Achieving Peak Performance

No matter who we are or what we do, there are moments in our lives that we must rise to a special occasion and give our best performance in an activity.  Whether you’re an athlete getting ready for a big competition, a chef preparing an important dish,  a business person going into a high stakes meeting, or even going out with a smokin’ hot date, we all need to dig deep and give a transcendent performance at one time or another.
The trouble is, most of us have no idea what this state of peak performance is like, or how to get into it before the big event.  We step up to the plate with sweaty palms and butterflies in our stomachs.  Some even try to get psyched up by becoming angry, hyper or overly emotional to ready themselves.  But ultimately, this all leads to sub par performance.

What is Peak Performance?

“There’s nothing more deadly or more proficient than a happy fighter. Everybody believes the mean, and the surly fighter is the tough fighter but that’s not true. The guy who’s most relaxed and loves what he does, and is happy to be in there doing what he does (is the best fighter).”  -Mike Tyson

Anyone who performs at a consistently high level will tell you that a calm, clear mind and relaxed body will lead to a person’s best performance.  This is when we can let creativity flow through us with an uncluttered mind as our bodies move uninhibited by tension.  This is the state in which we all perform our best.

Getting Into State

Tension, both mental and physical,  is the enemy of peak performance.  So how do we get rid of this tension and anxiety?  One of the most effective ways is to create a simple routine that puts you in a clear, relaxed state.  For example, you could perform a routine of:
-5 min of deep breathing followed by
-a few minutes of a stretching sequence, then
-listen to a song that you enjoy.
It’s that simple!

Once you find a routine that works for you, it’s time to practice.  With consistent daily repetition, the physiological activities of the routine become connected to a clear state of mind and relaxed body. Each time you complete the routine you should feel great,  ready to face whatever is next in your day!   Once your routine has become a habit you can use it before going into a high pressure situation with the same result: a clear mind and relaxed body that’s capable of performing a the highest possible level.

Build Your Routine

So how do you go about building your routine?  Ideally it will consist of a few simple activities that you enjoy.  It could be doing cartwheels, punching a pillow, dancing a jig, or whatever you like!  I do strongly suggest that a deep breathing exercise is included.  It is the best way to bring the mind and body together which is essential in any high pressure situation.

It’s also a good idea to create a routine that you can take on the road.  Including equipment that is cumbersome to travel with can make it difficult to perform your routine if you’re away from home.  You’ll often need your routine the most while traveling, so keep it simple and portable.

How long should this routine be? It’s helpful to have a long version taking as much time as you like.  A 30-60 minute routine can be helpful to unwind after a long week or whenever you find yourself with a little free time. It is very important to have a short, condensed version of your routine that takes just a few minutes and can be used at a moment’s notice.

With consistent repetition this peak performance routine becomes your ‘ace in the hole’.  It’s the ideal tool to use whenever you need to perform your very best.  Put together a routine you enjoy, use it liberally, and you’ll find yourself going above and beyond when the game is on the line!

Be sure to check out this video on building your routine by my friend Coach Jim Shorts!

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