Recover or Prepare – what do high performers do?


If you’re lucky enough to get a break this Christmas, use it wisely.

The wisest thing you can do is avoid wasting time ‘recovering’ from 2018.

Instead spend the your time getting ‘ready’ for 2019.

That’s what high performers do.

Now you might be thinking ‘2018 has been hectic and I need to unwind’.

Fair enough, we aren’t asking you to do work on your break. What we want you to do is adjust your mindset from ‘recovery mode’ to ‘preparation mode’.

Think of your break as time to get yourself prepared for what 2019 has in store. If that means resting, then rest. If it means switching off mentally, then forget about work. If it means getting fitter now as you know you will have less time to exercise once your busy schedule reignites, start exercising.

Do these things not so you can recover from 2018 – but so you can perform at a high level in 2019.

High performers are always in preparation mode. Even when they review past performances it is solely so they can be better prepared for what is coming.

With the Australian Open Tennis coming up in January you can bet the top performers haven’t spent the last months of the year ‘recovering’ from a busy 2018 schedule.

If they are resting it is because they need to rest certain body parts so they can perform in January.

If they went on holiday it is so they will be mentally fresh come January.

If they had an operation it wasn’t because they need to recover, it is so they wont be hampered in January.

Everything high performers do is about ‘being ready’ to perform for what is coming up.

The best of the high performers take this a step further and spend time determining the ‘specific conditions’ of what is coming up.

For instance the best tennis players will realise that the Australian Open is often played in oppressive heat. Spending their break time in the snow would not be the best preparation; therefore their break time will be taken in a hot climate.

It may only be a small thing, but it is the ability to pay attention to the small details that sets high performers apart from ordinary performers.

Roger Federer will go so far as adjust his sleeping patterns over his break so that he is awake later at night. Why, because he knows that at The Oz Open he will play a lot of prime time night matches and may be required to be performing at 1am or later in the morning. That is hard to do when your body is usually asleep. Even though he is on a break,  he is preparing for what is coming. This is just one reason why he is the epitome of a high performer.

Key questions to ask yourself:

  • How much time do you spend thinking about what is coming up?
  • Do you pay close attention to the changes in your conditions, and do you prepare for these changes?
  • Do you think more about recovering or preparing?
  • Do you want to know how to use this skill on a weekly basis to ensure you become a high performer?

If the answer is yes, give us a call.

About the author:

Nathan Burke started his career as a schoolteacher before the demands of elite level football with St Kilda F.C. took over. Following a successful corporate career he founded Nathan Burke Consulting – a Melbourne based firm that offers High Performance Training and Coaching solutions to corporates, schools and sports teams.