Peak Performance During Peak Season (And How To Avoid Burning Out)


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The Christmas rush has already set in.  You can sense the heightened levels of anxiety or noise in people’s minds.

For many businesses, (retail, restaurants etc.) this is the ‘make or break’ part of the year.  A chance to catch up on lower than expected sales year to date or an opportunity to surpass targets and really impact the bottom line.

The pressure is always on to maximise the returns but the Christmas period brings with it an unseen level of intensity, noise and stress.  Each of which can cause a problem with what should be your most important focus – your customer.

Here are 3 points to consider:

1. Manage Your Mindset:

The quality of your mindset determines the quality of your results.  Most people have heard about mindset but not many really know how to actively control it.  Your mindset controls your attitude which ultimately affects your behaviour and actions.

Here are three ways to pro-actively improve it:

A. Don’t begin your day target-less, decide on your results before you start:

Before you start your work, decide on your main goals for the day – and take a few minutes to imagine the successful achievement of these goals.  In a retail situation for example it could be seeing yourself hit a specific target and celebrating with the people around you.  It could also be as simple as deliberating setting out with the intention of having fun during a busy day and bringing that fun and positive energy to the people around you – customers, colleagues etc.

B. Don’t wait for success, bring it in:

Don’t assume your best clients will come to you.  People are busier in their minds than ever and they are forgetting to do things they would normally do.  I spoke with a restaurant group recently about pro-actively calling their best clients to ask if they wanted to make a christmas booking because they make not get a table after the next 2 weeks.  If you’re in retail you can do the same with your best clients.  People appreciate you thinking of them and it strengthens relationships when done in the right way.

C. Don’t go robotic, stay human!

With a big increase in transactions and interactions, it’s easy to fall into the ‘conveyor belt’ approach of dealing with customers.  We’ve all experienced it as customers ourselves – the ‘dead-eyed’ manager or retail person who is so numbed by their busy-ness that you’re just another number.

But every now and then, one person stands out.  They’re bright eyed and they do the one thing that ever customer craves – giving proper caring attention.  If you’re a manager this is a key one to watch for in your team.  All it takes is one bad experience for a customer to not only bad mouth your brand but to stop shopping with you.

2. Manage Your Energy:

When your energy is at a good level, you perform better.  Not just that, you also tend to relate better, give off better ‘vibes’ to your customers and add that bit of ‘magic’ to every client encounter.

Contrast that with being tired, or in a bad mood and just counting down the minutes and hours to going home.  Every interaction with a customer matters.  And it’s mostly the unspoken elements of an encounter that matter the most.  Tone, eye contact, energy, manners etc.

There’s nothing like the intensity of the Christmas buzz to encourage you to just ‘keep going’ and stop the things that keep your energy and state at a good level.  Things like eating and taking breaks. Taking in a short 10-15 minute walk during the work day is a simple but powerful way of clearing your mind and recharging the batteries.  And don’t forget the quality of your sleep!  Have ’tech-free’ time at least 90 minutes before going to sleep – the blue light from mobile devices is like caffeine to your brain.   Too much tech at night and you’ll be ‘tired but wired’ – not good for you or the business!

3. Manage Your Off Time:

The better you get at using your OFF time, the more you get from your ON time.  Yet often we’re our own worst enemy, checking in on emails of other work related issues on our days off.

It’s never been more important to recharge effectively on our days off.  In the Digital Age, your energy is consumed quicker than ever and at Christmas time, for many businesses you can multiply that consumption by 2.

Instead of watching the TV or checking social media, get out for a walk or some exercise.  Take up mindfulness or meditation.  Learn a new hobby or skill.  Most people stay connected to work thinking it’s the best thing – but what they’re not seeing is the consequential impact on their energy, state of mind and as a result, effectiveness.


This time of the year can be the best time of the year in business but we need to be more pro-active in how we’re planning to approach it.