8 things to give up if you want to be a high performer

Let’s face it, as a society we love a good list of things to stop, start, change etc. And generally, we try to steer clear of the “one-size fits all” approach, as we now know from neuroscience no two brains are the same, so we can’t expect one size to fit everyone. In saying this, there are some general things we can do to help support our high performance journey and ensure that we are in the best position to achieve our best at all times.

So, with that in mind here are my top eight things to stop doing if you want to become sustainably high performing.

  1. We get it – you don’t like something, or something didn’t go according to plan, so you want everyone to know about it. Sure, if you have a bad experience, you want to vent. Go for it! It’s a healthy part of dealing with an issue or challenge. But once you’ve vented initially, move into solution mode – what could you have done better to change the outcome? How could you approach the scenario differently next time? Where does it really sit on your significance scale? Continuously complaining about something without actively trying to change or fix it is a significant waste of energy. Be accountable, be the change you would like to see.
  2. Limiting beliefs. What beliefs do you have that are limiting your progress and success? They are the things that you potentially don’t even realise are factors in your decision making process. And the worst part is if they don’t align with your goals, you will never achieve them. For example, if your goal is to run a marathon, but your belief is that you aren’t a runner, you will never achieve that goal. Challenge yourself to question your belief – Is it really true you can’t run, or is that the excuse you have always used when faced with running? And how does it actually serve you to have that belief? Look for evidence to the contrary that supports why you could, in fact, achieve that goal and focus on those.
  3. Blaming others. High performers are always above the line. Always. Blaming others is a below the line characteristic, so as a high performer, this simply doesn’t come into play. High performers take accountability for their actions and the environment around them. And let’s face it, who ever gets up in the morning and thinks, “Oh, I might go looking for something to be blamed for today, that might be fun!”. No, no-one. Because it doesn’t feel good, so why would we want anyone else to feel this way either?
  4. Negative self-talk. Our brains are wired for negativity, it’s what keeps us alive in dangerous scenarios. We actually have to work on creating new neural pathways to show it other options, but it can be done thanks to the neuroplasticity of the brain. The more we indulge in negative self-talk, the stronger this wiring gets and the harder it is to create new thought processes. Think about it, would you speak to your partner, children, or best friend the way you speak to yourself? I’d guess not, so don’t do it to yourself.
  5. Dwelling on the past. What’s done is done. We can’t change that. What we can change is now and the future, and how we react to circumstances going forward. Wasting precious energy credits on things that have happened doesn’t change the outcome, just the amount of energy credits you have available to focus on other things in your day. Your energy credits are precious, spend them wisely. Focus on what you can improve and change for a better outcome next time.
  6. Resistance to change. Change is a constant, that’s a given. Things change on a daily, even hourly, basis and resisting change, as they say, is futile. The difference between high performers and everyone else is the way they react to and approach change. There is a risk in everything, even not taking a risk is a risk in itself. Consider the change, consider how your perception of that situation is impacting your progress and then consider the opportunities it’s presenting to you. As they say, never be afraid of change – you may lose something good, but you may also gain something even better.
  7. Trying to please others. If the world was blind, how many people would you impress? It’s a fact of life, not everyone is going to like you. And that’s ok. Don’t be afraid of being different, embrace your identity and be authentic. The need to impress others is a massive drain on energy credits, credits that could be spent elsewhere. You can’t stop others from judging, and if they’re judging they’re not high performers, so focus your energy on detaching and driving an outcome.
  8. The need to always be right. What is the ultimate outcome you are trying to drive? Is done better than perfect? Open-minded, high performing people don’t care to be right, they care to understand. There’s never a right or wrong answer, everything is about understanding. Again, how much energy are you spending on the effort of being right all the time?

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