The High performance game. Am I performing at a high level?
I help busy people find the balance that exists at the intersection of these 3 games.
Usually, these games are played in silos (See Figure 1).
Often when we talk about work-life balance, the conversation is “I work too much”. Prioritising work leads to a compromise in one’s happiness and health. The solution is assumed to be cutting down work so that there is more time to focus on everything else. This is a siloed approach to balance. Silos leads to reciprocal results (See Figure 2). High performance up (i.e. prioritise work), happiness and health down. Happiness and health are important, not urgent so they are delayed, until they become urgent or even critical. Remember, society rewards high performance. It doesn’t care about your happiness and health. Nor should it have to. That’s your responsibility.
I propose a new model (See Figure 3). One that offers synergy between the 3 games of life. Happiness is at the centre. Happiness feeds into better health. It’s easier to look after our health when we are happy. Better health makes us happier. As happy people perform better, this leads to higher performance. As we perform at a high level, it makes us even happier. And so on.
A synergistic approach allows us to excel in all domains with no compromise. When we achieve synergy, an increase in any of the domains leads to an increase in the other two domains as well (see Figure 4).
Let me tell you a client story* that shows this in action.
I met John 12 months ago. He was already performing at a high level. In fact, he was part of an “Emerging Leaders” program that his company was sponsoring. I met him during a workplace seminar I ran as a part of this program. He was producing incredible results for the company but it was coming at a cost. He was anxious, stressed and burning out. 60-70 hour work weeks will do that to anyone. This was a siloed approach. I suggested that we need to design synergy into his life so that he can have “have it all”. He can be Happy, Healthy and a High performer. He was sceptical.
First, we looked at his Health game. The basics of health are sleep, exercise and nutrition. He decided that exercise would move the needle the most so we worked on that. Exercise in the morning was a great fit for him. Now he starts every day with a work out. Funnily enough, a friend saw him recently and told him that he looked “jacked”. Health game win, CHECK!
Then we focussed on his Happiness game. We explored his tendency to seek external validation and other people’s approval. I introduced him to what I call “pressure testing”. Pressure testing involves playing carefully designed games that systematically reduce his need for external validation. After a few weeks, he was feeling a huge weight off his shoulders. Happiness game win, CHECK!
Then we looked at his High performance game. We started with parameters. The quality of our parameters determines the quality of our design. The quality of our design determines the quality of our life.
The parameters were
Work from home most of the time.
Shift focus from time and effort to outcomes and results.
After a few weeks, he negotiated epic remote work arrangements. He was spending 7 hours a week on the road and now he was working from home. What would you do with an extra 7 hours a week? He continued to produce extraordinary results for his company and his clients from home. Sometimes he worked 10 hours a day and sometimes he worked 3 hours. The time spent was becoming irrelevant. He was producing huge results regardless. High performance game win, CHECK!
With a smile on his face, he tells me, “This is weird. “
“What’s weird?”, I asked.
“I am happier than ever, healthier than ever and I just won company-wide award for excellence. When you said that I can have it all, I didn’t believe you. At this point, I truly do have it all.” Synergy CHECK!
When you set goals this year, avoid silos and look for synergy. If you want someone to guide you through this process, I love helping people so reach out!