If you are focused on winning at anything in life it is vital to identify your main opposition, and important to be aware of them and any threat they could be to your success.

However the main opponent you have to make sure you win over is actually much closer than you think.

Rafael Nadal was knocked out of the Australian Open recently in the quater-finals. His opponent played an excellent game of tennis but it was obvious that Rafa was not as fit as he needed to be to compete at the level for which he is renowned. Did his opponent beat him or did he beat himself? I guess we will never fully know.

All too often it is not an external opponent who beats us, but something internal.

Many times it is self-sabotage of some kind. I understand this all too well from my own experience where not looking after myself for many years led to a situation where I made some bad decisions that cost me a job with significant profile and my marriage.

10 Keys to make sure you win over yourself:

  1.  Have a clear purpose larger than you – this enables you to live on purpose not casually or by accident. This will motivate you to sacrifice comfort and persevere to achieve stretching goals.
  2.  Build core strength – develop a healthy spirituality that enables you to breathe, de-stress and engage life from deep within. Most of life flows from a healthy heart.
  3. Develop a clear sense of your life – who you are and the roles you play. Get free from the addiction to needing to ‘have it all’ so you know what you want and learn to enjoy it.
  4. Know the boundaries of your life. Work hard to be free to say ‘yes’ and to say ‘no’ without guilt or obligation. This takes time, self awareness and a good friend or two who will tell you the truth.
  5. Be committed to being as fit and healthy as you can. For 25 years I was ‘too busy’ to exercise regularly and so gained weight, blood pressure, cholesterol. Three years of commitment to regular exercise and learning the joy of running and I marvel at the sharpness of my mind, the health of my body and the energy levels I now enjoy.
  6. Maintain a healthy work/life balance – You will not be saying on your death bed, “If only I had spent more time at the office!”
  7. Find at least one hobby/sport/activity that totally absorbs you on a regular basis (at least monthly). This can be reading, stamp collecting, golf, fishing, etc. This is so good for your mind and heart!
  8. Make time for healthy relationships – it is so easy to just be busy and for life to pass by. Like most things great relationships are built little by little and need time consistently.  If you don’t make time for something you don’t really value it.
  9. Leave margins in your life – In your budget, schedule and emotional tank, for spontaneity, for emergencies, for children’s and other special people’s agendas.
  10. Do not give away control to unsustainable activities – things that feel good but are not good for you in the long term. E.g. drinking too much alcohol to de-stress, gambling to escape, extra-marital affair, etc. Such things are unsustainable and eventually will cost you a price you will struggle to afford.

 So, in the game of life, or in business or sports I believe you will win more often if you learn these and other keys to win over yourself and so minimise your capacity for self-sabotage.

 ‘He who rules his own spirit is greater than he who takes a city’ (Proverb)

These are the main keys that I have learned by putting them into practice. Life works so much better these days. The challenges are just as great, actually greater, but I have my main opponent under control. How about you?

What other keys would you add?

INTEGRATE: Why Work Life Balance is a Myth | John Drury

Integrate: Why Work Life Balance is a Myth and what you really need to create a fulfilling lifestyle

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