Wohoo! PR 21:05. Off to coach soccer now.
And I received this reply:
Ironically, I was thinking about effort and performance after the race. I have been training for this race for several weeks by running three days a week. I run one tempo run, one speedwork and one. By definition, training runs are not at race pace; they are about 80-85% race pace. A good training plan also incorporates proper rest. On race day, 100% capacity should result in peak performance.
Does the same principle apply to business? Do workers achieve peak performance by operating at 80% capacity? Does working at 100% day-in and day-out lead to burnout? If you are working at 100% capacity 100% of the time, is there no room for growth? If you are working at 100%, should you try to get back to 80% through better time management, better prioritizing, better use of technology, and/or better delegation?
Treat every day as training ground for the big moments. It's the big moments that define your value and your career -- big decisions, big projects, big closings, financial crises, seasonal peaks, etc. Eighty percent capacity does not mean mediocrity or 80% effort. It means performing at the leading edge of your comfort zone or slightly beyond. And by performing at the leading edge, your comfort zone continues to grow and expand. For example, when I first started running, my comfort zone was 10-minute miles; now it is 8-minute miles. There is no such thing as 110% effort, but 100% this year should be more than 100% last year. And when that big moment comes, you will be ready to shine.
Author Geoff Colvin in his book Talent is Overrated states, "only by choosing activities in the learning zone can you make progress. That's the location of skills and abilities that are just out of your reach." Activities inside your comfort zone are too easy to produce growth while activities in the panic zone are out of reach. He further states that excellent performance is the result of deliberate practice, not hard work and innate talent. Deliberate practice is "activity that's explicitly intended to improve performance, that reaches for objectives just beyond one's level of competence, provides feedback on results and involves high levels of repetition." (What It Takes to Be Great)
Alasdair White defines comfort zone as the state in which one operates without anxiety and with little risk. And he defines the optimal performance zone as the state in which the level of anxiety boosts performance. Studies have shown that a certain amount of anxiety boosts performance. However, too much anxiety pushes one into the danger zone and performance decreases significantly.
So, the irony is that Jay provided a proverb that succinctly describes my post-race thoughts, "The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty."