Updated: Jan 20
The term performance means 'going beyond the expected level.'
Irrespective of position, function, occupation, or status, everyone wants not just to perform but reach their peak performance and realize their full potential. However, a vast majority of people are unable to convert their dreams into reality and deliver a consistently high performance due to a 'lack of clearly communicated, inspiring goals' or 'lack of planning to get to their goals.'
For most people, effort means hard work. That is how much quantity of work they are putting in. For some others, it indicates how the work is being done (quality). Both of these are important. However, without a clear sense of direction (where the effort is made), quantity and quality of efforts are unlikely to result in the desired performance level.
Peak performance means being at your best, and delivering results as expected while you're trying to overcome challenges.
Delivering peak performance at work is a function of-
1. Being motivated at what you do;
2. Developing the right habits;
3. Being productive;
4. Managing your energy and time.
Besides business, these principles apply to other aspects of life, such as career, health, and relationships. So it's worth knowing yourself in these areas.
Being Motivated at What You Do
The easiest way to be motivated is to choose work that you enjoy, and that you're both good at and love to do. Do what gives you satisfaction and keeps you energized and motivated. When you have internal motivation, you're more likely to achieve your peak performance.
But while you want to spend time doing things you're highly motivated to do, there could be times and situations when staying at the same level of motivation may not be possible. In such cases, negotiate the situation to fit it into more significant goals. Find an alternate way to do/get the task done.
Use a negotiating approach when you think of the benefits you gain from taking on the work you need to do. You can delegate a few of those tasks to someone who does feel motivated by that activity and would perform well.
Takeaway: So, what motivates you? Are you making good choices about the work you want to do versus the work you want to delegate? And to negotiate things when you have to do the job whether you like it or not?
Developing the Right Habits
Getting to your peak performance is less about the 'why' and more about the 'how' - the actions you take (Behavior Habits) and the thoughts you have (Thought Habits) daily.
Thought Habits could have a huge impact on your performance. Negative thoughts can be like:
1. Fear of failure - What if I fail?
2. Low self-esteem - Others don't like me?
3. Lack of self-confidence - Others are better than me?
Living with such negative Thought Habits is like driving with the handbrake on - a definite pulling back on performance.
Begin replacing negative thoughts with positive ones:
1. I can do this;
2. I will try again.
3. I can learn a lot from others.
Thinking positively in the face of problems will enhance your performance to the peak, and you will learn to combat negative Thought Habits.
Your Behaviour and Habits can easily hurt your performance, not to mention the performance of your team and organization.
For example, reaching late for work due to waking up late every day, not communicating your points effectively in meetings due to lack of preparation, and not networking efficiently due to lack of effort.
Takeaway: Identify the one habit you want to change or develop to perform better. How will your performance be affected by changing or adopting that habit?
Besides having the motivation and the right habits, if you can get more done with the same or fewer resources – time, money, energy, and people – you'll be more productive.
Additionally, being productive means creating extra time for planning the next action, or for recharging.
Some of the ways to be a more productive centre are overcoming obstacles like procrastination and perfectionism. You become your own enemy in trying to reach perfection in everything you do, or not starting unless you have all the required information and are in the best mindset to be most effective. These approaches hold you back.
Creating systems and processes helps us stay on track. For example, planning the next day's activities and tasks the night before, having a focused set of goals for the next 60-90 days, and taking breaks during the day.
Takeaway: Identify the habits you struggle with that prevent you from being productive, as well as the systems and practices you need to reach peak performance.
Managing Your Energy and Time
The best thing about energy is that you can generate and renew it, but this is not true for your time. Therefore, it is crucial to manage your energy and protect your time.
One way to manage your energy is to match your tasks to the time of day that is the best fit for them. Every hour of the day is not made equal.
Find your most creative time in the day. Those are the hours to be doing the most critical/creative work, like creating presentations or writing articles, etc. Leave the routine tasks and review meetings for later, preferably in the post-lunch session.
Takeaway: Identify the most critical tasks for each day and match them with the time that fits them best.
To be able to reach your peak performance level, ask yourself:
If you were at your peak performance, what would you accomplish that you are not accomplishing now?
What is your chronotype? Are you an early bird or a night owl?
When (what time of the day) are you most creative?
Answers to these questions will help you match your tasks to your energy levels.
Everyone wants to achieve their peak performance, but those who accomplish a high performance consistently work towards it consciously, have an inspiring sense of direction and develop a positive self-image and habits. They take responsibility for their actions and manage themselves and others with respect, confidence, and dignity. Reaching peak performance is about knowing what you need to achieve and planning for it, and allocating your time to critical tasks in their order of importance.