What can we learn from sports about making the right calls? Sally Jenkins has been a Washington Post columnist and feature writer for nearly 30 years. She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2019 and the winner of the Associated Press Red Smith Award for Outstanding Contributions to Sports Journalism in 2021.
For sports fans, business leaders, and anyone who wants to elevate their game — whatever that game may be — Sally has joined the podcast today to share what it takes for ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results.
Sally’s new book The Right Call highlights how people make the right decisions under pressure. Sally grew up with a front-row seat to some of the greatest sporting events of all time and watched how leaders make decisions in real time. Her book examines the commonalities of decisions made under stress and the methodologies that lead to making the right call.
Making the right call starts with approaching each day with an organized method. Too often we drift through our days without any real intention, but successful athletes don’t waste a single minute of their day. They make micro-decisions down to the minute that make all the difference in their success.
Sally shares the example of Peyton Manning’s practice with wet footballs that led to the Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl win against the Chicago Bears. Preparation diffuses pressure. Pressure is what happens when you don’t know what to do, but taking the time to prepare can immensely reduce that pressure.
When preparing for a meeting, take time to consider what you will say when you don’t have much time, when you’re in adverse conditions, or when you’re dealing with a hostile audience. If you can handle less-than-ideal conditions when practicing, you will be more prepared when it’s time to perform.
There is plenty that the average person can’t replicate about professional athlete performance, but there is more than you may think that can be replicated. As Laird Reynolds once said, “We spend a lot of time seeking comfort, and comfort is not the only thing we are seeking.” There is a time for relaxation and self-care, but there is so much more to success than that. Pushing yourself to adapt to the stress that comes before success will give you the personal power that you need to succeed.
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