I notice people. I’m a people person. There’s something about what people say, how they interact, and what they do that fascinates me. Not everyone, mind you, but particularly those who have made inroads into their areas of expertise. They don’t have to be celebrities, although people who have done great things often become celebrities. It’s rather the eminence of what these people have done or achieved that gets my attention.
It’s the substance, not the brand. It’s the reality, not the perception. It’s their truth, not fake news or media folklore. It’s what they’ve had to do in terms of effort to reach a particular milestone or many. This is what grabs my attention. I want to know how they’ve achieved all they’ve achieved.
If you think about it, we really haven’t changed much as humans. I challenge you to read any history clip, story, or book without thinking that history repeats itself or that we, as people, haven’t really changed over the years.
If this is true, then human accomplishments are not new either – or so it seems. Human achievement consists of a series of ingredients that pooled together make someone take on demigod or alien attributes (more on this later).
We’re born. We struggle. Perhaps we’re given a chance to outdo ourselves. Some grab that once-in-a-life-time opportunity and fly with it. Others ignore it altogether.
More still don’t even recognize it for what it is. What are the ingredients, the magic sauce, the combination of all that’s right, and how can we apply it to ourselves, so that we too can be great or at least a better version of who we are? Shouldn’t achieving something truly great be an aspiration for us all?
Be they great athletes, intellectual giants, creative geniuses, or ordinary people who touch our lives, we all have heroic figures to whom we look up; talented people from whom we draw inspiration; real people who guide and mentor us in our quest to become the best version of ourselves.
Heroes are not a modern-day invention. In the ancient world, inspiration came from the heroes of mythology, and the mythical and yet very real divine beings who ruled over the world. We know them as the Pantheon, the name given to sacred deities and heroic figures, immortal spirits and demigods of ancient times.
And while noticing people is a hobby for me, I’m not alone. Other people notice people, admire them, envy them, disbelieve them. In some funny way, we’re all the same. We’re all spectators and fans in some way. At a minimum we hear about, read about, and notice others.
Noticing people is a great way to learn new things or about how people react under some circumstances.
Inasmuch as businesses use benchmarks to solve issues, when we notice people it opens our minds to new perspectives and helps us get better at something. We might even discover something new.
In this book, I share my thoughts on peak performance, the lessons I’ve learned from observing leaders. For the last eight years, I’ve been coaching individuals and teams and discovering a new passion to help people grow in their careers. Living in 10 countries has added another dimension to my observations of leaders in various cultures.
When it comes to peak performance, surely we can all agree that goal setting is important but here, through examples, and more specifically through interviews with three people involved in Olympic sport, the notion of goal setting becomes more tangible, more relatable, more applicable. This book incorporates 14 tools and methods that will help you to improve your peak performance.
Learning how to use peak performance tools is a lot easier when you have role models who can attest to them.
With this in mind, I use expert opinion, not hearsay. These peak performance concepts are endorsed by an Olympic athlete who represented Canada, an Olympic athlete who 44 years after stunning the world enjoys still enduring notoriety, and a world-class Olympic coach.
I use the overlying theme of the Olympics because of the years of intense preparation required to compete for just moments on the world stage. Why do these athletes put in so much effort? Careers work the same way. We spend time learning our craft, be it a new trade or profession. This learning implies a great deal of training and sacrifice, but does it make a difference? Do we get accolades from our peers validating that we’re on the right track or performing well? By exploring these parallels, this book offers a unique way to understand the concepts, assimilate the expert’s opinion, test-drive the tools, and recognize that if you apply the same level of effort to your career, to your life, then you too, can reap the benefits and become a role model or get the recognition you desire.
Using three archetypes or models – the demigod, the alien, and the ordinary person – I’ll give context to where you may fit on your journey of greatness. I’ll show you how everyone can master peak performance tools. My experience of noticing people has shown, without doubt, that we all have a latent talent that’s often undiscovered. But even if we have the motivation to become better at something, sometimes that motivation is not enough. Other ingredients need to be added. This book contains the recipe.
You get to pick and choose from these tools and methods. In Part 2, at the end of each section, you’ll find three powerful questions. I use powerful questions in coaching to help my clients find their own answers as opposed to me telling them what to do. These questions will help you incorporate the learning from each section into your lifestyle and practice. Come back time and again to these questions (and your answers) to figure out what works best for you and what you want to accomplish. Right after the powerful questions is a separate area where you can add your notes and reminders or any actions you plan to undertake.
Everything you read here is true. Some names (marked with an *) have been changed to protect confidentiality, yet the stories are not fictionalized. Unlike the fantastic stories of superheroes in novels and comic books, you, dear reader, can ask for greatness, believe in it, and receive it. And once you’ve done so, you’ll discover how it feels to be a demigod, an alien, or an ordinary person.