How to Perform When You are Exhausted

It is 11pm and you haven't prepared for your critical meeting in the morning, so how do you decide if 2 hours of sleep or 2 hours of preparation is what you need?  What if you have been pushing hard for your product launch for the last couple of months and now you are on your last legs; how well do you continue to deliver results, lead your team and take care of yourself?

I have been competing in the CrossFit Games.  A competition where 209,000 athletes from around the world perform the same workout every week for five weeks. Exhaustion is inevitable; how you perform when you are exhausted differentiates the elite athlete from the crowd.   Watch the video to see how Paul Lee, one of the great coaches at my gym, CrossFit 626, performs in the last 15 seconds.  He doesn't slow down as he approaches the finish line.  In fact, he increases his focus and he manages three "ground-to-overhead" movements of 75lb in the last ten seconds.   Now that is the sign of an elite athlete.  How do you perform as your deadline approaches?  

I have noticed a recent trend with executives I am working with.  Many are telling me they are exhausted, overwhelmed and not spending their time where they would like to.   This leads to them being miserable and not having the discretionary time they desire.

Here are three critical steps to increase your performance when you are exhausted:

1. Make exhaustion the exception, not the rule.  

You cannot run a marathon with a series of 200 meter sprints just as you cannot continue to work to exhaustion every month of the year.  Outsource your non-core activities at work and in your personal life. Focus only on activities that you are uniquely qualified to do.  Assess if you have the capability and capacity on your leadership team to achieve your goals.  Pace yourself and take time off after your product ships or your deadline passes.

2. Honestly assess if you are getting the sleep, nutrition and exercise you need.

It is easy to get into the downward spiral of unhealthiness.  That happened to me this year when we moved house twice within five months and all my regular routines went sideways.  It took a competition at my local CrossFit gym to kickstart my good habits again, now I feel energized and focussed again. I dropped 22lb and won third prize!

3. Find someone who will hold you accountable, even in the last 10 seconds.

Best intentions can get lost if you are relying on your own will power.  Set and share your goals with others and ask them to hold you to them. Build an enviable inner circle of advisers who you can call on for advice.  Invest in yourself by hiring a coach who will accelerate your goals before you get to exhaustion.

What countdown are you currently working against?  How can you maintain your performance until the final bell sounds? Call me today if you want to explore how we may be able to partner, 626 387 7600.

Now book your next vacation and go and get some sleep!

You may also enjoy my recent interview with Inc.

Val Wright