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This is What’s Blocking Your Peak Performance—and How to Break Through It

Your level of performance is determined largely by your zone-orientation. In the Red Zone, peak performance is impossible. But when you’re firmly planted in the Green Zone, you can tap into new levels of performance

I’m curious… When you consider “peak performance” what comes to mind?

Maybe a finely tuned engine, well-oiled and functioning at maximum efficiency?

A production line with dozens of machines, churning out precision products at a blistering pace?

Or a sleek, glossy race horse, galloping down the track, kicking up a cloud of dust with every footfall?

There’s no wrong answer here. But there is a common thread. 

Peak performance, by necessity, requires clear focus on a single mission, without overwhelming stress, pressure, or distractions getting in the way. That’s why your mindset is one of the biggest contributing factors to your performance. 

When we’re stuck in the Red Zone, the psychological state of high stress, we tend to focus on the negative, over-analyze our mistakes, and let unwanted emotions take the driver’s seat. 

As you can imagine (and no doubt, experienced firsthand) in the Red Zone, rational thought and behaviors go right out the window, and we tumble from success to self-sabotage faster than you can say “Inner Hulk.”  

Goodbye peak performance, hello panic, perfectionism, and procrastination. 

But here’s the good news. As rough as the Red Zone is, the Green Zone, the psychological state at the other end of the stress spectrum, is just as powerful in all the right ways. 

In the Green Zone, our executive functions flourish. Our problem-solving skills are sharper. Our perspective is broader. Our resilience is stronger. And we’re confident in our ability to make things better. 

The Green Zone is the environment where peak performance thrives. No matter your industry, position, or tasks at hand. 

Two factors tend to stop us from entering the Green Zone—and staying there.

The first is unmanaged negative emotions. Self-doubt, stress, and overwhelm are the iron gates that trap us in the Red Zone, where peak performance is impossible. When these distressing feelings crowd out your good thinking, it’s hard to reset your mindset and keep moving forward. 

The second factor that blocks us from the Green Zone is our routine. A positive routine makes peak performance our default setting. But a negative or stress-filled routine, like getting up late every day, checking your email first thing in the morning, or tuning into negative news, can make the Red Zone a habit that’s hard to kick. 

With intentional effort and a focus on the right mindset habits, you can make the Green Zone your new autopilot and sustainable peak performance your ‘new normal.’ 

Here’s a good place to start:

1. Practice positive responses. 

When setbacks and struggles slow your progress, practice your positive response to challenging situations until bouncing back better becomes a habit. As roadblocks roll your way, focus on what’s working, and remember how far you’ve already come. The more you practice this new thinking pattern, the stronger your positive mindset will become. 

2. Exercise your resiliency. 

Resilience is a muscle. Like your physical muscles, the more you exercise it, the more effective it becomes—and the longer it can endure. As stressful challenges arise, reframe them as opportunities to flex your resilient mental muscles and prove to yourself you can and will overcome what you’re facing. 

3. Make success simple. 

We may not be able to control every outcome, but when it comes to success, we sure can stack the deck in our favor. 

To give your positive mindset a better chance of rising to the occasion, be mindful of what you consume mentally. Surround yourself with what’s encouraging, inspiring, and motivating. And give yourself margins for when things don’t work out as planned. 

Peak performance doesn’t happen overnight—or by chance.

Making a habit out of peak performance takes intentional effort. To rewire our brain—and reset our responses to stress and setbacks—requires practicing new thought patterns, committing to healthy self-talk, and renewing our focus on the goal ahead. 

I’ll be the first to admit, retraining your brain isn’t easy. But every new habit, every positive response, and every rewired thought adds up—and fuels your peak performance.

In my signature keynote, Get Out of the Red Zone: Transform Stress into Sustainable Success, I share several actionable insights and strategies you can use to identify when you’re in the Red Zone of stress, lead through and past stressful situations, and tap into your own peak performance. 

If you’re interested in building a peak performance organization from your teams, up, send me a message and let’s have a conversation. 

In the meantime, tell me:

How do you define peak performance—at work, at home, or somewhere in between? What helps you get into the peak performance zone, and stay there?

Drop your thoughts below. I read every message! 

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