Mental Skills Training Plan for the Corporate Athlete

posted on: April 15, 2020
author: Brian Lomax

Computer on desk

Do you work in an office or work for a company?  Perhaps you’re in sales.  If so, you’re not just an employee.  You’re also a corporate athlete.  And athletes have to train in order to manage their physical, mental, emotional, and motivational energy.  In today’s environment, that could be more challenging than ever.

For many corporate athletes, work location and schedule are probably different than they were before COVID-19.  Here are some mental skills training tips to help you adjust and train to be your best in your new environment.  Manage your energy like an athlete!

Focus Training

Concentration Grids

Are you losing focus during the day?  Lots of distractions?  Concentration grids help train your ability to focus on a task as well as your ability to use your eyes to quickly scan and process information.  Complete at least one concentration grid per day, and record your time.  Chart the progress of your times over the course of a few weeks in a journal.  http://concentrationgrids.com/grids

Mindfulness Meditation

This may be a good time to begin a mindfulness practice.  It can help you become more present focused, less judgmental, and better able to choose your thoughts.  All of those are needed skills in the corporate environment.  Check out this information sheet for more on this topic – https://www.performancextra.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Training-Your-Focus-Mindfulness-Meditation.pdf

Loving Kindness Meditation

Since we are social creatures and we work with other people, loving kindness meditation may be a beneficial practice to begin.  The practice can make you more helpful, more compassionate, more empathetic, and increase your social connection with those around you.  To get started, go to this YouTube video to watch and listen to a loving kindness meditation that has been used by Stanford University researchers – https://youtu.be/auS1HtAz6Bs

Relaxation Training (Stress Management)

Relaxation training is beneficial because it helps to calm the mind and relax the body.  It will help you manage stress and anxiety during the day.  Through this training, you will familiarize your mind and body with a deeper sense of relaxation that you will eventually bring to different performance contexts.  Follow Phase 1 and 2 training as outlined in this document – https://www.performancextra.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Relaxation-Training-Plan.pdf

Confidence Training

Visualization/Imagery Training

Visualization/Imagery training is an excellent means of rehearsal for meetings, presentations, sales calls, etc. Doing this can help you feel more prepared and confident.

Think of an event you want to be completely prepared for.  Spend a few minutes visualizing what you do and what you say.  Include the mental and emotional states you want to be experiencing in that moment (e.g., confidence, focused, determined, energized, enthusiastic).   Try to make the experience as life-like as possible.

To make this more successful, create an Imagery Plan (a set of detailed reminders) to help you plan out what you want to visualize.  The more detail you include, the more real the experience will be for the brain.  That’s what makes imagery such an effective technique, and why many of the best athletes in the world use it.

Positive Presence

Bring more awareness to your body language.  It is how you communicate non-verbally, so you want to be sending the right messages to yourself and to others.  Show a positive presence in everything you do.  Shoulders back, head held high, stand and walk tall, use your voice confidently – these are all ways to bring a positive presence.  Acting this way will affect your psychological state in a positive manner.  On a daily basis, rate your awareness of your body language and your ability to bring a positive presence (1 to 10 scale) to your day, and track in a journal.

Journal notebook

Confidence Journal

At the end of each day, use a journal to record three things that you did well.  This will help you process your day in a more positive manner.  You will be looking for the good, and not just highlighting the bad.

Foundation Statements Exercise

Everyone has a foundation of confidence and mental toughness.  But we can all strengthen that foundation to make ourselves tougher.  Use this exercise to help you develop a stronger foundation of confidence and toughness – https://www.performancextra.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Foundation-Statements-Generic.pdf

Motivation Training

Motivation Exercise

Sign that says make this day greatIt’s important to know why you do what you do.  Friedrich Nietzsche said, “He who has a WHY to live, can bear almost any HOW.”  What is your WHY?  Is it strong enough to bear any HOW?

This exercise contains six thought provoking questions, and a prompt for an essay about why you do what you do.  Set aside an hour or so to complete both parts of this exercise.

https://www.performancextra.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Motivation-Exercise-Corporate-Athlete.pdf

Develop a personal philosophy

What is a personal philosophy?  It is a major component of mental toughness, and it is further explained here: 50 for 50 Idea # 28: Develop a Personal Philosophy to Compete Better

Review this document which contains perspectives for developing a personal philosophy – https://www.performancextra.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Perspectives-for-Developing-a-Personal-Philosophy.pdf

  • Many of these perspectives are sport-related, but can easily be translated to a corporate environment.
  • Read one perspective per day and reflect on what it means to you.  Can you take any action based on this perspective?

Reading

Reading is like food for your brain.  You want to be sure that you are feeding your brain some nutritious information.  Review this blog post for books that you may want to read: 50 for 50 Idea #22: Read 10 books this year

I have also created a list of my favorite books from positive psychology, sport psychology, self-help, and business.  You can see the list here: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/86517.Best_Positive_And_Sports_Psychology_Books

Informative Videos

Here is a playlist of informative videos that you can watch throughout the week.  Some are sports related, and some are not, but they all have useful messages that can help you with some aspect of performance.  Again, this is good nutrition for your brain.

Man watching television

Inspiring Movies

This blog post lists several sports movies and documentaries that can help motivate and inspire you – https://www.performancextra.com/50-for-50/inspiration/

Miscellaneous Ideas

Check out this blog series on 50 ideas for improving your life:

https://www.performancextra.com/category/50-for-50/

Remember, corporate athletes need to train just like regular athletes.  It takes a lot of energy to do the work that you do.  If you can look at yourself as a corporate athlete, managing your physical, mental, emotional, and motivational energy will become easier and a part of what you do.

Questions/Comments

Contact Brian Lomax at 774-285-4179 or brian@performancextra.com

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About the Author

Brian Lomax founded PerformanceXtra™ in 2009 with a mission of helping athletes achieve their goals and their top performances more consistently through a progression of mental skills that enables them to focus on what is truly important.

Learn more about the author: https://www.performancextra.com/brian-lomax/

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