“Enjoyment is an incredible energiser
to the human spirit.”
– John C.Maxwell
I remember as a teenager, being berated the manager of my local soccer team for smiling and joking while playing a match against our closest rivals – even though I was playing well.
Until he said it I wasn’t aware that I was smiling but I was aware that I was enjoying the game. That changed though, immediately after his comment and so too did my performance. And I rarely ever allowed myself to smile after that while playing sport!
But as I’ve gone on in life, it’s been fascinating to watch the research around the ‘psychology of enjoyment’ come to the fore in relation to high performance in all fields. And I don’t think you need to see any research to know that when people are enjoying what they’re doing they tend to perform better.
Interestingly, enjoyment is directly linked to engagement. That is, if you’re more engaged, you tend to experience joy more and indeed your best tends to emerge. Indeed the optimal performance state known as ‘flow’ is directly related to your level of engagement in an activity.
I noted that in the aftermath of Chelsea beating Man City in the Champions League final on Saturday, it has emerged that the players are much ‘happier in themselves’ since Thomas Tuchel took over as manager.
Compared with the previous manager, there is less criticism, punishment for poor performance and much more focus on enjoying training sessions and play.
Many leaders in business still hold a belief that it’s better to have fear in the culture than enjoyment. They see what happens in sport as completely different to business. But why would it be?
How do you know which approach you have in your organisation or indeed in your life?
Stop and listen for the laughter.
Where can you apply this insight this week?
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Peak Performance In The 21st Century: How To Be At Your Best In The Age Of Uncertainty.
1 hour of thought provoking content to help you be more at your best. Access here.
‘How To Reduce The Feeling Of Pressure’ – New Inner Edge podcast episode out now. Listen on my website or on all major podcast platforms.
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