For freelancers and entrepreneurs, so much of the anxiety around work seems to be tied up in performance: Am I doing well? Am I doing enough? Am I focusing myself on the areas of my career that need it most? It's easy to lose vital time and energy worrying about doing your best, which is why the fourth and final event in The WW Club at 45 Grand was all about what it means to reach 'peak performance' – whether you're at the office or the gym.


You'll never be able to do everything, and attempting to do will just result in, ahem, performance anxiety. Equally, you'll never be satisfied with your performance if you consistently neglect the areas of your work that matter most. It's so easy to get caught up with daily 'busywork' - your overflowing inbox, inconsequential meetings, tedious admin - without devoting time to the big goals that add up to real progress. As often as possible, it's worth checking that your to-do list aligns with your most important career goals (at least in part) and that your free time is also spent on the pursuits or people that you truly value.


Whether you're running a small business or working for yourself, it's easy to make your performance a mere numbers game - gauging your success on whether you're earning enough, or selling enough. But there are so many other markers of achievement that are less tangible, but equally important (if not more so). At the Performance event, Onomie founder Lauren Hoffman discussed how motivating it is to hear that her product has helped new mothers and nurses working night shifts to feel better about how they look and feel, even in the early days of the line's growth. Full disclosure: I actually keep a file on my computer with all the nice emails and comments I receive about The WW Club, and often refer back to it when I'm feeling demotivated. 


Karen Wong, deputy Director at the New Museum and another of our Performance panellists, spoke about her role as a mentor to her mostly female staff as a crucial factor in her own professional performance. While mentorship is typically seen as a one-way rewards system, it's true that guiding the career of someone else - be it a junior colleague or your baby sister - can be a really useful tool for sharpening your own performance. Taking time to mentor also makes you a more valuable employee and/or member of your professional community. Give back to get back!


This came up time and time again. Obviously though the entire series of The WW Club at 45 Grand was about exploring wellness as an element of successful creative work, but it was rare that I even had a chance to bring up the subject before one of the panellists got in there first! Increasingly, it seems that women are rejecting the outdated notion that success is simply about having a high-profile career, and instead looking to find balance - even pleasure - across all areas of their lives. Regardless of what self-care means for you, it's important that you regularly make time to do the things that make you feel physically and emotionally content, in order to keep delivering your best performance at work.

Write Your Own Definition of Success

Ultimately, your definition of professional performance should be entirely your own. This is easier said than applied. Previous generations felt pressurised to meet their parents' expectations of success, while social media has made our generation particularly vulnerable to the unspoken reality of peer pressure – and not least when it comes to work. We can get tied up in trying to build a career that looks good on Instagram, or we can quietly get on with identifying and executing our own vision for a meaningful and productive life. I know which one I'm striving for.