by Bob Choat
About 20 years ago I met John Wooden, former coach of the UCLA basketball team that won 10 national titles. He explained to me of always giving your best in life. To me, that is one of major keys to peak performance. When we can do that, then success in any endeavor will truly come to us.
There are many benefits towards reaching a level of peak performance. Not only will you become more successful in whatever you do, you will also become happier, fitter and healthier.
Being able to stay at peak won’t happen all the time. At the beginning it will take some effort. Most people will find it quite difficult. This is especially true of those that having being living their life at a mediocre level. When I say mediocre, I mean from where you started to where you’re at now. I know that many people started at a baseline that is lower than the average and then rose higher due to the efforts they made. Others started higher and then went down, despite being given all the advantages early in life.
Peak performance in any area of life can happen. It can also happen across the board, though much more difficult. That’s the reason the highest performers tend to stay in one arena and not in every arena. Still, bringing in a little to each area is doable. And when you enlist the keys I’ll be explaining to you, then it’s really doable.
The 7 keys to having a peak performance life are….
Having a vision or imagination.
When we can imagine something, like a dream, then we are able to strive to make it happen. Whether it’s in business, relationships, sports competition, fitness and so forth….the ability to see the possibilities give rise to purpose. Today, I see a lack of vision in many people. It could be that the stressors of today’s world has gotten to them. Many of my fellow Baby Boomers have long let go of their dreams. They more than likely “got stuck in the rut of life.” Only those who have kept true have kept going in realizing their dreams and goals, just as they did when they were younger. One thing that I am happy about are many Millennials. While some of my generation may believe they are the “ME” generation, I see how many of them actually have the visions that others have lost.
Being mindful and aware.
When we get lost in the anxiety of the future, then we’ve lost on being able to perform at a peak level. Peak only happens in the present moment. And part of this being in the present occurs in a FLOW state. Flow is when we are purely focused and enjoying the moment of the activity we are engaged in. It can happen in any area, whether one is an elite athlete, an amateur or an entreprenuer (Jackson, et. al., 2001). We are being challenged enough so it’s not boring and not too much where it creates anxiety. We are simply being and not really thinking (except inside of the activity). This same concept is also known as “being in the zone” (Young and Pain, 1999).
Be a person of consistent action.
Action makes things happen. Being consistent in whatever action you take is important. Here’s one thing about action, don’t just do it for its own sake. It’s about taking the right action consistently. The fly that is trying to get outside by flying into a window is taking consistent action, but to no avail. Only if it knew that the door next to it was open would it be able to take the right action. If something doesn’t happen due to the action you take, then make an adjustment. Life is about a continuous amount of adjustments in order to reach our goals and dreams.
Having grit and determination.
Angela Lee Duckworth did studies on success and grit (Perkins-Gough, 2013). She discovered that the more determined someone was towards reaching a goal, the more likely they were able to overcome any obstacle that lay before them.
Having a powerful will.
Much has been written regarding will power. While most people are unable to resist temptation due to a lack of will power, this goes along with grit and determination. Not having will power tends to lead people to get sidetracked from their goals. They opt for the short term versus the long term (that leads to true success). I’ve never seen anyone become successful overnight. The so-called overnight success most likely came from years of struggle.
Be your absolute best in health and fitness.
In an earlier post, 5 Keys to Peak Performance Living, I described the process of the physical nature of peak performance. Being physically fit allows you to perform at your best most of the time. This includes consistency in physical movement and nutrition. You’re not going to put low octane fuel into Ferrari, right? It’s the same with your body. If you want to treat it like a broken down 1972 Chevy Vega, then do it. Keeping one’s body tuned up to its absolute best is what peak performers do.
Having a good team and coach.
Every single successful professional athlete had an excellent coach and support. This happens whether they are playing a team sport or an individual one. With a good support system, you can rest assured that when you start to get down, they will help bring you back up. There is no such thing as someone being self-made. They always had some sort of help. This is true of being at your best… Being a peak performer…
Each of us has the capability to have peak performance life. We may have started at different baselines and yet, can rise above it. It does take some effort on your part. See where you are lacking and make a decision to take action. Then do it. Get help if you need to help kick-start yourself towards being your best. Believe me, I need it myself.
I wish you the best possible life. If you dare take on this challenge of being a peak performer, then live it!