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A Unique Approach to Performance 

 February 11, 2021

By Collin Adams

The alarm goes off at 5:00 AM once again as I stumble out of bed to put on my workout clothes. I quickly slap some cold water on my face, in an attempt to get the motor turning a little bit, to no end. I continue on out the door and over to the fitness center at my apartment complex. The clock reads 5:07 AM. I get on the treadmill, starting with a brisk walk, then begin a light jog which I sustain for about 20 minutes. After this, I spend 5-10 minutes stretching, and about 40 minutes lifting weights prior to heading back to my apartment.

I eat breakfast, take a shower, and dive into my work day. The clock reads 7:00 AM. As I begin working, I notice a sense of extreme tiredness come on as it seems my brain is beginning to catch up with the idea that, once again, I didn’t sleep enough last night. I go through my work day in this quasi-focus/distracted state of being, without getting any time of deep focus.

After dinner, I begin prepping for the next day by setting out my clothes, writing in my journal, and scripting out my next day activities. The anxiety begins to settle in as I realize I once again need to wake up early to work out. The clock reads 8:00 PM. After about 30 minutes of trying to relax, I realize I better get to bed if I hope to get any semblance of quality sleep tonight. However, just the thought of my alarm going off at 5:00 AM keeps me wide awake. I toss and turn for about 2 hours, then fatefully decide to check my phone to see what time it is. The clock reads 11:02 PM. Now I know for sure I won’t be getting enough sleep. So, I grab a melatonin supplement and further try to relax. Eventually I fall asleep as the clock reads 1:34 AM.

This was my life for about 8 months. I had just started my new career at Tiger Performance Institute, and I felt that if I was going to be a Performance Coach, I ought to be living “the message” of high-performing individuals. 

I had seen many examples of successful people who rose early in the morning, got a great workout in, and were ready to attack the day. 

Unfortunately, I had never attempted to get up this early, (except 3 days per week in high school during the winter to throw a baseball). But even during those days, I didn’t feel my best when I got up that early. 

As I went on living this way, not having the results I hoped for, not seeing the same kind of transformation I saw in others, doubt began to grow in my mind that I could ever be successful.

See, I wrapped my head around the idea that in order for me to be successful, I need to look like them. 

That’s where the problem begins. There seems to be this “status quo” of sorts floating around the world of successful people that screams there’s only one way to do it.

“You have to wake up extremely early in the morning.”

“You have to workout first thing in the morning.”

“In order to win your morning, you must jump into a freezing cold pool to set off all these chemical responses in your brain.” 

Though these concepts are true, and helpful for some, there isn’t a one-size fits all approach to performance. There couldn’t be. 

How can you tell two completely unique individuals that the exact same program will result in perfect success for both of them? That would be a lie.

Sure, there are some universal principles that can aid in personal growth and development. But to say, “in order to be successful, you must wake up at 5 AM” is a complete joke. 

As a unique individual, you must take a unique approach to becoming a high-performing, highly productive, healthy person. There is no cookie-cutter approach. 

To refer back to my story above, I was buying into the one-size fits all approach to success and performance, and I was suffering. My mental, emotional, and physical health declined, while my motivation hit an all-time low. 

Now, I wake up around 7:00 AM each morning, spend time reading, and after having some coffee, get my day started. Oh, and I don’t work out until around 2:30 PM each day, which seems to work well for me.

I am highly motivated, very engaged in my work, and passionate about all areas of my life. I would consider that to be success…

…and I am waking up at 7:00 AM every morning (sometimes I even sleep until 8!)

Here’s the point. 

When you try to fit into someone else’s mold for peak performance, you may find that it works for you. But, for most, it doesn’t. The key is to take bits and pieces of other’s practices and apply them to yourself. 

After learning different habits and routines, the one you create for yourself will be that which works the best. 

Don’t overthink it. Get messy and try different things. But, remember your uniqueness and how important that is to your future success, health, and productivity.