Preparation Is Everything- Help Others
Most of us know that being physically fit and healthy is essential if we’re to keep pace with what is a very challenging career. But many of us still underestimate the impact that our mental and emotional state of mind can have on our performance.
In management of football most of your time will be spent focusing on other people – their physical and mental wellbeing, their performance and motivation – often at the expense of your own health and happiness. But while this selflessness might seem a necessary evil in order to succeed and survive, it is unsustainable.
We know from research that taking insufficient time to recharge and recuperate, mentally and physically, can have a negative effect on the memory, on concentration, judgements and decision making. Managers therefore need to ensure that the physical and emotional energy they expend each day is balanced with enough time to recover and regain focus. In short, a little me time goes a long way to avoiding burnout, ill health and breakdown.
While that can mean simply taking time away from work to reconnect with friends and family, it can also be very valuable to have an interest outside of your sphere of work. Engaging in something you enjoy and that you can totally lose yourself in is a key part of being balanced and looking after your mental and emotional health. Lichfield Academy players the same process needs to be followed.
Mind and body are inexorably linked and this is demonstrated perfectly by the stress response, something we all experience to various degrees countless times each day. When you sense something that you perceive to be a threat – whether that be a loud bang, the potential embarrassment of having to give a speech or the risk of losing face in a big challenge – your body goes into fight or- flight mode. This prepares you physically to either flee the risk or defend yourself, so the heart races and the breath quickens as adrenaline pumps through the body.
If we can learn to control the stress response we can perform better in high-pressure situations, and it also protects our bodies from the damage done by being under constant duress.
Moderate regular exercise can help to dissipate the negative effects of stress on the body while simply finding time to relax in your own space at the end of the day is more important than you might think. Practices such as deep breathing, yoga, meditation and mindfulness can help to engage the vagus nerve supplying the heart, lungs and upper digestive tract, helping you to regain some control and counter the body’s stress response. It also promotes tension release and emotional balance, so can help you fall asleep more easily.
NO MAN IS AN ISLAND
Precious few people ever succeed without the help and support of those around them, so learning to ask for help, advice or just a shoulder to cry on is valuable not just to our mental wellbeing but also our performance.
Great leaders want to be a rock for everyone else, but it’s important to be aware of the problems this can lead to, emotional and physical, and be able to spot the warning signs. There is no weakness in admitting you feel isolated or are finding it difficult to cope – these feelings are very common in sport and business – and certainly no shame in asking for help.
There are immense benefits to sharing key challenges with those you trust or what we call ‘wise counsel’, not least because it allows you to think outside the box and helps to avoid isolated decisions, which may be wrong or rash. There is also an art in stepping back and taking time to consider the outcomes of key decisions.
Seeking the opinions of others who you trust, even if you have a strong gut feeling about a decision, can also benefit you physically as it reduces stress.
Feeling constantly stressed to get things done and seemingly never having the time to achieve your goals usually leads to frustration and can result in raised blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, blood lipid abnormalities and digestive disorders, among other things. Better planning, having the right people around you, prioritising tasks more effectively and delegating to others who are capable and who you can trust, can all help.
Lichfield Academy players are learning to eliminate stressful situations and negative situations to develop forward with a successful career, mind and body. Watch this space for more support.