“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”!

It’d probably be a fair observation to say that many of us wake up every Monday morning have breakfast, wash, brush our teeth, get dressed and battle our way through traffic to get to work. Once at work some will use the washroom, others will congregate around the kettle or coffee machine desperate to get their morning fix of caffeine, while others will brave the elements to get that last cigarette in before the shift begins. Whatever you do, however you do it, it’s individual to you, this is your routine, your way of preparing the world for your brilliance! Or to simply appear presentable depending on the weekend you may have had…

Okay, so the morning routine is one example of how we prepare ourselves for an event, but what about other tasks we are faced with such as the dreaded Business Development calls? Or perhaps a Champions League final? Is there a difference between preparing for the two? I took it upon myself to look, my subject for this comparison, none other than Cristiano Ronaldo arguably the greatest athlete of his time. By doing some research and reading through some interviews conducted with Ronaldo over his pre-game prep and below you can see just how much detail goes into making sure Ronaldo is in peak Physical and Mental condition to approach any big game, ready for him to perform at his maximum potential.

1. Get enough rest –  Ronaldo will go to bed early and wake up early especially on match days. He states that 8 hours minimum is ideal. However, like others on big game day, he finds sleeping difficult through nerves (proof he is human and not a machine).

Getting enough rest is vital in any profession, which is why it’s important to remember that success cannot be achieved by simply applying effort once in the workplace, it is a state of mind and being disciplined outside of work is just as crucial. Set sensible times to go to bed, be sure to wake up feeling fresh and ready to take on those important calls!

2. Fit in a short morning workout – For Ronaldo, it’s important to try and fit exercise in wherever possible and he’s a fan of getting a good ab workout in once he wakes up and before he goes to bed.

Just as being as fit as possible is key in sports, knowledge is key in business. It’s easy to get caught up and lose 5minutes here and 5 minutes there, but, staying current with your relative industry is critical to winning business and securing that big sale. You can be sure that your clients will know if you have a strong grasp on the industry you are working in. Be sure to read articles from relative companies within your industry, maybe join an online group or simply read the newspaper, conduct company research before calling the company. Whatever it is remember, knowledge is power.

3. Eat small balanced meals – Ronaldo knows that a good workout must be combined with a good diet. It’s about maintaining high energy levels to fuel the body so that it can perform better. Ronaldo will normally eat around 6 small meals a day just ensure he has enough energy to perform at the top level.

The average male is considered to need 2500Kcal and the average woman 2000Kcal, the point here is that too many working professionals do not eat during their working hours. I’ve been one of these guilty people, missing breakfast, working through lunches etc. It’s all too easy to not think about food especially when your mind is wrapped up in something else. Make the conscious effort to stop and refuel. The upside to this is you’ll begin noticing that you have more energy, you’ll find solutions quicker and potentially easier than you would if trying whilst your stomach plays sounds from a black hole to the rest of the office. It should also improve your mood, “Hangry people do not sell”.

4. Psych himself up! – Before every match Ronaldo goes through the same routine, preparing for a game. After the pre-match warm-up, he’ll put his kit on, he’ll then put his boots on, then shortly after this Ronaldo will then go to a mirror and stare at his reflection to psych himself up.

Granted if you randomly start staring into mirrors at work you’ll probably be sectioned or at least be asked to take a couple of days off and go see a doctor. Alternatively, we can do something similar, we can be sure that everything we need to make a successful call is in place and ready for use once the call is in progress. You don’t want to be scrambling for a pen or a sheet of paper to take valuable notes etc. Secondly, we can psych ourselves up whether that be a pre-work talk in the mirror, or a small team meeting to highlight the focus of the day and to discuss the successes of the previous day, what’s worked well what hasn’t. Ultimately believe in yourself and believe in what you are offering to clients, the only person that will hold you back is yourself.

5. Stretch and Listen to Music – When Ronaldo enters the stadium before a game, he’ll spend an hour listening to his favourite tunes, stretching, warming-up and having a bit of fun!

Work can be difficult at times, everybody will experience some level of stress at some point, the key here is to try to eliminate any anxiety and stress you may have before picking up that phone. There’re several ways you can do this, hopefully, the pre-call prep you’ve done will help settle the initial nerves as you won’t be dialling blind for one. Although for others it could be as simple as playing some music in the background (granted not all offices are radio friendly), or it could be a small stakes competition between colleagues. I was always told people buy from people, this is still true today, the more relaxed you are going into a BD call the more confident you will be when on the BD call. This will also come across in your pitch and tone which the recipient will notice and it could be the difference between someone giving you 5minutes or 15minutes.

For me, there are 3 indicators to success, aptitude, attitude and application. Now Aptitude can be improved, but to what level is dependent on the individual, I could train every day for the rest of my life and still be nowhere near as good at football as Ronaldo, or I could learn an instrument but never compose a world-famous sonnet. Whereas the latter two Attitude and Application are limited only by the restrictions we place on ourselves. We each have it in us to work as hard if not harder than the person sitting next to us, we can prepare as much, or as little as we see fit for every task we must complete, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”!

It’s not surprising then that an individual such as Ronaldo, who displays a high level of aptitude within his field (although it is also trackable that Ronaldo has developed and progressed throughout his career allowing us to watch as his aptitude grew to the level we are now witnessing), an attitude which is second to none and accompanied by an incredible level of application, is considered to be one of the best in his sport. It’s his preparation, his routine, his approach that has enabled him to achieve this success and if we too take the time and put in the effort to prepare comprehensively and professionally, we will be giving ourselves the best possible chance of reaching the heights we are capable of.