Living in a world where markets and lifestyles continually change places many demands on a business leader. Building stamina and keeping focused becomes essential in staying in the game. In this video, I discuss how small business leaders can build stamina and resilience for your business to keep you going even when the going gets tough.
Building stamina is like building muscle: it requires discipline, working out, rest, and recovery. It also doesn’t happen overnight. Building stamina is one training that all athletes are familiar with—and building your stamina in your business utilises the same principles as what athletes use in order to stay in the race and win. Let’s take inspiration from athletes on what they do to train, build stamina, and stay focused.
1. Begin with building routines.
Athletes train to build muscle memory to help decrease the need for attention and to make sure every movement counts. It also helps athletes reduce the number of decisions they need to make, which is vital in staying focused. This is why they establish training routines.
Routines also work against procrastination. In a 2014 commencement speech at the University of Texas at Austin, Naval Admiral William McRaven, the commander of U.S Special Operations, explains the importance of starting the morning with a routine, specifically making your bed, “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another and another.”
You can build routines for just about anything in your business. Anything that you do regularly, whether it’s touching base with your team, looking into their financials and creating financial housekeeping routines, or checking up on your equipment and machinery.
Routines help you feel accomplished, which helps you feel motivated to achieve more tasks and goals. Ultimately, the purpose of routines is to establish predictability, keep you motivated, and reserve precious energy only for the decisions that will matter the most.
2. Fuel your performance.
Athletes follow a strict diet to ensure they eat the right amount of food that will provide them with the right amount of nutrients to fuel their system. For entrepreneurs and business owners, this means fueling yourself with the right mindset and attitude to help you achieve your vision. This may mean investing in yourself through training to help you develop the right skills and know-how. This may also mean working with a business coach, just as athletes work with coaches to help them work on their techniques and strategies.
This also means investing in your health. The top entrepreneurs of our time take their health and fitness seriously. Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Mark Cuban all follow a diet and exercise regimen because being healthy helps them keep pace with their packed daily schedules.
3. Taking rests is important and recovery is crucial.
What is the difference between rest and recovery? Rest entails inactivity, while recovery is defined as returning to a better state. The difference is in what you do or do not do. Taking rests means sleeping enough, and, more importantly, making sure you get quality sleep. This may mean taking naps in the middle of the day. Studies have shown that naps improve alertness and focus, reduce stress, improve stamina, and boost memory.
Recovery, on the other hand, means doing things that fuel you. When you are at peak performance: is it after a long day’s work or after a relaxing vacation? Hobbies and sports are great recovery tools.
Rest and recovery aren’t privileges. They are essential in keeping you focused and building stamina, being resilient and building stamina is about how you recharge and not how you endure. So go ahead and take that nap or even that vacation the next time you feel the need to recover and recharge. Just make sure that it is sustainable, and be open to napping during the day.
4. Celebrate milestones
Achieving business success is a long game, closer to a marathon than a sprint. Pounding the pavement for a very long time can seem tiring. That’s why you celebrate your milestones to fuel you on the next leg.
Did you win that bid or get a new client? Celebrate that. Did you just hit an important revenue milestone? Did you just hit your first hundred thousand, or maybe your first million? Celebrate that big win! Did you clear out a big chunk of your accounts receivables? That’s a win; celebrate that.
Success is a series of small wins achieved over the course of time. It’s a series of steps you take, one over the other. The joy comes from the journey—so celebrate it and use that to fuel the journey ahead.
5. Focus on your goals
When there are many things going on, it’s easy to get distracted. It’s easy to fixate on your competition and what they’re doing. It’s easy to fixate on the crisis or the mistakes made that led to a situation. And while it’s important to understand what your competition is doing and to figure out what went wrong, it’s more important to move away from dwelling on those distractions and instead focus on what you can do so that you can achieve your goals—just as athletes focus on their own performance and what they need to do to win the race.
Because at the end of the day, you do all these things—build routines, fuel your performance, rest and recover, and celebrate milestones—it is because you want to succeed in achieving your goal. It won’t matter that you built your stamina if you’re easily distracted. Distractions force you to use precious energy that is better used elsewhere. Instead, keep it simple: focus only on the things that work towards your goal.
In summary, building stamina and focusing on goals is essential for business success. Like athletes, business owners need to build routines, invest in their development and their health, learn to rest, recover, and recharge, celebrate milestones, and focus on their goals to build stamina and help them stay focused.