What is Performance Made of?
Read time: 7 minutes
Doesn't it make sense if you are a manager to search to excel at your peak performance?
Many managers believe that once they’ve reached the management position, performance will follow and stay with them all the time. As if high performance is a given or has been granted for life.
While attempting to reach that state, some of them will just give up justifying that “in the real life there is no time to pursue the peak self-performance”.
Still, think of the following situations managers pass through in their careers. You might have been there, too.
- Serving long periods (over 5-10 years) in the same management position and company;
- Transitioning from one role to another, involving different levels of responsibility, risk exposure or need to work at a strategic level;
- Going through major life set-backs produced by significant imbalances (illness, burnout, or misfortunes such as illness or death of close family members);
- Needing or willing to make major changes to their life habits, which in essence means embracing a new way of life with new rules and new commitments to self and others.
All these cases call for managers to remain alert on shifts or fall in their performance and on their need to reinstate a new performance balance adapted to the new reality or a better reality they desire for themselves.
What is high performance?
Reaching a high-performance personal state means you are able:
- to get out from yourself more than you have ever been before, and
- to maintain it for extended periods.
But what happens when you create a point of inflexion in your career, be it going through a severe life incident, a promotion, a lateral step, a cross-functional management position, or moving up the ladder in the C-suite?
There are none or very few terms of comparison between what performance meant for you before, and what it can or should mean after. Different rules apply, different reference points apply, different performance assessment criteria, and different “eyes” assessing it, even if you remain in the same company.
Think of moving from a very operational middle manager to a strategic senior management position. Your former highly appreciated “let’s roll the sleeves up and execute” attitude, might become your biggest mindset trap when needing to act strategically as a CXO.
You are no more dealing with short time horizons, nor with just “pushing” the throughput out there and delivering it to the clients.
Instead, you are now paid to see long term, to make bold educated guesses for the future, to convince stakeholders that you had an outstandingly clear and accurate crystal ball to read into the future, and to motivate management to buy in and execute your strategy the way you envisioned it.
Not the same thing, isn’t it?
Or think about you being that project manager who, for the last 10 years, enjoyed the comfort of repeat projects. Even if those projects were once complex for you, now you know them inside-out
It becomes so tempting in such situations to assume you know “everything” about them, so, just by operating under this assumption, you make it extremely difficult for yourself to notice incremental changes happening under your watch.
Not to mention your people will also change over time, they are no more in the same life stage they used to be when you started working together. They might have also become too familiar with their job. All conditions then are met for your performance as a manager to plummet or oscillate.
Such situations, when noticed by you on time, will leave you with no huge negative impact, maybe just your ego a bit bruised when some colleague or even your boss or a client will make you pay attention to them, and you decide to listen. But left unheard by you and, therefore, untreated, they fester and can lead to lost clients and company reputation, and your loss of credibility and power of influence inside the organization.
Last but not least, how often do you think you know what you want to achieve, only to discover that gaps in willpower, patience, courage, tolerance, compassion and self-discipline hold you back?
In my experience of 14 years at the C-level, any time I missed one of these elements I was at risk of losing my performance.
Courage is a key ingredient. You need to do things that you have not done before or you need to do things that will put you in situations where you will be uncomfortable.
It has been a revelation for me to discover that courage is not the absence of fear, nor mimicking or masking emotions related to fear or vulnerability. Courage is allowing you to feel whatever comes. Is about being able to process those emotions in a way that does not cloud your judgement, and getting clear about the next steps needed. It is also about performing these steps despite all your emotions and inner thoughts.
But courage does not grow in trees. It comes only when you make a solid commitment to yourself to take action aligned with your goals. For your commitment to having a solid background, you need to know its foundation: your values, your strengths, and your driving beliefs.
Last but not least, you want to set yourself in a life direction where your foundation can manifest without restrictions. Because when this does not happen, your goal is just a dream that will hardly ever materialize to your frustration, disappointment or, even worst, disillusioning.
You will obtain it only if you are able in challenging situations to see uncloudy the big picture of all the significant elements interconnected, and not let yourself be scared by what your imagination can produce. You are safe! If not, check again, and ask people around to see “reality” also through their eyes. And then rethink your perceptions, actions and reactions based on that.
Clarity is the direct result of your ability to align your goals with your inner strengths or external resources, your thinking, your feeling, your reactions or your actions. Any misalignment will create - even without you noticing or knowing to name them - lots of emotions which will fog your mind.
You need to see that obtaining clarity is a process, not a moment. To see with clarity you need a chain of clarity moments, each bringing you insights about how you keep your inner misalignments alive. Just seeing it, will make you know how to bring the desired alignment inside with success.
Clarity will let you focus, and focused action is many times the source of productivity, flow and good results. It is needless to say that good results will feed further the virtuous loop of higher courage, self-esteem, trustworthiness and credibility.
Is about doing more with less. Focusing with clarity your energy on that 20% of your possible actions yielding 80% of the results you want, will always make you more productive than your peers, whether in management or not.
But probably a less known or understood way to become productive is to not believe all the time whatever your imagination tells you about what it takes to accomplish something.
You need to understand that threshold over which, putting in more effort, you get similar or just incremental higher better results than when you would put less effort.
It happened most probably to you too to do a task, and finish it in one day, but just because it was not “perfect” to continue to polish it for another 2 days with no significant improvements, for after 3 days to decide to deliver it the way it is. You just spent 3 days for just incremental improvements, to satisfy your need for perfection, when in fact it was good enough to be delivered 2 days ago.
When searching for increasing your productivity you need to be both strategic (in how you apply Pareto law) and able to compromise on your “search for perfection” without compromising on the requested quality.
4. Emotional calibration
Is your ability to process the emotions you feel every time there is a challenge, a difficulty, a risk, or a stake for you at play. Your imagination will start creating all kinds of scenarios you need to protect against to protect your safety, and without paying attention to how real are your assumptions or perceptions, you will take decisions based just on judgements and emotions instead of facts and data.
Emotional calibration means you have a rich vocabulary of emotions not only in terms of words, but also in terms of how you already know you experience those emotions, and knowledge about the situations in your life in which they occur.
It is only this way you can act meaningfully to change the events in your life or the facts behind them to obtain more positive emotions and fill yourself with constructive energy.
Without putting your body in motion, you set yourself in “that corner” where you leave your body to decay and lose your stamina. Movement helps your body eliminate whatever is stagnant or lethargic, it helps your biology work as intended, and it strengthens your mental fitness, i.e. your ability to respond with a positive approach to a challenge as opposed to a negative perspective.
The movement also helps your creativity since even stagnant thoughts get parked for a while, flushed and renewed.
Ultimately, performance is very personal because it is about who you are, and about who you want to become. It is also about your habits, those you want to get rid of and replace with others more sustainable.
“Virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions”, said Aristotle.
Therefore, we are what we repeatedly do. And excellence or to say performance is not an act, but a way of living.
Performance is potential minus interference. This interference occurs every time our emotional calibration does not work properly.
Success and unhappiness can coexist. But not for long. Because over a certain period, your creativity, positivity, and eagerness to collaborate or to contribute will fade away, your motivation will just disappear, and your energy will get depleted. You will feel and act like a victim.
At best will be like dead walking. At worst you will play with burnout or even worse.
So, if you ever found yourself achieving your goals, but at the end of the day feeling drained, unfulfilled, disconnected, and frustrated, this is the moment to start taking action. Yes, it is about your performance. Because your success happens with huge efforts you cannot sustain long. That is why it is a matter of still misaligned performance to the level of success you want to maintain.
Or maybe you already know your life is not the one you wanted for yourself, that you are tired of feeling spread thin, exhausted from the strenuous days that seem to loop over and over. You are already in need of a change to finally bring you the results in the life you’re after. It is again about performance you want to grow again at that peak you know you are capable of. Because you already know how it felt when you were able to have success, to feel it comes naturally, and even if you paid effort the taste was of ease and not of having a continuous fight.
This is the right moment for you to review all 6 elements above, as well as your habits that keeps you locked in the life you have: successful, and yet feeling unfulfilled or, possibly, even miserable.
Changing your performance is about changing your habits, it is a process of unlearning, forgiving yourself, letting go, becoming curious and fascinated by what else is possible for you, getting clear and acting committed toward your new self. Its impact goes far beyond your job, its positive ripple effect will be felt in all sectors of your life.
I am here to accompany you, inspire you, challenge you, and catalyse your actions. I am ready to support you reach the peak performance you have already known is possible for you.
Call me and book your free, 90-minute, 1:1 strategy call at calendly.com/alina_florea.
The next move lies with you. As well as your performance. Current and future.
Until next time, remain safe and sage!
Your High-Performance and Mindset Coach
💥🎉 That’s pretty much all for today 💥🎉
Managers are hired to prove high-performance
Advancing in life or in a management career can expose managers to situations where their performance drops and they need to catch these moments and act decisively for getting back on track performance-wise.
High performance is about both (1) doing better than previously AND (2) sustaining this trend.
Six (6) elements need your attention when it comes to your performance:
- emotional calibration
Things are happening through action.
We are what we repeatedly do, therefore, performance is not an act, but a way of living. And reaching peak performance is not a moment, but a process.
Call me and book your free, 90-minute, 1:1 strategy call at calendly.com/alina_florea.
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Your High-Performance and Mindset Coach
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