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What is Peak Performance?

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Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 5.04.08 PMI like the quote used in our last blog post from Neotherapy that went like this: ““Peak performance is the maximum enhancement of all mental, emotional, physical and situational elements that let us reach optimal level.” Again, It’s not just physical, not just the act of “doing” something at your best effort. It’s a combination of elements that cause us to deliver a peak performance.

Greg Wells, PhD, said this: “Peak performance is a state that is also known as peak experience, the zone of optimal functioning and flow. It refers to a moment when an individual puts it all together, when they are in the zone, when everything flows, and when they achieve an exceptional performance.” There are some words and phrases that Wells uses that I particularly like.

First, the zone of optimal functioning. To me, the key here is two things: optimal functioning being me (or you) performing at our max, and just that: performing at OUR max. We’ll come back to that.

Next, it’s referred to as the time when we “put it ALL together.” As mentioned in our first video, there is no singularity to peak performance. To be at the Peak Performance Edge, we must be more than just doing, knowing, feeling and the like. It’s the WHOLE experience that creates the Edge.

Wells uses the words: zone and flows. In it’s essence, the Peak Performance Edge is not something you TRY to do. In fact it is best achieved, so to speak, when it just happens. No, not by accident (although the better your get at it, the more “accidental” it can become), Peak Performance happens when you achieve the Peak Performance state. It can’t be forced, can’t be accomplished by trying to make it happen.

In his book Athletic Excellence, Dr Jim Loehr once wrote: “I was bound and determined to succeed and I wanted to win in the worst way. I wanted to prove to myself and everyone else that I could do it. My answer was simple. TRY HARDER and BE STRONGER. No one ever told me that trying softer, not harder, might be the key, or that inner calmness would bring strength.”

You don’t make the zone, the flow, the Edge happen, it occurs when you create the environment for your Peak Performance. You create the “perfect storm,” so to speak, tapping the six pillars of Peak Performance: Planning, Leadership, Excellence, Attitude, Service, and Energy.

To me, the coolest part of all of this is Wells’ idea of Optimal functioning. Optimal functioning means the optimal for ME, or for you. Peak Performance is OUR peak performance and does not have to be compared to that of anyone else. Could I perform at the Peak Performance Edge and not get the sale? Could I not save a relationship? Could I still fail?

The answer is yes, yes, and yes. And that is both the beauty and the curse of Peak Performance. You can do your best, operate at your peak, flow like crazy, and still be unsuccessful. Yet at the same time, I can only be the best me that I can be, “the best that me that I am capable of being.”

So you measure your Peak Performance Edge. You decide if you’re excellent enough, have the right attitude, serve others without dwelling in your own self-interest, and love without conditions.

The Peak Performance Edge is there for anyone who chooses and takes the responsibility to be the best they can.

Rich Sands