Even high-achieving peak-performers lose their mojo from time to time. And when a client comes to me with the common struggle to rekindle performance, there are a few places I look, first. And a few steps I suggest, right away.
If you’ve ever suffered a dip in performance, you know just how frustrating and disempowering that can be. So, in the interests of building-up a few strategies for your personal performance toolkit, let me be your coach for the next few minutes; and let’s think together about where we might rediscover your peak performance.
Everything starts with a thought. So, how are you doing the thinking, right now? What percentage of your thinking is Positive as opposed to Negative? Solution vs. Problem? Distracted vs. Focused? Free-flowing vs. Laboured? Abundant vs. Lacking?
Under the heading of “The Thinking”, we’ll include beliefs. And nothing impacts our thoughts (and so, feelings; and so, behaviours; and so, results) like beliefs. So, what do you believe about performance in general? And about your performance in this moment? Take a minute to list-out the beliefs you’re carrying around with you. And consider upgrading any beliefs that are disserving your performance.
Step #1: Upgrade my thinking and beliefs in ways that serve my performance.
We can’t achieve what we’re not crystal-clear on. So how clear are you on the goals and objectives you’re working towards? Are they yours? And how well are those goals of yours aligned with your interested parties – including the environment you find yourself in and the organisation you work for – if that’s your thing.
A frequent blocker to peak performance is a lack of clarity over the goal. So, put some work into getting connected to the future you’re working to achieve. And by extension, what that goal would lead to – the goal behind the goal. If you’re struggling to find your goal: take a long walk. And at the outset, give yourself the question: “what future am I working towards?”
Step #2: Get clarity on the goal I’m working towards.
“How To” is rarely – if ever – the root problem. Performance issues stem from the “Want To”. Once we’ve thought about the thinking and got some clarity on the goal, the next question is: do I want this? If “yes”, we can make powerful commitments and decisions; but if “no”, we need to reset.
Ask yourself: “Do I want this?” Or “If I had this, would I want it?” And consider translating all those times where you’re saying “I don’t know how” into “I don’t want to”. Is that the more accurate statement?
Step #3: Check my desire. Do I want what I’m working towards?
Starting with environment as a reason for poor performance is an outside-in mistake. Our poor performance doesn’t stem from anywhere else but within. And so, we want to look at inner state before blaming – and trying to change – circumstance.
But once we’ve committed to an inside-out approach, we can setup our environment to support that best version of self and to serve our now clear and powerful goals.
Consider: what in your environment is supporting you? And what in your environment is holding you back? What tolerations are in play? What compromises are your making? Where are your systems and practices not optimised as they should be? Where is your environment setup supporting poor performance? Make a list and get intentional about getting the setup right.
Step #4: Make changes in my environment that support my peak performance.
In the face of poor performance, the first temptation is to add. The thought is that we are missing something and need to conduct an extensive search for what’s absent and get to work putting things in.
It less-often occurs to us to improve performance by taking away. To recognise that what we need for peak performance is already here – but is lost in a sea of distraction and lack of focus. So, make the focus: getting back to simplicity – because that’s where so much of our power resides. Ask: What do I need to remove and or simplify to support my peak performance?
Step #5: Where can I radically simplify? What can I get rid of?
Under-par performance is a sign of either not enough action, or action in the wrong direction. Which are you guilty of?
Reflect, without emotional charge, on how much – and what type – of action you’re taking. Are you taking the right actions? Are you focused on the crucial 20% that achieves 80% of the desired results? What steps will you take to eradicate errant or low-return actions? How can you amplify the good actions you’re taking – and by 10 times or more? What do you need to do to get back to being an action-based human being?
Step #6: How much more action can I take?
When we take 100% responsibility for the reality we create, our performance levels go way up. We’re back at cause (as opposed to effect) and we’re once again instilled with Agency and Self-leadership.
We get back to ownership by working on the 6 ideas above; and the 6 ideas above are made to work by demonstrating ownership. So, getting back to ownership is the most important step in rekindling peak performance.
How do we start the process of ownership? Simply with a decision. Decide to be an owner (itself, the action of an owner!). Choose ownership over victimhood.
Step #7: Be an owner.