HABIT ONE: SEEK CLARITY
- Envision the Future Four. Have vision and consistently set clear intentions for who you want to be each day, how you want to interact with others, what skills you must develop to win in the future, and how you can make a difference and serve with excellence. Never enter a situation without thinking through these four categories (self, social, skills, service).
- Determine the Feeling You’re After. As yourself frequently, “What is the primary feeling I want to get from this situation?” Don’t wait for emotions to land on you; choose and cultivate the feelings that you wish to consistently experience and share in life.
- Define What’s Meaningful. Not everything that is achievable is important, and so achievement is not the issue – alignment is. Look to upcoming months and projects and determine what might bring you enthusiasm, connection, and satisfaction – then spend more time there. Always be asking, “How can I make this effort personally meaningful to me?”
HABIT TWO: GENERATE ENERGY
- Release Tension, Set Intention. Use transitions between activities to renew your energy. Do this by closing your eyes, practicing deep breathing, and releasing tension in your body and thoughts in your mind. Try to do this at least once every hour. Once you feel tension lift, set a clear intention for your next activity, open your eyes, and got to work with vibrant focus.
- Bring the Joy. Be responsible for the energy you bring to your day and each situation in life. Focus especially on bringing joy to your activities. Anticipate positive outcomes from your actions, ask yourself questions that generate positive emotions, set triggers to remind you to be positive and grateful, and appreciate the small things and the people around you.
- Optimize Health. If the demands of your life require you to learn quickly, deal with stress, be alert, pay attention, remember important things, and keep a positive mood, then you must take sleep, exercise, and nutrition more seriously. Work with your doctor and other professionals to optimize your health. You already know things you should be doing. Do them!
HABIT THREE: RAISE NECESSITY
- Know Who Needs Your A Game. You cannot become extraordinary without a sense that it’s absolutely necessary to excel, for yourself and for others. From now on, whenever you set down and your desk, ask: “Who needs me on my A game the most right now? What about my identity and external obligations makes it imperative for me to deliver today?”
- Affirm the Why. When you verbalize something, it becomes more real and important to you. Speak your “why” to yourself out loud often, and share it with others. This will motivate you to live in concurrence with your commitments. So the next time you want to increase your performance necessity, declare – to yourself and others – what you want and why you want it.
- Level Up Your Squad. Emotions and excellence are contagious, so spend more time with the most positive and successful people in your peer group. Then continue building your idea network of supportive and empower people. Ask, “How can I work with the best people as I embark on this next project? How can I inspire others to raise their standards?”
HABIT FOUR: INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY
- Increase the Outputs That Matter. Determine the outputs that matter the most in determining your success, differentiation, and contribution to your field or industry. Focus there, say no to almost everything else, and be prolific in creating those outputs with high standards of quality. Remember that the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
- Chart Your Five Moves. Ask, “If there were only five major moves to make that goal happen, what would they be?” Think of each major move as a big bucket of activities, a project. Break the projects down into deliverables, deadlines, and activities. Once you’re clear on these things, put them into your calendar, and schedule the bulk of your time working on them.
- Get Insanely Good at Key Skills (Progressive Mastery). Determine the five major skills you need to develop over the next three years to grow into the person you hope to become. Then set out to develop those skills with obsessive focus through the ten steps of progressive mastery. The Most important thing is to always be developing the critical skills to your future success.
HABIT FIVE: DEVELOP INFLUENCE
- Teach People How to Think. In every situation of influence, prepare by asking yourself how do you want other people to think about (a) themselves, (b) other people, and (c) the world at large. Then go communicate that consistently. Shape people’s thinking by saying things like: “Think of it this way …” “What do you think about …” “What would happen if we tried …”
- Challenge People to Grow. Observe people’s character, connections, and contributions, and actively challenge them to develop those things even further. Ask people if they gave their all, if they could be treating those around them better, and if they could give even more or serve with even greater excellence and distinction.
- Role Model the Way. Seventy-one percent of high performers say they think about being a role model daily. They want to be a good role model for their family, the team, and the greater community. So ask, “How can I handle this situation in a way that will inspire others to believe in themselves, be their best, and serve others with integrity, heart, and excellence?”
HABIT SIX: DEMONSTRATE COURAGE
- Honor the Struggle. When you have the opportunity to learn and serve, you don’t complain about the effort involved. View struggle as a necessary, important, and positive part of your journey so that you can find true peace and personal power. Don’t bemoan the inevitable hardships of self-improvement and chasing your dreams; have reverence for challenge.
- Share Your Truth and Ambitions. The main motivation of humankind is to be free, to express our true selves and pursue our dreams without restriction – to experience what may be called personal freedom. Follow this impulse by consistently sharing your true thoughts, feelings, needs, and dreams with other people. Do not play small to placate others. Live your truth.
- Find Someone to Fight For. We need a noble cause to rise for. High performers tend to make that cause just one person – they want to fight for that person so they can be safe, improve, or live a better quality of life. You will do more for others than for yourself. And in doing something for others, you will find your reason for courage, and your cause for focus and excellence.
These six habits and the three practices that strengthen each are your path to an extraordinary life. There are other basic strategies in the book, but these mix meta-habits are the ones that most move the needle toward progress.
For even more resources, including checklists, posters, assessments, day planners, journals, and corporate training tools, visit HighPerformanceHabits.com/tools.