Kristi Allen

When you think about a high-performer what comes to mind?

Reflect on your workgroup, there may be someone that stands out to you. Thoughts like this may come to mind about those around you if you’re noticing high-performing behaviors:

“Lou is always on her game and asks brilliant questions.” 

“Natalie gets it all done and always has the best looking presentations.” 

“Scott seems to show-up with the most energy every time and is so engaged.”

Those are the appearances of a high-performer. It’s someone with the ability to get things done, be highly effective, show-up with energy, and think critically, which results in being recognized and rewarded consistently.

I reflected on the book, High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. The primary premise is to uncover the practices that high-performers do consistently. With over 20 years of research, the information gathered is distilled into 6 key habits.

Lou, Natalie, and Scott are not magical creatures with a special gift they were born with. What then is their secret? As highlighted in this week’s book reflection by Brendon, “they are high performers, and their secret is their habits.” 

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” ~Aristotle 

6 High Performing Habits to Boost Your Career and Life

The key to these high performing habits is that when they’re combined with one another, when you get to the point of achieving all 6 habits, research suggested that it strongly correlates with long-term success. 

High Performing Habit No. 1 – Clarity

A distinction with high performers is that they’re intentional in all areas of their life. They begin by building a compass by considering their values, their direction, and their strengths and weaknesses. 

While the habit is about getting clarity, in my mind it’s also about self-awareness. High performers have honed in on what they’re good at and what they need to adjust. 

This is also true for the relationships in their life. They not only think about where they want to go with their career, they thoughtfully consider how they interact with others along the way and how and which relationships they want to flourish.

Start Here – Gain Clarity:

✓ Envision your future – what will you need to get there?

✓ Take stock of your skills – where do you need to grow?

✓ Dedicate time each week to building those skills.

High Performing Habit No. 2 – Energy

If you have low energy, you may feel too sluggish to go after what you want and you may  binge shows on Netflix way more often than you’d like. It makes sense that in order to perform at a high-level, you’re going to require higher amounts of energy – both physically and mentally.

Did you know, the “top 5% of high performers are 40% more likely to exercise three times per week.” A great place to get energy is to give energy by physically exercising. 

To keep moving forward consistently and at times with speed over long periods of time, your mental stamina will need to be strong enough to sustain your focus. Your productivity is in direct correlation with your energy levels. The more energy you have, the more you’ll get done.

Start Here – Create Energy:

✓ Sitting in Zoom meetings back-to-back can take its toll on your energy. Set your meetings to begin 5-10 minutes after the hour. You’ll have a few minutes to stretch your legs and your meeting mates will thank you.

✓ Check your physical activity – are you moving as much as you should be?

✓ Rest – are you getting enough Zzzz’s?

High Performing Habit No. 3 – Necessity

Brendon explains necessity as the “emotional drive that makes great performance a must instead of a preference.”  It’s the feeling of needing to succeed and scoring  achievements. This is what fuels motivation and personal accountability to show up consistently. 

Necessity also highlights why you’re more likely to identify a high performer by the amount of time and the depth they go to learn something. Sometimes people may look at their personal discipline as an obsession, as they can easily get lost in time mastering their craft.

While high performers hold themselves at a high-bar, the expectations they have for themselves are met by their continuous attention to self-monitoring. This means that they check-in with themselves often to determine if they’re on the  path that will lead to the future they envision. 

Research suggested that “people who set goals and regularly self-monitor are almost two and half times more likely to attain their goals.” 

Start Here – Self-Monitoring:

✓ For the goals you have for your career and life – do you have a method for monitoring your progress towards your ambitions?

High Performing Habit No. 4 – Productivity

Did you know, in a survey conducted in this book, “1,100 high performers revealed that their underperforming counterparts get pulled into fake urgencies or deadlines three and a half times more often than they do.” 3.5X as much – that’s a big number!

Part of gaining productivity is setting boundaries and understanding the importance of tasks as it relates to the bigger picture. This allows high performers to have higher amounts of quality output over the longer term as a result of minimizing opportunities for distractions.

High performers are very deliberate in planning. Whether it’s their day jotted down by hour-to-hour with each task assigned a timeslot or their ability to understand and set real deadlines, not false ones.

Start Here – Understand What’s Important:

✓ You have projects, you have work that you continually just do as part of your job, and you have projects that are quick urgencies for others. Determine what’s priority and dedicate a percentage of your time each week to balancing the priority project progress with your day-to-day work.

✓ Within your projects or when you receive requests – before committing to solving the ask, get very clear on the real deadlines and determine if it’s realistic or necessary. 

High Performing Habit No. 5 – Influence

The power of influence gives you the ability to get things done faster, receive the projects you want, get more buy-in for your ideas, and in the end it gives you more confidence which helps you perform higher.

The thing about influence is that it comes through by consistently showing-up, challenging thoughts, and being unafraid to share what’s on your mind with others to solve a problem or create a new solution.

Researchers highlighted the role of repetition for high performers; the consistency of repeatedly sharing their ideas with people they wish to influence.  

It’s noted that gaining the skill of influence correlates with how much you practice asking people something. Asking for help, asking for support, asking for a new project, asking if the topic of a conversation is relevant to the outcome of the meeting, and ultimately asking for what you need.

Start Here – Asking and Sharing:

✓ When is the last time you asked for the help you needed from a peer or your manager?

✓ Were you asked to share progress on your last project or did you proactively seek time with people to share the progress or ideas along the way?

✓ Think back to people you find influential – what is the action that they’re doing that’s working for you?

High Performing Habit No. 6 – Courage

This performance habit of Courage is closely related to all of the other five habits. Those who have high courage also have high clarity, energy, necessity, productivity, and influence.

It’s about taking that first step toward what you want, providing feedback to someone that may be unwilling to accept it, showing up when you really don’t know how to exactly, and taking action in spite of the unknown.

During times like now, living and working through a pandemic, courage can be found in personal growth. As Brendon states, “We’ll have to stop getting so annoyed and start seeing the struggle as part of growing or character – you must learn to honor the struggle.”

 Start Here – Flex Your Courage:

✓ Courage can represent itself in small ways too, like changing a habit – is there a habit that you want to start or stop that you have the courage to act on?

✓ Helping someone else grow by providing candid feedback to support their learning comes from a place of courage – how can you support those around you by offering feedback?

Lasting Thoughts

If you’re thinking that high performers must be charismatic and very outgoing, you’re off the mark. Research showed that “personality isn’t correlated with high performance – an introvert is just as likely as an extrovert to be a high performer.” 

High performance is based on consistently and deliberately having clarity, energy, necessity, productivity, influence, and courage.

“The skills and strengths you have now are probably insufficient to get you to the next level of success, so it’s absurd to think you won’t have to work on your weaknesses, develop new strengths, try new habits, stretch beyond what you think your limits or gifts are.” ~ Brendon Burchard

High performers hold themselves accountable to acting the way they envision themselves being in the future. They not only envision their future self, they also begin to take actions today, not tomorrow. 

Questions? Any advice or experiences to add? Share below in the comments — I look forward to reading them and responding! 

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