Revealing the Secrets to Peak Professional and Personal Performance
Social entrepreneur Lian Pham biohacked her way back to health. Now, she's passing her insights on to others.
Peak performance — it's something just about everyone strives for. There are countless diets, books, blogs, TV shows and more dedicated to becoming your best self and operating at your highest capacity, both in business and in life. The question is, can it actually be done?
While most focus on just one facet of self-care (weight, productivity, nutrition, motivation, etc.), social entrepreneur and biohacker Lian Pham's approach is all-inclusive and comprehensive. With her Peak Performance Pyramid, Pham — who, full disclosure, is a client of mine, but whose perspective I felt was valuable to share during these challenging times — has worked out a system of steps that include biohacking the mind, body and spirit to reach peak performance across the boards. Here's how she did it, as well her tips on how you can, too.
What led to your becoming so interested in peak performance?
After the birth of my second child, I suddenly became very, very ill. I went to every hospital, every specialist, but found no explanation for my severe headaches, numbness and hypokalemia. I knew that something was wrong and that answers must be out there. I just had to find them. I never gave up, and eventually, after countless tests and scans, I was diagnosed with Bell's palsy.
With this diagnosis came a sense of urgency. I decided to apply my philosophy of assuming nothing and pursuing everything to my health and immediately got to work building a biohacking lab behind my house to experiment in. This is how I finally began to actually feel better. After going through this entire process for myself, I realized that we all have this unusual power to make ourselves healthier and stronger, so I set to work quantifying the process I used to get well again. This resulted in The Peak Performer Pyramid, a series of interdependent steps that I and now many others have followed.
What should people first understand about the fundamentals of peak performance?
We're not just biohacking our bodies; we're biohacking every part that makes us whole. With each of these steps fulfilled, through sustainable, daily habits, peak performance is realized.
We are all — mind, body and soul — unique, and anyone can make peak performance their lifestyle.
How would you best characterize biohacking and how do you apply it to help yourself and others?
Biohacking is a very broad term and can mean different things for different people, but in essence, and for me, it means becoming the writer of your own health story. It means taking your health and self-awareness into your own hands, to understand yourself and optimize your performance, often outside the realm of traditional medicine.
I think biohacking should be applied to every facet of life — from our food, to the equipment at the office, to the tactics we use in business and beyond. Only if we biohack the physical, mental and spiritual can we perform at our best at all times. For me, this started with buying countless test kits for myself to find out the state of my DNA, my microbiome, my micronutrients and so on. From there, I was able to build myself a roadmap for my health to progress through.
What new biohacking trends or processes are on the horizon that you expect to impact performance?
Since I believe biohacking extends beyond just the body, I will break this down into a few categories. For physical health, I'm using custom IV packs to handle any nutritional deficiencies quickly and easily, ozone therapy to improve the body's intake and use of oxygen to activate the immune system. I'm also eating plant-based, balancing my microbiome (arguably the second brain of the body), doing Tabata (a type of HIIT workout), taking MCT oil, using red light therapy, infrared sauna and cold plunges, taking quick headstand breaks and more.
At work, we snack regularly because it isn't distracting or unprofessional — it's brain food. For the mind, I recommend NAD in nasal spray or IV form to increase cognitive function and BrainTap for technologic guided meditation, to name just a few. And to biohack the soul, one must practice mindfulness, self-awareness and consciousness to become fully aware beyond just flesh and brain matter. A lifestyle habit I use to biohack the soul is working with crystals to set my daily intentions and goals, to feel more grounded, connected and centered.
In the end, biohacking will look different for every person. That's the beauty of it; it's tailored to everyone's unique needs.
What's the single most important piece of advice for someone looking to achieve peak performance?
Don't be a bystander — be a disruptor for good. How? Assume nothing, pursue everything. Be proactive, be optimistic. Persevere. Realize your power, your vision, and do something with it. Know that peak performance is not just a fad, it is a lifestyle. First, you must make the decision to take your health, your life and your performance into your own hands and then you must follow through on it. It is the companies that cultivate a sense of meaning, belonging and heart in the workplace that will dominate the future. Start with yourself and expand your reach from there.
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