An athlete’s mental toughness is also vital in the corporate arena


Our editorial partners at high performance development consultancy Sporting Edge look at the correlation between being mentally tough in the sporting arena and the business world and produce four insights to help improve your resilience at work.

Mental toughness and resilience has traditionally been reserved for describing sporting stars who consistently deliver their best game irrespective of the pressure, prize or consequence. But this same mindset is now vital in the corporate arena due to unprecedented levels of expectation, uncertainty and change.

The pressures and stresses of work can have an adverse effect on our performance, but Sporting Edge has done the hard work for you, with four exclusive high performance insights from our unique library of expert interviews that will help you to improve your Mental Toughness and Resilience at work.

1.  Emotional Control: Lisa Akesson is a communications expert at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and gave Sporting Edge her advice on how to compose yourself when under pressure.

“Often if people are nervous or they are under pressure, what they tend to do is to go into that fight or flight breath. When you are rushed or pressurised just close your eyes for a few seconds, or concentrate on the depth of your breathing and take that time to slow it down. When you spend a few seconds getting that breath back, you get your feet back on the ground, which enables you to speak with confidence and clarity.”

Make a conscious effort to focus on your breathing practices when you are under pressure. Before you say or do anything, take a couple of seconds to breathe deeply and notice the impact that this has.

 2.  Confidence: Jurgen Grobler is the head coach of GB Rowing and gave Sporting Edge an exclusive insight into how to build confidence.

“The first thing is to make the strong part of the athlete stronger, hold it there and then work on the weaknesses. So I would not turn everything around and just work on the weaknesses because sport lives from strengths, strong parts. You must try to balance things but without losing the strengths, if you lose the speciality of the athlete you will not get the best out of them.”

What are your key strengths? What are the activities that energise you? How can you use them more effectively?

3.  Focus: Fran Halsall is double Commonwealth Swimming champion and described how important focus is in order to reach peak performance.

“I found it really hard to say no to things and thought that I could split myself into seven parts, but you can’t, something’s got to give but you don’t want the training to give. I’ve learnt over the last few years that I can’t do it all and that’s what I want- swimming comes first. I have to be at training I have to do the sessions and until I get my Olympic gold, that’s what I want to do.”

What is your core goal?  What are the tasks and activities that you are currently doing that don’t specifically contribute to this?  Can you minimise or delegate any of these to focus more on your core objectives?

4.  Commitment: Amy Williams is a Winter Olympic Gold medallist in Skeleton Racing and described how she overcame a string of serious injuries to reach the highest level.

“If you go back a few steps to when you’ve had similar situations, you need to use that as confidence to know that you can get through it- you did it before. There’s a certain process of that, you’ll get through it again and you’ll probably be an even stronger person than you were before. It is tough at the time but at the end you know you will always come out as a better or stronger person.”

Think about some setbacks you have had in the past 12 months. What did you learn from them and how can you become ‘better and stronger’?

To read the original article from our editorial partner, Sporting Edge, in full, click here.

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Sporting Edge is a high-performance consultancy which solves business challenges using the winning mindset from sport. Having worked with and interviewed many of the world’s leading sports leaders and teams, Sporting Edge has created a game changing digital library of insights to inspire and educate businesses and industry professionals on the requirements needed to achieve success in business through performance.

Find out more about the services Sporting Edge offers to help you and your organisation click here.

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