How Sports Can Improve Your Business

By David BreslowSeptember 8, 2004, 4:00 pm
Im often asked by people in business if the insights, principles and tools in the Perform In The FlowZone program for athletes can be used to help people be more successful and productive on and off the job. The answer is a resounding YES.
Many organizations offer training programs for their employees that focus on topics such as leadership, change management, effective communication and stress management in addition to other forms of technical training. In the Perform In The FlowZone At Work workshops we focus on the mind/body/performance insights, mindsets and practical everyday tools that help people excel in changing environments on the job. Beyond traditional training, the focus is on root cause mind/body/performance principles that are linked with the success habits and mental game principles that trigger peak performance in sports as well as other fields.
People in business perform every day. Similar to athletes, they are challenged by both external environmental issues and internal factors (confidence, stress, limiting beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, etc.). Performing well on the job requires not only some of the same tools athletes use but also the insights that help break limiting patterns and allow people to perform up to their potential and be at the top of their game on a consistent basis.
Think about what golf or any other sport demands of you in order for you to perform it well. Of course, there is the mechanical side of the game that focuses on developing the proper technical skill. Then we want to increase our knowledge about the game through experience as this serves as a guide to play the game more effectively. Beyond technical skill and knowledge however, there is another aspect of performance that generates an even more powerful influence on your game. Great athletes understand there is a hidden ingredient that exists beyond the mechanics and knowledge and that understanding it allows them to perform their best. Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods both stated that when they developed their inner game their performance went to another level. They had great physical skills but when they harnessed their mental and emotional skills and brought all three together, they really understood how much the inner game influenced the outer game. They understood that talent alone takes you only so fareven great talent!
There are talented people who dont perform up to their potential in many walks of life. How many people with talent do you know who dont perform up to their potential? Talent is only part of the equation. Everyone on the PGA or LPGA tour is talented. What separates them? Most would agree, its the hidden ingredient of the inner game.
People in business experience the same performance related challenges as athletes do. Environments charged with too much negative energy, poor stress/recovery habits, work/life balance issues, confidence, burnout and subtle forms of self-sabotage can all cause a person to underperform on the job. This costs organizations time, productivity and money. In the FlowZone program, people in organizations learn the same insights that clarify how the mind/ body/performance principles operate to create optimal performance and the practical daily tools and strategies to bridge the gap between knowledge and application.
Athletes develop the following skills/traits and these same skills are appropriate for success in the business environment as well. They include:
  • Present Time Focus

  • Resilience during adversity

  • Decision Making under pressure

  • Confident optimism

  • Balancing stress and recovery

  • Honest and direct communication designed to build spirit

  • Clear vision and goals

  • Focus on excellence

  • Focus on team success

  • Build energy rather than deplete it each day

  • Setting an environment that triggers success

  • Leadership that inspires the best from others
There are also some interesting differences between sports and business as well. Here are a few of them:
Athletes train themselves to perform in high stress situations
In business people may not train (the mind, the body, emotion or spirit) to perform at a high level for extended periods of time.
Athletes expect to work with a great coach
Coaching in the business world sometimes has a negative connotation and may be resisted
Athletes practice more than they actually perform
In business the norm is to perform more than practice
Athletes develop rituals and routines that trigger high performance states
People in business may have routines that dont trigger high performance states
Athletes know how to balance work/stress with recovery
People in business may experience burnout due to overwork and over stress causing them to experience the crash - burn - recover cycle.
Do you think improving these areas would make a difference for you? The business and sports worlds can learn a great deal from each other to create an environment of positive energy that fuels the best from people.
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    Copyright 2004 David Breslow. David is the author of Wired To Win and offers a highly acclaimed Perform In The FlowZone' program for sports and business. David has appeared on The Golf Channel, ESPN radio, etc. For more programs/services/products or sign up for a free newsletter (write newsletter in subject box). Also, review the new series of Performance Training Manuals available online! Contact: David Breslow at 847.681.1698 Email: or visit the web: For book orders call toll free: 1.888.280.7715
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