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Shifting Gears for Sustained Peak Performance
You are more powerful than you realize. The key to sustained peak performance already exists within you and lies in your shift from surviving to thriving mode. “It’s not enough for today’s peak performers to rely on their past performance, titles, positions, social or financial status. Today’s leaders must be consciously strategic, internally and externally. They must embody the wisdom and higher intelligence representative of who they are at their core, not what they’ve achieved.” Powerful; Beyond Measure, Greene, 2018).
Sustained optimal peak performance begins in a state of flow, maintaining the physical and psychological presence to restore, create, and evolve as opposed to living in survival and stress. Gaining an understanding of your true power, living from the inside-out (thriving) as opposed to outside-in (surviving), operating primarily from your core (heart) instead of your thin outer layer (head), performing from peak health and balance rather than the rollercoaster of endurance and emotion, thriving as an alternative to surviving.
Leadership on a grand scale begins with leadership on a personal scale. Personal evolution leads to evolutionary leadership. It all begins with choosing to live and operate with the self-awareness and presence that facilitates optimum biological and psychological functioning.
You are extraordinary and have within you the unlimited resources for optimal peak performance.
Most high performers function on a mental, emotional, and physical roller coaster, with fewer reserves in the tank as time and performance expectations demand more. It’s no wonder experiences like ‘lonely at the top’ and ‘performance burnout’ plague leaders and high-profile individuals – they are experiencing peak performance fatigue.
As we live through the impact of substantial global shifts in healthy, climate, politics, industry, and social values high profile individuals are tasked with managing the changing demands of their jobs, their employees, and their companies – not to mention their personal lives.
Many question if ongoing peak performance is even possible? How do peak performance, leaders, and high profile individuals sustain peak performance, not to mention the constant shifts in roles and expectations, both professionally and personally.
Fortunately, humans are inherently extraordinarily adaptable and possess the inner capacity to shift internal gears, turning the peak performance sprint into a successful marathon. This shift requires attention to the point of (biological and psychological) performance origin.
Human beings are designed to operate from 2 opposing biological and neurological positions – restoration and growth vs fright, flight, freeze. The scientific terms for these positions are parasympathetic and sympathetic, respectively. The neurons in your brain and the chemistry in your body are designed to support life from 2 biological perspectives - surviving and thriving.
From a scientific standpoint, functional in survival mode is living in stress. Culturally, we’ve been operating from a state of survival for centuries, and even more so as a result of the global pandemic followed by the upheaval of natural and humanmade systems worldwide. We’ve unknowingly been taught to perceive everything as a threat to our survival – personally, professionally, financially, physically, socially, relationally, mentally, emotionally, structurally, and more.
You probably don’t realize you are living in survival mode and have been your entire life, through no fault of your own. Living in a constant state of survival mentally means you are living in an ongoing state of stress biologically. “When we perceive a stressful circumstance that threatens us in some way, a primitive nervous system called the sympathetic nervous system turns on and the body mobilizes an enormous amount of energy in response to the stressor.” (Becoming Supernatural, Dispenze,2017)
Physically your heart and respiratory rates increase, glucose is elevated and blood flow is redirected away from primary organs. Increased adrenaline and cortisol turn on survival instincts like fight, hide, or run while capacities such as creativity, growth, and restoration are shut down. Because of the stress placed on the physical body while in survival mode, it is designed for short-term, temporary situations. Living in survival mode indefinitely causes physical imbalances and dis-ease along with excessive mental and emotional strain. It’s no wonder the physical and mental illnesses are skyrocketing, we’ve been conditioned to live in survival mode.
Most high performers and those expected to sustain ongoing peak performance are doing so from survival mode, without realizing there is a second, more optimal approach to sustainable peak performance – thriving.
As mentioned previously, there are 2 states in which humans operate – sympathetic and parasympathetic. While sympathetic = surviving, parasympathetic = thriving. The parasympathetic system is the long-term state of functioning designed to facilitate restoration, creativity, and growth. It’s the marathon not the sprint, the optimal state of functioning for peak performance. This system inhibits the body from overworking thereby restricting disease and illness, both physical and mental. This is thriving mode.
When you operate in a state of thriving, you are more creative, more intelligent, healthier, happier and in a state of whole being flow. The flow state is considered highly relevant for human performance and well-being and has, therefore, been studied extensively.
Thriving and growth and more conducive to peak performance, particularly sustainable performance, than surviving and stress. When you are the state of flow, you activate the genes for thriving. “There are genes for an unlimited genuine mid, for longevity, for immortality, of an uncompromising will, for regenerating tissues and organs, for activating the hormones of youth so you have a great energy and vitality, for photographic memory, and for doing the uncommon, just to name a few.”(Becoming Supernatural, Dispenza,2017)
Frontier since such as Epigenetics and quantum physics have discovered we are not simply bodies of cognition and matter (as positive by the now outdated Newtonian physics), in fact, we are primarily beings of energy and belief. The energy which not only drives our physical, mental, and emotional survival, not to mention everything in the universe, is so impactful that the power of your beliefs can influence your genetic and cellular development.
These new scientific discoveries have proven that you can influence your biology and psychology with the power of your thoughts and beliefs. This includes your inherent ability to shift out of survival and into thriving mode. “/epigenetics, which literally means ‘control above the genes’, has completely upended our conventional understanding of genetic control. Epigenetics is the science of how environmental signals select, modify, and regulate genes activity. This new awareness reveals that the activity of our genes is constantly being modified in response to life experiences. This again emphasizes that your perceptions of life shape our biology.” (The Biology of Belief, Lipton, 2008). This includes your psyche and how you choose to operate and show up in the world.