High Performance Habits

If you experienced a near-death accident, how would it affect you?  For Brendon Burchard, it forced him to evaluate his life and purpose, and to become serious about what he wanted to achieve.  Several years later, his mission had led to the creation of a research team which studied thousands of individuals in order to learn what exactly causes individuals to rise up the top tiers of achievement.  He then published his findings in his book, High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way.

So what creates a “high achiever”?  Brendon narrowed his findings down to six “high performance habits”, or HP6, which when utilized leads to great success:

  1. Seek Clarity

The first habits Brendon repeatedly saw in high performers was that they had clarify on who they wanted to be and what they wanted in life.  These individuals had personal mantras, and their daily actions focused almost entirely on advancing them (Brendon’s for example, became to “Live, Love, and Matter”).  With this sole pursuit as his focus, he let go of anything else that could distract him from his mission.  Brendon saw this theme repeated again and again in his research.

  1. Generate Energy

No matter what you want to achieve, you can’t do so if you don’t have high mental stamina, physical energy, and positive emotions.  Energy is necessary in order to maintain focus, effort, and overall wellbeing.  Pulling all-nighters and sleepless nights may occasionally give you a few hours to briefly pull ahead, but such activity is not sustainable.  Instead, focus on regular and fulfilling sleep.  In addition, exercise regularly, and also learn to manage “transitions”, the period you experience between two activities.  If you can learn to seamlessly move between your daily activities and not become distracted in the process by email or social media, you’ll be able to maintain your momentum and achieve more.

  1. Raise Necessity

Why do you want to be a high performer?  “Because” is not an acceptable answer.  In order to achieve, there must be a deep driving force that is pushing you forward, demanding excellence.  Until you have and know that reason, then you will always be okay with “good enough”.   You cannot become extraordinary without a sense that it’s absolutely necessary to excel. You must become more emotionally committed to what you are doing, and reach the point where success (or whatever outcome you’re after) is not just an occasional preference but a soul-filling necessity.

  1. Increase Productivity

Brendon had a desire to be a writer and so he interviewed other writers, looking for that one key thing that would give him the edge he needed for success.  What he learned, however, was that no matter how many conferences writers attended or degrees that they held, what ultimately separated those who succeeded from those who did not was their amount of prolific quality output (or PQO).  At the end of the day, if a writer is not writing, then no amount of other effort or activities can help them.  Whatever your career or mission, you must be spending the majority of your time focused solely on producing the primary output of your field.  It’s a similar concept to the “10,000 Hours” strategy: you must put in the time, and specifically on what matters.  Minimize the distractions (or even opportunities) that steal your attention from creating PQO.  “Whatever you are, be a good one” (Abraham Lincoln).

  1. Develop Influence

High performers influence those around them, which in turn builds a support network of individuals who believe in and will support them.   Without a positive support network, major achievements over the long haul are all but impossible.  Keep in mind that, as Zig Ziglar once said, ““You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”

  1. Demonstrate Courage

Demonstrate courage by expressing your ideas, taking bold action, and standing up for yourself and others even in the face of fear, uncertainty, or changing conditions.  Define what being courageous means to you, and start living towards that definition. Remember that one act of courage is better than a hundred vision boards, and that no one who achieved greatness avoided struggle.  As Brendon argues: “embrace the suck”.

As you reflect on where you are (personally and professionally) and where you want to be, spend some time thinking over these habits and how you can apply these in your growth.  To help with that assignment, here are some questions to drew on:

  • What three skills are you currently working to develop so you’ll be more successful next year?
  • What topics are you obsessed with?  Are you perusing them to their fullest extent?  Why or why not?
  • Have I associated the important activities of my day with my identity and my sense of obligation?
  • Why is chasing this dream so important to me? Why must I do this? When must I do it?
  • How can I get around more amazing people who up my game and help me serve at the next level?
  • Think of the most ambitious dream you’d like to take on, identify what you really want, then ask yourself: If there were only five major moves to make that goal happen, what would they be?

And one final yet deeply significant question that Brendon suggests you ask yourself: Why are you so terrified to want more?

Disclaimer: The author of this article did not receive compensation for the review of this book.

Jeremiah Clark, M.A., is the co-owner of Appalachian Digital, a website development agency.  He is also a Lead Systems Analyst with the Cleveland Clinic.  You can contact Jeremiah at JeremiahSethClark@Outlook.com or connect with him on LinkedIn at Jeremiah Clark.