It goes without saying that successful leaders work hard, but not always at what you would think. They may work long hours, spend days fielding calls, e-mails, and meetings while making key business decisions. But to be able to do all this they have spent a tremendous amount of time on something else…
– Working On Themselves –
They work at creating good habits that promote leadership and give them the confidence to keep working towards their biggest goals, even when everyone else doubts them. Especially when everyone else doubts them! Titans of industry who are considered thought leaders usually go against common thinking and require the confidence to pursue their ambitions against all odds, but more on that later.
If you’re interested in reading about how you should get adequate sleep, wake up early, exercise daily and eat healthily you won’t find that here…
This article will focus on the less commonly known habits and routines of successful leaders and how you can follow them. If you’re looking for a more in-depth analysis, click on the header link for each habit to further your personal growth.
Now you may be amazed at some of the idea’s or you may even disagree with them. But keep an open mind and just try them for yourself. You may be surprised at what works for you!
1. Successful Athletes Talk To Themselves Out Loud
It’s time to admit the truth. Everyone talks to themselves one way or another, most of the time in our own head. Rarely do we speak out loud to ourselves, but as it turns out it has many positive benefits. I’m not advocating to spend the day saying your thoughts out loud everywhere you go because that sure to get you into trouble. Although certain circumstances warrant talking out loud which will actually accelerate learning and increase memory.
There are 2 types of positive self-talk, motivational and instruction. Motivational speeches are said to get you ready to take action, such as a presentation or business meeting. These internal speeches provide confidence and help level out stressors. While Instructional talks guide you through the action you are about to perform. For example, a golfer will tell themselves to “keep their head down” when taking a shot, which engages the mind to create a performance habit every time this action is taken. Each of these speeches should be short and precise and when said out loud will help create a habit for the next time you encounter a similar situation.
Secondly, speech out load serves as a powerful retrieval cue, such as remembering someone’s name whom you just met. It stimulates the memory more so than speaking to yourself silently and helps you stay focused. Talking to yourself in the 3rd person is proven to reduce stress and anxiety. By using the words You, He/She or “your name” can have a more positive effect than using I. This allows you to separate yourself from the situation and provides an outside point-of-view.
2. Successful Entrepreneurs Think Differently
We know that many successful entrepreneurs are above the rest. They’ve managed to fight off competition, work through trial and errors, stick to their guns and with a little bit of luck, succeed.
Thinking differently is one of the ways entrepreneurs are able to set themselves apart. Winning thoughts will bring out positive affirmations, which shut out negativity, can boost your self-confidence and help you believe in yourself, projects and aspirations!
Reject popular thinking. Don’t follow someone else’s path blindly but stop and think about the situation and you may find other exciting opportunities. Get inspiration by exposing yourself to new and different things. Be open-minded and go do something you consider boring or lame and you might just surprise yourself.
Entrepreneurs also manage their thinking through the Pareto Principal. Try to spend 80% of your thinking on 20% of your most important activities. Commit to setting time out of your week for thinking. Effectively look at things from a different perspective and take a 3rd person view of your goals and actions.
Lastly, engage in activities that clear your mind. Try long distance running/jogging, nature walks, meditation, and painting. Anything that will provide a place for your mind to settle. Engaging in these activities on a weekly basis will help you stay focused.
3. Successful Leaders Always Speak Last
A successful leader understands the importance of listening and provides an environment that encourages others to speak up. You too should learn how to make people feel safe to express their opinions without getting ridiculed. This will instill confidence in your peers and provides for greater collaboration and employee morale.
Let others be heard. Everyone likes to have a chance to give their opinion and will spend time thinking about it, rather than listen to what you have to say. People will tend to listen more, once they felt they’ve been heard. So provide them with the opportunity to give their input and they will be more attentive to what you have to say.
Finally, you get the benefit of speaking last. What more can you ask for? By speaking last you will have the opportunity to hear everyone else’s opinion before creating your own. You’ll have more knowledge to make an informed decision and have the opportunity to weigh the contributions of your colleagues. What you say will also be at the forefront of everyone’s minds because you spoke last and provided the most recent input once everything is said and done.
4. Success is Based on The Pursuit of Your Own Goals
Successful people don’t just fall into success, they plan for it. They know where it is and figure out how to get there by creating short-term goals and continuously working at reaching it. Ideas on paper are only as good as their execution, so get out there and start!
Take five minutes and think about your main goals.
- Where would you like to be in 10-15 years from now?
- What would be your ideal position?
- How would your life look like? (location, home, family, income)
It’s not easy; it will take being brutally honest with yourself about how you want to enjoy the rest of your life. Once you’ve done this, create a map or plan on how you’re going to reach that goal. Set up intermediary steps along the way, including the skills that you will require and what networks you’ll need to belong too. From now on, every day should be spent in pursuit of your main goal.
Get started on the right foot with the chain reaction of success. First, highlight your intermediary goals and specify an amount of time to devote each day. Then each day you succeed in working towards your goal, mark a big X on your calendar. After 1-2 weeks you won’t want to break the chain and will be motivated to keep working at it. This is a simple motivational tool, which only requires a day planner or calendar and a sharpie.
5. Successful People Practice Discipline
The practice of discipline is one of the most difficult habits to form and yet the most rewarding. What if you were disciplined enough to act on everything you knew you should do but neglected? When used correctly discipline can be a powerful source and is something that you learn over time.
You can start practicing self-control by creating new habits. Pick something that you thoroughly enjoy and go without it for 30 days. Learning to say “No” over time will become easier and will build discipline into your work and home life. All it takes is making the commitment to your new habit/routine. Look towards your friends or family to hold you accountable and help keep you on track. Through the use of humiliation, failure or loss of money find a consequence that will help you stay on task. You can also create a reward at the end of your goal for accomplishing what you had set out for.
By staying disciplined you will be able to prioritize your tasks more efficiently and stay focused on your goals. Create small goals and do little things to begin your practice of discipline and over time you’ll grow accustomed to it. In the words of Mark Sanbord, writer of Up, Down, or Sideways: How to succeed when times are good, bad, or in between
“Discipline requires farsighted faith, not blind faith. Discipline is a present investment with the goal of future gains.”
6. Avoid Time Wasters
I know, I lied. I’ll be upfront about it and say that yes, you’ve probably heard of this one before. Although, many of us who have heard this before, don’t actually follow it. Growing up in the age of technology it’s just so easy to fall into distractions and time wasters, from scrolling through your Social Media accounts to say just one more episode on Netflix, until the dreadfully insulting “Are you still watching this?” message appears. Of course, I’m still watching it, I’m only 8 episodes in!!
Avoid time wasters. Spend a few days keep tracking where your time is spent and you’ll find a massive amount of unproductive hours spent on meaningless tasks. I’m not saying you leave any time a waste. We all need some distractions once in a while, although if we were able to take control of our wasted time we would win two-fold.
- Still receive the enjoyment of checking our social media, watching TV or beating our past Candy Crush score (or is that too old school?).
- Stay focused on our tasks rather than trying to multi-tasks 2-3 things at once and only complete 10% of each. By spending our time focused without distractions we will be able to devote our selves to it before losing sight by an outside distraction.
Take the time to start working on yourself and see the improvements in your life at home and work. Remember, nothing happens overnight and it will take discipline and hard work to achieve your goals.
Let us know in the comments below what you think and if you have any habits of your own to add.