Harnessing the Power of the Second Wind for Peak Performance

We need to push past what we think is our limit in order to perform to the best of our abilities because, when we do, we will discover our second wind, which will enable us to perform at even higher levels.

What is a second wind? Well, according to Wikipedia, the second wind is a phenomenon in distance running, such as marathons or road running (as well as other sports), whereby an athlete who is too out of breath and tired to continue suddenly finds the strength to press on at top performance with less exertion.

In my experience, I achieve that second wind when I move outside of my comfort zone. That first message telling me that I am out of breath or that I have just reached my limit—that is just my body warning me that I am reaching the edge of my comfort zone and it’s time to slow down or even stop.

But if I continue on through that comfort zone barrier, that is where I find the second wind, and this is just as true of any activity as it is of running, whether that task is physical or mental.

When I write, I often find myself reaching my limit, feeling that I cannot do more, but if I push on, I often find that second wind, which then allows me to write significantly more than I thought.

In order to get the best out of our teams, we have to help them find their second wind, which will help them push themselves to new levels of performance.

I have been reminded of this as I watch the Soccer World Cup, where many teams play in hot and humid conditions. They looked like they were on their last legs as the game approached 90 minutes, and suddenly they found the energy to take their performance to the next level in extra time. They had found their second wind.

We always have something more in the tank; we can always do more, but we need to push ourselves through that first feeling that we can’t do more in order to find it.

It’s like in those computer games, when we fight to complete a tough new level, once we complete it, we find energy and health points that allow us to go on even further.

It is so much easier to quit than it is to push on and find our second wind, but as leaders, this is what we need to do for our teams: we need to encourage them to keep going, remind them that they are just using up their first wind, and as soon as we round that next corner, we will find our second wind, which will give us the energy to keep on going.

If you want to achieve significant results, you need to drive your team and help them find that second wind.

If you want to learn more about creating highly engaged teams or being a better leader click the link to view our course.