The European Space Agency stretches their applicants to the edge of their ability on a daily basis. Tim Peake was one of 8,413 contenders for the latest mission to the International Space Station. Everyone who was shortlisted had already proved themselves academically and physically so he had to push himself and do something special to stand out from the crowd. The screening process that followed tested Tim’s intelligence, his personality and his memory. To prove himself, he had to learn about space engineering, to speak Russian, and to move around safely in zero gravity - amongst a zillion other things.

It is clear that Tim knew what his goal was and that he was hell bent on achieving it. No amount of challenge or competition was going to stand in his way. This focus and determination undoubtedly played a huge part in his ultimate success. When we interviewed Mike Cullen, Former Global Managing Partner for Talent at EY, we discovered that if you are to get results, you must build a high performance culture and recruit high performance individuals. Individuals will excel if they are stretched to the edge of their ability, constantly challenged and motivated to set new and demanding goals.

Lawyers and accountants who follow Tim’s example and who relentlessly push the boundaries, will achieve great results. Furthermore, firms that recruit these individuals will see a rise in company profits, a reduction in staff turnover and a strong brand image. As the professional services industry becomes increasingly competitive, you have to go above and beyond to stand out; just as Tim did to beat his 8,412 competitors…