Human-Centred Performance Hacking
for Leaders for Teams and for Top Performers

Dr Kirsten Peterson


Key high-performance experience:

  • Team psychologist at 7 Olympic Games.  Over 20 years of international experience working “behind the scenes” with Olympic athletes, coaches, and teams.
  • Performance psychology expert in high-performance, high-stress domains such as defence, medicine, legal, and corporate.

What I learned along the way:

  • I understand how high performance works. And, as importantly, what doesn’t work.
  • I have seen both high and low performing team and organisational cultures, know what differentiates them, and know how to transform them.
  • I take the time to understand what is unique about your performance world, while sharing with you what is true and enduring across every domain.
  • Sustainable high performance is both easier and harder to achieve than it might seem. Easier in the sense that sometimes the difficulty is something we are unintentionally doing that makes things harder. I teach you how to stop doing that. Harder in the sense that it can mean lifestyle changes and new practices that take patience and effort. I partner with you on that journey.

Enduring truths about human high performance:

  • We are all humans.  Not machines.  Not commodities.  Performance is personal, not one-size-fits-all, with mechanisms that are so often misunderstood.
  • Being human comes with serious performance advantages over all other species.  But it also comes with limitations of brain, mind, and body.  We can fight this…or work with it.
  • It’s easy to see the physical side of performance: outcomes, gritty efforts, long hours spent training or working.
  • It’s much harder to comprehend the mental side of performance.  Because it’s invisible.  As a result, there is an unhelpful tendency to underestimate, overlook, belittle, or even stigmatize it.  I help performers to decode and collaborate with their inner worlds for better outcomes with less effort.
  • Every human wants to perform at their best, to live with meaning, and to be happy.  Tap into that energy, and performance magic happens.

This is my work—to help humans perform better. 

If this excites you and you are ready to grow your high-performance capacities from the inside out, let’s go.

Would you like to improve your performance?

Keynote Speaking

My keynotes are topical messages delivered to engage, entertain, inform, and (maybe even) shake up the high-performance status quo.

My topics come from from decades spent behind the scenes helping elite athletes, coaches, and teams as well as from my work in defence, medicine, and the corporate sector.

In this space, I learned so much about high performance…as well as many cautionary tales about how things can go wrong, times when performance was not sustainable, and leadership/coaching practices that, while well-intentioned, missed the mark or worse, actually undermined performance.

My keynotes combine stories and ideas from those experiences with insights gleaned from contemporary neuroscience and Buddhist and evolutionary psychology to suggest new ways of thinking for our times. Audiences are entertained, informed…and stretched.

It has never been more true that what used to get us to good won’t take us to great. Let’s start thinking differently about high performance, and my “call to action” keynotes can be a great way to jump-start that journey.

Here are some of my more popular keynotes:

• Building your High-Performance Mindset

• What To Do When Grit Is Not Enough

• High Performance From the Inside Out

• Becoming the CEO of your “Inner Board Room”

• Unmasking the Imposter

Play Video

High Performance From the Inside Out

Do you want to play not just a bigger—but your biggest–game? Do you want your team to step up performance, not just to the next level, but to find what they are truly capable of?

Here’s a question, then. What comes first, the performance? Or the performer?

Anyone can pop out a great performance once with no training, but doing the best you can over and over and over again…that is a completely different game. Which game do you want to play?

True high performance, that is, sustainable high performance, starts with the performer.

That’s you as the leader. That’s you as the team member. That’s you as a parent, partner, or friend.

High Performance From the Inside Out is exactly what it sounds like. I work with leaders and teams to develop their inner game first. When we get it right inside—accurate self-awareness, emotional understanding and management, mindful relationship with our thinking–we multiply our capacity for better decisions, leadership, stress-tolerance, and quality relationships.

Leadership is contagious.  What we cultivate for ourselves spreads to those around us.  From me, to you, to us, to all:

To learn more about what HPIO is about, how I work, and what how I deliver these outcomes for individuals, and organizations, click here:

High-Performance Leadership Coaching

Leadership is contagious. How you as a leader think, feel, and act infects your team as reliably as any virus.

If you want to learn to be more productively or inspirationally “infectious,” I partner with you to coach the mindset and behaviour shifts that can get you there.

To learn more about how I work with leaders in this space, click here:

High-Performance Mindset Coaching

  •  Are you feeling burned out but finding it hard to take a break?
  • Do you get so anxious at the thought of performing that you trip up or forget how?
  • Is your inner critic or self-doubt getting the better of you?
First, know that you are not alone.  These are common mental traps for high performers.

To learn more about how I do this type of mindset coaching, click here:

Thriving Female Performers

Building Strength and Skills to Empower and Succeed

News Flash: women’s brains are wired differently from men’s brains. Women are hard-wired to think more interpersonally, experience emotions differently, to seek consultation and collaboration, and exhibit different leadership qualities than men often do. We are biologically impacted by developmental events such as child-birth and menopause which change how we think and feel.

In the past, these differences and changes were at times regarded as weaknesses, and women were coached to be more like men. Research into gender differences, the world of work, and my experience working with female performers has informed a different approach. Rather than necessarily defaulting to a “male model,” it is important to first understand and validate female clients on their own terms and work with their unique strengths while also learning state-of-art skills for navigating complex or biased work environments.

To learn more about my coaching and training programs specifically designed with women in mind, click here.


When Grit Is Not Enough

Reworking Mindset and Purpose for Easier Effort in Hard Times

Grit, that combination of passion and perseverance, can take you from zero to hero in pursuit of those big, challenging goals worth pursuing.  Gritty people, be they athletes, coaches, or corporate C-suiters, thrive best when the road ahead is clear and plans make sense.  In times of uncertainty and change, however, grit may not be enough; in some circumstances, it can even be counterproductive.  This book is for those times. 

In this book, you will learn:

  • To recognize when you might be over-indexing on grit;
  • How to build a more nimble mindset that can ride the waves of change;
  • The power of purpose as a stabilizing “north star” in times of uncertainty;
  • How to be in “best service” to others and why this matters in tough times;
  • How to be a more effective quitter and when you should stick with it;
  • That not all effort is created equal and how to make your efforts easier.

In short, you will learn how to work with uncertainty and how to perform more effectively in ways that benefit you as well as those you lead and work with.

Do You Want To Improve Your Performance?
With Better Results?



Highlights from my BLOG
Frictionless PerformancE

As Real as Gravity

I was in a meeting recently, when someone said, things are happening that are as real as gravity.  My mind, as a psychologist, went immediately to those

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It’s Not Happening

What’s happening?   Somebody DO something!   Look what just happened.   I can’t wait for [fill in the blank] to happen! We are so dialed into the happenings in

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Don’t Read the Label!

Many of us have heard about “learning mindset,” a way of thinking first championed by social psychologist Carol Dweck. This is the idea that when

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