Daily work with people who want to learn to practice mindfulness helps us, intuitively first and more systematically later, to discover patterns of functioning both in the bodily, as well as in the cognitive, emotional and behavioral.
Having worked for some years with companies and also with high performance athletes has given me the possibility to find similarities in mental functioning They are not minors.
Therefore, we will review these coincidences and the importance of working with them from an approach that places special emphasis on the adaptation of mindfulness or mindfulness tools.
The demanding environment: a common starting point
Both are moving in highly demanding spaces, where quality standards are very high and with continuous pressures in relation to concrete achievements.
The tennis player who has to maintain his international ranking not only does it for a matter of self-esteem, but because several important contracts with frontline brands can fall if he does not remain on the crest of the wave. This is the case with the entrepreneur with the sustained growth of his enterprise: he cannot relax too much in terms of continuous effort because all his staff depends on his perseverance, discipline and creativity.
Both in one case and in the other, the relational system that surrounds both reinforces the sense of power, control and importance, a sensation that in many extreme cases (as we have seen with some athletes or CEOs who "burned") produces certain alienation or dissociation from the usual world to enter a competitive and separatist bubble.
The mind in action: common patterns
Some mental characteristics are related to high performance athletes with people from the corporate world.
On the one hand, their minds are subject to continuous demand. The pressure, as we said before, of a severe environment, configures a pattern of thoughts and emotions that manages high amounts of stress and anxiety, as well as information related to their chores.
Thus, factors such as multitasking, the change of approach at each moment as well as the need to maintain attention with great depth, continuous initiative and creativity as expressions of a professional career that should be enhanced, can be observed in each of the professions.
Sometimes, and depending on the specific activity of each one, we can find more similarities. For example, a CT broker may have a great resemblance in impulsivity compared to a stockbroker, who faces high doses of adrenaline in every moment.
Or a chess player may look a lot like an entrepreneur who works as an organization's brain and who is putting out daily fires, dedicating himself to tracking new and creative scenarios or possibilities for the next corporate actions. Both use creativity, patience and deep contemplation a lot as key strategies for their missions.
Key aspects to train
Both professionals must inevitably train:
✔️Accepting an intense environment and demanding as part of the space they inhabit daily.
✔️The ability to discern to know where the harmful limit of the type of activity is and to stop before being affected.
✔️Boost sustained attention and discourage the multitasking that does not have to do strictly with work, developing moments of conscious pauses and that provide relaxation.
✔️Activate a felt consciousness of each decision making and then behavior to be carried out, that is, not to automate the task too much especially when it is necessary to connect with personal values and the scope of the action in others.
✔️Relativize success as only part of the profession's combo, emphasizing better processes, more open paths, woven patterns with intention, and not just results.
✔️Maintain spaces for rest and creative leisure and links outside of settings (environments) competitive.
✔️Develop a sense of humor that takes away solemnity and drama to the demands of everyday life.
✔️Cultivate stress management techniques, anxiety, uncertainty and frustration, which provide a space of refuge and containment at times of great intensity.
All these factors will "shield" more effectively both athletes and professionals. Although the dynamics of life, from time to time (and as it should be), remind them that they are vulnerable and not superheroes.
* Martín Reynoso is a psychologist, coordinator of Mindfulness at INECO and author of Mindfulness, scientific meditation.