The Dailies of High Achievers

April 17, 2014

by Phil Humbert

I’ve always wondered why some people accomplish more, get better results, earn more and leave a huge legacy, while others work just as hard but never seem to “get it together.” What’s the difference between high achievers and everyone else? Why are some people so happy with their lives? Are there a few keys that make the difference? And if so, are they skills or techniques that can be learned and used by everyone, or are they reserved for the lucky few?

I’m sure there may be other ways to phrase it, but I’ve discovered three big parts of the answer. When I read about the most admired people in history, or talk with highly successful people, there are three daily activities that stand out. Most importantly to me, these three things seem to make a huge difference in my own life and my own results. I’d like to share them with you.

1. Positive Self-Awareness. High achievers talk to themselves constantly and are very clear and positive in their self-descriptions.

We all have dozens of ways we describe ourselves to ourselves. We tell ourselves, “I’m a good cook” or “I can’t dance.” We tell ourselves we’re athletic or smart or that we “can’t carry a tune in a bucket.” We all do it and here’s a critical piece: We all have areas where we want to improve our performance. High performers consciously and continuously think about getting better in those specific areas.

This is familiar to those who use affirmations but it’s a bit different from the way affirmations are usually taught.
I’m not talking about “affirming” that you’ve already reached your yearly income goal. Far from it! I’m talking about things that winners can control and change immediately.

Here are two simple examples. Many people tell themselves, “I’m a procrastinator.” By doing so, they actually affirm the habit of procrastination. In contrast, winners consciously decide never to use that phrase again! Instead they might substitute a positive self-description like, “I do it now!” or, “I never put off what I can do today.” Then, they repeat that over and over, every day. Procrastination becomes a thing of the past.

A second example. People who are afraid to fly (or have similar fears) often focus on their fears and tell themselves, “I hate flying.” Instead, winners analyze their fear and decide whether (or not) it’s statistically valid.
They might ask hard questions about whether the fear is holding them back in life and decide how badly they want to over-come it. Then they create an alternative statement such as, “I enjoy flying to exciting destinations,” or “Flying fearlessly gets me more of what I want in life.”

Winners consciously and continuously affirm the person they want to be. Instead of berating themselves for habits they want to change, they practice Positive Self-Awareness.

2.  Positive Daily Habits. We all have dozens of things we do every day. We brush our teeth, read the paper, walk the dog, eat dinner and so forth. What sets winners apart is that they also have a few carefully chosen, specific daily disciplines they do every single day to move them toward the life they want.

Thomas Leonard gave me this idea many years ago, and called it his Daily Ten. For me, it’s become a Daily Eight. The idea is to develop a short list of daily actions that will move you forward. I’ll share my Daily Eight by way of example. Every day I so these eight things:

Read, Write, Walk, Work, Nest, Network, Romance and Have Fun

I’ve carefully defined each of those words in my own unique way. They suit me. “Read” is code for actually reading for an hour every day. “Walk,” on the other hand, has a much broader definition and simply refers to cardio- vascular activity of some sort, every single day. “Nest” is code for keeping the house, my office and personal environment clean, attractive and functional. “Romance” and “Fun” have broad definitions, and I’ll leave them to your imagination.

The point is that winners are disciplined. They know that taking simple, daily actions to enrich their lives and move them toward their goals will, in time, bring results. They practice their Dailies every single day.

3.  Positive Future Expectations. Winners make clear, specific, focused choices about what they want in the future. For some, these are traditional goals with a plan– to earn $250,000 this year or to visit Paris next summer. Other people find goals too confining or too limiting. They might refer to “direction” (my personal favorite), or to “themes” or even use a word that drives some goal-setters crazy, “dreams.” I don’t think the term is important, but the concept is vital!

Know the future you want and have a strategy or system to make it happen. Of course, life doesn’t always turn out the way we hoped. But winners are very precise about the future they want and they imagine it and work for it, every single day.

Positive Self-Awareness, Positive Daily Actions and Positive Future Expectations are critical for success. Know and use these three simple principles to create the life you truly want. They won’t let you down.

Perhaps a fourth key is to take time (and have space and support) to clearly define exactly what you want in life. Modern society is not generally fond of pondering. We rarely sit. We rarely journal or dream. I’m not sure how often we even pause to be grateful! I suspect that’s a mistake.

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