I hope 2022 is off to a good start for you. Based on what I am hearing from my clients there is cautious optimism and growth opportunities abound this year. I am excited about that!
The topic of “performance” is currently top of mind as the new year promotes a fresh start for many. For those in the corporate setting it is that time of year for annual performance reviews. Individuals and teams are setting their personal and professional goals for the year and our success in reaching our goals, is directly related to both our personal and professional performance.
As a self-confessed high-performance sports fan, I was enthralled with the Olympics these past two weeks as we watched the highs of the wins and lows of the losses. The high of the wins requires these athletes to churn out their peak performance exactly in that moment.
I am also a keen tennis junkie (as a fan), and I recently enjoyed watching the Australian Open Tennis Men’s final match between Rafael Nadal and Danill Medvedev. I was in awe of the tenacity and grit that Nadal showed, to come back and win that match after losing the first two sets. While the match was epic and exciting to watch, I pondered how he was able to find the will and the way to win, considering the many difficult factors that he was up against after losing the first 2 sets.
I have been fiercely passionate about the concept of “performance” throughout my Human Resources, and Coaching career because our achievements in life and work, are the direct result of our performance. Through my years as a corporate professional, and my personal pursuits playing sports somewhat competitively, I have experienced many performance highs and lows, all of which have offered multiple learning moments. We can’t grow without learning from these experiences.
Have you ever considered, what it takes to perform at your best? Ok, spoiler alert… effort and raw talent isn’t enough! While top notch, it wasn’t just Nadal’s or the top Olympic athlete’s raw talent, that delivered their wins. It was also their mental game.
Athletic peak performance does incorporate a heightened physical and nutritional element compared to those of us who navigate regular life and work. However, the mental game is an equally important parallel for anyone wanting to achieve their peak performance. Let’s explore some key conditions that support peak performance:
- Mindset – Adopt a growth mindset which is the belief that you can build knowledge and skill through effort and hard work. See challenges as opportunities and find ways to step out of your comfort zone and make the time to work on the hard things. How often do you stretch yourself, or do you typically stay in your comfort zone?
- Planning and discipline – Create a plan and a strategy that aligns with your goal and/or skill development. Lessen the distractions and check in periodically to confirm if you are progressing towards your goal. Are you crystal clear on your priorities and take the time to focus on the right things?
- Readiness to perform – Consider how you need to prepare to tackle a big project, a competition, etc. If you are taking on many things, what are other things that you need to decline, drop, or re-negotiate to help you stay focused and ready? Have you noticed that many successful people adopt and commit to a ritual or routine?
- Leverage your strengths and experiences – You won’t be masterful at everything, but your strengths and experiences have contributed to where you are today. The best predictor of future performance is past performance in similar situations. What can you lean into and leverage from those experiences?
- Support – You can’t succeed alone; it takes a village! Peak performance can only be realized through a strong support system that keeps you sharp and focused. You will achieve this by asking for help, critical feedback, and support from your manager, accountability partner, mentor, or coach. Who is in your entourage?
- Reflection and inner work – When you pause to reflect and tap into how you are feeling physically and emotionally, you will receive some critical data points. These are the learning moments! Find time on a weekly basis to look at your performance through an objective lens. Determine what went well, what didn’t, and where you need to adjust, if necessary. Are you carving out strategic thinking time every week?
- Self care – You can’t pour from an empty cup! You need to take care of our physical and emotional health to withstand the demands of life and work. Are you setting yourself up for success through healthy behaviors?
Achieving your own peak performance requires a commitment and the discipline to work towards your goals. It may be difficult and challenging throughout your journey, however, it is critical that you discover, and create, the environment that allows you to be, without compromise, your best.
To maintain your motivation and momentum, if you can create a simplistic, and realistic, plan that keeps you focused on the process and not just the end goal, you will set yourself up for success. In doing so, you will enjoy and appreciate the ride and love your results.
If you are curious and wish to explore one or more of these conditions to help you or someone on your team to achieve peak performance, please reach out!