The 7 Daily Habits of Highly Successful People
Everybody is chasing success, or so it seems. But how is it a lucky few actually manage to achieve it? Is it hard work, luck or something else entirely? In this article we look at some of the most common habits of the highly successful and identify we can learn from them.
Little Person, Big Dreams
When I was younger, I was one of those kids who had a clear vision of her future. I knew where I was going and exactly how and when I was going to get there. I worked hard, was top of my class and on my way to becoming Secretary General of the United Nations (yes, I laugh now too). But then Real Life stepped in and up-ended my best laid plans. So I had to come up with an alternative. A life in the Corporate Sector awaited and for over fifteen years, this looked like it. But then, wham! Real Life decided that she wasn’t done with me yet and I was forced to make another life-altering change. So now I find myself in the Kingdom Of The Self-Employed, CEO of my own start-up and working hard to scramble up the ladder to success.
Now I know that I am not the first ‘married-mother-of-two-with-a-hefty-mortgage-and-bills-to-pay’ who has made the seemingly gargantuan leap from employee to employer. No doubt, I will not be the last. Hats off to the brave souls who dared to dream before we did and paved the way for our entrepreneurial endeavours. From my years in the Oil industry, I learnt that it is sometimes good to follow rather than lead. There are very real advantages to learning from the pioneers, so I decided to employ that tactic here and glean what I could from men and women who already enjoy business success. I scoured the internet, read self-help book after autobiographical book to find it – the magic formula to #winning. And what did I discover? Well you will be unsurprised to learn that there is no magic formula, no secret elixir that will guarantee you success. Sadly not. There appears to be only some unquantifiable combination of hard work and good fortune.
However, those who have already scaled the dizzy heights of career success do have some commonalities, a combination of habits and characteristics that have served them well. I have listed seven of some of the most common practises below. May they be as helpful to us as they have been for Warren Buffet et al!
We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.
1. The early bird catches the worm
Rise and shine Night Owls! Tom Corley, researcher and author of “Change Your Habits, Change Your Life”, surveyed over 200 wealthy individuals on their daily habits. He uncovered that almost half of those self-made millionaires wake up at least 3 hours before their work day begins. They use this time to deal with personal tasks, planning their day and for exercise. Now I am not suggesting that you do the same thing, Lord knows that I am not getting up before 6am for love nor money! But it is important to take advantage of some quiet time before the business of the day begins. I personally set two alarms, one to wake me up and one to get me up. In between I use the time to check emails, read and pray and generally plan my day. I also find that if I get up even 20 minutes earlier, I can squeeze in some quick exercise before I have to get the kids ready for the school run.
2. Train your body, feed your mind
Which leads neatly onto the second trait. Regular exercise not only benefits the body, but studies show that it is also crucial to our mental and emotional wellbeing. Staying active helps to keep your brain active and your mind razor-sharp. Billionaire Richard Branson claims that by waking up at 5am to play tennis or cycle, he has doubled his productivity. Well I say if it’s good enough for Branson…! Whether it be biking to work or walking to the tram, exercise will help to clear your head and create more space for creativity. Try to carve out 30 mins each day to do some aerobic exercise. If this seems like a struggle, then make it 15 mins. If you still insist that you can’t find the time to do this, then try the 7 Minute Workout app (available on Apple and android). This guided HIIT training programme is short but effective in getting the heart rate up.
3. Know your ‘Why’
Starting from scratch is risky. It takes nerves of steel to be able to withstand the slings and arrows of cruel fortune on a daily basis. What gives successful people the confidence to go forth and conquer the world is a steadfast self-belief and a thorough understanding of why they do what they do. Knowing your ‘Why’ will keep you focused on your purpose and goals when doubts inevitably start to surface. Did you start your business simply to earn a living, or is there a higher purpose underlying it all? Find that purpose and let it drive you.
Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure.
4. Good people need good people
It’s not what you know, but who. It is important that we surround ourselves with people who inspire us to succeed. If you don’t know anyone who fits the bill in your personal circle, then get out there and find them! Voluntary work is a great way to meet highly motivated people. Or you could join Meet Ups to find others who share your passions and interests. Try to avoid spending too much time with Negative Nancy’s – those well meaning friends and family members whose words of warning are likely to drag you down. They mean well, to steer you away from trouble, but most of the time it is their fear that they are projecting onto you. Negativity and doubt are toxic, but so are positivity and motivation. Bear this in mind when choosing who to spend your time with.
5. Be an island
It is said that “no man is an island”, but some alone time can really pay off. Many of the millionaires that Corley interviewed for his book dedicated at least 15 minutes a day to independent, focused thinking. This allows you to reflect on your career, your personal life, your health and your happiness. It is often in these moments of quiet self-reflection that inspiration comes. So next time you go on your coffee break, think about spending a few minutes down-time alone instead.
6. Time is money
Time is the one limited resource that everyone wants more of, so be careful how you spend yours. Successful entrepreneurs know that in order to succeed they will have to be careful how they spend their time. Are your prepared to give up Facebook surfing 15 times a day to read a book instead? Rather than watching Netflix box sets during your down time, could you be doing something more productive towards your business? Really examine your daily routine and find where you can make better use of your time to prioritise your life goals.
7. Think long term
It’s the end game that counts here. It is all too easy to expect quick wins and fast returns on your investments. But truly successful businesswomen know that it takes time to build a legacy. If you think long term, you will more readily forgive the occasional setback and will develop the kind of stamina and patience required to succeed.
Incorporating these seven habits into your daily routine might not make you a millionaire. There are other factors to consider of course, some of which are beyond your control. But there is no doubt that these habits will help rather than hinder your chances, and hopefully success will shortly follow. Just remember me when it does!
With over 15 years of management experience behind me I love to see women succeed at work and home. When I'm not doling out advice, I can be found sitting mute on the sofa watching tv with my husband or refereeing fights between my two kids.