I rediscovered a powerful concept this year that has changed my frame of mind every day. My entrepreneurial journey began in college with my first company, and I became a professional-level athlete later in life. I turned pro as a mountain biker at age 40 and now, at 47, I’m focusing on offroad motorcycle racing, each race lasting a grueling two to three hours long. In my first two seasons of motorcycle racing, I had one win with many second and third place finishes. This year, I’m winning a majority of my races. Same motorcycle, same fitness and same competition. What’s the difference?
Simple but very powerful: I changed my mindset on how I show up. I show up to win. I give myself permission to go for the holeshot off the line. I imagine what I want to feel like during the race — the feeling of flow, efficiency, clarity and speed.
The result? I won my first three races of the season and have won the majority since then. By the end of this year, I will move up to semipro status and will have crushed every goal I had coming into this sport less than three years ago.
The reality is our mindset determines the outcome of just about everything we do in our professional lives as well. We hold ourselves back much more than any external factors ever do. Where I find this concept most useful is in my interactions with people, whether it is a one-on-one meeting or a two-day strategy session with an executive team. I’m intentional about the mindset I have when I show up to any meeting. Here’s how it works.
1. Determine what the objective is for the meeting and what a win would look like for the other person or team. Just plowing through to advance your agenda is not as powerful as helping someone else create a breakthrough on their own.
2. Make sure you show up to the meeting fully present. Try to compartmentalize whatever might be going on with yourself personally or professionally so you can be fully focused on the conversation about to happen. This is a great way to practice emotional intelligence. I call this “showing up clean.”
3. Give yourself permission to ask questions that you don’t already have the answers to. This is very powerful and where many breakthroughs occur. Though it can make you feel vulnerable and unsafe, you’ll learn that some outcomes can be so much greater because you created space for co-creation.
4. Realize how much influence you have in how productive your meetings are by your energy, thoughtful questions and your state of mind when you show up.
5. Be on time. When you are late for a meeting, you are telling the person or team that something else was more important. A pattern of not starting meetings on time erodes trust over time. A pattern of lateness makes it harder for other people to have a great meeting because they start off worrying about being backed up or missing other deadlines.
6. Carry your own bag. What I mean by this is control your own experience. Whether you are running the meeting or not, you have the power to make it a great one. Don’t blame someone else for a bad meeting or expect someone else to carry the meeting. If everyone shows up expecting someone else to make the meeting great, I can promise it will not be.
Be intentional about your mindset and control how you show up to everything you do — how you enter a meeting at work, how you show up for a race or how you walk in the door when you get home. You’ll be surprised by how the wins start to stack up!