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The Top Performer’s Field Guide: Train to Win


“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.” -Navy SEAL adage

by Jeff Standridge

Any discussion of performance is bound to dredge up sports analogies, but the connection between excellence in business and athletics is more tangible than you might first think. The meld of mind and body is unquestioned in the sports arena, but we often discount this bond when discussing business performance. Why should that be on our radar? Unless we’re sprinting to catch a connecting flight, there are not many occasions your 100-yard dash time matters in the daily grind of the nine to five (Wait, who works nine to five anyway? That’s a subject for another chapter.)

A 2007 University of Georgia study found a positive link between fitness and traits associated with success. Better focus, better follow-through, and higher levels of confidence were all attributed to either starting or increasing one’s physical fitness regimen. The benefits of diet and exercise shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has had a checkup in the last thirty years. What is surprising is that more professionals don’t follow up on this advice.

A component of reaching the pinnacle of one’s profession is to secure advantages. Communications, decision-making, process flow are all areas we twist and tweak for optimal performance in order to secure our business an advantage. So why do we not take the time to give ourselves the advantages physical fitness can bestow? It’s hard. I don’t know how. I’ll look foolish. We accept those same excuses for fitness that we would never accept in a business setting. If we accept those justifications in lieu of pursuing the activities that will certainly improve our health and longevity, we will eventually accept those same excuses in our professional life.

Top performance is about a lifestyle of success, not just wins in the boardroom. The quicker you understand that the quicker you’ll be on your way to securing whatever brass ring you have in mind.

Train to Win: Accelerators

  • On a scale of one to ten (with one being undesirable and ten being highly desirable), how would you rate your current level of physical fitness?
  • List three areas (weight, strength, endurance, toughness, etc.) relative to your physical condition that you’d like to improve.
  • Make a plan to improve in ONE of those areas over the next thirty days.

READ MORE: The Top Performer’s Field Guide: So, You Want to Be a Top Performer, Huh?

Jeff Standridge

Dr. Jeff D. Standridge is the best-selling author ofThe Innovator’s Field GuideandThe Top Performer’s Field Guide.”  He serves as Managing Director for the Conductor, and teaches in the College of Business at the University of Central Arkansas.  Jeff spends the vast majority of his time helping organizations and their leaders generate sustained results in the areas of innovation, strategy, profit growth, organizational effectiveness and leadership. Learn more at

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