I recently had the opportunity to keynote an “All Hands” meeting for a company in Boston. They had a great theme, “It’s Showtime!” and wanted me to present the closing keynote titled “Game On!” It all centered around their focus of moving the company to the next level in the international market – I loved it! This is a young, vibrant company with dynamic leadership and a strong culture of success. My background in sports was a natural fit and we collaborated to create a keynote around three key points: when you work long hard hours, you need to keep your life in balance; success in today’s world takes adaptability, imagination and resilience; and stay focused on the outcome you want, not the obstacles.
“It’s Showtime” is what I feel every time I step on the stage for a speech and each time I step up to the line in a competition. Last March at the skiing world championship, I had the same feeling we tried to convey at this company meeting… years of preparation, planning and goal setting are behind us, now it’s Game On! I like the intense concentration required for both racing in the world championships and presenting a keynote before 100′s of people.
In the months leading up to the world championship, I envisioned myself in the lead pack as we approached the finish. I knew the last several kilometers would be intense as we climbed the final hills toward the stadium, so I prepared with tough training sessions with better athletes. One of the key points of the recent keynote was “what you focus on, expands.” My focus in the race was on skiing as relaxed, smooth and powerful as possible, to be in the lead pack, ready to sprint for the gold at the finish. I had hoped to be in the front with 8 kilometers to go, but got tangled up with the Russian skier and lost valuable seconds. Working my way through the pack, back up to the lead took a great deal of energy so I drafted along just behind the leader for a brief rest. With 3 kilometers to go, on a long, tough hill, the Austrian skier in the lead faltered and I made the move… it was a grueling 8 minutes of climbing up to the finish, but rather than focusing on the pain, I focused on efficiency and power. And, the goal of sprinting for gold in the stadium.
In our work, we have a better shot at success when we focus on the outcome we want, toughen up when needed, get rest and play to keep our balance and stay agile and resilient when change comes our way. It’s Game On, time to be at our best when it counts!