Develop high performance habits

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Are you performing up to your potential?  Are you afraid to jump to the next level?  Are your habits pushing you forward or holding you back?

The most important book on self-motivation and achieving more than you imagined hit the bookstores last week:  "High Performance Habits:  How Extraordinary People Become That Way," by Brendon Burchard.

Brendon is the world's leading high performance coach and a sought-after personal development trainer.  Drawing inspiration from Stephen Covey's "Seven Habits of Highly Successful People," which he describes as "the best book of all time," Brendon was determined to answer three questions:

  1. Why do some individuals and teams succeed more quickly than others and sustain that success over the long term?
  2. Of those who pull it off, why are some miserable and others consistently happy on their journey?
  3. What motivates people to reach for higher levels of success in the first place, and what practices help them improve the most?

I've heard Brendon speak on several occasions, so I invited him to speak to my Roundtable group about his results.  "The right habits lead to sustained long-term success.  High performance means succeeding beyond standard norms, consistently over the long-term," Brendon explained.  "It feels like full engagement, joy and confidence that come from giving your absolute best.

"What we know about high performers," he said, includes the following:

  • They are more successful than their peers, yet they are less stressed.
  • They are more confident that they will achieve goals despite adversity.
  • They are uniquely productive ... They've mastered prolific quality output.
  • They work passionately, regardless of traditional rewards.
  • They are admired and adaptive leaders.
  • They are healthier than peers.
  • They feel appreciated and feel their work makes a difference.

Shockingly, just fewer than 15 percent of the population are high performers.

Years of research led him to identify the six deliberate habits that gave people the edge.  He also discovered that anyone can practice these habits with extraordinary results in their lives, relationships and careers.  "High performance is not strongly correlated with age, gender, nationality, intelligence, personality, strengths, creativity, empathy, years of experience or compensation," he said.

Brendon sites six habits in a long-term success story:  

Seek clarity.  "Compared with their peers, high performers have more clarity on who they are, what they want, how to get it and what they find meaningful and fulfilling," he said.  

"You generate clarity by asking questions, researching, trying new things, sorting through life's opportunities, and sniffing out what's right for you.  It comes from asking yourself questions and further refining your perspective on life."

Generate energy.  "I've found that the most effective way to help high performers increase their energy is to teach them to master transitions," which he defines as "a powerful space of freedom between activities. . . . I'm convinced that if we can get you to change the way you shift from one activity to the next, we can revitalize your life." 

Raise necessity.  "Necessity is the emotional drive that makes great performance a must instead of a preference," he explained.  "When you feel necessity, you don't sit around wishing or hoping.  You get things done."  He continued, "If I've learned anything from my research and a decade of interventions developing high performers, it's that you cannot become extraordinary without a sense that it's absolutely necessary to excel."

Increase productivity.  "The fundamentals of becoming more productive are setting goals and maintaining energy and focus," he said.  Clear and challenging goals are the starting point.  Taking care of yourself, including good sleep, nutrition, exercise and positive emotions help you maintain energy.  Keeping focused isn't easy in the modern era with information overload, distractions and interruptions diminishing productivity.   

Develop influence.  "Having influence means you can get people to believe in you or your ideas, buy from you, follow you, or take actions that you request of them," he explained.  "Of course, influence is a two-way street."

Demonstrate courage.  "Our coaching interventions suggest that demonstrating courage is the cornerstone habit of high performance," Brendon said.  "Demonstrating courage doesn't mean you have to save the world or do something grandiose.  Sometimes, it means taking a first step toward real change in an unpredictable world."

Brendon offers specific examples that illustrate how to develop these habits as well as exercises and practices for achieving high performance status.  He even offers a link to a free professional assessment.  Get ready to up your game.

Mackay's Moral: The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.