At one time, high-performers were an enigma.
In my work as a mindfulness and high-performance coach, I am often asked: “What sets a CEO, elite athlete or any other high-performer apart from everybody else?” My response is that there is a combination of high-performance habits and behaviors that set them apart from the rest.
It is a bit different for everybody, but I have observed that it is usually a combination of the following:
1. Non-negotiable morning rituals
High-performers have non-negotiable, consistent morning rituals that set them up for a successful day ahead. This usually consists of some exercise to get the body moving, some meditation practices to center the mind and a healthy breakfast to nourish the body and mind.
The key word is non-negotiable – it is something that high-performers consistently do every day and everything else gets slotted around it. As the saying goes, “win the morning, win the day”.
One of the first steps to becoming a high performer is to develop a high level of self-awareness. This is something I develop with every single one of my clients, especially those in leadership roles. Having a deeper understanding of themselves as a person, leader, CEO or athlete helps them understand their strengths and weaknesses and helps them to continuously improve.
With this self-awareness, they are more open and willing to adapt to changing circumstances.
3. Regular goal-setting
High-performers often set ambitious, yet achievable, goals for themselves and they have a clear vision of what they want to achieve. They break their goals down into smaller, actionable steps and create plans to reach them. Not only do they set clear goals, but they look at them on a daily basis, which helps them stick to their goals and objectives.
4. Focus and discipline
High-performers have a laser-like focus on their goals and priorities and they often prioritize their time and energy to ensure they’re making progress toward their objectives. They’re willing to make sacrifices and stay disciplined in the face of obstacles. They set clear intentions on what they want to achieve in their day and minimize all other distractions around them.
High-performers are often masters of time management and they prioritize their time based on their goals and priorities.
5. Healthy self-care habits
Similar to the non-negotiable morning routines, high- performers understand the importance of taking care of their physical and mental health every day. They often prioritize healthy eating, exercise and sleep. They may also engage in practices, such as meditation or journaling, to support their overall wellbeing.
6. Resilience and mental strength
High-performers are often able to bounce back from setbacks and failures quickly and they have a high degree of mental resilience. They use setbacks and failures as learning opportunities and they’re able to maintain a positive outlook and persevere through challenges.
Many of my clients understand the importance of training themselves to get physically stronger, which is great, but they rarely train their minds to get mentally stronger. High-performers know the importance of training their body and mind, so they can be at their sharpest and thrive through challenging times.
7. Continuous learning and development
One thing I know from coaching thousands of high-performers over the years is that humans like progress and, without this, they fall backwards and stagnate. High-performers understand that learning is a lifelong process and they actively seek out new knowledge and skills to contribute to their growth. They may read books, attend seminars or take courses to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in their field.
8. Accountability and courage
High-performers take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, and they hold themselves accountable for their results. They have the courage to make decisions and they’re not afraid to take ownership of their mistakes and learn from them. They’re also willing to be held accountable by others, such as mentors, coaches and team members.
9. Mindfulness and mental preparation
Olympic athletes and other high-performers often use mental preparation techniques such as visualization, positive affirmations and mindfulness exercises to help them stay focused and remain calm under pressure.
They may also have pre-performance rituals or routines to help them get into the right mindset for success. This could be meditating for a few minutes before a big meeting, visualizing a positive outcome or any pre-performance ritual that triggers them into peak-performance mode.
High-performers typically have a disciplined approach to good habits and practices and continually work to improve their skills and abilities. They understand that success comes from hard work, dedication and a willingness to continuously learn and grow. Even with all of these good habits and practices, without consistency, there will be no long-term benefits and this is something high-performers know very well.
It’s one thing to operate at peak performance for a short period of time, but it is another matter to consistently perform at your best over the long term. By adopting these habits, high-performers are able to achieve extraordinary results and maintain a high level of performance over a sustained period of time. These behaviors, which are ingrained in their lives, are what set them apart from everybody else.
Melo Calarco, author of Beating Burnout-Finding Balance (Wiley $29.95), is a mindfulness and high-performance coach, keynote speaker and corporate programs facilitator. His work has helped many CEOs, leaders, corporate executives, medical professionals, elite athletes and other high performers to build resilience and perform at their absolute best, without burning out. Find out more at www.melocalarco.com.