Highly successful leaders understand that success in any form is not an event, it’s a process. The most successful leaders understand that success is something that is cultivated over time. Success is a daily grind, a daily commitment, that functions around your life purpose.
To stand out as a leader in your own right, you must create the habits that back your success and good reputation. Once these habits become a part of your daily routine, you set yourself up to be well on your way to becoming the great leader of your own success and in the helping of others to achieve theirs.
1. Read every day
Successful leaders know and trust the undeniable benefits the habit of daily reading offers them. Reading makes you smarter, it improves mental clarity, reduces stress, increases your knowledge base, grows your vocabulary, improves memory, activates your reasoning skills, improves your ability to focus and concentrate, increases writing skills, brings you to a peaceful place and is a great source of free entertainment.
Reading is an activity that relaxes and stimulates you at the same time. To be a great leader, you must always be willing to walk through the door of learning. The learning you gain from reading, greatly increases your potential to succeed.
2. Focus on challenging tasks
Exceptional leaders live and thrive in the arena of challenge. The more you challenge yourself to succeed, the greater your confidence becomes in your ability to do it again. Challenge doesn’t just help to grow your skills and knowledge, it helps to grow the belief you have in yourself that you can achieve the aims you set out to accomplish.
Seasoned leaders are clear that there’s a difference between taking on a challenge that lets them flex their muscles and grow their skillset, and one that is simply a recipe for disaster. Yet, you cannot grow your skills when cruising on auto-pilot. To become a great leader, you must make it your habit to focus on high level tasks that will get you and your team to that next highest level.
3. Make your health a priority
Great leaders make it their habit to take pristine care of themselves on four levels; physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. They know that the overall health of their physical body is the foundation from which all other great things have the opportunity to prosper. If you’re not physically well, how can the levels above the physical level (emotional, mental, spiritual) be well? If you’re sick at your foundation, the whole-of-you cannot function at the levels of peak performance you desire. For this reason, make it a habit to exercise regularly, to eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep and take your daily supplements to help sustain your focus, energy and endurance throughout the day.
4. Learn from people you admire
Exceptional leaders tend to be over-achievers and are often overly critical of themselves when they make mistakes. To avoid getting stuck in this trap, successful leaders make sure to have superiors or other people they look up to and admire to consult with when necessary.
When you have someone to model yourself after, it helps to relieve the acute panic you naturally experience when under the stress of challenging circumstances. Getting advice from the person you admire helps to return you to an emotional state of composure, which allows you to more successfully traverse through the stressful obstacles you are facing. Seasoned leaders understand and deeply respect the concept that all leaders need leaders.
5. Plan your next day the night before
A key success habit of an effective leader is to plan their next day the night before. How can you succeed if you lack clarity on what it is you’re setting out to achieve on any given day? You may get certain things accomplished, but you will not be organized and may find yourself erroneously focusing on tasks or details that do not make a difference for your big picture. Planning your next day the night before, sets you up to start your day in an organized flow, allowing you to get more done in less time.
6. Keep your goals in front of you
Many leaders teach the art of writing goals down and then re-writing them every day. Others say it is good enough to read goals aloud once per day. Making it a habit to have your goals in front of you is priceless when it comes to increasing your capacity to succeed.
The basic idea is to keep refreshing goals in your mind as a way to ensure you’re on the right path to achieving them. If you don’t employ such a practice, it’s too easy to lose sight of what you’re aiming for. Instead of leading your life, you find that you’re merely reacting to whatever comes up next. When it’s your habit to meditate on your goals, you work towards them and achieve them more effortlessly. Accomplishing goals in this way feels incredible, it makes succeeding enjoyable and motivates you to continue to thrive.
7. Take action, even when it’s scary
Fear. Let's face it, what is familiar to us is almost always better than the unknown because it feels safer. When we are comfortable with the status quo, things are at least predictable even if they are boring or painful.
However, brilliant leaders make it their habit to shatter the status quo. They know that growth and remarkable change can only come from doing what is unfamiliar, bold and new. Personal and creative growth cannot manifest from comfort. The majority of us stay in our comfort zones because change is scary. What if it doesn't work out? What if you decide too late that you were better off where you were? These unknowns can potentially keep you so stuck in the fear of creating change, that you end up staying where you’re feeling unfulfilled. Make it your habit to get out of your own way and take some risks. You may not win but you will at least learn.
8. Have a powerful and inspiring “Why"
A life purpose is the first step to living your most conscious and wholehearted life. While you can be busy with a million tasks every day, when you don’t have a clear purpose, you may be unconsciously heading down the wrong path. That’s because your goals may have nothing to do with your purpose, which means that you can pursue your current goals for the next 5,10 years only to realize that this isn’t what you wanted after all.
As Stephen Covey once said, “If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.” When you know your Why, working and risking become well worth the effort. Your Why, almost always has something to do with love. We desire to succeed in an effort to take care of, support and nurture the people we love and who support our vision. Great leaders are driven by an all-consuming desire to love others and give back to their communities.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors