The world is abundant with many accomplished entrepreneurs, but not all achieve advanced levels of achievement. So, what sets individuals who reach their professional summit apart from those who get stuck in the land of mainstream success?
When you look at professionals thriving within their enterprises, you will find certain similarities. They are the individuals with clarity, routines, boundaries and the right mindset to become the leaders we admire. They are the ones who work smarter, not harder. If you want to grow as an entrepreneur, and reach the top of your game, then here are five proven high-performance habits you can incorporate into your life.
1. Plan, prioritize and set clear boundaries
One distinct characteristic of the leaders we most admire is that they are clear on their vision and remain aligned with their core purpose and mission at all times. Before starting each morning, they reflect and understand what needs to get done and are driven by why it matters.
These influential trailblazers also spend most of their day producing high-quality outputs towards achieving their primary goal instead of wasting precious time on basic tasks and activities. While working on the fundamentals is OK, it won’t be sufficient to penetrate your next level of success.
When you prioritize your schedule according to the return on investment for each item on your to-do list, you will see exponential growth in what you produce and how you advance. There is a finite number of hours in a day, and you want to spend them on your top priorities.
It may sound surprising, but the most prospering people in the world say “no” more than they say “yes,” realizing that when you say “yes” to one thing, you are essentially saying “no” to something else. By eliminating inconsequential things from your calendar, you can invest your time in what truly matters, i.e. opportunities that serve your purpose and move you towards your professional goal.
Stopping and reflecting is also integral to entrepreneurial success, and those people who are firmly on the path to greatness always schedule a time to review their progress. At the end of each week, evaluate your productivity and assess where you could be more efficient, more effective, and get better results. There is always room for improvement, even when you are a high performer.
2. Actively safeguard health and spawn energy
It’s not just physical athletes that need to care for their bodies. Peak performing entrepreneurs know that you need high levels of energy for continual and optimal execution. The more stamina and vitality a person has, the more likely it is they will reach the top level of their respective field.
You can still attain a certain level of success despite running your body into the ground, eating unhealthy food, sitting stagnant at your desk for hours on end, overindulging on caffeine, and grinding until you collapse. But you will never achieve sustained levels of progress, find happiness, and you definitely won’t take your business to the next level.
To see the apex of achievement, like those entrepreneurs you revere, you need to adopt the same approach by treating your body and mind with the care it needs and deserves. This involves healthy food choices, staying hydrated, exercising, and making time for active recovery.
Burnout is one of the top threats to your success. If you don’t timetable breaks throughout your day and give yourself the fuel you need to show up as your best self, it will be challenging, if not impossible, to get to the next level of accomplishment.
One of the most impactful ways to increase your productivity is to schedule breaks every 50–90 minutes to recharge and reset. Set an alarm on your phone as a prompt to stand up, stretch, move your body, give your eyes a break from the screen, drink water, and take a few deep breaths. These simple but essential actions can significantly improve focus, boost cognitive performance and rejuvenate energy levels.
Remember, before you re-engage, recall to mind your purpose and intention. It will increase your motivation and ignite your enthusiasm for your next task. All high performers master their transitions, so they not only keep up their momentum, but they also have the energy and continued zest for their personal life at the end of the day.
3. Always make an effort to grow and improve
Those people who are determined to excel professionally don’t simply rely on their innate strengths. They continue to learn, develop, and cultivate new skills because they understand that proficiency in specific areas of expertise is crucial for growth and success.
Determine what critical skills you deem necessary to triumph in your career and commit to actively developing them. Starting with the most important or valuable trait, set small goals and stretch goals, complete with dates and timelines, to become more competent in your abilities. For example, if you need to develop your proficiency with public speaking, your first objective might be to join Toastmasters to become a better communicator. Your stretch goal could be to land a TED talk, and your ultimate goal to secure paid speaking opportunities.
Through raising your performance with a deliberate plan and decisive purpose, you can increase the levels of difficulty in your desired skill until you reach a point of mastery. By doing this, you can truly set yourself apart from others in your line of business and distinguish yourself from any competition.
4. Honor the struggle, embrace fear and accept uncertainty
There’s no doubt about it. Uncertainty can be uncomfortable. We are wired to want control of our environment to protect ourselves from insecurity and danger. But the most successful people push themselves to venture outside of their comfort zone. The unknown is where you must go to reach new heights as an individual and uncover true victory within your enterprise.
When you foster a mindset that setbacks, failure, and criticism are part of the process and things can and will go wrong, you become incredibly resilient. Peak performers know if you aren’t failing or hearing “no,” you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough. You can’t reach your full potential or get to the next level by playing it safe, and you should never let uncertainty be the enemy of growth.
5. Take a holistic approach to success
Successful people do not think in terms of work-life balance; they think in terms of “life.” Through working hard, they are also committed to living in the fullest and most enriching way possible. They dedicate time with their family and friends, and they enjoy an array of hobbies. They make it a priority to enjoy the life they work so hard for. True success is a whole and intact entity, and you aren’t genuinely achieving if one or more areas of your life suffer for you to prosper professionally.
If you want to be a peak performing entrepreneur, remember it’s not just about the time you put in. It’s also about the quality of those hours and how strategic you are with prioritizing your schedule and evaluating how you can improve. You must always start with intention and purpose, take care of your mind and body, and make time for life outside of work. It’s also important to spend time with individuals who share your growth mindset and incite the flames of passion within you.
The top business leaders surround themselves with like-minded people who inspire and encourage them to expand and evolve. Entrepreneurs with big dreams and aspirations welcome being challenged and pushed to new levels of accomplishment by the very people they admire and even their so-called competition. That is the reason there are so many Masterminds on the market.
Our mindset and daily habits greatly determine our capacity to achieve. You can become the peak performing entrepreneur you aspire to be if you take the time to get clear on your values and purpose and remain strategic when it comes to your priorities and vision for the future. Anything is possible for those who dream big and master their day and, ultimately, their life.
Originally published at https://www.entrepreneur.com on May 3, 2021.