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Posts archive for ‘Leadership’

High risk and mental attitude

February 18, 2010

‘It’s not pure physical ability that makes champions, it’s having the right mental approach and these guys [downhill ski racers] take that to a whole different level.’  Michael Johnson talking in a recent documentary about downhill ski racers.

The Winter Olympics brings us a window on top level competitors in some of the highest risk sports out there; downhill skiing, ski jumping and luge to name but a few.   The stakes are high, and yet they love their sports and the challenge of pushing the limits and being on the edge – that’s what makes them tick.

 I’ve competed myself in high adrenaline dangerous sports (paragliding at World Class level) and have friends and colleagues who thrive on challenge.  To many, those who compete in high risk sports may seem like complete nutcases who are constantly cheating death. However Michael Johnson hits the nail on the head when suggesting that the mental approach is taken to a whole different level.  

Athletes in high risk sports thrive on the exhileration that comes from competing on the edge, they know the risks, and they ensure that their mental and physical training helps them minimise the risks and maximise performance. 

It’s the same with ‘downhill ski racers’ of the business world, those who thrive on living on the edge.  And as with sport, the higher the business risk, the greater the importance of having the right mental attitude to reap the rewards of working on the edge. 

And this reminds me of one of my favourite poems by Christopher Logue:

  Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It’s too high!
COME TO THE EDGE!
And they came,
and we pushed,
And they flew.

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playtime enhances creativity, innovation and well-being

November 9, 2009

Are you feeling creatively stifled or in a rut?  It’s well known that organisations like Google and Innocent have play rooms to enhance creativity and innovation.  Recent research by Bekoff suggests that adults who do not play are at risk of becoming unhappy and exhausted and may not understand why they feel this way.  I know that if I don’t get to play enough at the things I really enjoy I soon begin to feel unmotivated and lose my ‘joie de vivre’.  Stuart Brown founder of the National Institute for Play (USA) says we should all find time for play and suggests the following types of play:

  • Body play – some form of active movement with no deadlines or expectations – just have fun
  • Object play – have fun creating something you enjoy
  • Social play – get together with others and play verbally – from small talk to lively debate

So I’m currently enhancing my creativity through…..

  • body play – walking/cycling in beautiful countryside and a couple of weeks ago swimming at dawn in the warm Caribbean – just letting the mind wander.
  • social play – I’m organising a murder mystery dinner next weekend for 40 friends – letting the imagination run free on character allocation and interpretation!
  • object play – creating my costume for the murder mystery dinner!

I’d love to hear how you are playing to enhance your creativity and innovation?

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