44. Kicking Butt and Taking Names: How to Bring your ‘A’ Game to Work

Your ‘A’ game, your best self, your peak performance is all about reaching that optimal state of consciousness when you feel like you’re kicking butt and taking names. It’s about getting in the zone, feeling the flow and delivering 100 percent. 


This episode of Crina and Kirsten Get to Work is about bringing your A-game.  From a good bra to preparation and performance, Crina and Kirsten have some ideas about how to show up as your best self.

Peak performance is about being in the flow, and is described as an optimal state of consciousness – a lack of self- absorption, where the self vanishes, time flies, and optimal performance is achieved.   “It’s an efficiency exchange,” says American University in Beirut neuroscientist Arne Dietrich, who helped discover this phenomena. “We’re trading energy usually used for higher cognitive functions for heightened attention and awareness.” This is one of the main reasons flow feels flowy—because any brain structure that would hamper rapid-fire decision-making is literally shut off – and performance, well, just works.

When do we need to bring our A-game?  An interview, public speaking, a presentation, saying no, asking for a raise, pitching a new client, interviewing Cheryl Strayed on your next episode of Crina and Kirsten Get to Work.

What does peak performance look like?  It looks like Anne-Marie Faiola, founder of Brambleberry, Soap Queen, Author of Best Day Ever and all around amazing human.  Anne Marie brings these key elements to show up as her best self:

  • Over prepare, the big and small things
  • Evaluate your work – she says for the first few years she cried every time she watched episodes of Soap Queen because she wished she had done better.
  • ReFrame your negative emotions – butterflies mean you care

Anne Marie says some people do not want to try hard because they are afraid of being nerdy – or of failing.  But if you do not do your best, you do not know what you are capable of.

Peak performance also looks like being your mental, emotional and physical best – and here are some other ideas.


  • Visualize
  • Learn to control your thoughts 
  • According to research, peak performance is achievable when you have 
    • A clear goal
    • Ongoing feedback so you know how you’re doing: remember Anne Marie watching her Soap Queen videos?
    • A challenging task
  • Find your “pre-game ritual.” Create your own pre-game ritual – something that helps pump you up and makes you feel positive before walking into a big meeting. 


  • Positive emotions are much more likely to drive high performance.  And if you do not have positive emotions, well, Fake it til you make it.  


  • Remember the power pose
  • Lots of water
  • Good night’s sleep
  • Know the players. Much stress comes from not knowing, and the more knowledge you walk in with, the better you’ll feel. 
  • Pre performance routine 
  • Eliminate distractions and energy vampires
  • Never drink alcohol, be careful about what they eat
  • Take care of yourself!

And this trying thing is really important.  Really try hard at something – bring your best self – and see what magic you can create.

And good reads . . .

How to bring your A Game 

The Making of a Corporate Athlete

The Science of Peak Human Performance

Photo by Lemon Wing Photography