The 10 habits of top performing people

Have you ever wondered what connects the go-getters who succeed in business, life and sport? We’ve identified 10 key traits in their routines, attitudes and mindsets. How many of these habits are you already doing?

Success might seem to come naturally to some, but the secret is that almost all top performing people work hard for their achievements. Whether they know it or not, all of them rehearse and repeat daily habits which maximise their chances of being winners.

1: Do the most important job first

High performers tackle the largest, most daunting job on their to-do list first. Have you heard of the “hour of power”? For the first hour of your day, crack straight on with the most significant job on your list. Don’t check email, log on to social media, pick up voicemails or make any calls. What you’ll achieve in that first hour is worth several hours later in the day.

2: Be proactive (not a perfectionist)

Being perfect is a lovely idea, but it’s not very realistic. And whilst the perfectionists are frittering away time worrying about minor details, the successful folk are firing ahead with their latest idea. They don’t wait for the muse to strike. They get on with it, knowing that the rewards will come when the work is done. Don’t wait for others (or for inspiration) to take the lead. If you’ve got a great idea, run with it.

3: Develop laser-beam focus

Before anyone can be successful, they have to have a goal. If you don’t know where you want to go, you’ll never get there (and if you do, you probably won’t realise you’ve arrived). Successful people have clear, defined goals and are intensely focused on achieving them. But don’t mistake focus for being blinkered. Truly successful people are open-minded enough to see potential pitfalls and problems before they occur.

4: Do what others aren’t willing to do

Success is difficult. It doesn’t come easy. It’s often the reward for tough decisions and uncomfortable time spent outside your comfort zone. Whether it’s outstanding performance in finance, business, sport or relationships, super-achievers need to be willing to do what others won’t. Do you shy away from the tough stuff, or relish it for the challenge and opportunity it offers?

5: Have a strong set of personal values

Almost every successful person has an aura of magnetism. They tend to be compelling speakers, interesting writers, great story-tellers. Why? Because they have spent time (consciously or unknowingly) honing their personal values. They have a blueprint, a coda, a personal talisman against which they can align any decision or choice they have to make. Their values give them a mission and purpose. Integrity builds confidence, and confidence breeds success.

6: Focus on the big wins

We often hear that successful people focus on minutiae, allowing all the little details to take care of the bigger picture. But it goes the other way, too. High performers take care of the small stuff, but they place great value on the things which will matter in the long run: investments, education, training, housing, schooling.

7: Surround yourself with successful people

It’s said that you are the sum of the five people you spend most time with. We’re not sure about the exact algorithm, but it’s certainly true that successful people spend time with (and attract) other successful, high achieving, top performing folk. Limit your exposure to people who “can’t”, “don’t” and “shouldn’t”. Know when to listen to criticism and when to ignore opinion. Seek out others with can-do attitudes and pack your team full of positive energy.

8: Know the power of “no”

Successful people tend to be type-A personalities. They feel they’re the best for the job, and that nobody else could live up to their standards. That’s all well and good, until you reach burn-out. You can’t do it all. And, if you’ve followed step 7, you’ll have a support network full of passionate experts whose skills and experience can add tremendous value to your project. So, learn to say “no”, manage your time wisely, protect your energy, and delegate.

9: Make your own “luck”

Isn’t it funny how the harder we work, the luckier we become? The fact is, there’s no such thing as luck. Lucky people (high performers) are no luckier than others. They are, however, blessed with the ability to spot opportunities and the courage to seize them. They’re not frightened of failure, and they’re no stranger to starting all over again.

10: Plan and prepare… daily

Successful people make their own success right up until the end of the day. A great habit to master is the art of planning tomorrow, tonight. Whether you prefer a written list, a paper diary or an online system in the Cloud, get used to planning and scheduling your day so you can hit the ground running. Remember your “hour of power”? It’s waiting for you.

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