Peak performers tend to be high achievers in most areas of their lives, consistently exceeding standards and maximizing their potential, particularly in their careers. They exist in every field and include executives, entrepreneurs, athletes, surgeons, and artists, among many other examples. These high achievers are able to harness the motivation and self-discipline to devote themselves to their goals in strategic and effective ways. The time, energy and single-minded determination often needed to achieve these levels of success can also come at a price to one’s relationships, mental health and ability to achieve a satisfying work/life balance. The paradox of high performance is that without a routine that balances the intensity of work with physical exercise, relaxation, fulfilling relationships and healthy cognitive habits, the ability to maintain this standard of excellence becomes diminished over time (not to mention that levels of overall happiness and fulfillment are reduced as well).
At the Clinic, we work with many peak performers to holistically create meaningful, happy lives that nourish their potential for excellence over the long term.
The following are some tips for healthy habits that further this aim:
- Developing a regular regimen of sport and recreational activity can be instrumental in alleviating stress, moderating mood, assisting with sleep and maintaining health.
- Incorporating methods of relaxation into your day (i.e. mindfulness meditations; short walks) and into the week and year (i.e. taking regular vacations; weekends at the cottage) makes pleasurable “downtime” an integral part of a busy lifestyle.
- Maintaining strong ties with family and friends is important because it bolsters the spirit and provides a daily source of joy, humour and interpersonal connection. Prioritizing spending time with your loved ones provides a positive buffer against the negative effects of health-related stress and tension.
- A positive outlook and sense of optimism are characteristics that peak performers often exhibit when dealing with challenges in their work lives. Draw on your inner resilience, personality, spirituality, sense of humour and natural coping ability to deal with life stressors in the personal and professional realm.
- Take time to enjoy any exposure, accolades, and validation you are receiving in relation to your company or business. The sense of accomplishment and meaning peak performers get from their work can impart a positive impact on mood and overall level of functioning now and in the years to come.
- Working with an appropriate professional, such as a psychologist, therapist or executive coach, to support you in achieving greater balance and life satisfaction can be a worthwhile investment in both your career and your health.
- When high-achieving individuals devote the same creativity, intelligence, and self-awareness that they use in their work lives to improving their health and well-being, the results usually exceed even their own expectations.
Zoë Laksman has practiced as a Registered Clinical Psychologist at The Clinic on Dupont since 2007. Laura Clarridge is a certified executive coach who helps her clients find fulfilling educational and career pathways. Their backgrounds and training have shaped their interest in promoting improved psychological health, interpersonal functioning and wellness. They work together as a clinical team and as the developers of The Clinic on Dupont’s online presence.