Achieving Peak Performance
There are seven steps to achieve peak performance. The first step is to lead a
well-rounded life. High achievers, according to experts, are obsessed people
who take work home and then labor over it until bedtime. Furthermore,
research has also shown that such people tend to peak early and then go into a
decline or level off. They then become addicted to work itself, with less concern
High performers, in contrast, are willing to work hard - but within strict
limits. For them, work is not everything and they know how to relax. They are
able to leave work at the office. They value close friendships and family life,
and spend a healthy amount of time with their families.
The second step is to select a career you care about. Studies show that high
performers choose work they truly prefer, and spend over two-thirds of their
working hours doing it and only one-third on disliked tasks. They want
internal satisfaction and not just external results such as pay rises and
promotions. In the end, of course, they often have both. Since they enjoy what
they do, they produce better work and the rewards are higher.
Rehearsing each challenge or task mentally is the third step to achieving
peak performance. Before any difficult or important situation -- a public
presentation, a board meeting, a key tennis match, for example -- most peak
performers run their desired actions through in their minds over and over
again. Nearly all of us day-dream about important coming events, but idle day-dreaming is not the same as a deliberate mental workout that sharpens the
skills to be used in the activity.
In order to achieve peak performance, you also have to seek results, not
perfection. Many ambitious and hardworking people are so obsessed with
perfection that they produce very little work. It has been found that those with
perfectionist tendencies earned considerably less a year than those who did
not have such tendencies. In contrast, high performers are almost always free
of the compulsion to be perfect. They do not think of their mistakes as failures,
but they learn from mistakes so that they can do better the next time.
The next step is to be willing to take risks. Most people are willing to settle
for jobs which they think are secure, even if that also means mediocrity and
boredom, rather than take chances. High performers, on the other hand, are
able to take risks because they would carefully consider how they would adjust
and how they would salvage the situation if, in reality they did fail. Constructing a
'worst-case' scenario allows them to make a rational choice.
The penultimate step to achieving peak performance is not to underestimate
your own, potential. Most of us think we know our own limits, but much of what
we 'know' is not knowledge at all. It could be a belief which is erroneous and self-limiting. These types of beliefs are the biggest barriers to achieving high-level
performance. Too many of us set our individual limits far below what we can
actually achieve. High performers, on the contrary, are able to ignore artificial
barriers. They concentrate instead on their own feelings, on their functioning, on
the momentum of their effort and are therefore free to achieve peak levels.
Finally, compete with yourself, not with others. High performers focus more
on improving on their own previous efforts than on competing with others.
Such are the skills of high performers. If you want to make the most of
your talents and to live up to your fullest potential, learn to use these skills.