By Jeff Beals
I’ve never been much of a wrestling fan.
Don’t get me wrong; I certainly respect the sport and admire how hard wrestlers work. I just never really got into it. But when I heard the next scheduled speaker was the winningest person in the history of the sport, my ears perked up.
Earlier that morning, I served as opening keynote speaker at the Iowa Commercial Real Estate Expo. Hundreds of brokers, lenders, developers and property managers from across Iowa had converged on Des Moines for a day of learning, networking and motivation. After speaking, I stayed for the rest of the one-day conference as an attendee.
The closing speaker that afternoon was the legendary Dan Gable, a larger-than-life figure in the state of Iowa and a titan of the wrestling world.
Just how storied was his wrestling career?
For starters, Gable never lost a single match in high school. At Iowa State University, he was a three-time All-American and compiled a record of 118-1, never losing until the final match of his senior year. He went on to win a gold medal in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.
He became head wresting coach at the University of Iowa in 1976 and led the Hawkeyes to 16 NCAA national championships and 21 Big Ten Conference championships. Such a run of dominance is extraordinarily rare in the history of athletic competition.
Now retired as a coach, Gable is still involved in the sport and played an instrumental role earlier this year in saving wrestling as an Olympic sport.
As you might imagine, a man of Gable’s accomplishments had this audience of commercial real estate professionals sitting on the edges of their chairs in rapt attention hanging on his every word.
So what pearls of wisdom did the living legend have for these hard-charging, success-hungry real estate pros?
Well, in any motivational speech, certain things tend to stand out. In this case, it was the five “R’s” of success that Gable often repeated to his athletes and assistant coaches. He shared them with us with sly grin on his face: “Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic, wRestling and Recovery.”
The first four “R’s” make sense, but what is “recovery?”
When Gable competed as an athlete, he trained and practiced incredibly hard. Some might have even accused him of “over-training.” But his super-human workouts never wore him out. They never left him too exhausted to practice at full speed the next day. The reason for his resiliency was his belief in recovery. At the end of each practice, he had a strict routine – stretching, ice, sauna, steam room, massage and mental relaxation. He never cheated himself this critical recovery period. Many of his fellow wrestlers would pack up and leave as soon as practice was done but not Gable. He considered recovery to be just as important as the practice and workout. When he became a coach, he demanded his athletes be just as committed to the art of recovery. This allowed his teams to exhibit unmatched stamina.
Gable told the assembled real estate pros that “recovery” was important in their profession too. It should be a part of every professional’s routine.
What does “recovery” mean in the non-sports world?
Recovery is necessary for ambitious achievers who want to make it to the top and perhaps even more important for people at the top who want to stay there. Gable often delivers speeches to people who work in sales positions. He commonly meets high-achieving salespeople who are frazzled, burned out and making themselves sick as they try to match and exceed their previous successes. Whenever Gable meets such people, he preaches about recovery.
Regardless of your profession, you need recovery. To this day, as a consultant, speaker and businessman, Gable reserves time for recovery. During this time, he slows things down in his mind. He analyzes what happened earlier in the day, both good and bad. He breaks down not only his actions but his emotions. He assesses where he will go or how he will respond the next day. Like Gable, your recovery should be physical, mental and emotional.
And this isn’t something you’re supposed to rush through half-heartedly. Gable believes recovery should be a full hour at the end of the day. That’s difficult, when you’re busy, but the results speak for themselves.
Dan Gable is one of the most competitive human beings you’ll ever meet. Even during the speech, he was sharply focused and “in the zone.” He is “all in” in everything he does. If a guy that intense uses recovery time to propel him to the very top, it sure makes sense for the rest of us too.
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Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.