What do you do after it’s over? When you come to the end of the season, and you have put your heart and soul into the year from the off season workouts to the camps to the preseason to the long hard regular season to the playoffs all the way to the championship.
We all look at athletes and think that they celebrate like crazy and sleep for a few weeks and take the summer off (I used NBA and NHL for this example since I’m totally into those playoffs right now). But the reality is, they pretty much go right back to work, allowing for the fact that they do actually celebrate and sleep for a few days at least.
But I’ll repeat – they pretty much go right back to work. This is, after all their job, their career. Their livelihood depends on it. They have to do the same things that allowed them to succeed this year, which starts with staying in top physical shape during the offseason. So they get into their workout routines. They gear up for camp. They accelerate into the preseason like they were hungry for success after missing the playoffs.
How do they know what to do? They take stock of the year past like they watch film on an opponent, and they make strategies for the coming year to capitalize on their strengths and improve in their areas for development. They have well established routines. They make lists, like what to eat every day, what exercises to include in their workouts. They have coaches to guide them, and hold them accountable. They have peers on the team to push them, and hold them accountable.
What in the heck does this have to do with what I am doing, and my team is doing? It has everything to do with us not allowing the fact that we just did something big, that took a long time and most or all of our mental and physical energy, to let us take a break, or assume we don’t have to work at our jobs going forward, or that things will just happen own their own now. Teams that allow that, don’t win back-to-back championships. I want to win back-to-back championships, a three-peat would be good too. If that is going to happen, we have to ensure we celebrate the success, but we need to get back to work quickly, establishing our routines and checklists, reflecting and strategizing on how to get better, and holding ourselves and each other accountable.
A good friend noted that in business we don’t get a chance to practice, which in sports is where improvement usually happens. We are always in the game. So teams have to make extra effort to be strategic with their time and create opportunities to “watch film” and “game plan” and “practice.” All of this takes incredible discipline and organization and time management. The reward is a maintenance of our effort levels and seeing our skills and experiences multiply, allowing us to move on to even greater success in our next “season.”