Whenever we won a surfboat race - our coach would ask us -
" So... exactly why did we win?"
Success doesn't happen by accident - yet it can and does short term - so understanding the proof points and strategic choices we were making to ensure we went faster - each time - were vital. Make no mistake - we were super keen just to get to the beer tent and avoid this conversation... but we came to understand it was one the most important conversations that we could have.
"Did we rule our results impact - or - were we just a bit lucky on the day?"
How does this connect with WFH?
It has to do with our Choices - in order to maximise our capabilities, capacities and ultimately our impact.
Many of us are way out of our normal routine right now during the COVID19 pandemic - the usual train commute to work is now a quick stroll out of the bedroom into the kitchen... usually with only one stop - at the bathroom. One of our clients remarked that their 'commute of 40 mins of podcast and preparation for their day - had now disintegrated into a 40 second blur of poo and porridge.'
Another WFH client remarked to me - as we were talking about 'routines & commutes' - that he was feeling a little more uptight and anxious than usual - and - noticed that his ironing basket - usually full of business shirts - was empty. OK you lost me? He then explained - he had suddenly realised something that he taken for granted - ironing his shirts - was actually a small ritual that gave him calm, relaxation and, a sense of focus and precision. The confidence impact and pure satisfaction in creating a sharp edge on the sleeves of his beautiful Italian cotton shirts had vanished as he had began working from home - in T shirts. It reminded me of the Special Forces teams that some our crew have worked with - the discipline applied into doing the basics well - every single day- ensures that even on really difficult - shitty - days... they have consciously fueled 'a sense of control and order' into their mindset - which helps them feel capable when most people would feel even more defeated.
Be Aware //
Are you conscious of exactly what you do on your normal routine commute? Do you read, listen, learn, nap, meditate or just observe and genuinely be still? Are you missing meeting an important personal performance need right now? If you are WFH - how can you replace your normal routine with something that will maximise your impact for the day?
One of the traps that we can fall into sometimes is thinking that every performance event we are part is exactly the same - or - of equal importance. In reality - some events demand our peak performance - high levels of focus and energy - much more than others.
Elite athletes and executives will vary the training load intensity and performance event schedule to maximise their impact. As rowers - we would choose the precise moments we were looking to rule the waves -and- when the results weren't so important in the bigger scheme of things. Working in the current environment will present many new challenges for you and those close to you. Stay calm and stay connected... in order to stay the course.
Be Aware - Who Do You Want To Be In The Peak Moments //
Sounds like common sense - rarely common practice. Set clear intentions. Set yourself up for success - create a clear and uncluttered mind. The Three Vital questions:
_ How do I want my character to be perceived?
_ What do I want them to know, have, or have happen...?
_ How do I want them to feel?
Be Strategic Whenever Possible //
Systemise the really simple stuff - and even in times of complete chaos - Identify your most important peak performance meetings/events for the week Vs where just being 'good enough' - will be enough. Prioritise your mental and emotional attention on these events ahead of time - be clear about exactly who you need to be in these moments - and decide how you will show up at your best. Pressure has a way of generating abnormal behaviour - rehearse who you want to be under the WFH pressures and uncertainty.
Being Deliberate With Simple Habits //
If you have worked from home for a few days now - you will find yourself staring down the fridge -or- reaching for the biscuit tin like an under fed contestant on Survivor. Keep that up - and you may not like the impact.
So each night - take control - write out what you are going to do when you wake up - what you will eat - what times will you eat through the day - with whom [ why not share a virtual lunch with your team - or - just decide to spend some time with the family] - when will you engineer more movement activity into your day now - set the specific time you will go to bed - what your actual bedtime routine will be now. You get the idea - when you clear your brain of these non-critical decisions - you are freeing up your 'cortical real estate' to be a real problem solver.
Racing a surfboat in the ocean is an unpredictable and often chaotic process. And yet - so much of this chaos we can be 'more prepared for' if we are deliberate in our practice -and- apply variation and adaptation into that practice. Practicing for uncertainty - oddly enough - can add a sense of certainty and confidence toward our impact. Becoming aware of and testing our routines can help us understand if we are truly having the desired impact that we have imagined.
As always - we would love to hear your ideas and thoughts on how to adapt and overcome the current challenge confronting us all.
// Glen Fisher
Founder & CEO