Editor's letter: What 'performance' means

Here's some useful guidance on how to navigate the minefields we all encounter on our professional travels.

One of the things we hear a lot from our readers is a desire to improve – better career, investments, business, life. We’re all striving in one way or another, or more accurately, in many ways at once. And that, in short, is what we had in mind when we decided to put together our first issue dedicated to the ideal of high performance.

In the pages ahead, you will find a lot of useful guidance on how to navigate the minefields we all encounter on our professional travels. Some are serious – how to communicate more clearly, carry yourself with grace and self-assurance, compete effectively. Some are more lighthearted but no less practical – believe me, there are a few occasions in my past when I would have benefited from having a list of safe karaoke choices, and knowing how to spot a liar is always a nice skill to have.

But if you’re looking for high-performance inspiration, you might want to read this magazine back to front. Our “Performer” interview always focuses on someone who has achieved great success, but this week’s subject, Martin Parnell, is someone who is on his road to greatness. He has taken this year off from work with the goal of running 250 marathons in 52 weeks, in hopes of raising $250,000 for Right to Play. Martin is more than a quarter of the way through his running, but has raised less than 10% of his financial target so far.

But Martin remains as optimistic as ever. The prospect of falling short motivates him, but doesn’t frighten him. As he told me, the only challenges worth taking on are the ones in which failure is a distinct possibility. Doing something that’s difficult is fine, but if success is more or less a foregone conclusion, what have you really achieved?

If you want to take a little vicarious pride in Martin’s astonishing endeavour, you could drop by his website,, and pledge a few bucks. Consider it a down payment on the person you’re on your way to becoming.