Even if the idea of starting your day with a bout of exercise at 5:00 am doesn’t appeal to you, you can still achieve excellence and become a high performer in all aspects of your life. It does, however, require investing time in reviewing and regularly sharpening mental skills using different combinations of awareness exercises, growth exercises, and self-monitoring.
To be a high performer, you don’t need to exercise all of these following strategies together or simultaneously. Simply committing to a few of them in measured doses, over time, will have you well on the pathway to achieving excellence in whatever areas of life you wish to experience greater rewards and satisfaction.
1. Develop Plans
Becoming a high performer and achieving excellence doesn’t happen by accident. It’s planned and deliberate. Plans also contain more proactive strategies than reactive ones.
There is no shortage of research documenting the benefits of writing down plans and goals and that doing so increases the likelihood of you achieving what it is you set out to do, experience, and be.
There are at least two levels of additional processing occurring in your brain which foster the likelihood of achieving goals you write down:
- External storage: By writing out your plans, you now have an external place which also holds this information. You don’t commit further energy to needing to remember your plans; you’ve created an external reference point you can go back to.
- Encoding: A part of your brain called the hippocampus plays an important role in filtering information funnels and deciding what gets transferred to long-term memory. Your amygdala works in tandem with your hippocampus to modulate memory consolidation. When information has certain emotional frequencies attached, this helps to consolidate that information into long-term memory.
With this knowledge in mind, you can maximize your chances of becoming a high performer by strategically bringing life to your plans.
Don’t just let your plans consist of spoke diagrams and Gantt charts. Use an array of pictures, images, stories, animations and whatever other materials you can find that ignite your emotional resonation to action steps of your plan(s).
As you develop, write and map your plans, know they can also change. Be open to this and make space for this. Review and visit your plans often.
Visit three to five key points each day that invite you to take specific steps and actions. Deliberately set time aside to routinely do this.
If you are finding you are developing plans but not following through with them, consider working with a coach to recalibrate them. There is likely misalignment with your goals and true values and priorities.
2. Regulate Your Emotions and Prepare for Discomfort
Any high performer is born with the capacity to feel and experience a wide spectrum of emotions.
There is a key separator between high performers who consistently manage to operate from a state of flow —even in the most stressful of circumstances—and those who crumble. High performers respect their experiences of negative emotions. They exercise considered and deliberate efforts to learn their unique response and reactionary patterns.
They don’t make excuses to mask or cover up negative emotional responses and reactions. They don’t repress them but cleverly compartmentalize and contain their experiences and commit to coming back to process them later.
Undertaking a few sessions with a therapist to learn and practice acceptance and commitment therapy techniques (ACT) can be widely useful. You can learn to alleviate the intensity, sting, and duration of certain emotions.
Having techniques that teach you to predict, embrace, and process the mental and emotional impact of challenging relationships and situations will give you a winning edge. Another benefit of learning such skills is feeling you are living more fully and authentically, despite challenges. A new level of confidence develops as you come to learn and recognize that despite what happens, you will always be ok.