What makes someone a high performer? Passion for what they do, having goals that they pursue with absolute commitment and enthusiasm, and maintaining balance across all aspects of their life.
Part of what I do, outside of being a professional Ironman athlete, is work with corporate teams on how to become high performing. I take learnings from competing at a high level in sport and apply these to what people can do in a work environment.
Many things that athletes take for granted, such as goal-setting, being organised, having a vision, and dealing with failure, are not common-place in the business world. Recently I did a presentation on what I believe are the four KEY factors that lead to High Performance:
1) Immediate and Relevant Feedback
In sport you are always receiving feedback in order to increase performance. This feedback can be in the form of what splits you are doing in the pool, the computer on your bike, time improvements on your run loop.
The most honest form of feedback occurs with your race results, all those extra sessions in the pool will reflect in a better swim performance. Your coach is also a great resource, having them watch your sessions and provide immediate feedback will enable increases in performance.
2) Do Not Fear Failure
I definitely believe that success can make you complacent and the biggest growth opportunity comes from failure. Sometimes it is much easier to make excuses for poor performance - 'I didn't swim well because someone knocked my goggles', 'my ride was slow because I had the wrong gearing' etc. If we can put aside the excuses and be honest with ourselves as to why we failed, then we can go about starting the journey to performance improvement.
3) Control the Controllable
This is a big factor in the sport of triathlon where so much that happens on race day is out of your control. The best athletes are those that can deal with whatever is thrown at them, expending no energy on what they can't control.
I deal with many people at work who have high levels of stress because they are focusing so much of their energy on things that they can't change or control. Be proactive about what is in your control, and patient about what is outside your control.
4) Purpose and Passion
This is the most critical factor for achieving High Performance. The path to reaching your goal (your purpose) is never a straight line progression, whether it be related to triathlon, work, or in any aspect of your life.
You will always face ups and downs on the journey. If you are passionate about what you are trying to achieve then challenges can be faced and failures can be overcome.
Two years ago, while working full-time, Anna left the corporate world to pursue her dream of becoming a professional athlete, competing around the world in Ironman triathlons. Anna now writes about her experience as a professional athlete and how her learnings can be applied to drive high performance in both individuals and teams. For further information visit: www.annarusselltriathlete.co.nz