Peak Performance - Strike a balance
There are many confusing messages about the things that we should do to achieve our goals and experience success. How do we strike a balance between achieving our goals and avoiding burnout or boredom?
Dr Aneta Kotevski
June 5, 2022
3 min read
There are many confusing messages about the things that we should do to achieve our goals and experience success. We are bombarded with environmental and societal pressures influencing us to increase hours in the workplace, study harder, sacrifice relaxation time, and to perhaps look and behave a certain way that feels stressful to us. We can also develop harmful internal dialogues about ourselves, including critical thought patterns and unrelenting standards.
At a conference I attended recently, I had the pleasure of listening to pearls of wisdom by Dr Daniel Goleman, clinical psychologist, and leading authority in the study of emotional intelligence.
Daniel spoke about being in peak ‘flow’ performance. Athletes may refer to it as being ‘in the zone’. Flow is the focus of attention on your goals to reach peak performance and to feel good about it. So how do we achieve this?
There is a plethora of research studies reporting that striking a balance between challenge and ability will help you to achieve this. If tasks become too easy, boredom can set in. When tasks become too difficult or required excess effort this is when fear of failure, worry, anxiety, and burnout can set in.
Looking at the graph below - Too little pressure, or too much pressure can both lead to poor performance for different reasons. Push yourself too far into the 'strain' region can lead to burnout. Take it too easy and head too far into the 'comfort' zone can lead to boredom. Both outcomes will lead to a negative emotional experience.
Here are some ideas on how to achieve optimal performance
A little bit of pressure is good for you
We need this to energise us towards completing tasks and meeting goals
Stay focused and remove distractions
The practice of mindfulness is a good way to achieve optimal attention and concentration
Reduce the negative perceptions of yourself or the situation
Set achievable goals
Ensure challenging tasks are matched to your skills and the resources you need are available
Keep your goals clear, meaningful, and identifiable
What is it you are trying to achieve and what do you need to do to get there? Does the goal matter to you?
Practise a regular sense check
Are you receiving regular feedback on your progress and making appropriate adjustments where necessary?
Encourage a growth mindset
We all experience failures, come up short, or miss the mark however see this as a learning opportunity. What feels scary can be an opportunity!
How can Myndful help?
Our psychologists can help you to identify where you are on the pressure vs performance curve. You might be surprised to find out where you are! We can then work with you to move you into an optimal place where you are achieving your goals and life feels more balanced.
Aneta is a registered and endorsed clinical and health psychologist and AHPRA board approved supervisor in clinical and health psychology.