Yesterday, Coco Vandeweghe (ranked 35th in the world), crushed Garbine Muguruza (7th ranked) at the Australian Open 6-4, 6-0. There was no question that Coco was the better player at that moment, but it was something else I believe that made the difference.
George Mumford’s The Mindful Athlete describes it as “mindfulness”, the ability to pay attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally as if your life depended on it.” In sport, yes skill is critical to performance, but self-awareness is the pivotal thing that creates this zone.
Coco, a leader in her own right and a strong personality, focused on her journey, her experience, not on the end destination. In other words, she was in touch with herself and a sense of calm resonated. She played in the moment, and maybe you could say “she slowed down”. That ability to be present in the moment was her catalyst to a great performance.
The same could be said for leadership. So much depends on deep self-awareness, being comfortable with being uncomfortable. It allows one to lead/perform with a sense of self-purpose, trusting your insights and instincts and seeing possibilities not distractions, in everything you do.
As you embark on this calendar year, take a moment to “slow down” and listen to yourself. The mere fact of being, not doing might yield this calm and performance will abound. I think Coco found her zone.
Take a moment and listen to Simon & Garfunkel’s song, “Feeling Groovy”. I’m taken with their line “slow down you move to fast”.