The elite athlete that can access their decision-making capabilities and make split-second decisions under pressure will outperform those who rely on others to constantly instruct them during the match – or game of life. They can think for themselves.
They have also created their own systems and checklists to maintain peak performance so that they can avoid strong emotions adversely influencing their play. Essentially, they have practised and prepared for these critical moments so that when the time comes their brain will run the sequence of thinking and behaviour for “dealing with X” so that it is automatic.
Even though potential negative outcomes have been prepared for (just in case), they have developed a growth mindset that is focused on learning, winning and success rather than having fixed beliefs on their abilities which lead toward pessimism and failure.
Knowing that you have a strategy to handle the worst-case scenario at each point generates confidence. Having a supportive team around you with different strengths and skills generates belief.
During a libel court case, following his incorrect answers to a barrage of questions on general knowledge from the defence attorney, Henry Ford replied “Let me remind you that I have a row of electric push-buttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid men who can answer ANY question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts.”
This implies that the pioneering industrialist respected the need for other skillsets in his team and efficiency: by not wanting to bother cluttering his attention with information not related to his specific goals. Importantly, he did not surround himself with clones.
Gareth Southgate, England’s Football Men’s (Senior) Manager has a similar approach. He has created a coaching and support team from different backgrounds in work and experience so that all the team have an array of sources to learn from – and be inspired by.
The best leaders recognise that learning and motivation is bespoke to the individual and their unique brain and a one size fits all method is futile. Many managers encourage their teams to think, reflect and essentially coach themselves when they are performing in front of the crowds, rather than rely on others. You can easily spot the athletes who look far too frequently to their coaching team for guidance during e.g., UEFA EURO 2020 and Wimbledon.
So as the second half of 2021 begins, now is an opportune moment to have your own half-time motivational pep talk and evaluate your progress against your original Vision and 2021 goals.
If you are one or two up already and have already achieved more than you thought you could in the last six months, how about reflecting on what you would like the rest of this year to be about?
For 7 questions to ask for a half-year check in, click here.