Achieve High Performance and Smash Targets

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "High Performance Habits" by Brendon Burchard. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is high performance? How do successful people achieve high performance in their areas of focus?

Brendon Burchard defines high performance as consistent and continued success and growth at a high level. In his view, people who consistently achieve high performance owe it to their practice of certain deliberate habits.

Read about what it takes to achieve high performance, according to personal development coach Brendon Burchard.

What Is High Performance?

Brendon Burchard defines high performance as consistent and continued success and growth at a high level. The following are aspects of “high performance”:

  • High performance requires that you focus on the right habits. Some habits are more effective than others. High performers recognize that they only have so much time and focus on the most effective habits. For example, getting in the habit of keeping a journal may help people process their emotions, but it won’t necessarily help them perform better. 
  • High performance requires the ability to adapt. The world is changing all the time, and high performers recognize that they have to adapt to the world around them. They’re always seeking better ways to improve their performance and don’t get stuck in their routines. For example, a high-performing athlete is constantly looking for more effective ways to work out and improve their performance.
  • High performance requires aligned priorities. High performers know what’s important for their success and what’s not. Instead of agreeing to everything they come across, they only invest time in projects that will improve their lives and contribute to their success. For example, a high-performing executive will only invest in projects that they believe will contribute to their company’s success. They won’t take the time to delve into projects they don’t believe in.

Be wary of myths surrounding high performance. They’ll lead you astray or give you excuses not to strive towards excellence. The following are myths to watch out for:

  • Myth #1: “Your ability to be a high performer is impacted by your gender, race, income, or background.” People sometimes attribute their lack of success to their identity or background. While certain demographics face more obstacles than others, anyone can achieve high performance in pretty much anything by developing the proper habits. 
  • Myth #2: “High performers strive for a singular goal such as getting an executive position or landing a lucrative contract.” While having goals is important to maintaining motivation, achieving a singular goal doesn’t make you a high-achiever. High performers consistently achieve goals and don’t allow themselves to plateau after an accomplishment.
  • Myth #3: “You only have to excel at one thing to be a high performer.” High performers excel in various skill sets that impact the work that they do. They don’t limit themselves to a singular task or action. For example, an elite basketball player can’t just be good at shooting the ball. On the court, they also have to excel at court awareness, ball-handling, leadership, and communication. Off the court, they have to excel at health management, brand development, and contract negotiations.
  • Myth #4: “Technology is a shortcut to being a high performer.” While technology can be a wonderful tool, high performers don’t rely on it to do their jobs for them. You can track every step you take, every button you press, and every goal you achieve, but if you don’t use that information to improve, the information is useless.
  • Myth #5: “You can rely on your natural strengths and talents to be a high performer.” While talent is important to excellence, you can’t rely on talent alone to achieve high performance. You could be the most talented person in the world, but if you don’t have good habits, you won’t have the energy, drive, or discipline to succeed.

How to Achieve High Performance?

Many people believe that if they work hard, practice consistently, and focus on the things they’re good at, they’ll be able to achieve high performance in the areas they focus on. However, while these are wonderful practices, they don’t lead to high performance. If these aren’t the keys to excellence, how do successful people achieve high performance? What gives them their competitive edge? Developing high-performance habits. 

There are six high-performance habits (the HP6) that will help achieve high performance in a healthy and sustainable way.  They’re deliberate habits, or habits that you actively choose to do and constantly revisit to improve your performance. They’re often challenging and require your full attention. The six high-performance habits are:

  • Search for Clarity
  • Improve Your Health
  • Find Your Drive
  • Search for Clarity
  • Improve Your Health
  • Find Your Drive
Achieve High Performance and Smash Targets

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Here's what you'll find in our full High Performance Habits summary :

  • The 6 habits that high performers have
  • How being a high performer is about more than one big achievement
  • The 3 traps that can foil you, even if you're a high performer

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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