Sometime last year I read a HBS case study, “The Making of a Corporate Athlete” and found it to be extremely interesting and full of very useful information. In continuing to think about this topic of career women today having it all, this Harvard Business School case review came back to mind as having some very valuable information that I think is very applicable to those of us who are trying to make our way up the company latter and balance it all with our personal and family life at the same time.
It talked about needing to build up your Performance Pyramid and that in order to perform at a high performance rate for the long haul and not just burn out there are several capacity’s one needs to be in touch with and have somewhat under control as they go through their career. These capacities were, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
The first three capacities made complete sense to me as these were things I often thought of as hindering one’s ability to be a high performer for a long time. Physical capacity is about the fundamental source of energy which is the base of the “Performance Pyramid”, so things like getting enough sleep at night and little breaks throughout the day to keep your body and mind on point.
The second, emotional capacity refers to those habits or rituals you develop in order to cope when something or someone is always a stressor to you, it’s about the internal climate you create for yourself to support peak performance.
The third, mental capacity is about the cognitive capacities you have like your focus factor, time management and positive and critical thinking skills, all of which are very important in one’s ability to maintain high brain power throughout the day.
The fourth was the one I hadn’t really thought of much from a career development and professional standpoint, the Visualization capacity. I played completive year round sports until I was 21 and had always heard of “visualizing” as being a sports tactic to use to see yourself making the tough play or the hard shot but when it came to using this for my own career I hadn’t really thought about it, yet it makes a lot of sense. The case talks about the date that neuroscientists have found that visualization can literally reprogram the neural circuitry of the brain and directly improve your performance.
After readying the case study I’ve tried to take it up on the recommendation to set an actual time to sit in a quiet place for 5-10 minutes and think about what I want of my day and to visualize the successes I hope to accomplish that day. I will say the times I have actually taken to do this, I am a true believer in its ability to help one see their day through in a very productive successful way and highly recommend this to everyone else out there looking to achieve that high performance day in and day out. This doesn’t just go for trying to visualize each individual day but also taking the time to dig a little deeper and visualize yourself achieving that next promotion or next big career move…once you visualize this and truly begin to believe that you can accomplish that, half the battle is already won.