Swimmers love water

Swimmers get wet. They accept they’re going to be immersed in water a lot of the time and so tend not to complain about how wet they get.

In contrast, we hear a lot of people in the world of work who sound like swimmers who are complaining to their coach that they regularly get wet at work.

Swimmers signed-up for getting wet – they’re just part of the conditions. In the business world, unless you are a total newbie and have never entered the world of work, it’s just as clear that you’re signing up to perform in an world where achieving success isn’t going to be easy. It’s a simple and brutal reality.


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High performance headlines

  • Tough conditions are part of a high performance arena
  • People in the world of work often get distracted by tough conditions for too long
  • To be great in tough conditions, top performers focus on preparing to perform as well as possible within them – they focus on performance, not results

The full viewpoint

Top performers are good at getting ready to compete in the conditions that they signed up for. Sometimes the conditions are even tougher and while they wouldn’t choose tough conditions every day when they get them, they simply prepare to perform as well as possible.

Too many performers in the world of work find themselves more distracted by their conditions and get fixated on how much tougher things are going to be because of them. As a result, they take longer to get into their stride. Sure, they may get there in the end, but the extra time and energy it takes to get up and running is just a waste – particularly because time and energy are two of the most valuable assets at work. Knowing you are going to face tough conditions and not accepting them or preparing for them is willful underperformance.

Different kinds of conditions are a reality. In any competitive environment, sport or work, you can expect the difficulty of the conditions you perform in to change over time. Hoping that they’re always going to be easy isn’t a tactic we’d recommend and it’s certainly not an ingredient of any high performance mindset we’ve ever seen in successful performers.

When we’re working with people who are serious about building and maintaining a high performance mindset, we know they’re regularly thinking stuff like this:

  • What Im used to doing might feel harder than normal but this doesnt mean Ive become a worse performer.
  • When I want to be delivering my best results, I need to stay focused on delivering my best performance.
  • Now’s not the time to think about ‘world records’, it’s about doing what needs to be done to win, whatever the score
  • I won’t be able to trust the numbers so much for feedback, so I need to trust my ability to do the right thing.
  • If Im better than anyone else at controlling what is controllable, then Ill perform as well as I can – while all around me are still worrying about things they cant control.

So, how are you doing on this kind of thinking right now?

  • Are you getting bloody-mindedly brilliant and superb at controlling the things you can?

If you are, then you’ll be one of the few who love tough conditions because you know youll thrive and flourish while others whither and fail in a sea of self-pity.

If you’re not then you might be one of the many who have signed up to swim and yet waste time and energy on how annoying it is to get wet. You’ll under-perform and you’ll get beaten. As ever, performance is a game of choices.