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Taking a lead from Formula One. The secret of achieving high performance and success

Posted by
10 Feb 2016
As a motorsport fan, I was interested to read about a meeting between three top drivers and Dr Aki Hinsta – a highly regarded physician who has turned his medical career into the quest for high performance and well-being within the world of professional sport and business.

The meeting took place at the World Economic Forum and was attended by British racing driver Suzie Wolff, who has most recently been competing in the German Touring Car Series, four times Formula One World Champion, Sebastian Vettel and two times Formula One Champion, Mika Hakkinen. The forum was also attended by 2,500 other delegates who were mainly business and world leaders.

Dr Hinsta is a specialist in orthopaedic and trauma care. He spent a number of years living in Africa working as a missionary doctor. During this time, Dr Hinsta spent time observing the training routines of elite Ethiopian distance runners. He was particular interested in their dominance in the sport. He concluded that all aspects of the runners’ lives were geared to achieving their running ambitions. They lived their lives in a state of balance. From this, Dr Hinsta formed his philosophy that success derives from holistic wellbeing. He has since established ‘Hinsta Performance' and works with top athletes and businesses.

What can we learn from Dr Hinsta’s philosophy to achieve success in our own careers and to give you the edge over your peers?

Dr Hinsta has developed a concept to improve wellbeing. This features six key elements that he deems as the ‘Circle of Better Life’ and need to be in place and function well individually and together. If we commit to improving these elements daily, we will begin to function more effectively. These key elements are:

  1. Physical activity – too little and also too much can lead to problems. From leading a sedentary life to overtraining a balance needs to be found
  2. Nutrition –  choosing a diet which promotes health and performance
  3. Recovery - getting a good nights sleep. Dr Hinsta compares having on average 5 hours a night sleep over 3 days to driving a car drunk. Sebastian Vettel aims for 10 hours sleep a night prior to a race whilst Mika Hakkinen says you need to rest more than you train otherwise you won’t improve whilst you are tired. Dr Hinska advocates a strict rule of not drinking alcohol or use of a computer or smart phone before bed to be an important part of achieving this.
  4. Biochemistry – five minutes of pilates or stretching in the morning to enhance mobility, balance, movement control and reduce the risk of injury or pain
  5. Mental health – viewing your mental health as a budget. Some activities, people and tasks can drain our budget whilst others replenish it. Being aware of this, prioritising time and finding a balance between the two
  6. General health – The foundation of wellbeing. Taking charge of your health and knowing the state of your general health, taking a proactive approach to improving it.
At the centre of the Circle of Better life is The Core – our sense of identity, purpose and control. It provides the motivational backbone to make meaningful changes in our lives and achieve our goals. 

Mika Hakkinen who won the Formula One World Championship in 1998 and 1999 credits some of his success to Dr Hinsta. By sharpening his focus on the track by allaying concerns about his family, he helped give Mika the edge over his competitor Michael Schumacher, in a sport where the difference between winning and losing can be tenths of a second.

I think the key message is find time to look after other areas of your life and physical wellbeing that is not work related. Making time to improve these areas will have a positive effect on achieving career goals. It can be too easy to get bogged down with work and let it take over your life, by working long hours, eating on the go or working on the computer late into the night is much less constructive than having an early night, cooking a nutritionally balanced meal and giving yourself some down time in which to recover.

Recruiting for the locum market, I firmly believe the flexibility this career chose offers can promote a healthy work life balance. With the ability to take time off between assignments, shorter working weeks and the potential for home working can lead to having more time to spend on personal wellbeing.
Should you wish to discuss a possible career move onto the locum market, please contact me for a confidential discussion. Alternatively, check out our advice for locum workers. Advice for locums
Tagged In: Current Affairs, Legal
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