It can be difficult to unlock our true potential. While there are so many barriers out there that can stop us from achieving what we want – how do we break through these?

In this instalment of our Business Leaders series, Michelle Connolly sits down with Susan Steele, Director or Performance Breakthrough, who specialises in helping children and adults who are challenged by learning, emotional and behavioural issues. 

To hear more, check out our full interview with Susan below, or read on for the highlights. 

Performance breakthrough: balance, coordination and spatial awareness training

What Is Performance Breakthrough?

Performance Breakthrough is a company that offers tailored programmes for children and adults experiencing difficulty in their learning and attention through unique balance, coordination and spatial awareness exercises.

Speaking to Susan, she details how her inspiration for the business came after working in insurance for 26 years, when her sons started to experience trouble at school with low concentration and educational difficulties despite both being very bright. 

Performance Breakthrough - Balance, Co-Ordination and Spatial Awareness Training - Susan Steele

“We realised my youngest son had dyslexia, so he had difficulty reading and couldn’t write a sentence until he was in P6. When tested, he had an IQ of 121 – which is the top 9% of the UK – but he couldn’t prove it on paper.”

Susan knew the only way to help her son’s development was by exploring all options, no matter the cost. 

“With all of that going on, I realised that I had to go private to get it sorted. We found a programme on balance and coordination, we paid £4,000, but it was the best money my husband and I ever spent. A year later, my youngest son’s chronological age of reading and spelling was up to his average age – when it was originally three and a half years behind.” 

With this intervention of support, Susan’s sons have gone on to lead extremely successful lives, with one working within the business.

It was this success that encouraged Susan to offer other families these therapies herself. Susan went on to train with Dr Frank Belgau and has since helped over 600 children and adults to unlock their potential. Having developed the balance, coordination and spatial awareness exercises, these enable those Susan works with to process information accurately, automatically and at speed. 

Nine years later, the business continues to provide support for families and individuals.

performance breakthrough CEO susan steele
Susan Steele founded Performance Breakthrough after being inspired by the help her son received when struggling with dyslexia. Image credit: Performance Breakthrough

How Do Exercises Help?

Challenges that Susan discusses are linked with the vestibular sense. The vestibular can be found in the inner ear and is the first to develop as a child grows before they are born. 

However, when it has been underdeveloped, it makes it difficult for the other senses to integrate and communicate accurately, automatically and at speed.

This is where balance stimulation exercises create beneficial effects. One study demonstrates this, where it found that demanding balance training improves memory and spatial cognition. 

Forty healthy participants aged 19-65 years were randomly assigned to either a balance or relaxation training intervention. Each group exercised twice a week for a total of 12 weeks. Pre and posttests assessed balance performance, cardiorespiratory fitness, memory, spatial cognition, and executive functions. Only the balance group significantly improved in balance performance, memory and spatial cognition. 

If you want to learn more about Susan Steele and connect with her, you can find her on LinkedIn. For more about Performance Breakthrough and their work, or to learn more about how you can use their services, check out their website.

performance breakthough
There is scientific evidence that therapies surrounding balance, coordination and spacial awareness can help improve physical and educational performance. Image credit: Performance Breakthrough

Defining Performance Breakthroughs: Going Beyond the Ordinary

“Performance breakthrough” isn’t just a fancy term for improvement. It’s a quantum leap, a dramatic shift, a transformation that catapults you (or your team or organization) from the realm of “good enough” to the stratosphere of exceptional. It’s about shattering past limitations, rewriting expectations, and achieving results that once seemed impossible.

Here’s a deeper dive into the essence of performance breakthroughs:

1. Dramatically Improved Results:

This isn’t about incremental gains or minor tweaks. A performance breakthrough signifies a quantum leap in outcomes. Imagine a salesperson who consistently hits their quota suddenly exceeding it by 50%. Or a team that routinely struggles to meet deadlines suddenly finishing projects ahead of schedule and exceeding quality standards. These are the hallmarks of a breakthrough.

2. Reaching Exceptional Performance Levels:

Breakthroughs don’t just raise the bar, they shatter it. It’s about achieving performance levels that were previously considered out of reach, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and entering the realm of the extraordinary. Think of an athlete breaking a world record, a musician composing a masterpiece, or a company achieving industry-leading innovation. These are examples of exceeding expectations and reaching a new level of mastery.

3. Overcoming Previous Performance Barriers:

Breakthroughs are about conquering what held you back. They involve identifying and dismantling the obstacles that have been hindering your progress, whether it’s a lack of confidence, limiting beliefs, ineffective strategies, or external constraints. It’s about breaking free from the shackles of the past and unlocking your true potential.

Beyond these core elements, here are some additional qualities that define a performance breakthrough:

  • Sustainability: It’s not a one-time flash in the pan. A true breakthrough is a lasting change, a new baseline for performance that sticks.
  • Scalability: The principles and insights gained from a breakthrough can be applied to other areas of life or work, creating a ripple effect of positive change.
  • Inspiration: Breakthroughs are contagious. They inspire others to reach for their own potential and break through their own limitations.

The True Benefits of Performance Breakthroughs

Sure, “increased productivity” and “higher profits” sound great, but the benefits of a true performance breakthrough go far beyond simple metrics. They represent a fundamental shift, a transformation that ripples through individuals, teams, and organizations, leaving a trail of positive outcomes in its wake. Let’s explore the benefits of a breakthrough in more detail:

1. Unleashing Productivity & Efficiency:

Imagine shedding the shackles of inefficiency and procrastination. Breakthroughs equip you with the tools, mindset, and strategies to work smarter, not harder. You discover new levels of focus, overcome time-management obstacles, and streamline processes, resulting in a dramatic increase in output while reducing wasted effort.

2. Soaring Sales & Profits:

For businesses, breakthroughs translate to tangible financial gains. Sales teams discover innovative approaches to closing deals, marketing campaigns ignite customer engagement, and operational efficiency unlocks cost savings. The cumulative effect? An upward trajectory in sales, revenue, and ultimately, profit margins.

3. Building Customer Loyalty & Advocacy:

Breakthroughs aren’t just about internal improvements. They ripple outward, transforming the customer experience. Imagine exceeding expectations, solving problems with creativity, and delivering exceptional service. This fosters deeper customer satisfaction, builds trust, and drives loyalty, turning customers into passionate advocates for your brand.

4. Securing a Competitive Edge:

In today’s cutthroat market, standing out is crucial. Performance breakthroughs give you the distinctive edge you need to outperform competitors. By unlocking innovation, agility, and resilience, you become a pioneer, setting new standards and leaving rivals scrambling to catch up.

5. Cultivating Personal & Professional Growth:

The benefits extend far beyond the bottom line. Breakdowns unlock individual and team potential. By overcoming roadblocks and embracing new challenges, you build confidence, develop resilience, and discover hidden talents. This translates to personal growth, improved teamwork, and a more fulfilling work environment.

But the benefits don’t stop there. Performance breakthroughs can also:

  • Boost morale and motivation: Witnessing exceptional results creates a surge of positive energy and inspires others to strive for their own breakthroughs.
  • Attract and retain top talent: A culture of achievement and transformation becomes a magnet for talented individuals who want to be part of something extraordinary.
  • Enhance resilience and adaptability: When challenges arise, teams equipped with breakthrough thinking can pivot, innovate, and overcome obstacles with ease.

Remember, a performance breakthrough isn’t just a one-time event; it’s a catalyst for lasting change. It’s about unleashing potential, redefining boundaries, and creating a ripple effect of success that touches every aspect of your life or work. So, are you ready to unlock your own breakthrough and experience the transformative power of exceeding expectations?

Steps to Unleashing Performance Breakthroughs

Performance breakthroughs aren’t accidental explosions; they’re carefully constructed climbs to new heights. Each step requires intention, effort, and a willingness to embrace change. Here’s a detailed guide to crafting your ascent:

1. Aim for the Stars: Set Ambitious Stretch Goals:

Forget incremental improvements. Breakthroughs necessitate audacious goals that stretch your comfort zone and ignite your ambition. These aren’t mere “wish lists”; they’re carefully researched targets that push the boundaries of what’s considered possible. Think doubling your sales, breaking industry records, or achieving operational excellence.

2. Digging Deep: Analyze the Performance Gap:

Reaching your Everest requires understanding where you stand. Conduct a rigorous analysis of your current performance, identifying the gaps between your present reality and your ambitious goals. Be honest about roadblocks, inefficiencies, and limitations. This introspection paves the path for targeted interventions.

3. Conquering Inner Mountains: Identify and Dismantle Limiting Beliefs:

Often, the biggest obstacles lie within. Negative self-talk, fear of failure, and limiting beliefs can act as invisible chains holding you back. Through introspective exercises and coaching, identify these self-imposed restraints and replace them with empowering affirmations and a growth mindset. Believe in your potential and break free from mental shackles.

4. Building New Pathways: Implement New Systems and Technologies:

Breakthroughs necessitate revamping outdated systems and processes. Embrace technology solutions that streamline workflows, automate tasks, and foster collaboration. Implement performance management systems that provide regular feedback and track progress towards ambitious goals. Remember, the right tools can be your Sherpas on the climb.

5. Equipping the Team: Provide Adequate Training and Resources:

No climber ascends alone. Invest in your team’s development by providing training programs tailored to your specific goals and chosen systems. Ensure everyone has the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to navigate the new terrain. Remember, empowered and equipped individuals are the wind beneath your wings.

6. Embracing the Unknown: Encourage Innovation and Experimentation:

Breakthroughs aren’t born from playing it safe. Foster a culture of innovation and experimentation, encouraging creative problem-solving and risk-taking. Celebrate failures as learning opportunities and embrace new ideas, even if they seem unconventional. Remember, sometimes the most breathtaking views lie off the beaten path.

7. Persistence is Key: Embrace the Process and Celebrate Progress:

Reaching the summit takes time and perseverance. Expect setbacks and challenges, but maintain unwavering focus and dedication. Celebrate progress along the way, no matter how small. Remember, each step forward is a victory, and the journey itself is as rewarding as the final destination.

By following these steps, you can transform your ambitious goals into tangible breakthroughs. Remember, the pursuit of exceptional performance is not a one-time sprint, but a continuous journey of self-discovery, adaptation, and unwavering commitment to progress. So, lace up your metaphorical boots, gather your team, and embark on your climb to performance excellence!

Strategies for Ongoing Performance Breakthroughs

Reaching the summit of a performance breakthrough is exhilarating, but staying there requires vigilance and strategic planning. Just like a mountain climber wouldn’t leave their ropes and gear behind after reaching the peak, effective leaders know that maintaining exceptional performance demands ongoing effort and adaptability. Here are some detailed strategies to ensure your breakthrough isn’t a fleeting moment, but a springboard for sustained success:

1. Monitoring and Refining:

  • Embrace Feedback: Don’t become complacent. Continuously monitor results, gather feedback, and analyze the effectiveness of your strategies. Be open to adapting your approach based on new data and changing circumstances. Remember, what worked yesterday might need tweaking tomorrow.
  • Cultivate a Culture of Learning: Encourage regular 360-degree feedback, performance reviews, and data analysis sessions. Foster an environment where learning and improvement are prioritized over stagnation.

2. Incentivizing and Empowering:

  • Establish Meaningful Incentives: Rewards and recognition play a crucial role in maintaining motivation. Design incentive programs that align with your breakthrough goals and recognize both individual and team achievements. Remember, extrinsic rewards can fuel the intrinsic desire for continued excellence.
  • Promote Accountability: Create a system of shared accountability where everyone understands their role in sustaining the breakthrough. Empower individuals and teams to take ownership of their performance and celebrate contributions to the bigger picture.

3. Celebrating and Inspiring:

  • Acknowledge Milestones: Don’t let achievements go unnoticed. Regularly celebrate successes, big and small, fostering a positive and motivated atmosphere. Recognition fuels a sense of accomplishment and reinforces the value of continued effort.
  • Share Success Stories: Let the stories of your breakthrough heroes inspire others. Showcase best practices, innovative solutions, and individual triumphs through internal communication channels, training programs, and even external storytelling. This creates a ripple effect of motivation and encourages knowledge sharing.

4. Fostering Continuous Improvement:

  • Invest in Ongoing Learning: Don’t let skills stagnate. Invest in ongoing training, coaching, and development programs for your team. Encourage participation in conferences, workshops, and peer learning initiatives to stay ahead of the curve and embrace new advancements.
  • Encourage Innovation: Cultivate a culture of continuous improvement and experimentation. Reward creative problem-solving and encourage employees to explore new ideas and solutions. Remember, stagnation breeds complacency, while innovation fuels sustained progress.

5. Embracing Change and Adaptability:

  • Be Prepared for Shifts: The business landscape is dynamic. Remain agile and adaptable, proactively anticipate and respond to market changes, technological advancements, and evolving customer needs. Remember, flexibility is key to maintaining your competitive edge.
  • Celebrate Challenges: View obstacles as opportunities for learning and growth. Approach challenges with resilience and resourcefulness, using them as catalysts for further breakthroughs. Remember, every summit conquered opens up new horizons to explore.

Remember, sustaining performance breakthroughs requires a proactive, ongoing effort. By embracing these strategies, you can create a culture of continuous improvement, foster a motivated and adaptable team, and ensure that your exceptional performance isn’t a fleeting peak, but a lasting legacy. So, continue the climb, celebrate the victories, and embrace the challenges, for the true mark of success lies not in reaching the summit, but in the unwavering commitment to staying there.

Potential Risks and Obstacles to Performance Breakthroughs

While the summit of a performance breakthrough promises breathtaking views and exhilarating success, the climb is not without its perils. Identifying and proactively addressing potential risks is crucial for ensuring your breakthrough is not a fleeting glory, but a sustained triumph. Here’s a closer look at some key obstacles to watch out for:

1. The Burnout Blizzard:

  • Employee Exhaustion: The relentless pursuit of exceptional performance can lead to employee burnout, characterized by chronic stress, decreased productivity, and high turnover. Overwork and unrealistic expectations can quickly turn a motivated team into a fatigued and disengaged one.
  • Combating the Blizzard: Prioritize a healthy work-life balance, encourage breaks and vacations, promote mindfulness practices, and implement flexible work arrangements. Remember, a well-rested and motivated team is a sustainable one.

2. The Quality Avalanche:

  • Rushing for Results: In the rush to achieve breakthrough goals, quality standards can be compromised. Rushing processes, cutting corners, and neglecting due diligence can lead to flawed products, dissatisfied customers, and reputational damage.
  • Building a Firm Foundation: Emphasize the importance of quality alongside results. Implement robust quality control measures, provide sufficient training on new processes, and foster a culture of meticulousness and attention to detail. Remember, exceptional results built on shaky foundations are like castles made of sand.

3. The Resource Ravine:

  • Insufficient Means: Achieving and sustaining breakthroughs often requires investment in new resources, technology, or training. Inadequate resource allocation can hinder progress, demotivate teams, and ultimately stall the momentum of your breakthrough.
  • Securing the Necessities: Conduct thorough cost-benefit analyses, prioritize resource allocation based on breakthrough goals, and seek additional funding or partnerships if necessary. Remember, a well-equipped team is a capable one.

4. The Complacency Crevasse:

  • Resting on Laurels: The initial euphoria of success can lead to complacency and stagnation. Assuming victory and neglecting further improvement can leave you vulnerable to competitors who continuously strive for advancement.
  • Maintaining the Spark: Celebrate successes, but constantly set new, achievable goals. Foster a culture of continuous learning, encourage innovation and experimentation, and keep your team focused on future horizons. Remember, the summit is just a waypoint, not the end of the journey.

Remember, recognizing and addressing these potential risks is not a sign of pessimism, but rather a reflection of proactive leadership. By openly discussing these challenges, implementing preventive measures, and adapting your approach when necessary, you can navigate the treacherous terrain of performance breakthroughs and ensure your team reaches and remains at the peak of excellence.


Q: What is the difference between a performance breakthrough and simply performing well?

A: A performance breakthrough is a qualitative leap beyond good performance. It involves achieving dramatically improved results, overcoming previous limitations, and reaching exceptional levels in your field. It’s not just about hitting targets; it’s about redefining what’s possible.

Q: How can I tell if I need a performance breakthrough?

A: If you feel stuck in a rut, consistently underperforming your potential, or struggling to overcome specific challenges, a performance breakthrough could be the catalyst you need. Conversely, if you’re already achieving your goals and feeling fulfilled, you might not require a complete overhaul, but continuous learning and improvement are always valuable.

Q: What are the main benefits of achieving a performance breakthrough?

A: Performance breakthroughs lead to a cascade of benefits, including increased productivity, higher sales, greater customer satisfaction, a competitive edge, and enhanced personal and professional growth. They can also boost morale, attract top talent, and foster a culture of innovation and resilience.

Q: How can I start my own performance breakthrough journey?

A: Take the first step by setting ambitious goals, analyzing your current performance gaps, and identifying limiting beliefs. Implement new systems and processes, provide adequate training, and encourage innovation and experimentation. Remember, it’s a journey, not a destination, so celebrate progress along the way and embrace the challenges as opportunities for learning.

Q: What are some common obstacles to achieving performance breakthroughs?

A: Employee burnout, quality reductions from rushed processes, insufficient resources, and complacency after initial success are some potential pitfalls. Recognizing these risks and implementing proactive measures like prioritizing well-being, ensuring quality standards, securing resources, and fostering continuous improvement are crucial for sustaining your breakthrough.


Performance breakthroughs are not mere pipe dreams; they are achievable, transformative journeys that can propel individuals and organizations to exceptional heights. By understanding the essence of a breakthrough, identifying the benefits, and navigating the potential risks, you can unlock your own path to achieving outstanding results, exceeding expectations, and leaving a lasting mark on your field. Remember, the climb to the summit takes effort, courage, and adaptation, but the breathtaking view from the top makes it all worthwhile.

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