The Deep Work

I love watching sports. It’s so inspiring to see the results of athletes that have spent their lives training to get to the top of their game.

As I was watching the Super Bowl a few weeks ago there were numerous players that created memorable moments on the field. Those moments will be replayed for years.

I also find the commentators perspective to be interesting as they are former players and their view of what’s happening offers insight for us to bring to our daily lives.

After the first drive on the football field, one of the announcers, a former quarterback, said the quarterback on the field was not mentally focused at the first play and needed time to get his head into the game.

He told us what he used to do before stepping on the field and getting the ball in his hand for the first time. He would do multiplication tables in his head to get his mind focused and sharp. Physically he knew the practice and training he had done the week and months before prepared him to withstand the demanding game on his body. To take the field mentally ready he had to prepare in his own way. He had to do the mental deep work that will make his physical work appear easy.

What a nugget to bring into my life! It encouraged me to be conscious of my deep work, the work I do before “taking the field” on things that require me to be centered and fully present. What do I do? I write down my thoughts at that instant or take out my drawing pad and do a quick sketch to capture the moment that will never be here again. Then I tell myself the presentation I am about to make, the round of golf I am about to play, or the conversation I am about to have requires me to be 100% attentive. Most of the time it has to do with other people watching, listening, or participating and I owe it to them, to you, to be mentally ready, to have done my deep work before engaging.

What about you? What is your deep work? A crossword puzzle? A game of Ken Ken on your phone? Meditation? It doesn’t matter, as long as it works for you and prepares you for your big game.

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