Brad Stulberg researches, writes, speaks, and coaches on the science of human performance. He explores the principles of mastery that transcend capabilities and domains – the underlying practices that are necessary for sustainable success – and helps others implement those practices.
Brad writes about performance in New York and Outside magazines and co-authored Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success.
“It’s very, very hard to go full tilt without giving yourself time to rest and recover.”
HIgh performers are often driven or passionate, and we’ve discussed passion a lot on The Impact Entrepreneur Show, but we rarely discuss the dark side of passion.
When we’re truly driven by a passion, we may not have the ability to turn it off or detach from it. This is dangerous because, inevitably, you will burn out and fall short of your peak. That’s why rest is a vital ingredient in sustainable success.
In Peak Performance, Brad writes about The Growth Equation: Stress + Rest = Growth. (Stress, in this context, doesn’t mean something negative – in biological terms, it is any stimulus or challenge to an organism.)
Balance doesn’t really exist, so we’re not going consider this equation in terms of balance. Instead, the challenge is finding just the right amount of friction to keep going without experiencing so much friction that you stop completely.
All world-class performers are aware of this cycle. They understand that achieving a goal requires leaving their comfort zone (stress), but what separates the best performers from those that fall short is that the best performers also have the courage to rest.
So how can individuals and organizations prevent their passion from turning into obsession and figure out The Growth Equation?
Aligning your goals with a purpose greater than yourself, what you are creating, or the amount of money you have in the bank can give you the perspective and mindset necessary to achieve sustainable success.
The first step is to reflect on what your core values are, or guiding principles for how you want to live your life and function as a person.
- Examples of common core values: Creativity, community, intellect, health, knowledge, power, humility, love, relationships.
- Reflect on one or two values that really resonate with you and what they mean to you, and put a personal spin on it. Then you can ask yourself, “Am I living these core values?”
When we combine this sort of visualization and reflection with presence, powerful things can happen.
“All great performers have figured out the value of single-tasking.”
The key to maintaining presence, especially in today’s notification-heavy digital age, is single-tasking.
Whether you’re having an important conversation with your romantic partner, writing a white paper, pitching a client, or building a financial model, if you are completely focused on what you are doing you tend to have significantly better results and output.
One of the simplest tricks to make single-tasking easier is to simply remove temptation. Even when we’re not using our phones, for example, their presence has an effect on our brain and our focus. If we remove the possibility of distraction, and another decision, we don’t have to rely on our willpower to be productive.
Don’t be a podcast junkie…
- Connect with Brad: Website | Twitter | Facebook
- Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success by Brad Stulberg & Steve Magness
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert M. Pirsig
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