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6 Habits to Live an Extraordinary Life

career & business leadership & impact Jan 31, 2020

Are you as fulfilled and successful as you want to be?

If you are reading this article, chances are that you are one of those people who are driven to
succeed. You’ve always had this curious mindset and you’ve worked hard to learn and grow.
You may also find yourself struggling in some areas of your life. Perhaps you are experiencing a
level of stress, overwhelm, and uncertainty, and you are eager to break through to the next
level of joy and achievement.

We all want to be high performing in every area of our lives. But how?

Here’s what I know to be true from my training as a Certified High Performance Coach, as well
as from my experience coaching hundreds of leaders. To become a high performer, you must
seek clarity, generate energy, raise necessity, increase productivity, develop influence, and
demonstrate courage.

These six habits are proven to help you excel. In fact, they are statistically more powerful than
almost 100 other habits. According to research, there is a strong correlation
between these habits and long-term success as well as happiness, income level, GPA, and more.

Here’s what you need to know about these six habits, as well as some questions you can ask
yourself to grow and contribute at an even higher level.

High Performance Habit #1: Seek Clarity

The world’s highest performers have a high degree of clarity about who they are, how they
interact with others, and what life principles and practices keep them at their best. Compared
with their peers, they have a greater awareness of what they find meaningful and fulfilling.

The highest performers have a greater ability to define success and how they wish to achieve
excellence. Ask yourself, “How will I know when I succeed?” and “What defines excellence in
this area of my life?” Take time each morning to imagine your best future self and start acting
like that person today. Generate the feelings that you will feel when you achieve your ideal

If you are not deliberate enough about clarifying and embodying who you wish to BE and what
you wish to DO, you’ll effectively condemn yourself to live in the land of mediocrity.

High Performance Habit #2: Generate Energy

The world’s highest performers have extraordinary energy and endurance when it comes to
going after their dreams. They prioritize their health and well-being, and they manage their
energy by being coherent most of their days.

According to the Institute of HeartMath, one of the best ways to get coherent is to take a few
moments to focus your attention in the area of your heart–imagine your breath flowing in and
out of your heart or chest area, breathing a little slower and deeper than you usually do. Then,
make a sincere attempt to experience a regenerative feeling like appreciation or care for
someone or something in your life. Allow yourself to really feel that strong positive emotion in
your heart.

You may also start a gratitude practice. Each morning when you wake up, take a moment to
write down three things for which you are grateful. Another idea is to send a message of
appreciation or love every day to someone who has had a positive impact on your life.
These simple practices are proven to bring more joy into your daily life, which will help you
reduce stress and feel more energized.

High Performance Habit #3: Raise Necessity

High performers find a way to raise the necessity for exceptional performance. This means
actively tapping into the reasons why you must perform well. It’s that emotional drive that
makes it an absolute must for you to be at your best. It’s about feeling inspired to go above and
beyond–a commitment to exceeding expectations–which creates a sense of urgency to act.

Here’s a simple exercise to help you gain clarity about what is most important to you. Take a
blank piece of paper and write down the top three to five things that you wish to accomplish in
the next eight weeks. Then, flip the page and answer the same question, but this time imagine
you are told that you only have eight weeks to live. Notice how you feel. What, if anything,
shifted regarding why you want what you want?

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to
excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”

– Vince Lombardi

People who consistently set meaningful goals and regularly monitor their progress are almost
two and a half times more likely to attain their goals.

High Performance Habit #4: Increase Productivity

The world’s highest performers are very productive and effective in life and work. I imagine you
know that one of the worst feelings in the world is to be super busy but feel like you’re not
making enough progress.

Busywork is not going to get you where you want to go. If you’re going to be productive, you
have to maintain focus. You have to stop multitasking and eliminate interruptions. When you
feel coherent and get into a state of flow, your productivity is optimized, and you are able to
increase the return on your investment of time.

For optimal productivity, research shows that you should not only take longer breaks – take
that vacation you’ve been putting off – but also give yourself intermittent breaks throughout
the day. I invite you to pause your work and give your mind and body a short two- or five-
minute break every 45 to 60 minutes. This simple practice can help you feel much more
mentally alert and energized for your work and life overall.

High Performance Habit #5: Develop Influence

The world’s highest performers are influential in their relationships and career. In this context,
influence is defined as your ability to impact other people’s behaviors to meet your needs. It is
about getting people to believe in you or in your ideas.

The reality is that most people do not actively ask for what they want. They falsely assume that
others may not be able or willing to help, so they don’t make the effort to voice their desires.
If you want even more influence, make a more conscious effort to ask and, even more
importantly, to give. High performers have a giving mindset. In every situation, they make an
effort to go out of their way to genuinely help and support others.

High Performance Habit #6: Demonstrate Courage

The world’s highest performers act courageously. They face their challenges and consistently
pursue their dreams.

Many people believe that being courageous means not feeling any fear. The reality, however, is
that courage comes from taking action and moving forward despite the fear. The more
consistent action you take, the less fear and stress that you will feel.

I remember my first speech years ago at Toastmasters, a public speaking club. My legs were
shaking, my mouth was dry, and I was absolutely terrified. I found the courage to do it anyway
despite that fear. Over the course of the next few months and years, I became less and less
nervous before every speech. You see, courage is a skill that anyone can learn. The key is to stay
focused on taking some positive action towards your goals–even if it’s in the form of “baby”
steps–every single day.

Here’s the bottom line: to reach high performance in any situation, you must adopt the habits
of seeking clarity, generating energy, raising necessity, increasing productivity, developing
influence, and demonstrating courage. Anyone can practice these habits. When you practice them on a consistent basis, extraordinary things are likely to happen in your career, relationships, health, and other areas of your life.

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