Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Making Peak Performance a Lifestyle

Here's a nice graphic I noticed on Matthew Porter's site, taken from Jeff Janssen's work with athletes.  The idea is that change is a function of commitment--and very little change occurs without deep emotional buy-in.  One of the most frustrating aspects of change efforts is the desire for change, but the lack of true buy-in and follow-through.  (Consider New Year's resolutions as case in point).  This is also a key challenge for managers in organizations:  it's not too difficult to elicit compliance from employees, but it's rare to inspire commitment and the sense of compulsion.

Porter makes the excellent point that we can assess our level of commitment across the many aspects of our lives, from our physical and spiritual development to our relationships and productive work.  Think of each of these aspects as a potential source of energy, self-affirmation, and growth.  When we are committed, push our boundaries, and extend ourselves in each of these areas, we gain an awareness and inspiration that can feed the other areas of life.  This is one more way in which positive life experience radiates across personal and performance domains.

The risk is not just lack of commitment, but also one-sided commitment.  Imagine someone who goes to the gym religiously and only works out the upper portion of his body.  He is deeply committed to having the most sculpted pecs, the largest biceps, etc.--all the while ignoring his weak back, flabby stomach, and spindly legs.  He might portray himself as a deeply committed person, but his one-sided development makes him grotesque and unbalanced.  Eventually, his poor development will even take a toll on his upper body workouts once his weak back gives out, his lack of aerobic fitness catches up to him, his social isolation leads to reduced mood and energy, etc.

How many traders who loudly proclaim their passion for trading are like that guy in the gym?  It's only a matter of time that their lack of personal, physical, social, and spiritual development handicaps and sabotages their performance efforts.  

So how committed are you across life domains?  How much energy are you getting from your physical development?  Your intimate relationships?  Your professional relationships?  Your spiritual life?  Great things can happen when peak performance becomes a lifestyle and multiple facets of life reinforce and renew one another.

Further Reading:  The Essence of Elite Performance