Contextualizing your performance

The context of performance idea was born out of the many questions I received when I posted an early version of my book performance awareness online critique. The exercise forced me to rethink some of the ideas in the book which in fact contains the core of what I teach in the Uptimetrics® foundation class. In the end I had to add two new chapters one of which covers the context of performance.


Performance cannot be measured in the same way for any two people as no two people are the same even if they demonstrate strength in the same area. For this reason it is necessary to provide key indicators that will help decide when a person has done enough based on their nature. An employer might list the specific number of things that must happen within a certain period to determine whether an employee is performing or not. Whiles this criterion might be set for a specific role, he must understand that no two people will deliver it in the same manner.




There are some individuals categorized as cheetahs and I am not referring to professor Ayittey’s Cheetahs in his Hippos and cheetahs idea. The cheetah is the fastest land animal. Yet it does not run consistently as a horse will. The cheetah runs in short bursts. This 
means it run and stops intermittently. For the untrained mind, a person of the cheetah character is easily misunderstood as one who is not consistent. However the cheetah character is among the highest performers once we put their performance in the right context.


Context of performance is dependent on three things; Character (nature), Circumstance and Capability (I christened them the 3 Cs). Character here refers to the nature of a person. Since people are at their best when they are more of what they already are, we must quickly see the important role of character in reaching one’s best. We could use a pocket knife to cut bread but like any kitchen neophyte like me knows, it is best done with a bread knife on a flat surface and never in your palm. But pocket knives are best used in certain situations and we deprive them of peak performance if we use the otherwise. It is a question of the right tool for the right job.


Being human is easy… or is it? There are some things we can all do as basic. But there are those who are the best at those things due to their very makeup. This will become clearer if I put you and Husein Bolt together in a 100m race. We are each built for something and functioning out of that role does not allow our best. But you already knew that didn’t you.

So whether in a current occupation or in your larger life (don’t forget the two must seamlessly integrate for best output) there is a context in which you can be your best. These days, businesses hire people based on their nature and not necessarily qualifications. They look for a kind of person they believe will fit the role. That should tell you a thing or two. For a person to ensure they are their best, self-awareness is of extreme importance. When we understand our own context of performance, we know how to fit into any situation and what to do even if it is not the right one for us.

About Markus Kennedy Katey

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