What business can learn from athletes about wellbeing

Wellbeing

Business is a high performance sport.

Being a successful athlete isn’t just about raw talent. For every example of a star athlete that has made their way thanks to sheer ability, there’s another story of a sportsperson who rose to the top through hard work, will and perseverance.

These athletes don’t do it themselves – they are supported by teams and experts who help develop systems that ensure consistent wellbeing and performance.

Businesses can also get the most out of their teams by incorporating the approaches taken by athletes and high performance teams. Here’s how.

High performance habits

Everybody has habits. Some of them are positive in terms of the influence they have on wellbeing and productivity, however many achieve the exact opposite. Fortunately, with discipline, habits can be moulded over time.

Successful athletes are often fiercely habitual, from when and how they start each day to the routines they carry out before they compete.

Successful athletes are also habitual in their approach to nutrition and training, which maximises health and energy while avoiding performance slippage and injuries. They also meticulously log key aspects of their performance during training and when competing, allowing them to see patterns and identify areas for improvement – all techniques that can be utilised by businesses to get the most out of their teams.

Mindset

Maintaining a positive mindset is something we all struggle with at times. That challenge is amplified significantly for athletes who must stay focused and positive in the face of extreme pressure from the media, fans, coaches, and from themselves as they set out to make their mark in their chosen arena.

One way many athletes develop a consistent, positive mindset is through pre-game rituals, which help cut out the background noise allows them to focus on the task at hand.

Mindfulness routines are also a great way to achieve that mental ‘quiet’ required to stay tuned-in to what really matters. Business people can also use these techniques to protect their wellbeing and perform to the best of their ability when the stakes in their workplace are high.

Physical health

Physical health is, obviously, central to athletic performance, but it also offers huge benefits to anybody with an interest in managing stress and maintaining energy levels.

For those with busy lifestyles, prioritising exercise and scheduling regular workout sessions is crucial.

Exercise is a great way to de-stress, and also offers the ability to disconnect from technology and focus on the physical world, which has proven wellbeing benefits.

Combining exercise with a healthy, balanced diet also has the effect on helping boost energy levels and improve sleep quality, which in turn improves both physical and mental performance.

Recovery is also important. In a business setting, that means committing to getting a sustainable amount of sleep and balancing work with time with family and friends.

Leadership and team dynamics

Whether in the sports arena of the business sector, successful leaders share many of the same qualities.

Leaders in sports can clearly define the team’s goals and are able to unify their players around that common objective. They can demonstrate that a path to success exists, and are able to motivate each member of the team to do what they individually and collectively have to do to make that vision a reality.

Leadership is also about understanding the personalities and abilities of each member of the team, and working with them to achieve their best. Team members who feel understood by their leaders and supported to improve and achieve are not only happier, they perform better too.

Resilience

Every athlete experiences the extreme highs of sporting success as well as enduring the devastating lows - in sport, no one is immune.

What sets truly great athletes apart, however, is their ability to take a loss or failure, learn from it, and leverage it to improve their performance and come back stronger than ever.

The careers of both successful athletes and business people are littered with setbacks. But by treating them as opportunities to learn and re-focus, setbacks can be temporary.

Feedback

Leaders in sport often talk about the ‘coachability’ of star athletes. This refers to their willingness to take feedback and continuously improve, rather than be defensive and stick with what they know.

There’s also an onus on leaders to learn how to give feedback well, in order to get the most out of their team. Feedback that is constructive, understands the abilities of the recipient and sets achievable and measurable targets not only boosts team performance, it enhances wellbeing as well.

Approach your wellbeing the way sports stars do

Using the same technology trusted by some of the world's biggest sporting teams, Lumin Wellbeing makes it easy for business leaders to capture and assess employee data to understand and improve the wellbeing of staff.

Find out more at Lumin Wellbeing