#325 What Does High Performance Mean to Me?
#325 What Does High Performance Mean to Me?

For me, high performance is about giving of our best in each moment. It is very much more focused on processes than outcomes. My life experience is that outcomes are the result of executing each step of a process as best possible. It is thus about controlling what I can control.

This breaks down into absolute clarity around the vision. As Yogi Berra said “if you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else“. I firmly believe this, and it is central to my view of high performance.

This vision then crystalises into a plan, process or way of being (depending on the scenario) that can be followed over time.

This allows me to simply focus on the next step and specifically on how well I am executing it. Curiosity is absolutely key here. I am always questioning whether I am bringing my A-game to each step.

  • Did I prepare as best possible?
  • Did I turn up as best I can?
  • Did anything get in the way?
  • What more can I do?
  • Are there bigger lessons here? I.e. does the plan or process still make sense?

This is never done from the perspective of “I should have done this or that” but 100% from the perspective of How can I do better? This does not only mean How can I do better next time? but ideally How can I do better right now?

I have been doing this my whole life, so it is pretty much second nature. The grey area for me is balancing different parts of my being when a behaviour in one area might detract from performance in another.

For example, I am currently training for long-distance runs with my son. We are already up to 20kms off-road runs / hikes but our vision is to take this further. I have a training process that will involve a 6km run this morning. Yesterday was Sunday, which was a non-training day this week, so I was considering having a glass or two of wine. I love wine but I know that it impacts my training the next day, so I decided not to open the bottle.

I found that a tough call but, if I truly am committed to the vision of running longer distances faster, it was the right call. For me this is always the edgy part of high performance and where I certainly have to make compromises from time to time in the interests of other parts of my life. Ultimately, high performance is about thriving overall rather than knocking it out of the park in just one area of our lives.

Questions in the Image:

  • What does high performance mean to me?
  • Where do I not live up to my own definition?

Want to Read More Around This Topic?

High Performance: Lessons from the Best on Becoming the Best by Jake Humphrey and Damian Hughes (link to Amazon.co.uk). This book draws on the lessons gleaned from the authors’ time as hosts of the High Performance Podcast, interviewing some of the planet’s high performers. Well worth dipping in!

Nurturing Curiosity – Daily Practice: This is part of the Nurturing Curiosity series of tools, insights and questions designed to help nurture curiosity as part of our daily practice. In point of fact, every interaction we have is an opportunity to question what we are observing and how we and others are seeing the world. Also remember that questions come in many forms throughout our day and often come unbidden.

The question “What is the most important thing I can do today?” is now floating around my mind, particularly in the context of ensuring all parts of my life are thriving. In my view, our performance can never be as high as it might be unless we attend to all parts of our being. Listening to my inner voices is thus a key part of my morning routine.

About Tom O’Leary

I coach, mentor and teach leaders committed to a higher purpose who sense they can do better.

Together, we unlock deep insights that spur how they think, act and lead.

These are leaders who want to make a difference.

And yet, to make a difference we need to be different. This starts with how we think, what we question and how we decide!

This means spending time being curious about everything from where we place our attention to the choices we make and contemplating what might be possible so that when we take action, we can bring all our energy and power to bear.

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