Three mindset tips make you and your team better.
There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
If you are anything like me, you started the year in a full sprint. No one could stop you or slow you down. Now that fall is in full swing and winter is coming, I am starting to realize that fast got me out of the starting blocks and that to go far I need to tap into my groups. It’s time to go farther.
Being a part of a group can add motivation and ability to any routine. It can push you to new levels of achievement, and it can carry you past old obstacles. Joining a group also can contain challenges. Groups have dynamics that feel uncertain and chaotic. Joining a group might mean you have to give up control and go into the unknown.
Here are a few things you can do to get your mind right so you can get the most out of any group you are a part of.
1. Know the competition
You have joined the group to push YOURSELF. The group is there to bring out your best. While it may feel like you are competing against the other people in your group, in reality, you are collaborating with them. Hopefully, you have joined a group of people who are going where you want to go. You need them to unlock your full potential.
I love watching the Olympics because it is a great reminder of how competition is really a lesson in collaborating with others to unlock our full potential. We get to see amazing individuals dig deeper to pull out personal records and bests on the biggest stage. That wouldn’t be possible without the other people who have come to compete. The group of individuals brings out more in each person than any one individual could bring out on his or her own.
It is easy to just look at the person who is the best—the one who breaks the world records. It is easy to overlook all the athletes who compete and achieve their personal bests, but for each and every athlete, he or she has the group to thank for that extra burst. No matter where you fall in the groups you are in, keep your eye on your prize. Don’t lose sight of your personal bests because you are too busy comparing your performance to others.
2. Be open-minded
George Mumford, author of “The Mindful Athlete” (Parallax Press, 2016) and performance coach under Phil Jackson on eight NBA championship teams, told me once that there is no team without trust and there is no trust without open-mindedness and vulnerability.
To really light a fire in the group, bring an open mind. This is where I like to add some wisdom from the improv acting community. Almost all improv groups have a rule to the effect of “yes and.” All the actors commit to going with whatever presents itself in the moment. They go all in to the group and the people.
Remember, you are not competing against others, so you are free to go all in for the group. This can be incredibly challenging but also very rewarding because you know that everyone is on the same page. You are open and adaptable, and each moment provides an opportunity to grow and learn. You might even surprise yourself with what you are able to do when you are presented with the challenges and opportunities the group provides.
3. “Know thyself”
Finally, know who you are. Know what makes you “you” and bring that into the group. I have worked with countless peak performers and almost all of them talk about the pull to conform to the group. Instead, they built practices and methods for tuning into their authentic self. Once they had built a strong sense of who they were, they were able to bring that to the group.
An orchestra doesn’t need 100 violinists. A football team doesn’t need 11 quarterbacks. It is when each person brings his or her unique skills, abilities and experiences to the group that the whole truly does become greater than the sum of its parts.
Bringing your authentic self can be challenging on many levels. First, you have to tune in through the noise. Who are YOU? Not who have you been told to be but the person you know you can be. The person you envision when everything is quiet. Second, you have to be strong enough to bring your authentic self into the group trusting that it is the best thing you can do.
Michelangelo, when asked how he was able to make such beautiful sculptures, said: I see the masterpiece inside and carve until I set them free. Take time each day before joining the group to tune in and discover the masterpiece inside you.
In life, we are all going far. The journey is long and is filled with detours and missteps. Finding people to share the journey with us can make all the difference.
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Photography: oneinchpunch, Thinkstock; Alter_photo, Thinkstock