LEADING YOURSELF - THE PARALLELS BETWEEN SPORTS AND BUSINESS
Two weeks ago, I had been invited to run two workshops at this year's Skinnovation - a startup event on ski where aproximately 200 entrepreneurs, pre-entrepreneurs, startups and investors met up to ski together and attend workshops, speeches and coaching sessions in ski huts and on lifts. I was quite proud when being asked, so of course I immediately agreed to join. While I was still brainstorming what topic my workshop should be about, I once again figured the many parallels between sport psychology and business, in this case entrepreneurship. Hence, I decided to talk about the art of self leadership and its impact on business - hoping that young entrepreneurs would be as interested in it as they were talking to investors. Well, it worked!
So what is Self Leadership?
Being able to "lead ourselves" to control our actions, behaviour and thoughts is a necessary ability that brings us closer to our goals, no matter whether it's in sports, business or our every day life. It's not only important for knowing how far we can push ourselves but also to get a realistic mindset of what we can and cannot do. Thus, that's what we worked on during the workshop: getting to know different strategies of Self Leadership and how to foster them in practice.
Generally speaking, there are three basic strategies: cognition-based strategies, proactive behaviour strategies and natural reward strategies. I was talking about the latter in my last post - Why we do things and what drives us. Using natural reward strategies means trying to figure out what we like most about what we do (or have to do). What drives us? How can we implement actions we love doing in our work? Whether it's at work or in sports, having something that we inherently like about what we do is essential to keep going in the longterm.
Proactive behaviour strategies include strategies like rewarding ourselves after having achieved a goal. I personally believe we reward ourselves way too rarely. Instead of celebrating an achieved goal (even - or particularly - if it's a small goal), we would take it for granted and immediately keep going to achieve our next goal. Rewarding ourselves means doing ourselves something good because we acknowledge having achieved something and that we are proud of it. An example: my best friend's favourite strategy is going shopping for rewarding herself. Remember, also little rewards matter! Rewarding ourselves doesn't always mean throwing a big party or spending our monthly wage. Small rewards work as well! However, there is also the strategy of punishing ourselves if we haven't achieved something we had planned to. However, science says that if we always punished ourselves it would have a negative impact on our wellbeing in the longterm... Another proactive behaviour strategy is goal setting. As this topic had been discussed in earlier posts, I won't write too much about it now. Cues are helpful, too. Which cues do you use to remind yourself of things that need to be done and achieved?
Last but not least, there are cognition-based strategies. They are widely used in sports and sport psychology: identifying and replacing dysfunctional beliefs and assumptions (e.g. "I can't do this. This is too difficult" replaced by "It's a challenge. I might not be able yet to do it but I'll work hard for it."), positive self talk and visualization.
So which strategies do you prefer yourself?
With all that said, I want to thank the organisers for inviting me to take part in this great event. I really enjoyed Skinnovation - running workshops, going skiing, meeting people from all around Europe, having good food and a nice party... I hope to see you there (again) next year!
In the meanwhile, for all who have missed it, here is the official Skinnovation Movie 2016. Have fun watching!