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By Jeremy Snape, Founder and Director, Sporting Edge

With the second lockdown being replaced by the tier system in England, our mindset will be the key to our success. As an England cricketer, I realised that my mindset was either my greatest strength or my biggest weakness, yet I spent so little time developing it. After studying an MSc in Sport Psychology, and working with some of the biggest names in sport, I embarked on a unique quest – to find out how the world’s most successful performers across sport, the performing arts, the military and business, think.

Twelve years later, through Sporting Edge I’ve created a fascinating video archive of routines, rituals and mental strategies which offer an essential support system for us in lockdown. We’ve partnered with ukactive and you can access some of these insights by contacting their Client Services team at clientservices@ukactive.org.uk

Our ancestors’ brains were designed 50,000 years ago for long periods of calm, with the occasional burst of adrenalin to evade a predator. Our world has changed immeasurably since the Stone Age but the sad news is our brains haven’t. While our lives may not be under threat from wild animals, our professional pride, financial stability and future career plans definitely are, which triggers the exact same stress response.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by a stress-inducing cocktail of novelty, uncertainty and uncontrollability, and it’s time we took back control. Every sector has been affected but none more so than the health and fitness sector. Here are six strategies which could turn your lockdown into a springboard for your future success.

  1. Rethink downtime. As managers and leaders, we focus so much on our work output during the day but constantly neglect our recovery. It’s time to take our own medicine so shift the scrutiny to your sleep and downtime for seven days and watch the transformational result.
  2. Win before the day starts. Take something for yourself – exercise is best to burn off the cortisol. Kick-start the day with a quick run, walk or yoga session and you’ll feel 1-0 up on the day before your kids or the boss deplete your reserves.
  3. Control the controllables. Our brain is primed for safety and will constantly scan the environment for threats. Switch off the news channels and focus on your three top priorities that will deliver a ‘gold medal day’ for you and your business. Tenacity is the new talent so build daily discipline around these priorities and gold medal results will follow.
  4. Focus on growth – lockdown feels like a straitjacket, but we thrive when we feel like we’re learning so pick a mini-skill, subject to explore, or thought leaders to follow, to help you to future-proof yourself and your career. Who is coping and adapting best to the changes in access and legislation? Follow them, connect with them and learn from their advice.
  5. Prepare to pivot – amid the frenetic blur of the ‘old normal’ we never stopped to get our bearings. Use this time of the great pause to look three-to-five years ahead. There’s never been a better time to have courage and to change your path, so start preparing now. How can you broaden your offer or create a hybrid model of face-to-face and digital delivery? Now is the time let go of the negativity and channel your energy into creativity.
  6. Create a dream team. Elite performers never do it alone, they need mentors, coaches and loved ones to support and challenge them to reach their Everest. Replace your shirkers with committed Sherpas and the ‘mood hoovers’ with positive people who energise you, to come back stronger than ever. 2021 could be your best year ever – the planning starts today.

Whatever your lockdown situation, reframing your mindset is your hidden competitive edge. With every country, industry and community being affected – those with the strongest mindset will win.

Jeremy Snape is a former England cricketer and the Founder of Sporting Edge – his podcast ‘Inside the Mind of Champions’ and Members Club provide inspirational digital coaching to help you to thrive through lockdown.

Disclaimer: Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of ukactive

Look out for the latest stories and blogs in our Together series on the ukactive News page and Journal. For the latest sector guidance and daily analysis, visit the ukactive COVID-19 hub

If you are a ukactive member and want to share your story, please contact your account manager or send an overview of your story to: press@ukactive.org.uk