Why We Don’t Perform to the Level of Our Potential

Published on July 24, 2019 by

John Foley was a Commander in the United States Navy, a pilot, and a member of the Blue Angels.

Now he is an author and speaker about performance and he recently wrote this in his newsletter:

"We as human beings don’t perform at our full potential; rather, we perform at a belief level. It follows that if you can raise your beliefs, then your performance will follow. If you can raise the beliefs of a team or an organization, then their performance will follow those new beliefs. And if you can raise a child’s belief, or quite possibly a whole society’s belief, transformational change will follow." 

Most would agree that our beliefs are key drivers of performance (individually or as a team) but I want to add to that because it's not the whole story.

(To be clear, John Foley was only writing a paragraph addressing the role of beliefs in performance, so I'm not critiquing what he said, which was spot on.)

Here are four other key factors that affect our performance:

  1. Desire: Wanting to do something always beats "I should do this" or "I must do this." A stronger desire is more likely to overcome obstacles along the way to achievement, no doubt about it. Yet, desire isn't enough. It's not true that if you want something badly enough you'll always find a way to get it.
  2. Skill level: The higher the skill, the better the performance.
  3. Emotional Energy: Optimism, confidence, positive expectancy, urgency, resilience push our performance to higher levels.
  4. Support: There's a reason athletes have coaches, trainers, massage therapists, and other support systems in place. They are not costs, they are investments in elite performance.

If we're not realizing the performance we want and feel we're capable of, it doesn't help to oversimplify what makes for great performance.

Desire is important but it's not enough. Skills are important but they aren't enough.

There isn't one secret to great performance.

It's a recipe and if we leave one thing out, the end result won't be what it could be.

P.S. And let's not forget that we can't perform our best when we're feeling mentally and emotionally over-stressed.

What do you think? Leave a comment and add to the discussion!

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