The dictionary defines oscillate as: 1.to swing or move to and fro, as a pendulum does. 2. To vary or vacillate between differing beliefs, opinions, conditions, etc.: He oscillates regularly between elation and despair.
There’s a lot of critical information that every business owner should learn and know about themselves and their business that is contained in the book Stress for Success by Jim Loehr [co-author The Power of Full Engagement with Tony Schwartz], yet none more important than the need for balance [oscillation] in our lives to help us handle stress and prevent us from injuring our state of health and mental capabilities
Jim’s book contains a number of tests and quizzes that determine toughness. He indicates that when someone calls us tough they pay us the supreme compliment. As he explains it, calling someone tough means you don’t simply possess talent and skill, rather you have the ability to bring that talent and skill to life UNDER PRESSURE. Indeed you have the capacity and even initiative to CONSISTENTLY EXECUTE regardless of the circumstances. Think about that for a minute and you will appreciate just how powerful this is. No matter what the storm, the bad news you’ve just heard or the emotional challenge you are currently engulfed in you don’t collapse or falter.
Jim Loehr started his work in this area by researching and analyzing athletes, specifically tennis players. He wanted to discover why some athletes outperformed others. What he discovered surprised him. After observing countless athletes playing on the tennis courts he observed that it wasn’t what was going on during the points that elevated a players game, but rather it was what happened between the points that determined who came out the victor. The top performing athletes recovered faster, and realized the critical importance of building a reserve of energy they could call upon demand at significant points in the competition. How they responded to their own efforts, their competitors good plays, an officials poor call, by calming themselves, resting and recovering during the interim period between the actual tennis actions determined whether or not they won the game.
What Jim observed when he moved his attention to the area of business is that the stress level in business is many times higher than what occurs in an athletic competition. Athletes often get prolonged periods of rest and recovery, indeed some athletes get up to six months off, plus the competitive battle of business never ends. Many business leaders and executives are caught in a vicious cycle where they are overworking their mental and emotional capacities because they either seldom or never balance this stress with rest and recovery or they are severely undertrained physically. The outcome is an unbalanced pattern of stress and recovery that compromises performance and over time erodes their precious health and happiness.
Sound like anyone you know? If reading and discovering this hit too close to home I urge you to pick up Jim Loehr’s book and if nothing else continue to read these blogs for more insight and ideas on how to oscillate for better work and business performance. My newsletter this month will have more insights into understanding this need for balance as well upcoming blogs. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, not unlike other cities like those affected by Hurricane Katrina, we are currently faced with a true test of how tough our community is. The 2008 flood will test many business and community leaders. It is critical that despite the challenges and obstacles faced, time for rest and recovery, the ability to oscillate, is observed so that the mental, physical and emotional health of the community is not overburdened and robust healing and growth is achieved.