Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Hanging Tough

I am reading Jason Selk's '10 Minute Toughness' at the moment and really enjoying it, being a sucker for any self improvement texts, especially if they are able to throw in some sports references along the way.

(I now know what people from the States are referring to when they mention 'bottom of the 9th' - previously I wondered what the big draw was to the 9th as everyone seemed to end up there at some point)

Anyways the general theme of the book was doing all you can to be at ease prior to competition or an event - with sports people this makes perfect sense in the context of practice sessions or routines you need to create on the day of competition, a good universal example (he said after bracketing Baseball as a US sport though it is big in Japan) being the different events you gymnasts have e.g the horse, the vault... the rope thingy with the hoops.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 22: A fan of Japan wea...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

It is all good stuff which can be applied to professional lives also but I wondered if there were two areas that could be used in the context of the corporate world. Thinking about it I have been inspired by Selk to come up with this - T and T:
Technique and Temperament

Technique - so this is all about the skills you have at your disposal to do the job. In doubt about  your technique? Then like Selk says you need to get practiced and versed in your discipline so competition comes easy as the practice has been where you have grafted and tested yourself.

But how do you get 'match-fit' (so to speak) from a career perspective? You need to get involved at work and outside of it with events and opportunities to get exposure to areas that are alien to you but you will need to progress and move forward. 

Selk also talks about having public announcements of the changes you wish to make so others hold you to account - idea being you might be happy to let yourself down but you nearest and dearest will pull you up for progress updates etc. 

Perhaps not best to let clients know they are an experiment in your professional development but might be an idea to let friends know of your big ideas - they are more likely to have supportive suggestions and pull you up when you are not being honest ("Patrick stop making excuses - that red wine stain did not end up on the carpet by itself"). Also when people realise you are looking to develop skills in a certain area they might know of someone in their network who might be able to assist/advice.

Temperament - I think this is the tougher of the two to maintain and, in some ways, the more fragile as it can be a little bit more subject to the actions of others. For example, you can develop a wealth of knowledge on how to coach and mentor but there is no guaranteeing the type of questions that will be thrown at you during a session.

In some ways this is when technique comes in to its own - at least you can relax knowing you have practised your skills, it is just a case of using your judgement as to how to apply them and when.

Discretion and judgement is arguably something that can only be obtained through experience - which can be quite exciting in some ways, as at least with every step you have the opportunity to develop your skill set.

Check out Selk for more positive suggestions of ways forward. In the meantime I hope you find my T and T a dynamite piece of advice!

Resisting the temptation to add 'boom boom' for that pun... probably best to draw it to a close here for the moment.

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