If you’re planning to embark on a Master’s journey, you might find yourself bucking current trends in American life. Our hyped-up consumerist society is engaged, in fact, in an all-out war on mastery.
— George Leonard
If you’re like most, you want to be successful.
You want to excel in your work.
You want to make a difference.
You want to get paid well for it.
But here’s the real question: are you willing to do what it takes?
In this day and age, it takes a special mindset to achieve world-class results at work.
Most people overvalue things like:
- Their number of Instagram followers.
- How “busy” they claim to be.
- What image they portray on social media.
And undervalue what really matters:
- How much they care about those they serve.
- How consistently they perform at their best.
- How much value they create for the world.
If you’re ready to achieve real results, you’ve come to the right place.
Today, I’m going to share with you 5 strategies to get past the “modern-day madness” and reach the rarified air of world-class excellence.
Note: As you read the following recommendations, don’t look for confirmation of what you’re already doing — challenge yourself to pinpoint what you’re NOT doing, and how you can start today.
1. Develop Outstanding Integrity
The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.
— Dwight D. Eisenhower
The first step to achieve world-class results in your career is to become a man whose word is like gold. A person whose handshake is like a contract.
High integrity is rare these days, which makes it increasingly valuable (and appreciated).
Always do what you said.
Be on time for every meeting.
Honor your word 100% of the time.
This is the foundation of everything else — it’s what allows others to trust you, inspires them to do business with you, and creates harmonious relationships in your life.
Note: If you want to take this practice to the next level, I invite you to practice Radical Honesty.
2. Genuinely Care for Others
Caring about others, running the risk of feeling, and leaving an impact on people, brings happiness.
— Harold Kushner
When we think about the true nature of capitalism, it comes down to this:
How much value can you create for others?
How much can you simplify their life?
How much can you alleviate their pain?
How much can you help them achieve their goals?
And in order to do this masterfully, you have to genuinely care.
Not just about money but about human beings.
When you feel a genuine connection with those you serve…
You’ll be more creative and innovative.
You’ll go above and beyond the call of duty.
You’ll create an experience that can’t be replicated.
They don’t teach this in business school…
But caring is the ultimate competitive advantage.
No technology, business model, or clever strategy can replace it.
3. Think like a Craftsman
Gather in your resources, rally all your faculties, marshal all your energies, focus all your capacities upon mastery of at least one field of endeavor.
— John Hagee
Do you think about your work as a job or a craft?
Whatever career path you’re on, every day you have an opportunity to refine your skills and master the game you’re playing.
To facilitate this process, you have to develop what Stanford researcher Carol Dweck calls “the growth mindset”.
This growth mindset is based on the belief that your qualities can be cultivated through effort.
Although people may differ in their initial talents, interests, or temperaments — everyone can change and grow through application and experience.
Every day ask yourself: “How can I get a little bit better today?”
Here are some practical ways to accelerate this process:
- Track your results.
- Review your progress.
- Seek feedback from others.
- Hire a coach.
No matter your skill level right now, you have the power to become one of the best in the world — as long as you consistently seek improvement in your field of endeavor.
4. Practice Deep Work
Deep work is necessary to wring every last drop of value out of your current intellectual capacity. We now know from decades of research in both psychology and neuroscience that the state of mental strain that accompanies deep work is also necessary to improve your abilities.
— Cal Newport
What percentage of your work hours do you actually work?
What percentage is spent in a state of distraction (checking your phone, newsfeed, etc)?
Research by Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that in an 8-hour day, the average worker is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes.
Additionally, a significant portion of this time is spent doing “shallow work” (ie, responding to email, doing admin work, etc).
In his great book Deep Work, Cal Newport defines Deep Work as: “professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.”
In order to create exceptional results, and develop a masterful skill set, aim to optimize your daily amount of deep work.
I personally strive to complete 3 hours of deep work every morning before talking with clients, checking email, and doing admin work (writing this article took me 2×1.5 hours of deep work).
How can you do more deep work, more often?
It comes down to 3 things:
- Eliminate distractions (i.e. put your phone on airplane mode, install FB Newsfeed Eradicator, or quit social media [like I recently did]).
- Sharpen your concentration (through daily meditation and mindfulness practice).
- Commit to deep work (challenge yourself to complete at least one difficult task with undivided attention daily).
Mastering deep work is challenging and immensely worthwhile. In a world where most are stuck in “the shallows” and constantly distracted, the field is wide open for those who are willing to go deep.
5. Recover Like a Pro
Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.
— Ralph Marston
Let’s face it — it takes a lot of energy to practice principles #1-4 consistently.
So in order to make this approach sustainable, you need to recover like a pro.
Many people in today’s world struggle to recharge their batteries. As a result, they’re never operating at 100%.
Just like an athlete needs to balance training and recovery, you need to flow skillfully between work and rest.
Here are 3 important questions to ask yourself:
- a) What boundaries do you need to put in place? (i.e. no work after 6pm/on weekends)
b) What “recharge practices” help you the most? (i.e. yoga, massage, walks in nature)
c) What time do you have to go to bed to wake up fully restored?
If you want to find out more about this topic, check out my TEDx talk “Why Most Entrepreneurs Are Slowly Killing Themselves“.
We live in a world filled with distractions, surface-level thinking, and constant “busyness.”
While this offers challenges, it also offers tremendous opportunities for those willing to play a different game.
In order to do so, I invite you to practice these 5 principles:
- Develop Outstanding Integrity
- Genuinely Care about Others
- Think like a Craftsman
- Practice Deep Work
- Recover Like a Pro
If you do so, you’ll drastically improve your chances of reaching uncommon success.
You’ll create more value. You’ll perform better. You’ll stand out in the crowd.
Start today by beginning a 30-day Radical Honesty or Stimulation Fast challenge.
Are you willing to go for it?
Which of these principles can you start practicing today to have the greatest results?
Let me know in the comments below:
PS. If you want to accelerate your journey to excellence, I might be able to help you. Click here to apply for a free strategy session where we can explore if and how I can help you become a world-class performer in your field.