The hospitality industry is competitive and challenging. In this always changing environment, the most successful accountants and tech pros work hard to be adaptable and resilient. Like world-class athletes, they may not love tough challenges, but they know how to focus to get the job done and they continually do the things they need to do to be successful. And what do they focus on? The goals, not the problems; the outcomes, not the obstacles; what success will look like, not what failure will feel like; the stimulation of the challenge, not the fatigue of the struggle. At several world championships, in both triathlons and skiing, I usually felt a little intimidated, stressed and worried about what might go wrong to ruin months of preparation. A successful performance however, depended on my converting that nervous energy to a positive focus on goals, adapting to the conditions of the day, and knowing that once we got going I would be in my element and that months & years of training had prepared me well for the challenge. You can do the same… convert your stress into positive energy by taking care of yourself, focusing on strategies for success, being agile and staying optimistic.
Here are six tips to help you be at your best every day:
1. Adapt a“lava lamp philosophy”for your work (and life)
Remember the Lava Lamp? Once turned on and warmed up, it is always moving and changing. A Lava Lamp philosophy means you always look at what you are doing and how you can do it better, differently and more effectively. Be agile, flexible, resilient, innovative and imaginative.
Hardening of the attitude will kill any chance at creativity and problem solving. Symptoms sound like these: “we’ve never done it that way before;” “I’ll never get through to that person;” “it’s not in my contract;” “we tried that back in ’93;” and my favorite, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Don’t let this insidious disease infect you.
3. What you focus on expands
Remember the quote “I’ll believe it when I see it?” Turn that around to “you’ll see it when you believe it” and positive things begin to happen. If you focus on the outcomes you want, you are more likely to achieve them; focus on the obstacles and you are more likely to hit them. Pressure and stress cause us to naturally focus on anything that threatens us… it goes back to the cave man and “fight or flight.” But we also have the choice to harness that pressure, envision the outcomes we want and make them more likely to happen. My sons are mountain guides and when we are skiing in steep couloirs off huge mountains in the Alps, they often say “Dad, don’t look for cliffs and crevasses, look for the good snow between them!”
4. Use the 10/90 Rule to stay focused on solutions not problems
Spend 10 percent of your time and energy on the problem and 90 percent of your time and energy on the solution! Can you imagine how smooth and concise staff meetings would be if we used the 10/90 rule rather than beat problems to death repeatedly?
5. Keep your balance
When you can’t control stress in your life, balance it. Do the things that offset fatigue and frustration… physical activity, healthy eating, relaxation, fun, love, humor, the list goes on. It is all the things that go on the back burner “until I get past all this stuff I have to do!” No one ever looked back and wished they spent more time at work, so make sure you are physically active four to five times a week. Do things like: eat smart – don’t even buy the junk that makes you lethargic and instead snack on nuts, fruit and veggies; turn off the TV so you get enough sleep; hang out with fun people; and get your quota of hugs, laughs and smiles. We have to get what we need, so we have the energy to help others get what they need.
6. Who you are may be more important than what you know
Your persona may have more to do with your success in working with colleagues than your college diploma! Persona is that aura around you, those subtle nuances of your personality. People love colleagues who are focused, yet personable; hard working, yet fun loving; well organized, yet spontaneous when necessary. It’s a tough balancing act to be outcome centered, goal oriented and focused, yet gracious, fun loving and compassionate. The answer: awareness… always conscious of how your persona is changing under stress, how it is affecting everyone around you, and what you need to do to get back on track. People are perceptive and they tune in to our shifts in energy and outlook. Never underestimate the power of a cheerful greeting, a laugh or smile, a compliment or pat on the back. And, always look for individualized ways to communicate with each person, avoiding the temptation to use similar strategies because they are familiar. Incorporate fun, humor, imagination and animation into your work whenever you can.
Murray Banks is an award-winning educator and Masters World Skiing Champion. He has won four national triathlon championships and is a two-time top finisher in the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii. As a professional speaker with 30 years of experience, he brings a dynamic, interactive teaching style and focused world-class mindset.