What Happens When A Mismatch Occurs Between Skill and the Challenge?

Anxiety is caused when a mismatch occurs between your personal skill and the challenge. Anyone who watched the Wallabies play the All Blacks on the weekend saw what a miss match between skill and a challenge looks like. The superior speed and power of the All Blacks provided a challenge that the Wallabies couldn’t match. The anxiety this caused the Australian team saw cool heads like Israel Folau and Bernard Foley kick the ball into the opposition and one in every five attempts to stop an All Black result in a missed tackle.

Think of any challenge that you may face in your work life. The challenges that you enjoy are the ones where you display a high level of skill and you enjoy the most success. Those that cause you stress and make you prone to errors are the challenges where you have a low level of skill and a limited list of triumphs.

For the overweight executive, weight loss is one such challenge. They simply don’t have what it takes to overcome the task, so they avoid it. Well, at least they try to. Being overweight is a problem they can’t ignore and they are compelled to act. Instead of using the problem-solving skills that create success in their professional lives they make mistakes like this, that or the other.

For the executive to achieve the success they need to apply four skills in this specific order:

  1. Work & Rest Management: They need to beat the feeling of fatigue.
    Like the athlete, the executive needs to know how to recover after periods of intense effort. Tired has become a way of life. To be able to execute all four skills the executive must first make rest a priority.
  2. Stress Management: They must be the master of their own arousal levels.
    Intellectually challenging tasks require the executive to limit their arousal to create the intense concentration required for critical thinking. Included in this are the decisions required around food and making the time to exercise, that require discipline or restraint.
  3. Exercise: They must learn how to move like an athlete.
    Sitting is evil. What it does to an overweight males hips and posture is devastating. The main victims are usually lower backs and knees. The executive must learn how to use the mobility drills of athletes to reverse the effects of sitting.
  4. Nutrition: They need to create a reproducible food routine that creates weight loss.
    Every executive can tell you roughly what they need to eat. However, being able to consistently find the right foods between back-to-back meetings, family celebrations, and corporate entertaining is a greater challenge.

These four skills are not remarkable on their own. But, when put together and in this order, the anxiety and self-doubt that occurs with weight loss will diminish. The most common mistake is trying to learn the skills of Nutrition first. Until the executive learns how to beat fatigue, reduce their arousal and find relief from the pain caused by sitting, the skills of nutrition will be a challenge similar to the Bledisloe Cup – something that never touches for over 13 years.

This is a concept that I explore in my book. You can download a free chapter sample here at www.executiveathlete.co