Author: Rituparna Maji

Unleashing one’s true potential – Lessons from the world of sports

Organizations often struggle to engage, energize and enable its employees – for them to deliver excellence in line with his/ her true potential.

This translates into untapped productivity reserves at an individual level. On Programs and Projects, this collectively has an adverse impact on all the three aspects of cost, schedule and quality. When aggregated at an organization level, this translates into loss of revenues and/ or increased costs. In a study of 41 global companies by Management Consultancy firm, Towers Watson, it was revealed that companies scoring high on sustainable employee engagement outperformed their sectors in terms of earnings growth by an average of 18%.

Notwithstanding the measures that an organization takes in this regard, what are the proactive steps that an individual can take to perform at his/ her true potential? This article attempts to answer this question, by compiling learnings from the lives of three sports personalities who constantly pushed boundaries to redefine their own benchmarks. At the core is an amalgamation of insights from books authored by these champions: a) ‘Age is just a number: Achieve your dreams at any stage in your life’ by Dara Torres (co-authored by Elizabeth Weil), b) ‘Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All Night Runner’ by Dean Karnazes, and c) ‘Play to Win: My life on and off court’ by Saina Nehwal.

Though the champions belonged to different sports (swimming, endurance running and badminton respectively), in the books that they authored, there are multiple common threads linking the success factors that made them excel in what they did. These common success factors, arrived at from a detailed study of the above-mentioned books and making extensive notes, are what led to a list of 12 rules an individual can follow in order to perform at his/ her true potential.

  1. Seek to work on what you feel most passionate