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Peak Experiencing to Create Peak Performance

The other day I hiked a beautiful trail off highway 1, a major stretch of road along the Northern California coastline of the Pacific Ocean.  This trail twisted and turned through the glorious beauty of towering Redwoods, magnificent old Oaks, eventually peaking to a beautiful vista of the Pacific Ocean.

While hiking, I was acutely aware of the sounds and smells, and all of the sensations of my body. The musty aroma of fog-soaked moss filled my nostrils, and I was tuned into every bird call and crunch of twigs or leaves beneath my feet.  I felt ALIVE.

This hike was invigorating and it reminded me of how I tend to feel while vacationing in Hawaii or Big Sur.

Think about the last time you vacationed. I’ll bet your senses were totally tuned into the experience. You noticed all of the sights, the colors, the shapes of things. You probably noticed the different smells and the sounds that were new and surprising to you. You likely breathed more deeply into each moment. This is peak experiencing.

Peak experiences are like transcendent moments of pure bliss that stand out from everything else. The memory of such moments is lasting, and they can be likened to spiritual experiences.

In Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-actualization is located at the very top of the pyramid, representing the need to fulfill one’s individual potential.  According to Maslow, peak experiences play an important role in self-actualization.  In his book, “Toward a Psychology of Being”, Maslow says to, “Think of the most wonderful experiences of your life: the happiest moments, ecstatic moments, moments of rapture, perhaps from being in love, or from listening to music or suddenly ‘being hit’ by a book or painting, or from some creative moment” (1962) and you’ll know peak experiencing. 

Peak experiencing is similar to positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of “flow”.  According to Csikszentmihalyi, flow is a state which people become so involved in an activity that the world seems to fade away and nothing else seems to matter (1990). When in a state of flow, time seems to fly by, focus becomes sharp, and people experience a loss of self-consciousness.

Everyday moments like engrossing yourself in a great book, creating a piece of art, or enjoying an afternoon hike through the forest can all lead to a flow state akin to peak experiencing. And, the results of what you engage in while in the state of bliss are typically leaps and bounds “better” than when you’re on autopilot or doing something “because you have too.”

Peak experiencing is the key to achieving peak performance in your business and life. When you bring peak experiencing more into your everyday life, you feel empowered, joyful, calm and attentive. I know when I feel that way, I can handle anything, accomplish anything, and the world is literally my oyster.

Make peak experiencing your dominant way of experiencing the world, and you’ll not only become unstoppable for your business, but the journey will become sweeter.


What’s your takeaway from this blog post? Tell me below…


 © 2015,  Susan Liddy International
Reprinting and distribution allowed only with full credit to Susan Liddy as the author, including a link to Thank you.


  • Erin Burch says:

    When I was healing my body from massive scar tissue distortion, and feeling frustrated that I didn’t know what to do next, a good friend said, “you know, you can’t think a thought and feel a sensation at exactly the same time.” This hit me like a thunderbolt! Of course that makes sense! They are literally separate channels, and they are both good at different things (mind= good at taxes, body and sensations= good at sensing, being in the moment!) Knowing that opened up a world of healing for me. I was recalling my wedding day in detail and that has helped me focus much more in the moment! Awesome post!


    Susan Liddy Reply:

    I didn’t know that you can’t think a thought and feel a sensation at the same time. So interesting. I’m going to research that. Thank you! Oh, and I love that your wedding is the Peak Experience you recalled. I totally adore you, Erin. I love our blossoming connection. -S
    Susan Liddy recently posted…The Stress of Running a Business and Business Owner BurnoutMy Profile


  • Meryl Shaw says:

    This is like a gift we can give ourselves anytime we need it – the gift that keeps on giving. I have two memories I like to conjure: my wedding day and my last sunrise on the last day of my most recent trip to Kauai. It’s funny – the first thing that comes to me in each case is the smell. We got married under a 100-year old immense eucalyptus tree in a dear friend’s backyard. I remember walking down the back steps with my brother and the look of all my nearest and dearest gathered around the tree. But the smell is what gets me right back there.
    And the same in Kauai – although the vision and the sound of the ocean are also very present.
    I do my best to stay present in each moment, experiencing these potentially peak moments, and collecting these great moments to refer to when I need them.
    Whether in the present, or in memory, the sense of peace and that all is right in the world grounds me and gives me space to breathe and start again with fresh perspective and energy.


    Susan Liddy Reply:

    Your wedding day sounds beautiful, Meryl. It was so fun to meet your hubby a couple of years ago. You two are just PERFECTLY matched. I too, “go back” to Hawaii when I do Peak Experience visualizing. I can also smell the salty air and feel the warm sunshine on my skin. Aaaaaahhhhhh…..
    Susan Liddy recently posted…How To Trigger Your Relaxation ResponseMy Profile


  • Sage says:

    Gorgeous. I’m tuning into the PEAK experiences I’ve actually had building my business as well as being out in nature. It’s easy to get lost in the details but getting on stage is a total vortex for me. I’m curious how I can bring more of that energy into the team meetings and newsletter writing… Thank you Susan!


    Susan Liddy Reply:

    Oh, I love it! Peak experiences of building your business. YES!!!!


  • This is a great reminder and clarifier, and most of us need it! We do as a society tend to set ourselves off in the success direction based on old ancestral survival patterns. Peak experiences have been a healing tool for me to stay out of burnout mode any into bli$$-mode for sure. I like anything with essential oils, spa, and chocolate to keep my senses peaked and piqued!


    Susan Liddy Reply:

    Did somebody say chocolate? (that’s like squirrel to me) giggle.


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