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The Secret to Peak Performance: Refuel and Retool



Did you know that fighter pilots must take at least 12 hours of crew rest between training and combat missions to prevent fatigue and burnout?   

Training and combat are mentally and physically draining, and if pilots aren’t in peak performance mode, the tiniest error could be deadly. 

It may seem obvious that people who have their lives in their hands at work should be well-rested and focussed — but the same is true for you. 

Rest and refueling is not just for planes and pilots! Regularly resting and refueling our minds and bodies is essential for performance and productivity. 

Stress and Fatigue 

Prolonged levels of stress can kill us too if we don’t take the time to “refuel and retool” our minds and bodies. 

And if it doesn’t have a physical impact — for instance, by contributing to high blood pressure and associated diseases — it will lead us to burnout emotionally. 

Stress can hinder our growth, performance levels, morale, and positive attitude. Leaders and employees truly need to take regular, intentional breaks in order to ensure that they are healthy enough to grow themself and the business.  

Burnout is different than just being stressed out. It’s actually the emotional result of constant stress and fatigue. Some symptoms include: 

  • You are empty, exhausted, and even apathetic.
  • A feeling of being bored or overwhelmed at work 
  • You lose hope and can’t visualize positive change. 
  • Feeling unappreciated, defeated or like a failure 
  • Feeling negative or like you want to withdraw  
  • Using drugs or alcohol to cope with day-to-day life

(via Helpguide.org

It’s More than Just Recharging your Body 

As a successful leader, you’re probably in the driver’s seat all day at work, and maybe even at home, too. If you’re a busy person, you might think of leisure as something that’s at the bottom of your list. 

In order to stay healthy and productive at work, as well as prevent burnout, you need to prioritize and commit to stimulating activities outside of the office.  

But don’t be too quick to think that lounging in front of the TV all Sunday or having beers with your buddies on the weekend is enough when it comes to recharging. 

What you need to do is intentionally engage in activities that fuel you. Leisure activities could include anything that you enjoy that is healthy for you, that is engaging, that you enjoy…and that is not “work.”  

These will be different for everyone! But some examples include: 

  • Yoga 
  • Joining a community sports league 
  • Taking a class 
  • Taking a family vacation 
  • Writing or another creative hobby
  • Working on a project in your workshop  

When you schedule time to refuel, you will find that everything flows more freely, and the result will be more balance in all areas of your life. 

Maintaining a Peak Performance Mindset  

When you make a point of scheduling intentional activities that are engaging and stimulating but still relaxing, you give your mind a rest and allow for more blood flow to all parts of the body. 

When we ensure blood flows in we have more oxygen to breathe… after all …and every part of you is refreshed. 

But if you are feeling run down and stressed out, the “tunnel” vision of your day-to-day mission can make you feel closed off. 

When you are stressed out your brain stops. You are less creative and inspired, you might feel “stuck,” and your energy flow becomes stagnant. 

But on the other hand, if you keep yourself doing activities that you enjoy and that fuel you, on returning to work you’re more likely to be productive in thought and action, including: 

  • Creative problem-solving 
  • Personal and professional insights 
  • Understand of the deeper meaning of your work 
  • Staying more agile 
  • Supporting and leading your team  

A little bit of stress is healthy and keeps us motivated and productive, but too much of it will lead to poor physical health and emotional burnout. 

So pull back the throttle and enjoy some time in the hangar — or hammock — for a little while. Try hitting up the gym and the spa in the same session, or dig out that book you’ve been meaning to read.

Active rest is essential, and that might mean doing “nothing” for a while. But whatever you do, make sure that you incorporate something that activates your brain, body, and heart, too. 

Refuel and Retool to Stay in Peak Performance 

Take it day-to-day and understand that your needs will probably vary as well in accordance with age, health, diet, seasons, and more. 

But don’t deny yourself proper refueling time because that can be your ticket to true growth and happiness in every area of your life. 

And in order to show up for others, you first need to commit to the most important wingman in your life: you. 

How do you and your fellow wingmen refuel and retool yourselves to ensure that you can soar to new heights?  

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more: 

Chasing Excellence

Flawless Preparation: The Key to Winning

Five Top-Gun Tactics to Conquer Fear, Overcome Adversity and Achieve Breakthroughs