This entry on becoming a peak performer is the second entry in a 2 part series. To read the first, see Harness Your Motivation.
Peak performers rely on and trust in their ability to perform consistently at a very high level. They understand the concepts of motivation and how to apply those concepts to boost their motivation in order to have the energy and stamina to maintain peak performance. They compete with themselves rather than against other people. In most cases, they don’t have a choice, as there are typically no individuals in their lives who can keep up with them enough to compete.
A peak performer never underestimates his or her potential or ability to get the job done. They know that they can accomplish anything they want to, because they understand that to achieve any goal or to conquer any given task, it’s only a matter of generating enough motivation to do what needs to be done. Since they know how to generate that motivation, it is only a matter of when, not if, they will get the job done.
The Importance of Intrinsic Motivation
This is why intrinsic motivation is so important. When all external rewards fail to motivate a person enough to carry out a task, that’s when one must rely on intrinsic motivation to push beyond all motivational barriers and do what’s necessary. Thus, it is important to align your career with anything that you are intrinsicly motivated to do. Peak performers choose careers that they care about, because they are well aware of the benefits that intrinsic motivation will provide them in their chosen career.
If you’re not doing something that you love, at least do something that you believe in. If you’re not doing something that you believe in, at least do something that you enjoy. If you’re not doing something that you enjoy, find a different career!
I can’t possibly stress enough how important it is that your career involves doing something that you are intrinsicly motivated to do. Intrinsic motivation, or the lack thereof, will make all of the difference in the world in how successul you are.
You Can Be a Peak Performer
Right now, you may be thinking “Yeah, but I don’t have what it takes to be a peak performer. I just can’t do that.” That is utter nonsense! You do have what it takes, and you can be a peak performer. It will take time, effort, practice, and aligning your career and life in general with things which you are intrinsicly motivated to do, but if you are willing and able to do these things, you can transform yourself into a peak performer.
Once you have a solid understanding of the principles of motivation that I outlined in the previous article, start putting them to work for you. Practice increasing your motivation little by little. It may not come easily at first. Learning a new skill rarely ever does. However, just keep reminding yourself that it’s worth it, and that it will pay off.
Identify as many things as you can that supply you with intrinsic motivation, and learn to combine your intrinsic motivation with the extrinsic motivation provided by external rewards to maximize the power of your motivation. An example of this would be if you love your career and are trying to earn a promotion. Loving your work will provide you with intrinsic motivation (doing the work just because you love it), and the external reward of receiving a promotion will supply you with the extrinsic motivation, which, stacked on top of intrinsic motivation, will dramatically magnify the power of both of them.
I would compare this to washing my hands or taking a shower. Think of intrinsic motivation as water and extrinsic motivation as soap. If one washes their hands or showers with only water, they aren’t going to get very clean. If one washes with only soap, with no water to rinse it off, that will also be much less effective. Obviously, when one washes with soap and water, they work together very well and make a great combination for getting oneself clean.
Once you start developing the ability to get both forms of motivation to work in harmony together, you’ll begin to get a taste for what it’s like to operate at peak performance. When you get to the point that you can do this all of the time, or at least on command, and you can turn up your motivation at will, you will have become a peak performer.