Tips to become a Corporate Athlete

Over the last few weeks we have witnessed an amazing performance from Team GB at the Rio Olympics. Here we have seen athletes pushing the limits in pursuit of gold.

There ability to do this has been driven by what is termed as a push-recover approach helping to build speed, strength and endurance for professional athletes to expand the limits of human performance and endurance, while avoiding injury.

In contrast, corporate athletes (working in the ‘always On, On Demand, 24/7’ business world) generally follow the push till you break approach, leading to burnout, stress, depression, chronic back pain, injury and pharmaceutical usage.

In the spirit of helping other corporate athletes, here are five mindfulness tips to help you push hard and recover better.

Work like an athlete? Train like one.

Build in micro breaks for recovery. Try a few short mindfulness meditations throughout the day, especially after stressful situations. Find a quiet spot, sit and take a one to five minute break to center and calm your central nervous system. Clear your mind for what you need to take care of next.

Be efficient and effective. Manage mindful meetings.

Too many meetings start late, end late and don’t accomplish goals. That creates unnecessary stress. Start and end on time. State one to three goals for the meeting, including the decisions that need to be made. Make sure everyone is heard, even if only for one minute.

Let the team recover too.

If you are tempted to draft emails on the weekend don’t hit send until Monday. It may feel good to get things off of your chest in the moment, but weekend emails are simply a way for you to pass the stress baton.

Show the team you care by the way you listen.

When speaking with colleagues, let them speak for two to three minutes without interrupting. Ask the same of them. This creates a recovery period where you’re listening, not thinking and outdoing your teammate. Small changes in how you communicate will strengthen connections and reduce stress in your relationships.

Protect and value recovery time.

Turn your phone off at the same time each evening. You may be in a globally connected business, but your state of mind and emotional health play a big role in the healthy functioning of your family and your business. What happens with your family in the short time you spend together is more important than emails from 8-11 p.m., as is your sleep.

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