching, I believe the workforce can be better equipped to perform at higher levels from targeted training and coaching. Too often I see organisations focussing on what I refer to as technical training instead of helping workers with the techniques which underpin how they work (how to achieve more in less time). It’s frequently assumed people already know how to work efficiently but as the work environment and technology are constantly evolving so to do our individual work methods.
Everyone has their own way of working or what I like to refer to as Working Rhythm. When Working Rhythm is maximised then workers have a greater likelihood or performing like an athlete “in the zone”. If that’s the level of performance you aspire to then consider what action or actions you need to take.