Getting into the zone. What entrepreneurs can learn from elite athletes.
Today, I really want to talk about how entrepreneurs can learn from elite athletes to get yourself into the zone, where you can accomplish more. Entrepreneurs may essentially take the skills I’m going to teach today and help you accomplish more in your business and also in your personal life.
I am a former elite athlete — I used to study and train with Olympic athletes and the current Olympic World Champion, Mo Farah, was my training partner. We mainly did long distance running.
What is the zone?
The zone is basically a state of mind. It is a state of supreme focus where you’re ultimately so connected to the goal that you have in mind or whatever it is that you want to accomplish.
For example, I used to be a distance runner and my main events were the 10-mile half marathon and cross country running. I really enjoyed that. But there were things that I did prior to competition. This included some routines in order to really get into the zone. And you would have seen a lot of athletes practice this, especially if you’re a sports fan. Footballers, for example, may have headphones on when they get off the bus, even right up until the beginning of the match. They’ve got the headphones in because that’s their way of getting focused and blocking out all the distractions.
It’s the same with a track athlete. For example, a sprinter completely looks forward, is completely focused on the finishing line, is already winning the race. They’re already thinking and breaking down exactly what he needs to do at a particular time. And they’re so focused on achieving, because they are there in the present moment.
I’m going to give you a system that you can use to effectively get into your zone, because being in the zone for each person is very different. To get into the zone requires not just a supreme level of focus, but there are certain things that you need to put in place before you can effectively get into the zone. And obviously athletes are extremely good at that.
What affects our mindset?
There are so many things that effect our mindset, from negativity to fear, to your environment, to the associations that you hang around with. There are so many things right now that affect your mindset. And these things have to be dealt with before you even think about getting into the zone.
What Olympic athletes are particularly great at is conditioning their mindset for success. One of the things that I found, especially being an entrepreneur and a business owner, is ultimately you’ve got to find a passion that really brings the adrenaline out of you, that brings this power, this excitement.
Find your passion.
If you’re doing something right now, even if you’re in a job, if you are doing a business, that doesn’t particularly make you happy, there’s no way in a million years you will ever become fulfilled. You will never fulfill your potential. You will never ever get yourself into the zone because you’re disconnected with what excites
I had a really interesting conversation with a lady this week. I loved her energy, but she had so much going on. I could really feel her passion for wanting to help people, but she just really was in this no-man’s land.
What are your interests? If you don’t know what your passions and interests are, you’ve got to go back to that. Think about what you’re passionate about.
There was a couple who lived in an apartment and were on low-paid jobs at the time. One of them had just lost their job, and they were struggling to pay their bills. They were sleeping on a mattress. They were hardly eating, they were at the brink of going crazy, and you can imagine the pressure that they were under. But they decided to set up a business based on their passion and that passion was fitness. They created a business that they could monetize in the digital world or the online space. They did some training. They started to become more focused, laser focused and essentially what they wanted to accomplish, and they started to get some success and within about two years, they became millionaires, just because they wanted to focus on their passions. They were doing jobs that they didn’t enjoy it, even though they were low paid, but they did enjoy fitness, they enjoyed training. They loved helping people, they loved staying fit and staying slim.
Have a clear intention.
One of the things that I would say from my perspective is you’ve got to have a clear intention about what is it that you actually want to accomplish in your business. Get a very clear intention in your head about exactly what you want to achieve. Because if you get that correct, then you can start to laser focus on essentially getting into that zone.
Don’t fear pressure.
The only pressure that you feel is what you put upon yourself. You’ve got to have situational awareness by becoming aware of your strengths and your weaknesses. Be aware of your environment and what is going to distract you from achieving your focus or achieving your goal because once you begin to get an understanding of that, you’re then going to start to increase your confidence and confidence is what you really need in order to overcome fear.
Grit is basically a combination of mastering self-discipline and passion It is a commitment to a particular task or project or burning desire to essentially see it through. You develop resilience in face of adversity and tenacity and determination to reach your goals. More importantly, you’ve got to believe in yourself.
If you don’t believe in yourself, then how is it that you are essentially going to be able to connect with other humans? If you can’t believe in yourself, then they’re not going to believe in you. There’s going to be a disconnection between trust and credibility.
You also really need to think about being addicted to improvement. When I was an athlete, one of the things I was so I suppose addicted to was to improve my times. For 10 kilometer running, the holy grail was to break the 40-minute mark. I was so focused on trying to improve and I started breaking down what time I needed to hit every mile, every half a mile. I started to visualize
Create visualizations of success.
Start to create visualizations. It’s all about the preparation that you do in your head. Start to map out what it feels like. So in running, for example, I started to really believe that I was actually there, I was actually winning the race. Because one of the ways in which you can win, especially in business, is that if you start to visualize and you start to get a picture, a crystal clear picture of what it looks like, how does it feel, then you’ve already won, because your only competition really is you. And that’s what you’ve really got to conquer.
Maintain focus under pressure because we’re all under pressure. Especially when you’ve got lots of projects going on. And if you’ve got multiple different ideas going on in your head right now, be present. Because if you focus on one thing at a time, then you’re going to go much faster. Otherwise all the other things become distractions.
Learn from losing and also learn from winning
From a growth mindset, think about whether there was ever a time where things didn’t quite work out? How did it make you feel? Did it make you feel disappointed? The other question you have to ask yourself is did I try my best? Did I go all in? Did I bring my A-game?
You start to analyse, you start to assess yourself. And one of the things that athletes are particularly good at, and this is something that I would highly endorse you guys to do is to self-evaluate. Become aware of your strengths and weaknesses, what are the areas of your life that you’re particularly great at? I always focus on my strengths and delegate my weaknesses. That’s why I have a marketing team, and my marketing team do the stuff that I don’t enjoy doing because I focus on delivering great content like we’re doing now.
Stop comparing yourself to other people.
Now, athletes are particularly good at this. What they do is focus on themselves. They focus on their own performance and take responsibility for it.
Don’t be sucked into the comparison trap, especially if you’re on social media a lot. There, you might read some posts from other people that they have been featured here or done this or achieved that. And then you start to create those negative dialogues in your subconscious. What I would endorse you to do is don’t always believe what you read. That’s the first thing and secondly, comparing yourself to where other people are is only going to degrade your performance.
I really want you to take these points on board more than anything else because I really do believe that you can identify certain patterns of behaviors and self-sabotaging habits by becoming a little bit more aware.
Keep a journal.
You can keep a journal by writing out certain habits, behaviors, and how is it that you feel at certain times. When you start to write down these things in your journal, you become more aware of how you can fix certain things.
For example, this year, I did stay completely out of my comfort zone. We hosted the Game Changers Summit that some of you already know about. And the Game Changers Summit was a digital, online summit with 30 of the world’s leading industry authorities. I had no clue about how to run a summit. I had no clue about systems and processes to streamline to make it more efficient. I didn’t know how I was going to reach people. I had so many unanswered questions about if it was going to work or not.
There wasn’t one time when I said to myself, this is going to fail. I was completely immersed in this summit that we created. I was so focused on helping people and inspiring people so they can take fast and effective action. I don’t want people to become me, I want people to become themselves.
You don’t see behind the scenes. I couldn’t have done any better than I already did. And that goes to my team as well, because without a team, there’s no way I would have been able to develop or deliver a successful online summit. It was the very first time and we reached over 2000 people. We impacted 2000 lives. And we delivered some amazing content.
This is what the zone feels like.
We are thinking about relaunching the Game Changers Summit to reach out to the people that didn’t listen to it the first time. If you’re interested in listening to 30 of the world’s leading industry authorities, please drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.