All successful people have ‘away games’ in their lives.
Their away games aren’t EVERY week. That’s not how they work. They’re once or twice a month.
They’re the times when you put in your headphones, take a nap, or catch up on a favorite TV show.
They’re the times when you reflect, relax, and most importantly — they’re the times when you grow.
I never understood this as a rookie, but I do now. Away games play such an important role in personal development. They’re so important that if you’re not scheduling them into your calendar, you risk never reaching your peak performance.
After reading this article you’ll know the power of away games and why you need to start scheduling them into your life.
AWAY GAMES & WHAT THEY REALLY SIGNIFY
The work is done.
The hay is in the barn.
You’re on the plane & leaving for the game.
You’re not going to learn anything new at this point.
So you put in your headphones and get in the zone.
You’re by yourself and doing what you want to do.
At its essence, an away game is really just a moment of celebration. You’ve not only earned this moment, you’re celebrating the hard work it took to get you there.
They’re the moments when you get to focus on YOU. Don’t confuse this with being selfish, because it’s not selfishness. We rarely put ourselves in these kinds of environments of reflection and introspection — whether it’s because we don’t want to or because we can’t.
When’s the last time you took 4 to 6 hours to do something YOU wanted to do, alone?
Can you remember a time? If you can’t, it means you’re not scheduling enough away games into your life.
For me, away games meant kicking it on the plane with my favorite TV shows. When I’d arrived at the hotel, I would never turn on the TV. I’d take a nap, get whatever food I was in the mood for, then meditate. That’s how I used to celebrate a week or two of hard work.
WHY BUSINESS LEADERS NEED TO SCHEDULE AWAY GAMES
Away games aren’t just for athletes. Business leaders need away games too.
You’ve put out all the fires. Now you have to restock the hose and put water back in the well. It’s just a fact of life.
Business leaders: you cannot do your job effectively if you don’t schedule time to check in with yourself and refuel. This helps build consistency by allowing you to identify with yourself and with your priorities. You become authentic in your actions.
I’m not expecting you to create more time out of thin air. I’m asking you to prioritize your time better because it’s impossible to lead authentically if you haven’t spent any time on yourself. If you do not know yourself where are you leading from?
You could be going away on a weekend trip. Cool. Or maybe you’re going away only for a few hours in the morning. Or evening. Whatever it is, you’re taking time to tune in with yourself. This provides the inner peace needed to make you a better leader.
The key is that you’re leaving your regular workspace for a few hours and then re-entering it with fresh eyes. This re-entrance gives you the fortitude needed to tackle your day. You know how people say they loved their time on vacation…but they’re ready to be back? That’s the idea with away games.
The more creative you get with your time, the more dividends you’ll get back from it.
A lot of people take the train to work. That can be a great time to put in your headphones and reflect. Instead of staring at your phone, try staring out the window.
It’s funny. I never understood how valuable this time was during my rookie years. I couldn’t wait to get on the plane. I wanted to eat everything I could. I wanted to watch movies. I wanted to meet friends for dinner.
This was really just a big attempt at escaping reality. I wanted to tune out from the fact that I was going to risk everything the next day in the game.
Then I slowly started to embrace it. I started to embrace the alone time. I started to embrace myself. When I did this, my performance improved.
AWAY GAMES & HOW THEY IMPACT PERFORMANCE
The more alone time I spent with myself, the more I would visualize myself in the game. I would visualize a success, and then I would visualize my response. I would visualize how fear manifests itself inside of me. I would visualize the response to that too.
I was ready to tackle any obstacle that came my way. It helped me prioritize each potential situation.
Away games help you develop the same mindset that the most successful people in the world have. As soon as something happens, it’s almost as if they’ve been there before because they know exactly how to respond.
They help you become so self-aware that you’re ready to react efficiently no matter what happens. You know what’s productive and what’s stalling certain situations.
I came to realize that when it comes to performance, time with others is not as important as time with yourself.
Once I realized this truth, something incredible happened. I went from about 15 mistakes in a year down to only 5. A lot of that success came down to taking the personal time to address my priorities.
I built a resolve. I attacked every game and every day.
THE FULL IMPACT OF AWAY GAMES
Away games improve your game time and workplace performance, of course. But the impact doesn’t stop there. It goes full circle and reaches into all areas of your life.
How many times do you come home and just want to be alone for a few minutes to watch a show and relax?
You’re constantly fighting for that time to be by yourself. It’s dividing your attention and diverting your focus just thinking about it. But imagine you schedule in some away games. Now you’re no longer fighting for your alone time against family time. Now you’re more focused and present.
Away games helped me be a better athlete. Then they helped me be a better husband. Now they help me be a better father.
That’s the beauty of these games. They really create more depth and experience for everybody you interact with.
If you work 80 hours a week, make it 84 hours a week. Use those extra 4 hours and take some time for yourself. Take some time to refuel.
An airplane, although it soars to many heights, does not do so nonstop. You’ve got to refuel. The harder you work, the more important that refueling is. In no way, shape, or form are the most successful people around you workaholics.
Every single successful person finds time for themselves no matter how hard they’re working. No matter where they’re at. No matter what they’re doing.
What’s your away game?