I’ve always been a morning person. I feel better once I’m up and moving before the day gets hectic and simply have a sharper intellectual focus in the morning. My energy naturally dips mid-afternoon, so focusing on heavy, draining tasks at that time is totally unproductive for me.
Years ago, in my early corporate career, I was working in a team of relationship managers tasked with managing the many client relationships our organisation had. We provided support, fixed issues, introduced efficiencies into these businesses etc. You get the picture – our role was to go out to these clients’ businesses and help them.
Internally, the teams that we physically sat with within the office were all operationally based – online support, telephone consultants etc. – all just as important to the overall client relationship as we were, however, their roles were office bound, while ours were focused on getting out to the clients’ premises. Being a morning person, I often got in the office before most others. I’m talking an hour or two before office hours. Not only am I personally more productive in the morning, but when the office is quiet, the phones aren’t ringing and my inbox is silent….there is A LOT of work that can get done in 90-120mins!
I’d do some of my heavier tasks during this time and then once the business day began, I’d move onto my meetings, calls etc. I was very productive and had a client base who were content 99% of the time. I was producing results.
At the same time, I lived on the outskirts of Sydney’s inner west, so it would take me approximately 45 mins to get from door to door of my daily commute. I committed to an outdoor training/fitness program with my then partner (now husband) at the local park near our apartment and needed to be there by 5:45 pm two nights a week. You paid up front for a term and there were no refunds or make up sessions if you missed any. So, I would structure my day to leave the office or wherever I was in order to get to the park by 5:45 pm.
The point of no return
After a few weeks (in which my energy and focus soared!) my manager at the time pulled me aside. Her exact words were, “it doesn’t look good to the rest of the floor seeing you leave early.” My immediate response was, “is there an issue with my work or my clients?” But there were no problems with my output or results, it was purely the perception created by my leaving early – and when I say early, I’m talking 4:45 pm. People, including my manager, were associating me leaving early with a lack of productivity. The belief they had was driving their personal actions and behaviour towards me.
I’m happy to say I challenged this successfully and continued on with my structure. It was interesting that the person with the highest productivity was the one being challenged by limiting, old-school thinking. My colleagues’ view was they would rather me conform than continue to achieve the results I was producing, all because they couldn’t explain how I was doing this.
Limiting your ability and output by allowing your beliefs to dictate your actions can be detrimental, not only to your success but that of your team as well as your business.
What beliefs or behaviours are holding you back from true high performance? Which ones are impacting your team and their performance? Sometimes it’s the simplest belief that could be stopping us from achieving great things.