What is high performance?


What is high performance?

I’ve recently discovered an incredibly positive and uplifting podcast called ‘high performance’ by Jake Humphrey and Damian Hughes. If you haven’t listened to it yet and your all-over personal development, then this podcast is 100% for you.

They have a diverse range of guests mainly from the sporting, arts and business world, with a focus on their careers and life in general. They openly explore how they fulfilled their potential and ultimately achieved ‘high performance’ within their chosen fields. Some of my personal favourites are their conversations with Evelyn Glennie and Eddie Jones. 

The conversation always starts by asking the same question to the guest on each show:

“what is high performance?”

I’ve never given this term much thought of what it practically means for me or how I’d describe ‘high performance’…until now. So, after a long dog walk to give this some thought, 9 things came to mind. Once you’ve read my points, I’d love to hear from all of you about how you would describe and define ‘high performance’.


  1. Understanding that working smart and consistently hard are both required

This is about being strategic with your time, and purposefully focussing on the things that matter. This isn’t about just working 60-hour weeks and therefore assuming you’re now a high performer. This is about seeing your time as a currency and spending it really wisely. Critically utilising your time on activities that will serve the biggest returns

  1. Having a growth mindset

This is more than just being open to feedback; this is about hunting feedback down and being always switched on to learning. You’re embedded in learning and best practice, so are well placed to anticipate change that is coming and proactively prepare for it

  1. Bounce-back ability

This is about being able to get up, recover, learn and ultimately become stronger due to an obstacle, perceived failure or mistake

  1. Being consistent, it’s not something you just do once

It’s something you can repeat to the same standard again and again. It’s not about having a good month or moment, it’s high standard consistency over time

  1. One eye on now, and one eye on the future

This is about being forward thinking, anticipating and being prepared for the future. The world moves quickly and what high performance is now, is likely not to be the same in a few years’ time. However, you firmly have on eye on the ‘now’ so you can perform today

  1. Not letting any uncontrollable impairments define what you do

We’re all born different with unique circumstances. We all make up stories in our minds about why we’re not good enough or that someone else would be better than us. High performance is ensuring we don’t self-limit and don’t use excuses for not reaching our fullest

  1. Being able to maintain positive wellbeing

No point absolutely smashing your chosen field, while you’re slowly burning inside. High performance starts from within and starts with a healthy mind. This is the best platform for sustainable high performance

  1. Having high self-awareness so you can reflect and coach yourself

But equally seek experts around you to support your continued development and growth. High awareness means can define what high performance is within your field, and where you’re along that journey

  1. Taking ownership and being accountable

One of the best concepts/frameworks I’ve come across is the ‘accountability ladder’. It’s a visual and easy tool that helps me drive action, and stops me falling into victim behaviours such as ‘blaming others’ and ‘making excuses’, to accountable behaviours such as ‘finding solutions’ and ‘making things happen’

So, these are my thoughts on what high performance is. Now its your turn:

  • Which point stands out the most?
  • What does high performance mean to you?


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