Dr. Steve Ingham

What is Performance Wellbeing?

Several white arrows pointing upwards on a wooden wall

Discover how prioritising eudaimonic well-being and smart work habits enhance your decision-making and performance wellbeing. In a world where the lines between professional excellence and personal fulfilment often blur, the concept of performance wellbeing emerges for balance and enrichment. It’s more than just a buzzword; it’s a holistic approach to thriving in our careers and lives, pairing the rigor of eudaimonic well-being with the wisdom of smart habits.

Two types of wellbeing

There are two recognised types of wellbeing; 1) Hedonic; and 2) Eudamonic.

Actually there is strong attempt form marketers to make a third type, which often means fobbing people off with a back massage voucher and a voucher for Hello Fresh (“cos your busy, so we thought you could work instead of go shopping”) – this isn’t well being, nor is cramming your day with every ‘hack’ from the Huberman podcast. 


In the quest for personal satisfaction and happiness, hedonic wellbeing stands out as a fundamental concept, emphasizing the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. This approach to wellbeing focuses on the accumulation of life’s joys, whether through momentary pleasures, leisure activities, or material comforts.

It’s a principle deeply ingrained in our daily choices and lifestyle pursuits, aiming to maximise positive emotions and immediate gratification. However, while hedonic wellbeing can offer quick bursts of happiness, its effects are often transient, leading many to explore deeper, more sustainable paths to fulfilment.

As we delve further into understanding what is performance wellbeing, it becomes apparent that beyond the fleeting pleasures of hedonism lies the richer, more enduring satisfaction of eudaimonic wellbeing.


Hedonism, the pursuit of immediate gratification, might offer temporary relief from the daily grind, but it’s eudaimonia—achieving a state of being productive, fulfilled, and thriving—that people I meet and work with are interested in. For executive, focused on delivering and performing, a professional life is one of thriving. Eudamonic wellbeing is where it is at.

Types of well being - Hedonic and Eudaimonia

Reverse engineer wellbeing

If we borrow a page from the Olympian’s playbook and reverse engineer our workday for peak performance, then we would view work differently.

For an athlete the difference between training and performing is the difference between preparing and making it happen. I’ve spent my career supporting athletes to meticulously plan their training and recovery to excel when it matters.

Over in the corporate arena, the gold medal isn’t awarded for enduring back-to-back meetings or answering emails at lightning speed; it’s about making high-quality decisions. These decisions can have huge ramifications, for people, projects, communities, societies – they matter and possibly more than jumping into a sand pit!

Olympic level decision making

To achieve this, we must prioritise tactics that enhance our decision-making capabilities.

If you were to reverse engineer those actions that would facilitate quality decision making, you would consider these Consider these strategies as your training regimen for optimising your physiology and psychology: 

  • Quality sleep to refresh brain and body for the day ahead.
  • Morning exercise to boost mental clarity and reduce blood pressure during stressful events.
  • Meetings limited to 45 minutes to maintain focus and energy.
  • Seeking sunlight and opting for walking meetings to enhance recovery body and mind.
  • Prioritising inter-personal interactions for social connection and team performance.
  • Interspersing periods of rest and recovery throughout the day.

These practices aren’t just nice-to-haves; they’re practices that for a small change can have a big effect for sustaining high performance and well-being in the long run.

I’m busy (I’m overtraining!)

To the naysayers who chant, “I can’t, I’m too busy!” remember, busyness isn’t a badge of honour; it’s often a barrier to effectiveness. Challenge yourself to delegate, defer, or delete tasks that don’t align with you performing at your best. Or if you were an athlete, I would want you to stop overtraining or getting injured, by planning your training more effectively to ensure you are making progress.

A Simple Step To Get Started On Performance Wellbeing

Starting small is key. Choose one habit you’ve successfully integrated before, or pick something new you’re excited to try. Whether it’s committing to a daily 10-minute walk to clear your mind or setting a consistent bedtime to improve sleep quality, these small steps can lead to significant changes in your work life and overall well-being.

Be smart, be well

In essence, performance well-being in work isn’t about pushing harder; it’s about working smarter (They don’t hand out gold medals for training volume).

It’s about making deliberate choices that enhance our capacity to make decisions, connect with our work on a deeper level, and ultimately, thrive in our careers. 


In summary, understanding what performance wellbeing is highlights the crucial transition from mere hedonic pleasures to the richer pursuit of eudaimonic well-being. Integrating smart work habits with meaningful activities enhances both decision-making and overall performance wellbeing.

This shift underscores that true well-being extends beyond transient joys, fostering a state where we not only succeed but thrive. By valuing these core principles, we unlock our fullest potential, ensuring performance and well-being mutually enhance each other.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) on Performance Wellbeing

Can focusing on performance wellbeing improve my work-life balance?

Yes, focusing on performance wellbeing can significantly enhance work-life balance. It encourages a more mindful approach to work. By prioritising tasks that align with personal values and goals, individuals can achieve higher satisfaction. Additionally resulting in role effectiveness and a more balanced and fulfilling life

What are some strategies to enhance performance wellbeing?

Enhancing performance wellbeing involves adopting a comprehensive approach that includes:

– Prioritising quality sleep and physical exercise to maintain physical health and mental clarity.
– Setting clear, meaningful personal and professional goals to guide actions and decisions.
– Engaging in regular reflection and mindfulness practices to foster emotional intelligence and resilience.
– Encouraging positive social interactions and building supportive relationships in and out of the workplace.
– Continuously learning and adapting to foster growth and overcome challenges effectively.