There were only three days left before I had to have the program ready for my team. I had been putting off working on the project until it seemed like the last minute. I could feel the pressure building internally and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to deliver.
Working to deliver results is something we all face, whether we’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a sales professional, a clerk at the grocery store, an elite athlete or a parent trying to raise teenage children.
The pressure to perform well and get tangible results can sometimes be overwhelming. Often we struggle with our performance because we focus too much on the outcome. It might be a good bottom line, hitting our targets, serving a never-ending lineup of people, scoring a basket or keeping kids happy.
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Here are three things you can do that will help you get better results even though you might not think they could:
Don’t worry about the results, focus on the learning
You do need to know what you’re trying to achieve as your ultimate goal. However, when we look at other aspects of our task, such as learning, we usually get better outcomes.
For example, if when you’re trying to do something difficult like make a sale or serve more customers in an hour, or keep teenagers engaged, try to think differently. What is this customer thinking right now? What are they feeling? What do they really want to achieve today? If we ask ourselves these questions, we will have a better outcome than if we focus on closing the deal.
In sports, if we’re focused on understanding how the ball is moving as we catch it or the puck is spinning as it hits our stick, or guessing what the person in front of us is going to do next as a consequence of their last action, we will perform better.
It might be counterintuitive to think that by not focusing on the results we will have a better performance, but ask any athlete if looking at the scoreboard is going to get them points.
Have more fun
Having coached sports teams and corporate teams, I know that when people are having more fun, they get better results.
This doesn’t mean they have less intensity, it just means that the outcomes are better when we’re enjoying what we’re doing.
Have clarity about why you’re doing what you’re doing
It seems strange to think that many people don’t know why they’re going to work each day.
As leaders, we often think people come to work because they love working for us. The truth is that people work for a variety of reasons. Some work to make money to pay the bills and take an annual vacation. Others work because they want to retire one day. There are people who work to get out of the house, to further their career, to be of help to others or to be alone, depending on the job.
When we understand why we work, we perform better. When we understand why our job is important, we accomplish better. When we know why our organization does what it does and we can align ourselves with that reason, we achieve more.
I was able to get my project finished in time – I found some really interesting information that made it easier to get excited about it. Once I was having more fun, the work wasn’t a burden and I achieved my goal.
Performing at our best all the time can seem like a challenge unless we move the goal posts and focus on those factors that might not seem important but make the difference – like learning, fun and clarity.
Dave Fuller, MBA, is an award winning business coach and a partner in the firm Pivotleader Inc. Got a weird story to tell Dave? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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