This week’s blog’s about what we can learn from athletes to apply to our everyday lives. Let me explain what I mean by that. In the modern world, we tend to be ‘on’ all the time. We have very demanding jobs, we need to be fit for the rigours of business and of modern life, and we need to see ourselves as an athlete, in the context of business or a corporate athlete.
Take Serena Williams, for example, one of the most decorated athletes of our generation. Hugely successful. But she won’t be, even with the demands of the tennis schedule, all year round, she won’t be Grand Slam fit all the way through her year. She will be gearing up to big events, deloading and recovering, playing some satellite events to keep her skills up, playing another big event where she’s really gone all out. She’ll be looking at all aspects of her health, her sleep, her mental health, her energy levels, her body composition, her digestive health, her fitness.
In the same way that she does, so that she can perform optimally, when she wants to, we need to emulate that. As athletes or as business people, we tend to think we need to be ‘on’ all year round, all the time. And what happens? Well, we burn out, we get chronically stressed, we fall out of love with our jobs, we become depressed. It’s simply not achievable or feasible or ideal. Think of yourself more as a corporate athlete. Can you gear up for big events, but then deload? Flex your schedule according to the demands, prioritise recovery when you’re really not feeling good. Make sure you’re doubling down on nutrition and sleep before big events or when you’re travelling for business for example. But think of yourself more as an athlete, and think about tuning into the body. How am I feeling? How am I responding to what’s going on? Do I need to take my foot off the gas?
There will be times when perhaps you need to, but you can’t. But those should be spiky moments in your life, in your working life, and this shouldn’t be the norm. Think of yourself as a corporate athlete, emulate what other athletes do. You don’t need a big team of people around you, but simply tune into your body and give it what it needs, and focus on holistic areas of health. Health is interconnected. Focusing on sleep will give you benefits in all the other areas of health. And ultimately remember this, it’s about health span, not lifespan. There is little point in living a very long life if you’ve not been useful or vital or able to perform basic functions for the last 20 years. It’s about prolonging your health span to get the most out of everything you want to do in life.
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