How To Stay At Your Mental Peak & Avoid Burnout

Elevating game and avoiding burnout

Recently here at Shine we read ‘Peak Performance’ by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness and wanted to share some key takeaways that will get you thinking differently about peak performance in your own life.

Typically when we hear about peak performance, it’s from a purely athletic standpoint. What this book does so well, is blend the perspectives of the authors who come from very different backgrounds.

Steve Magness brings the athletic perspective you expect when reading a book about peak performance. Previously being a world class runner, Steve is now a highly regarded coach. He is the personal coach to several professional athletes / Olympians and serves as an adjunct professor in exercise science.

Brad Stulberg brings his experience from a non-athletic standpoint. He is a columnist for New York Magazine and has written for Forbes, NPR and The Huffington Post. His experience with peak performance comes from his previous career as a consultant at McKinsey and Company as well as working for the National Economic Council in the White House.

So what did they have to say?

Alternate between periods of intense work and rest

One of the biggest takeaways from this book was how Brad & Steve have taken sports science principles and shown how they can be applied in all fields. As many of us know, it’s easy to get trapped by the pressure to overwork ourselves, believing that throwing more and more hours at a pursuit will surely result in success. Brad and Steve dive deep into the science behind burnouts and demonstrate how periods of intense stress and work must be followed by periods of rest to promote development, whether it be physical or mental.

Brad & Steve talk about reframing your perspective and striving for long-term sustained peak performance rather than intense periods of performance followed by a burnout.   

Develop and harness your purpose 

An interesting point raised in this book is the effect your ego may be having on your performance. Brad & Steve make a strong argument that focussing on something beyond your individual needs can have a profound impact how effective you are in your field.

They argue, with compelling new research, that focussing on a higher calling lessens brain activity in the region associated with ego. Removing this ego, in turn, could lessen the need to protect yourself from failure and encourage you take push your boundaries and take on criticism and feedback in a more constructive way.

Prepare mentally and physically before you begin periods of intense productivity

This one may seem straightforward but so few of us actually do it. We all know that athletes have to prepare for times when they need to be at peak performance but what about the rest of us?

Brad and Steve bring to light interesting research regarding the routines of high-level thinkers. They dive into how what people do to prime themselves for peak performance in a non-athletic setting and discuss the benefits of establishing your own preparation rituals. 

Brad and Steve recently featured on the Rich Roll podcast which can be listened to here - . Listening to them on the podcast you’ll get a sense of why they decided to write this book and how they’ve approached maintaining sustained periods of peak performance in their own life.

It’s always good to go to the source too! Brad & Steve have setup a website to promote their book which can tell you where to buy it online. Check that out here -