Work-Life Balance Olympian Style – 7 Secrets of Elite Champions

 rio olympics

Hooray for our Team GB Olympians!!! What truly outstanding performances from so many, to win 67 medals in all. 27 Gold, 23 Silver and 17 Bronze – Wow, truly amazing!

Wonderful timing for putting the heart and self respect back into Great Britain, after Brexit as well.

How did that happen?

What did it take to create that level of success, both individually and as a team? What did it take, to peak at the precise time, for the maximum Olympic effect?

Well for sure, the athlete’s didn’t just roll up to Rio and get lucky. They did not drive themselves to the edge of insanity, just before the games and hope to pull off a coup. They did not pray for miracles. They knew they could do it, deep down inside themselves. They were ready.

Many of the athletes talk about planning for this event for many years beforehand. Some deliberately missed other competitions, like the Commonwealth Games, to be able to retain absolute focus on Olympic Gold in Rio 2016.

All the while, training relentlessly and building their mental commitment, emotional resilience and self belief levels to astounding levels of positivity and self assuredness.

Also receiving the help and support of coaches, mentors, physio’s, trainers, families, friends and of course Lottery Funding.

The support these athletes have received has been planned and organised since the Lottery Fund was first started in the 1990’s. Thats the kind of long term planning, organising and consistent investment in the environment and infrastructure that has been going on behind the scenes for years. Not to mention the ongoing benefits of the London Olympic infrastructure created previously.


What can you do for you, to nurture your high performance?

So what can we take and apply from this amazing Olympic lesson in discipline, commitment and resolve, to be the best you can be, on your particular stage?

1. Pick your battles and commitments

Beware of over commitment. Be fully aware of what you say yes to. Don’t try to do everything and wear yourself out.

Make time for urgent and important activities and delegate as much stuff that you don’t like doing as possible. Keep your edge sharp, not blunted on trivia.


2. Manage your downtime as well as up time.

Sporting legends look after themselves and know how to relax and switch off. Plan and organise your time with your own rest and recovery cycles in mind.

Burn out = no medals at all. Give yourself priority amongst the ever increasing workload.


3. Build high quality support systems

None of the Olympic athletes could have achieved what they did, without full on help and support over an extended period.

Ask for help. Its a sign of strength not weakness, if you want to win the big stuff.

Balance your work, rest and play time, and actively schedule these things in your calendar, if necessary. Look at your eating and drinking habits and make more healthy choices.


4. Get a coach and/or mentor

Get yourself a coach and/or mentor that you really connect with and bounce new ideas around to raise your game.

Most athletes have more than one coach – areas covered include winning mindsets, self belief, various capability sets, energetics, optimising emotional content, and work/life balance.

Coaches help you see what you cant yet see, or what’s staring you in the face while you look around everywhere for answers. They help you create new pathways for high performance and well being.


5. Stay grounded and centred

It’s far too easy to loose your centre and sense of self under intense pressure. Sustained exposure to pressure and stress creates fatigue and leads to deteriorating performance.

With both stress overload and fatigue, simple things start to become difficult to achieve consistently and self mastery goes out of the window.

Finding ways to relax and come back to your centre, say through visualisation, meditation or taking regular time in nature to soften your focus and create harmony within, is time well spent, in the pursuit of high performance.


6. Stay positive and focussed

Whilst easier said than done, when under pressure, if you feel overwhelm approaching, the best thing you can do is stop and breath and take a time out.

Stepping back helps to refocus your attention on the bigger picture and create an opportunity for positivity to be reclaimed.

This can be hard when in the thick of challenging situations, but the first chance you can create, pull back and evaluate as an observer and notice new ways of doing things entering your perceptions…

You can do this and still keep your eyes on the prize!


7. Manage expectations

Rome was not built in a day. Olympic medals are not won through short term effort cycles.

Be honest with yourself and others around you, about just what is possible. Get used to saying no, if things feel wrong.

By saying this, you may be able to create new ways of approaching things, that you feel more able to say yes to. Practice discernment and be aware of how much pressure you put on yourself and its effect – positive or limiting.

Too much pressure over extended periods is madness and no medals come from that choice or habit whatsoever. Unless cultural insanity is the prize.


And finally…

Be kind to yourself, especially if no-one else is being kind to you.

If this is your normal working environment, and work life balance is not possible in your team or business – then its time for a change.

If you don’t put your work-life balance first, no one else will.

So its up to you – how badly do you want the end prize?

What is your Gold medal event, at your own lifetime Olympic Games?


Nick Le Clere is a strategic change consultant and facilitator, executive leadership coach, trainer, innovator and speaker, running online webinars and learning events for conscious business leaders of the future.
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