What can Formula 1 teach business leaders?

It took Mika Hakkinen seven years on the Formula 1 circuit to win his first Grand Prix. But he desperately wanted to be champion and he knew that he was close.

It took Mika Hakkinen seven years on the Formula 1 circuit to win his first Grand Prix. But he desperately wanted to be champion and he knew that he was close.“We’re talking about the difference of one tenth of a second between me and Michael Schumacher,” he tells me. “I knew I wasn’t far off.”

He went on to become a two time F1 champion, in 1998 and 1999, and credits his success in part to doctor and mentor, Aki Hintsa. Without him he wouldn’t have won, he says.

Mika explains that Dr Hintsa helped him sharpen his focus on the track by helping him to allay concerns he had off the track – in particular the well being of his family, who he didn’t see as much as he wanted because of all the travelling involved, as well as mentally putting behind him a severe accident he had had a few years previously.

What can they do to be better than their rivals? How can they really get the most out of a single day?

In the hope of finding out, The main message seems to be a simple one – get a good night’s sleep.

Dr Hintsa scoffed at the notion that you can function at full tilt on just five hours’ sleep a night. And competitive bragging about how little you need just isn’t helpful, he implies.

“Operating three nights in a row on just five hours’ sleep is equivalent to driving a car drunk,” he adds.

Mika agrees; you need to rest more than you train, he says, because you just can’t improve while you’re tired. The other message is not drinking alcohol before bed, or using your smartphone or computer.

None of this seems new, but Dr Hintsa says it’s surprising how few people actually implement this. He says such changes will make you function more effectively – whether you’re a top level athlete or work nine to five in an office.

A trained doctor, who also spent time studying long distance runners in Ethiopia, he now works for businesses as well as professional sports people.

“You need to learn to control your emotions,” he says, explaining that if something goes wrong, whether in a car or a business, you need to be able to control your emotions in order to deal with it.

It is important to control, not suppress your emotions, and Mika points out that sometimes it can take a while to process them after winning.

What Dr Hintsa is trying to stress is that to achieve your best you need to look at all parts of your life – physical activity, sleep, nutrition, biomechanics (for this do five minutes of Pilates or stretching every morning he suggests) mental energy and general health.

He calls this the “circle of better life” – and if we commit to slightly improving these aspects daily, we will function more effectively.

And that doesn’t always mean working harder. He worked with one multinational that was going through a period of big change, and the boss’s wife phoned him and thanked him because she felt she now had her husband back in her life.

May 4, 2016  Tags: , ,   Posted in: Business Win, Flying Businesses, Global Business, Professional Services, Uncategorized, Winning Business

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