This week while delivering a keynote in Sydney, I met an attendee named Mark who just came off a 19-week training program and was set to compete in an Ironman event. Anyone who completes an Ironman has earned respect in my book. It's not just the race but the training - hundreds of hours of training. Mark was in the taper period to allow his body to recover from all the training, get strong, and prepare for the race ahead. I said to him, the work is done, now it’s a mind game. It’s funny that while talking to Mark, I thought about most corporate athletes like those reading this blog. The difference is the corporate athlete goes 52 weeks of the year and will even check emails and make calls on holiday. When is it the taper period for the corporate athlete? Where is it okay to put your feet up, not work hard, or not progress from one session to the next? When is it okay to eat well, get loads of sleep, read, and prepare for the next event? Over Christmas, it’s time to taper. Your corporate world is a 365 Ironman. We go hard at it all day long, and without a taper and recovery, we burn out. More and more people tell me they feel empty, that they lack direction, feel unmotivated, and are not sure if they can get through the next week. This Christmas, know that you have done the work and you are entirely entitled to your taper period. 2018 will be another Ironman so don’t feel guilty taking a break. That is the trap many athletes fall into - they feel guilty, so they just do a little more than they should. Rookie mistake! Make sure you’re ready to go and get it.
I changed up my morning ritual recently. For the last two weeks, I've watched a motivational video from Impact Theory each day. The videos are inspiring, beautifully presented, and full of great messages. Do you know what happened next? Within an hour of watching a video, I'd find myself grinding away at work and any lesson, inspiration or thought I took away from the video was left behind. By mid-morning, I could barely remember what I watched. We often look to these videos, podcasts, and even keynote speakers for motivation to make our lives better. I’ve come to appreciate that motivation is not the answer. Motivation is not your friend. When it comes to getting stuff done what counts the most is that you do the work that you do not want to do. Discipline, hard work, consistency, repetition, and doing the things that stretch you are your friends. Motivation goes away, but the discipline and persistence of challenging yourself each day will take you to a place where others will look to you for inspiration. Regardless of whether it’s in business, your social life, or a charitable endeavour, each hour of the day there is a way to take the easy option. Don’t. Challenge yourself all day, every day to look for opportunities, even in the smallest way, to choose the more daring option. Now that’s motivating!
This week, while travelling on the bus to the city, I noticed a guy on his phone flickering through his photos. He was searching for pictures of his family. He would stop on a photograph, enlarge it and just stare and think. Not long ago on the Mojo Radio Show, I interviewed Emily Fletcher from Ziva Meditation in New York, and she spoke of the new science that looks at the positive effect of gratitude on the brain. What occurred to me as I watched this guy reflect on his photos rather than flick through them like an Instagram feed, is that he was genuinely thinking about who he loved and who loved him. There's loads of talk about the power of gratitude journaling, and photos are undoubtedly a powerful way to stimulate the gratitude connections in your brain, transporting you to an amazingly positive moment in your personal history. Emily said that by simply thinking about what you are grateful for, you are stimulating your brain - making it healthier, stronger and creating new connections. We have those moments in our pockets at all times, and it makes us remember that Kodak was not in the photo business, they were in the memory business. So here is my suggestion, next time you find yourself with a moment to kill, and you are tempted to check your social media feed, your email, or your text messages - stop. Instead, go to your photo album and open a photo of a beautiful moment in the past where you were surrounded by the people you love and those that love you. Reflect, be grateful and take a moment - it's good for your Mojo, for your brain, and goodness knows what else. Make it a daily ritual - when you grab your cup of coffee grab a photo. When you sit on the bus, grab a photo. Before you walk in the door to greet your family after a long day, grab a photo. There is profound wisdom to be taken from the experience of the guy on the bus.
Cameron Smith is one of the greatest captains in the history of rugby -- he will go down as Australian Rugby League immortal. He's captained the record-breaking Maroons, the Melbourne Storm and is currently captaining Australia in the World Cup. Teammate Cooper Kronk has played next to Smith for well over a decade, and he recently said, 'I don’t remember him ever throwing me a bad pass.' Smith is a concrete player, someone who is consistently consistent. It's an amazing attribute to carry on and off the field since one of the most common challenges we face is that we often lack consistency. We see a video and get motivated, only to fall back into our old ways soon after. We go to a conference, walk away inspired, only to revert to old habits. Successful people in any area of life are consistently consistent. It’s finding the discipline and courage to hold yourself to the highest standard. Be a concrete player for yourself, your family, your health, your company, and your clients. Be that person they look to who holds the highest standard and is consistently consistent. © GB