From the outset, it's important to understand the meaning of peak performance. According to the dictionary, peak performance is "a state in which the person performs to the maximum of their ability, characterized by subjective feelings of confidence, effortlessness and total concentration on the task"
Now imagine for one moment you have ambitious goals in life. You need to perform at your best in a sport, job, whatever it may be. Performing at your best and in a totally focused manner can result in massive improvements both in your life and in whatever you set out to achieve.
So how can you go about performing at an optimal level?
One thing is certain, it will take a lot of hard work and discipline to get to that level. However, once you are there, as the definition states, you will feel confident and all you do will become effortless and second nature.
Do you get into your car and drive without even thinking about it?
Well, if you're driving for even just a year, you more than likely do. It's second nature to us. But imagine when we were learning how to drive. Everything became a focus. The pedals, handbrake, steering and the other vehicles around us.
Through practice and experience, we can drive as easy as we breath and never think twice about it. This is the ideal situation to be in for anything we want to perform our best at.
So let's dig into the nitty gritty of the steps required to achieve peak performance and mastery. Following these step by steps can really start to make an impact on your life.
From the beginning, we need to understand our goals. Writing down a clear list of goals we want to achieve is paramount. Without it, it's like driving blind. Never a smart idea!
Be truthful to yourself, how many of you have a written list of goals or even a single goal? We need something to aim for and having a concrete list of goals can be a great target. No need to reinvent the wheel. Just simple and to the point!
Now most people will leave it there. Their goals are written down and they are ready to go. There is only one problem. How on earth are they going to achieve these goals?
This is where we are different. We want to ultimately achieve a high performing state. We need to be very specific on how we set out to achieve our goals too. Here's an example to illustrate the point.
Instead of writing a goal like this :
I will become the greatest manager in my job
We would instead write :
I will become the greatest manager in my job by reading two leadership books per month and applying what I learn
You notice the difference? A clear goal outlined with clear instructions on how to achieve it. This is all part of the peak performance formula.
We perform best when we are alert and fresh. Most commonly, this occurs in the morning after we are up and ready to go. Because of this, structure your most important tasks for this time period as you will do the most work and get closer to the all important goal.
Peak performance will only happen by taking small steps in the right direction. By structuring your day to be doing the most important tasks when you are the most alert and energetic, you are moving at a faster rate to a state of peak performance.
I get that this can all be a bit overwhelming at the beginning but you may be surprised how fast you get into a routine. Remember what was said about driving above?
Eventually, the goal is for anything you do will become second nature and you eventually won't have to think twice about it.
I'll start this by saying I'm in no way a health or exercise professional. However, extensive studies show the benefits of exercising. If we can become more productive through exercise, it's always very important to get a good run or gym session in to keep the body fresh and alert.
In order to be performing at our best, we need to ensure our mind and body are performing at a good level and what better way to mind yourself than some good old fashioned exercise?
I don't need to repeat what the majority of the world already knows. Exercise is very beneficial. Train your mind and body to cope in tough situations and you will be at a very big advantage.
Seems like common sense right? We need extreme focus and concentration on the task at hand to achieve optimal performance. But so many of us get distracted by things. Our everyday life with iPhones & tablets means we are procrastinating quite often.
Obviously, extreme focus is necessary. But how do we go about staying focused? Here's a quick video with some useful tips and tricks to get the ball rolling.
Once we are focused on the task at hand, we can become unstoppable and achieve things we thought was never possible.
Want to be great at something and perform at the very best? Well you're reading this article so yes, you obviously do! But one very important factor to remember is having passion is almost half the battle.
Basically, you need to love what you are doing. If you hate or even dislike something, do you really think you will stick at it for the long haul? You will experience many setbacks on the path to success and without passion, you may give up.
How many top level people in the world hate what they do?
I would very much doubt the worlds peak performers in any field, from sports to business, hate what they are doing. Sure, they might dislike the process of getting there but the success once there is more than enough to make up for any ill feelings.
Look at a great quote from Muhammad Ali
"I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion."
Ali wanted to be a champion. He had a passion for boxing. He didn't enjoy it at times in training but knew if he suffered now, he'd live his life as a champion. And he must certainly did achieve that!
If we want to perform at our very best, obviously we are going to encounter failures along the way. Don't be too hard on yourself when you suffer through this. Because it will only make us grow stronger and better overall.
If we know what not to do, we can focus on what to do. And then it snowballs and our performance levels and ability just compounds at a very fast rate. Many successful people in different industries all attribute part of their success to learning from their failures.
So don't try to avoid failure. Embrace it! Look at it as a simple learning experience to become a better you.
Peak performers know the power of visualization. Through it, they imagine themselves achieving whatever they set out to do. This can be very powerful. If you familiarize yourself with what you want to achieve, it becomes much easier to do as you already have mentally rehearsed it.
Don't just take my word for it. Have a look at this guide and practice how to use it to your own benefit. Top athletes, corporate executives and other high performers do this every day to get the most out of themselves.
And you can too! Imagine how much better you would be having already practiced what you want to do.
So many of us go through life blaming others. What do you think would happen if we took responsibilities for our actions?
Well things would get done. Once we take full responsibility, we can learn and adjust from our mistakes. If we are always blaming others, where will it ultimately get us?
You guessed it, absolutely nowhere!
An easy way to remain accountable for your actions is to make a journal. There will be times when it is tough but you will notice patterns over time. Do not underestimate the power of the journal, it can be a blessing in many different cases and you will improve with one.
Wait, what? Take a vacation? Well yes. And here's why. We are all human. We need to recharge the batteries every so often. I'd rather miss a week or two of work and recharge mentally and psychically than not take any holidays and only work at 50% of my capabilities.
So schedule some me time to help yourself out. You'll be glad you did this. This will also help with the all too common burnout problems which plague peak performers.
It's all about finding the right balance. If you know yourself the required time you need to take for vacation, you will really boost your overall results once you freshen up.
It is also very important we start the day having slept properly. This is crucial as without proper sleep, we are way less productive. There are countless benefits to getting a good nights sleep from memory performance gains to overall energy levels.
You simply cannot afford to be running on little sleep. It will effect you negatively and we don't want that. So when you are getting started with achieving peak performance, make sure to get a proper nights rest.
You'll be grateful you did when you wake up fresh and ready to go.
Yes, you read that right. Learn to listen. We are all in so much of a rush nowadays that we can sometimes forget to stop and actually listen. Listen to mentors, educators, peers, anything or anyone that can help you achieve your goals.
Don't have a naive view that you are able to do it alone. Some of the most successful peak performers in the world have mentors or learned their skills through others.
And you can too!
The great thing about today is there is so much information and people willing to share their knowledge, the only question is are you willing to listen to what they have to say?
As has been mentioned many times above, you will encounter setbacks along the way so having a strong mindset is very important. You will need it to remain disciplined, passionate and extremely focused when the going gets tough which it inevitably will.
So how do we create a strong mindset?
This article on 5 tips to build a strong mindset can help with the process. Just remember, all this will take time so be patient. You'll be glad you did when you look back with a smile having reached your ultimate goals.
Now. let's get this right. I'm not talking about being cocky individuals that think you can do no wrong. On the contrary! But we need to have confidence in our own ability. It is crucial. If you can't believe in yourself, who else will?
If you struggle with self confidence, don't worry. Everyone has to start somewhere. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Once you build the right structure and prepare properly, confidence will start to increase.
And with a little success, it snowballs from there. It's so very important to believe you can do it.
Okay, I get that reading all these steps can be somewhat overwhelming. However, don' be discourage. One small step at a time and before you realize, it will easily be second nature to you.
These steps are applicable in all different walks of life. Whether you want to achieve peak performance in fitness, work, school, business, whatever it may be, just starting with the first step can be a great foundation.
And don't underestimate the life changing effects of performing at a high level. You will sky rocket your quality of life, both personally and professionally. Most good things in life take time. You will experience setbacks. To be the greatest at anything will see you go through many ups and downs.
But following the steps will ultimately guide you in the right direction. Set your goals, go forth and become peak performing superhumans ! The very best of luck on your journeys .