Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Do You Have a Winning Game Plan

My friend Julie is a sport psychologist who works with world class athletes and top business managers to improve their performance. Her book Performance Intelligence At Work gives readers tools that promise to increase their performance by defining their wins and following a winning game plan.

Julie's always being asked to speak to this group and travel to that state and meet with these athletes. She is, in short, in demand. Being a wife, mom and successful business owner has its downside. She constantly juggles her roles, and over coffee a few months ago, she explained to me how she makes decisions about how she spends her time. She defines and aligns.

I know. I like rhymes, too. And at first glance, I know what you think, "Uh-huh. Fine. Sounds good." Because she is important, and busy, and in demand, and after all, that's kind of her job. And you move on. But. But.

She asked me to try this exercise wherein I separated my life into all the main areas that were important to me. Then, under each category, I wrote down all the tasks or characteristics that applied to that area. After doing this, I would, in theory be able to define the main "purpose" or strength in my life and thereby align all my activities with that purpose.

Sounds easy, right? Well, that was about four months ago, and I just figured out the overriding character, or strength, and was finally willing to commit this to paper. (To me putting something on paper is the equivalent of swearing a blood oath.)

I'm one of those people who rebels against categories, and types, and personality quizzes. My mind fights the idea that people can be quantified and qualified by their parts, rather than the sum. I change my mind a lot, and I like to have my hands busy with numerous and varied projects.

It took me a few days to even start the assignment. Even doing it, I kept thinking of other things I needed to do. I designed a cute little chart on which to do the job. I abandoned that to pen and paper. I got a fresh cup of coffee. After completing the breakdown, I was paralyzed. I DID NOT want to claim that character, or quality. In fact, I set it aside for months.

I wanted to do all the things I was doing, and I was afraid. I was afraid that I would discover I need to abandon all of those completely rewarding activities and become, like, a banker or something.

I told Julie this and she said, "Finish the assignment. You will gain more than you will give up."

And because even though I hate being told what to do I also like rules, I did finish. I've defined. Now, I'm on to the next step, aligning all my activities with this definition. If it doesn't fall under this then I walk away from it, guilt-free. How cool is that? After that, I'm going to work on my winning game plan.

There is a certain freedom in categories and pigeonholes. You know where you belong. You know where home is. There is rest in knowledge, there is rest at home. And I can always change my mind.

If you want to define and align, Julie is coming to Tulsa February 12 and 13 for a two day workshop. She is a fun speaker with tons of energy and a great sense of humor. You will leave with a plan of action. Moms, teachers, small business owners, dads, coaches, her work applies to all areas. You can be my guest by leaving a comment or sending an email. I'd love you to join me.

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