You are an athlete. That phrase hit me as I was listening to a presenter one day. He was speaking about how he got himself in shape for a particular set of large goals that had to be accomplished for his company. He spoke about how he mentally prepared himself – getting excited about the work that lay before him, and how that pushed him forward during several big advances in his company and career.
That presentation was about six months ago, however I keep hearing that phrase in my mind. Could it be that working in the software & business worlds actually makes us athletes? If so, how should that shape our thinking?
As I have wrestled with this notion, it has caused me to see it on two levels. First, athletes constantly work on their physical preparedness. So if we indeed are athletes in our chosen professions, then nutrition, exercise, strength training and stretching are all part of our success. Our minds and bodies are no less important than that of a professional athlete.
Second, the way an athlete thinks is the way we should think. We should think about our routines and schedules as preparing us to function at our peak performance. We should have phrases that inspire us, in the same way that great teams use them. We should study the latest equipment and technologies that can give us the competitive edge. If you look at a tennis racquet from 1973 vs. a tennis racquet made in 2013, you see striking differences in size, material, weight and grip. The same is true for all sports gear; from running shoes to titanium golf clubs. We are athletes, so we should think as such and be on the leading edge.
We can all greatly benefit from adopting the belief that we are athletes. Because you are an athlete, avail yourself of the benefits that come with that mindset. See your work as a long-term athletic endeavor, one in which you can greatly excel.
You are an athlete. You really are. And you can be the best.