This drop in performance quickly raises questions to "what is wrong?", "I'm working harder than ever so why am I not having results?". The list goes on. What happens is people look directly at what is going wrong. Part of my role however, is to also look beyond what's in front of their noses and at the bigger picture.
This is where one of my biggest beliefs comes in.
"What we do and who we are, are two totally separate things".
With that in mind what we do for a living might not be going great at that time but is it always because of that or are there other factors preventing good performances. In many cases the answer is yes.
This is where I always look at the "person". Away from what we do we also have a small thing called life, which is made up of many different aspects, be it; family, friends, relationships, future plans etc. For all these to be in a great place at once is something we all strive for but rarely achieve.
I work with my clients to understand this and that sometimes things might not all be great but that doesn't mean they are bad, or that one thing being not great doesn't mean everything is bad. Too many people see things as black and white, its either good or bad. If it's not good it has to be bad. This is not the case. Sometimes things can be grey.
Identifying things away from direct performance & having the ability to look beyond our sport or work is critical to maintaining balance and perspective.
One brilliant example of this most recently is Sergio Garcia. Some of you may know that the Spaniard won his first major title the other week. This was a huge deal in the golfing world because right from being an amateur teenager he was highly tipped to win numerous majors. Yet in 18 years as a professional and 70 plus major appearances in his career he didn't win, yet came so close on many occasions. He was the nearly man in many peoples eyes. So what changed for Sergio.....
Well something most may not know is that a few years ago Sergio, on course especially, could erupt at anytime and beat himself up over tiny things.
Earlier this year I was at a few events in the middle east with a client and saw Sergio a few times at the Dubai Desert Classic. I congratulated him on his opening 65 when passing him outside the locker room on his way to sign some caps etc for the kids. I also listened to him in the locker room speak to one of the caddies about something in his game that had recently changed because of his mindset. One thing struck me every time I saw him and heard him - he was ridiculously calm. Its one thing being calm on the outside but the aura he had and his body language told you it was genuine calmness from the inside.
This character we used to see on course erupt and get angry at times was now totally the opposite and in fact when you look back over this year and even last year he was also very chilled on course. So why the difference in states?
Well this is where the "person" bit comes in. Sergio started dating his soon to be bride a while back now after a tough break up with his previous girlfriend.
To all of you, these things matter and these things can definitely affect performance and your life. Yes Sergio is a professional as are many other sportspeople but no one can forget that, that is what they do, not who they are.
Who they are is human. Just like the footballers who take criticism left, right and centre for being off their games. We are all human and I defy anybody to have big shifts in their lives without it affecting them professionally, even just a small amount and if it doesn't then perhaps it never truly meant that much to you.
Getting over the ending of a long term relationship is not something that happens over night. However when Sergio did meet the Mrs Garcia to be his attitude changed, he found calmness & peace. They only announced their marriage in January this year.
Guess what, he started performing well again at his job. He won in Dubai just after the marriage announcement and followed it up with strong performances including his latest and greatest, The Masters.
Garcia said after his major win:
"I knew I was playing well. I felt the calmest I ever felt in a Major."
Was this something on course that changed, if so why not make the change earlier in his 18 year professional career? My guess is this change was to do with the person, and in his case his new relationship.
That major didn't just happen, things slotted in place for him and hopefully they remain because watching Sergio Garcia on top of his game is something we all want to see.
The lesson; don't just look at your professional performance. Keep in mind something away from it could be affecting you and your focus.
Bare these in mind if looking at yourself:
- Professional job
- Personal relationships
- Future plans
- Time out/ Holidays
These are great to look at. You can grade them out of 10 to see how your life breaks down. We want balance with them, not 10's just consistency across the board. Anything less than 5's perhaps may require a little attention.
In sport, business & life there are always two people; the performer and the person. Both are important but the person was here first - look after it.
Yours in performance