Even though I use the term a lot, one of my beefs with the phrase “peak performance” is that it can create the false narrative that EVERY DAY should be a highly productive, distraction-free juggernaut of excellence.
That’s not reality.
A strategy I’ve been using with some of my coaching clients is a completely counterintuitive one for sustained high performance:
Make your bad days less bad.
Above and beyond the performance aspect, the psychological aspect of knowing you can perform well even when it’s hard, it’s inconvenient and you don’t feel like it, does wonders for your internal motivation and self-confidence.
How we perform on those bad days is a much better indicator of how we’re going to perform long-term than taking those already good days and trying to make them great.
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– VIDEO TRANSCRIPT –
One of the strategies I’ve been talking to a lot of my coaching clients about going into the new year is the strategy of making your bad days less bad and what this can actually do for peak performance in your personal, professional or athletic life.
I’m sure this probably sounds like a counterintuitive strategy. Why would you talk about making your bad days less bad? Aren’t we talking about Outperforming, peak performance and sustained high performance? Yes, we are. And one of the ways that you can do that better long term results is to make your bad days less bad!
If I can let you in on a dirty little secret here—it takes very little talent to show up and perform when you’re highly motivated, the birds are chirping, the sun is shining and everything is going perfectly in the world.
Anybody can perform on those days.
I know you have some of those days. I have some of those days also. But to go to the flip side of that, we also have days where we’re horribly distracted and unmotivated. We don’t feel like doing something, or the day just got thrown off the rails and we’ve got to get the train back on the track.
How we perform on our bad days is a much at our indicator of how we’re going to perform long-term.
How good are your bad days?
But trying to make our already good days, great, or trying to replicate that highly motivated day, every single day of our lives, is just not the truth. That’s not how things work in our lives personally, professionally or athletically.
Part of the reason I’m recording this video is because I was working with a financial advisor and his goal was I need to make 20 dials a day. On the days where he is highly motivated and things are working perfectly, he might make 20, 25, 30 dials in a day, but his bad days were 4-6 dials. So those bad days are…pretty bad.
So, how can you take those bad days and instead of “my goal was 20 and I did four or six,” how can you maybe turn that into 10-12. And if you can continue to do that over time, knowing you’re still going to have those days where you feel highly motivated to do something and you will do the 20, 25 or 30, if you can make those bad days less bad, watch what happens to what James Clear called the “average speed” of your performance.
You can use this for any aspect of your life. If you’re a leader in charge of leading round tables, budget meetings or strategic planning going into 2022, You can do that very easily if you’re highly motivated and if things are going perfectly, but can you show up and execute on that vision, plan or presentation, if you’re not necessarily feeling your best?
It’s the athlete that shows up and can do it when they’re highly motivated, but can you show up and do the lifting, strength and conditioning, and all the work that you have to do on the days where you’re sore and when you’re tired and you don’t feel like it?
It’s the writer that wants to finish a book and you’re supposed to be writing two pages a day. On the bad days, you don’t write at all. On the great days, you write four pages. Can you just write some version the two pages that you wanted today?
It’s a different lens and a different way of looking at your performance. Instead of running the false narrative, which a lot of us think we need to run, where we need to find a way to make every day a great day. Like, at some point, if I just do things right, then I’m going to be operating at the 20, 25 or 30 dials a day, every single day. And it will never be like that.
To take a strategic and practical way of reflecting on, if you had a bad day, which we ALL have, why was it bad?
What happened throughout the course of that day that made that train go way off the track? If you can learn and get some feedback from that failure, learning from those mistakes, and then use that to make those bad days less bad, that’s a hugely impactful tool and a strategy that you could use to benefit your long-term performance in whatever area you want to perform better.
Please take this strategy and use it in 2022. I hope this served you and, as always, wishing you the best of health, happiness, and high performance. Have a great day.