You want to know one of the most important success secrets I have learned from world class athletes, something that will transform your career because you will finally understand how to achieve better results while also having more time for your personal life?
It’s the strategy that has allowed some of the greatest athletes experience longer, more consistent and more enjoyable careers.
And it is one of the main reasons I believe for example Roger Federer is still playing tennis at the highest level at the proud age of 37 years old.
I call it the “doing less, not more strategy.”
I know this sounds a bit counter-intuitive.
After all, most of us get taught that in order to do well, we need work as much as we can, even if it means sleeping 6 hours and having no life whatsoever, outside our jobs.
And when we do take time off, we feel guilty and use every opportunity to check our emails and get some work done.
However, this mentally is also the reason why most of us feel burned out and exhausted.
World class athletes realize that in order to consistently improve and perform at the highest level, they need to give 120%!
Regardless if they are practicing or competing.
Since this requires lots of energy, focus and stamina, these outliers can’t afford to feel tired or demotivated.
So what do they do?
One observation I made as the agent of world class athletes was that the better an athlete performed, the more vacation they would take!
For example, most top-10 tennis players enjoy longer off-seasons and add more mini-vacations throughout the year than their competitors who try to cramp up their schedules with as many tournaments and as many practice weeks as possible.
Now I can hear you already say:
‘’That’s because they can afford to take time off.”
True, but it’s not the whole truth.
Top performers face more pressure than everyone else, often are more ambitious, so they would not take more vacations if they didn’t think it would serve them.
The real reason why they take so much time off is because while most people focus on quantity they focus on quality!
This is what allows them to train and compete at the highest level.
In fact, I remember how Roger Federer took off 6 month in 2016, and then stormed back in 2017 and regained the #1 position in the world rankings.
By taking time off, he literally extended the expiry date of his career.
Taking time off has been so efficient for top athletes that it is now also becoming a trend amongst executives, or entrepreneurs, or business people, who realize they too want to perform at their highest level.
As J.P. Morgan famously said:
“I can get 12 months of work done in nine months, but not in 12 months.” What he meant was that he really needs three months of vacation.’’
But here is the problem:
Once we realize that taking time off can actually help us do better in our careers, and we start feeling excited that sunbathing at some fancy resort is actually good for our performance, most of us face two specific challenges.
First of all, we are super busy so how do we find the time for a vacation?
Well, you want me to be blunt- there is only one way.
We must plan our vacations in advance.
Look, we will always have deadlines and projects, so unless we commit to a vacation and make plans, it won’t happen.
You want my personal recommendation?
At the beginning of each year, schedule and plan short getaways, every three months.
Once you schedule and book them, you know they’re actually happening.
The good thing about scheduling vacations is that they also create these milestones that we can look forward to and that evoke emotions of excitement and joy.
Finally you have a finish line!
The second challenge is that if you are anything like me, you may have experienced being super excited about your trip to some fancy destination.
You pack, and then you go there but you struggle to switch off!
You keep checking your mobile phone. You check your emails.
You say to yourself:
“You know what? I’ll work just half an hour today. I just need to finish up this one thing.”
In other words:
You traveled the world and spent thousands of dollars, and yet you are still not enjoying yourself!
You know why this happens?
Its because most ambitious people are obsessed with the feeling of being busy.
We think time is money and that we always need to be doing something, so we don’t lose out..
So a vacation is like driving a car at 120 miles per hour and then suddenly pressing the stop button and trying to stop in one second.
It doesn’t work.
Instead, we need to train ourselves how to switch off from work.
And make it a habit to sit still and just to enjoy little things like the fresh air, the view in front of us, maybe listening to some relaxing music, or just focusing on doing one small activity at a time.
Let me make three suggestions how you can do this immediately:
First of all, we want introduce breaks into our day.
For example, I set my alarm clock for every hour and take a 5 minute break when it rings.
When my alarm rings, I stop what I am doing, get up, move around a bit, get a drink and relax for a few minutes.
It’s a very simple practice, and it will surprise you how much more energized you will feel after your short break.
And it will help you learn how to switch off, and overcome that impulse to keep working, on a regular basis.
I realize that sometimes we are in flow, and it might make sense to keep going.
But usually I would say.
Be disciplined, and overcome the resistance to stop, because it will help you perform better throughout your day.
Also, make sure you use those mini-breaks to really rest and recover.
Most people are tempted to check emails and browse the internet- but this is exhausting and keeps our mind busy, which is why it won’t help us recover!
Instead, focus on resting your mind and moving your body.
Second, you want to also have a finish time for your work day, like say 5pm in the afternoon. This will give you many benefits besides the fact that you are getting familiar with the fact that you are not working like a maniac:
- It will make you more productive during the day because you have less time to waste.
- It will allow you to start your next day feeling more recovered and more refreshed.
- You will start enjoying your life more.
- And by giving our conscious mind time to rest and let your subconscious mind work, you will also trigger some of your best ideas.
In short, in the same way world class athletes train several hours with full intensity, and then use the rest of their day of to rest and recover, we can do the same- and it will help us become much more productive.
Once we master our day, we want to add another habit: We want to start using weekends to turn off from work and enjoy ourselves more:
So instead of checking emails and browsing the internet, we want to spend quality time with family time, enjoy lavish massages and experience adventurous activities.
By doing so, we not only train ourselves to enjoy time off, but we also give us the energy boost to start the week feeling inspired and rejuvenated.
You will see that once you practice taking time off for yourself, you will start to develop the crucial skill of prioritizing recovery time. This will allow you to enjoy your next vacation guilt free, and build up the kind of energy reserves that will help you perform at levels that will seriously surprise you!
The key is to get started, by taking regular breaks, by stopping to work at a specific hour and by enjoying your weekends.
And of course, by sharing with me in the comment section, where you will be doing your next vacation. 😉
If you read until here….
You are definitely the kind of ambitious individual that I would love to have in my private Facebook community of high performers.
If you want to be part of a community that is dedicated to leveling up our professional businesses and careers whilst also enjoying personal well being and thriving relationships, you can join by clicking this link:
Join The High-Performance Project
In the group, I share some of the best high-performance strategies I have discovered from my personal life, years of research and having managed some of the worlds best tennis players.
I also reveal some of behind the scene details of how I am building this tribe of top performers. along the journey of building my own brand & business.
I look forward to seeing you in the group.
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If you liked this post and would like to learn more high-performance strategies that will help you excel in pressure-filled moments, download your free copy of the Ultimate Guide to Mental Toughness here.