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The Key to Peak Performance, in Work and Sport

In any realm that showcases human endeavour, be it in business, art, or sport, performance is often hampered by internal obstacles. Tom Fitzgerald, FP Summer Intern, writes. 

I am now coming to the end of my internship with Fitzgerald Power where I have thoroughly enjoyed learning how to be the best version of myself in all aspects of life. Coming from a GAA Background I have realized how similar high performance is in work and Sport.

What is peak performance?

Peak performance can be defined as the state in which an individual operates at their highest potential, consistently delivering their best results. It’s characterised by a combination of factors such as focus, motivation, skill, and mental resilience and is achieved by an approach that addresses physical, mental, and emotional aspects.

There are myriad leaders across business and sport who attempt to deal with their internal critics and doubters by camouflaging them with a cloak of overconfidence or exhibiting bravado. However, such attempts are short-lived. What is worse, they overlook the opportunity to explore their fears and find the underlying reasons that cause these anxieties. Unlocking these fears and anxieties and learning how to deal with them in the correct manner will help deliver better performances in both settings.

Bestselling author Eckhart Tolle insists that it is one’s ego that controls the process. He mentions that, for the ego, the present moment hardly exists. The ego thus perceives the present through the lens of the past while simultaneously diluting the present as the means to reach a blissful, imaginary future by saying, “One day when I achieve this or that, I can be happy, at peace.”  It is this ego that can set individuals and teams back. The focus should be solely on being happy and cherishing the process as nothing is guaranteed. You have to enjoy it and be in the moment. 

There are multiple factors to achieving peak performance in a work environment: 

1. Time Management:

Effective time management ensures that you allocate your energy to the most important tasks and avoid distractions.

2. Skill Development:

Continuously enhancing your skills through learning and practice is essential. By embracing growth mindset you will view challenges as opportunities for improvement.

3. Stress Management:

Managing stress is crucial for sustained peak performance. Meditation, exercise, and self-care are all essential additions to your working week.

4. Focus and Concentration:

The ability to maintain focus on tasks is vital for productivity. I find sleep plays a large part in my focus and concentration levels. A minimum of eight hours of sleep each night fits best into my routine.

Work-Life Balance:

Balancing work with personal life is essential for long-term peak performance. Overworking can lead to burnout, which hampers productivity. Even though I’m always busy, I like to prioritise leisure time and rest when I can!

What peak performance looks like in sports: 

1. Training and Conditioning:

Athletes must follow a structured training regimen to build physical strength and endurance. Regular conditioning ensures the body is primed for peak performance.

2. Mental Toughness:

Resilience and mental strength are crucial in sports. Techniques like visualisation, positive self-talk, and mindfulness can enhance mental toughness.

3. Nutrition: 

A balanced diet improves our cognitive abilities, it also enhances our memory and creativity and improves our problem-solving skills. 

4. Recovery:

It’s important to understand the optimum amount of sleep required to perform at your best and maximise. Adequate sleep and a balanced diet optimise physical and mental health.

Goal Setting for peak performance in Work and Sport.

Having a goal to work towards can always feel like a promising outcome, but what happens if this goal isn’t reached? Well, life moves on; this is why systems are so important. By concentrating on enhancing your systems, you’re more likely to make continuous advancements. This perspective doesn’t undermine the importance of goals; rather, it underscores that goals provide direction, while systems act as the engine propelling you toward your objectives. It serves as a reminder that the process matters as much as the end goal, and by optimizing your systems, you enhance your chances of achieving your goals and sustaining success across various aspects of life.

Culture and Coaching:

In business and sports, having a culture where you are comfortable making mistakes is essential. It is equally as important to have the help to learn from these mistakes. This is where one’s peak performance can be most enhanced, in my opinion. Having worked in Fitzgerald Power for my second Summer now, I have realized how similar it is to high-level sports. You can have an abundance of training, systems, goals and beliefs but in order for anything to succeed you have a greater purpose in creating good relationships with the person beside you and this is something I have found Fitzgerald Power has benefited from, each and every person in here has such a friendly and helpful manner, and will do anything to guide or help the person in need. This is why I think culture is the foundation for high levels of performance for a long period of time in any aspect of life.

Coaches, just like mentors can play a significant role in guiding athletes to their peak performance potential. Having mentors such as Stuart Fitzgerald and Michael Toms the last two summers has made me a better individual in my day-to-day life.

Achieving peak performance in both work and sport is a pursuit of excellence that involves physical, mental, and emotional factors. By setting clear goals, managing time effectively, developing skills, and nurturing mental resilience, individuals can excel in their careers. This is the main thing I have noticed during my time as an intern at Fitzgerald Power; that a 360-degree approach to both work and sport is needed – especially if you want to reach the top of your game

To all aspiring interns reading this, I encourage you to take the leap and apply for an internship at Fitzgerald Power. Embrace the chance to gain extraordinary first-hand experience, broaden your horizons, and ignite your passion for accountancy. Your future self will thank you for the transformative experience that awaits you at Fitzgerald Power. Get in touch today to apply careers@fitzgeraldpower.ie.

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