What is High-Performance? (High-Performance Defined)

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“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” — Dr. Seuss

What does high-performance mean in the context of your personal performance?

Does it mean, producing world-class results?

No.

At least, not all the time.  That would put high-performance out of reach for too many people.  Instead, high-performance is simply about achieving better than expected results in a sustainable way that leverages your unique high-performance pattern.

High-performance is a game everyone can play.

In the book Patterns of High Performance: Discovering the Ways People Work Best, Jerry L. Fletcher explains the difference between high-performance and world-class results.

High-Performance is Better Than Expected, Not World-Class

Don’t let holding out for world-class performance get in the way of producing outstanding results today.

Via Patterns of High Performance: Discovering the Ways People Work Best:

“We do not define high performance experiences as those that produce world-class results.  Although world-class results may be an occasional outcome, to define high-performance in such a way would place the experience beyond all but the gifted few.  We might harbor the personal illusion that we could do world-class work if we wanted to, but for most of us, that is an unattainable dream.  Moreover, holding out for world-class performance can actually cripple us, keeping us from achieving our actual best performance with our own unique abilities and limitations.  High-performance experiences occur within the realm of the personally plausible and as such are truly empowering.”

High-Performance is Relevant to Everyone

High-performance is a personal thing and everybody can use their personal high-performance patterns to achieve better results.

Via Patterns of High Performance: Discovering the Ways People Work Best:

“Unlike popularized peak-performance techniques, our definition of high-performance is relevant for all people, regardless of educational level, experience, age, gender, ethnicity, or opportunity.  It draws on each individual’s unique experiences of high-performance, so that he or she can consciously repeat the process in other situations.  Any company that equips its employees to produce their own better than expected results will see across-the-board improvements.  And these improvements will far surpass the results of a few miracle workers.”

Peak Performance Techniques are Not Sustainable

Rather than peak performance techniques, focus on your personal process for high-performance.

Via Patterns of High Performance: Discovering the Ways People Work Best:

“No only do studies of world-class performance have very little to tell us about how ordinary people produce unexpectedly good results, the very fact that we think they have something to teach is often debilitating.  For instance, most of the techniques promoted in popular books and magazines are peak-performance techniques. 

By definition, peak-performance techniques are not sustainable.  Even the people who promote these methods, cannot sustain them.  They use them to speak for a particular athletic meet, a particular performance, or a particular event.  The popular press does not describe the whole process, as we do in identifying High Performance Patterns.  Without a detailed explanation, the reader cannot possibly understand the incredibly disciplined, sustained practice and preparation needed to create the foundation that allows peaking techniques to work.  And without such a foundation, most peak-performance techniques are of limited use.”

Your high-performance pattern is already within you.

Use it more to get better results.

Let world-class results be an occasional by-product of your high-performance approach.

It’s the sustainable way.

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Image by Emmanuel Huybrechts.

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