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Execute Like an Olympic Athlete

By Jessica Wishart

    Thu, Aug 25, 2016 @ 09:00 AM Strategy Execution, Accountable Leaders & Teams

    These days, it can be hard to avoid news stories about the summer Olympics - whether people are talkingUse Rhythm to Execute Like an Olympic Athlete about the Zika virus in Rio, various doping scandals, or issues with the accommodations, the stories are everywhere. With coverage of the games just wrapping up, it seems everyone caught Olympic fever this summer. Whether you watched the games or not, you might be able to learn something from the habits of Olympic athletes that can help you up your game. Sure, being a gold medalist is partly due to innate physical talent, but it is also hugely about discipline and preparation - something we can all learn from.

    Here are 5 Tips to Execute Like an Olympian:

    1. Make a Plan: According to a Forbes article by Allison Van Dusen, Olympians "plan out their training schedules annually and up to four years in advance to make sure they reach specific performance goals.” In business, you also need SMART goals, and you need to plan how you’re going to get there. The Huffington Post quotes Olympic swimmer Dr. Gary Hall, Sr.: "The two most important parts of setting goals are that you write them down and that you put them someplace where you can see them every day." Using a dashboard can help you not only write your goals and make them visible, but sharing that dashboard with your team amps up accountability to getting the plan done.
    2. Consider Conditions: Olympians train in similar weather, elevation, etc. to prepare their bodies for the types of conditions they might face for outdoor events. As you plan for your business, you should also be aware of your environment - how’s the marketplace? What about the economy and the regulatory environment? What about your competitive landscape?
    3. Consult Experts: Olympic athletes have teams of experts to advise them on everything from nutrition and fitness to their state of mind. As a leader in your organization, surround yourselves with people you can learn from or turn to for insights and expertise that you don’t have.
    4. Visualize Success: According to the Huffington Post article referenced above, “Many athletes have used the technique of ‘mental imagery,’ or visualization to up their game and perform at their peak.” It’s important to involve your senses in visualization - not just what does success look like, but what does it feel like? What emotions are present? What are you hearing and doing and saying if you’re successful? Our Destination Postcard exercise is a great way to use visualization to help you set and achieve your business goals.
    5. Rest and Recover: According to Van Dusen, “Resting is crucial because it gives the body a chance to rebuild tissue and muscle that’s been broken down during training.” Making time to sleep and recharge your batteries is critical for your ability to focus and perform at your top, gold-medal winning level, too.

    Hopefully, these tips can help you up your game and perform at your highest level. Good luck, and go for gold!

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    Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images 

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