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High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard.
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High performers are people who maintain their success and well-being over a long period of time. Many people believe that if they work hard, practice consistently, and focus on the things they’re good at, they’ll become one of these high performers. However, while these are wonderful practices, they don’t lead to high performance.

High performance is consistent and continued success and growth at a high level. It requires that you build effective habits, adapt to your environment, and align your priorities. There are six high-performance habits (the HP6) that will help achieve your goals 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. This book explains why each of these habits is important, the dangers of not developing them, and ways to implement them in your daily life. The six high-performance habits are:

  • Search for Clarity
  • Improve Your Health
  • Find Your Drive
  • Increase Your Efficiency
  • Generate Influence
  • Be Courageous

Habit #1: Search for Clarity

To become a high performer, you need clarity, or the ability to identify who you are and what you want. Clarity isn’t something that emerges on its own. It requires reflection and experimentation as you search for the values that matter to you and the goals that will define your journey. People with high levels of clarity tend to be more motivated, confident, and productive.

How to Search for Clarity

There are two ways to gain and maintain clarity in your life: Identify the feelings you’re seeking and determine what’s significant.

Identify the Feelings You’re Seeking

Emotions and feelings are different. Emotions are an instinctive response to a trigger. In contrast, feelings are your interpretation of any emotion. You can’t choose your emotions, but you can choose your feelings. For example, if an employee is late for the fourth time in a row, your immediate emotion may be anger. However, if you take a moment to make yourself feel calm, you’ll come into the situation more level-headed.

When something happens, take a moment to think, “What feeling am I bringing into this situation, and what feeling do I want to receive from this situation?” This lets you control how you handle your emotional responses. When negative emotions come to the surface, try to channel that energy into a positive feeling, using your body’s natural responses to deal with a high-intensity situation.

Determine What’s Significant

While high performers can tackle almost any task thrown their way, not every challenge is worth the effort. High performers spend their time investing in purposeful things and avoid the trials that don’t hold any meaning for them. For example, if you’re passionate about fitness, training for a marathon would be worth your time. While other challenges such as learning to cook or building a computer may be interesting, they aren’t meaningful in your life and, therefore, shouldn’t be your focus.

Habit #2: Improve Your Health

To be a high performer, you need to tend to your health and well-being because good health builds happiness, focus, and energy. Your health includes your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

How to Maintain Your Health

To develop healthier habits, master transitions and treat your body better.

Master Transitions

People tend to carry tension without knowing it. To ensure that you don’t allow your frustrations to impact the rest of your day, learn to master transitions. A transition is the moment between two tasks or interactions. For example, if you’re responding to emails, then begin working on a project, you have a moment of transition between the two tasks.

If you feel frustrated or stressed after a task, use these transitional moments to do the following:

  • Close your eyes and breathe.
  • Relax the areas of your body that are tense. Focus on your shoulders, neck, face, and jaw.
  • Dictate the energy and perspective you want to bring into your next task or interaction.
Treat Your Body Better

When you take care of your body, your emotional and mental health improve alongside your physical health. Eating healthy, working out regularly, and sleeping well give you energy, create mental clarity, and release chemicals in your brain that help with emotional management.

Improve your physical well-being by developing the following habits:

  • Eat healthier. Avoid overeating and cut out unhealthy foods. Find a long-term eating plan that you can stick to, then hold yourself accountable.
  • Create a regular workout schedule. This doesn’t have to be an intensive exercise regimen. Activities such as walking, cycling, or swimming at least three times a week will reduce anxiety levels and increase your overall health.
  • Sleep at least eight hours a night. Sleep gives your body a chance to rest and recover. Eight hours of sleep gives you more energy and focus during the day.

Habit #3: Find Your Drive

Drive is the force that motivates you to do your best work. It helps you stay on-track through even the most difficult challenges. Driven people know their motivations, are obsessed with their field of interest, feel a sense of duty to others, and hold themselves to deadlines.

How to Find Your Drive

Finding your drive requires active exploration and internal affirmation. Drive is hard to obtain and easy to lose. Use the following practices to maintain the internal and external forces necessary to create drive: Remind yourself of the “why” and surround yourself with the best.

Remind Yourself of the “Why”

Constantly remind yourself why you do what you do. Don’t just think it—say it. Verbalizing helps you solidify and affirm what...

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High Performance Habits Summary Introduction

High performers are people who maintain their success and well-being over a long period of time. They usually:

  • Are satisfied with their lives
  • Are able to accomplish things outside of their “strengths”
  • Are highly productive
  • Work hard regardless of external motivators or rewards
  • Achieve more success than their colleagues but experience less stress
  • Are healthier than most of their colleagues
  • Are acclaimed by their colleagues
  • Adapt to their surroundings and impact other people

Many people believe that if they work hard, practice consistently, and focus on the things they’re good at, they’ll become one of these high performers. However, while these are wonderful practices, they don’t lead to high performance. If these aren’t the keys to excellence, what gives successful people to their competitive edge? Developing high-performance habits.

What Is “High Performance?”

Before adopting the high-performance habits, you must first understand the definition of “high performance.” High performance is consistent and continued success and growth at a high level. The following are aspects of “high performance”:

  • **High performance...

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High Performance Habits Summary Habit #1: Search for Clarity

As you’ll see, to become a high performer, you need clarity about who you are and what you want. Clarity isn’t something that emerges on its own. It requires reflection and experimentation as you search for the values that matter to you and the goals that will define your journey.

There are two levels of clarity—identity and future:

  1. Identity: Clarifying who you are helps you define your core values and the things that bring you fulfillment. Discovering who you are is the first step on the road to clarity.
  2. Future: Clarifying what you want helps you create clear, actionable goals towards an overarching objective. You can't clarify your future until you’ve found your identity. If you don’t know the values that drive you, you won’t know what you want to achieve.

The Benefits of Clarity, and the Risks of Its Absence

With Clarity Without Clarity
Self-Esteem People with high levels of clarity tend to have high self-esteem because they understand their values and know what...

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Shortform Exercise: Identify Your Feelings

To become a high performer, visualize and anticipate the feelings you want to feel. This will help you generate positive feelings when negative emotions arise. Remember: Emotions are reactionary feelings, while feelings are how you interpret an emotion.


Describe something that happened this week to which you had a strong emotional reaction. For instance, a driver pulled in front of you or your spouse blamed you for something unfairly. What was your emotion?

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Shortform Exercise: Determine What’s Purposeful

Discover the most important things in your life and invest your time accordingly. Working on the things that mean something to you will boost your performance.


List and describe the 3-5 most meaningful activities in your life. How much time do you spend on them?

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High Performance Habits Summary Habit #2: Improve Your Health

To be a high performer, you need to tend to your health and well-being because good health builds happiness, focus, and energy. There are three elements to your health:

  • Mental: Mental health relies on your focus, stamina, and clarity. It’s essential for staying on-task and working efficiently.
  • Emotional: Emotional health relies on your triggers, responsive habits, and overall demeanor. It’s essential for relating to other people and keeping yourself motivated.
  • Physical: Physical health relies on your eating habits, workout regimen, and sleeping tendencies. It’s essential for generating energy and helps with mental and emotional clarity.

The Benefits of Health, and the Risks of Its Absence

Good Health Poor Health
Mental People with good mental health are able to stay focused on their work over a long period of time. They know when they need to take breaks, and how to pace themselves. This gives them the mental stamina to work effectively without burning out. ...

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Shortform Exercise: Master Transitions

Mastering transitions allows you to stay calm in the face of crisis and keep focused on your work, helping you perform more effectively.


Think of a tense situation you experienced in the past week. How did that tension impact the rest of your day and your ability to perform?

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Shortform Exercise: Improve Your Physical Health

Improving your physical health also boosts your mental and emotional health.


If you were to start getting into the best shape of your life, what are 1-2 nutritional habits you could begin practicing immediately?

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High Performance Habits Summary Habit #3: Find Your Drive

Drive is the force that motivates you to perform at your pest. It helps you stay on track through even the most difficult challenges. Drive comes from two types of forces: internal and external.

high-performance-habits-drive.png

Internal Forces

Internal forces are the feelings, values, and goals that drive you. They create the feeling of satisfaction when you’ve accomplished a goal, and the feeling of frustration when you sense you’re underperforming. They come from your internal desire to better yourself and gain mastery within your field. These forces are divided into two categories: identity and obsession.

Identity

Identity refers to the need to hold yourself to a high standard of excellence. High performers tie their identity to their performance, constantly self-monitoring and looking for opportunities to improve their work. When they achieve success, they feel validation and pride. However, when they underperform, they recognize their failings and commit to stronger performance moving forward.

Note: This doesn’t mean that high performers allow their frustrations...

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Shortform Exercise: Find Who Needs You and Get in the Flow

To increase your drive, determine who needs your energy the most in any given moment.


Think about two or three things you were planning to do today and who they will benefit.

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Shortform Exercise: Surround Yourself With the Best

Surrounding yourself with the best people boosts your confidence and pushes you to excel.


Who are the 3 people who are the most positive influences on your life? How has their influence raised your performance?

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High Performance Habits Summary Habit #4: Increase Your Efficiency

Many people claim there aren’t enough hours in the day to get their work done and focus on their personal life. However, for most people, their problem isn’t time. It’s inefficiency. Increased efficiency helps you focus on the important things in your life and maintain your work-life balance. This increases your performance by helping you achieve the goals you care about, lowering your stress levels, and giving you time to relax. There are three factors that impact your efficiency:

  • Goals: Set clear and challenging goals that give you the motivation to work effectively.
  • Energy: Ensure you have the energy to get through your day happily and healthily.
  • Focus: Focus on the tasks that are important to you.

The Benefits of Efficiency, and the Risks of Its Absence

...

With Efficiency Without Efficiency
Work-Life Balance Efficient people have a strong work-life balance. They use their work time wisely and spend their personal time focusing on things they want to.

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Shortform Exercise: Plan Your Five Moves

Work towards your goals by planning the five major moves or steps necessary to achieve them. This will boost your efficiency by creating clear actionables for you to work towards.


What is your most important long-term goal?

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Shortform Exercise: Master Important Skills

To excel, you must master the most essential skills in your field.


List the 3-5 most important skills in your field. Why are they important?

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High Performance Habits Summary Habit #5: Generate Influence

To become a high performer, you need a group of people around you who are willing to support and invest in you. The best way to achieve this is by generating influence. Influence is your ability to mold other people’s perspectives and behaviors. This habit mostly applies to leaders and work-related relationships but can also be applied in personal situations.

Trust and respect are key components of influence. They allow you to form strong relationships that you can use to further your goals, build a network of support, and defuse tense situations. Here are a few ways you can use influence:

  • Convince your boss to assign you to the projects you’re interested in.
  • Break up a fight between two of your colleagues or employees.
  • Gain more sales through particular clients.

People often make the excuse that they can’t gain influence because they’re not “a people person.” However, influence is not tied to personality traits such as introversion or extroversion. Anyone can become influential if they put energy into developing their relationships. Influence is also not explicitly tied to effort in the workplace. You can give your all in your work, but, if you don’t...

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Shortform Exercise: Show Others How to Think

As a leader, when you show your employees how to think, you gain their trust and help them approach their work from a new perspective. This helps boost the performance of your team as a whole.


Think of a specific employee whose thinking you want to shape. How do you want them to think about themselves?

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Shortform Exercise: Challenge People to Raise the Bar

As a leader, challenging the people around you motivates them to meet and exceed expectations. If you’re practicing what you preach, raising the bar for other people also forces you to raise the bar for yourself.


Think of a specific employee you want to challenge. List 2-3 ways you could challenge their character. Think about holding them to values such as trustworthiness, self-control, and honesty.

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High Performance Habits Summary Habit #6: Be Courageous

High performers are courageous. Courage is the willingness to take purposeful action in service of a worthy and sincere goal despite fear, danger, or adversity. These actions don’t have to be bold to be effective. Any step toward overcoming fear or embracing the uncertain is a courageous act. Courage doesn’t include actions that harm other people or encourage needless risk.

There are four primary types of courage:

  • Physical: courage in which you put yourself in danger for a worthy cause
  • Moral: courage in which you stand up for your beliefs in the face of adversity
  • Psychological: courage in which you overcome a personal fear or anxiety and grow
  • Everyday: courage in which you maintain positivity in the face of uncertainty

Even if they don’t know the ultimate outcome, high performers have a tendency towards action over discussion. While they’ll strategize and plan when necessary, they don’t get lost in talking about doing something. This allows for quick decision-making and decisive action, boosting your performance.

The Benefits of Courage, and the Risks of Its Absence

...

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Shortform Exercise: Appreciate Hardship

Embracing hardship gives you the strength to push through obstacles on your way to achieving your goals.


Think of a time you faced a difficult obstacle. Describe the hardship that you experienced.

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Shortform Exercise: Fight for Someone or Something

Fighting for someone or something can provide you with the motivation and courage to achieve your goals.


Think of someone in your life who relies on you financially. What courageous action could you take towards achieving your goals to support this person?

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High Performance Habits Summary Maintaining High Performance

When high performers fall from grace, it’s unexpected because of the high-level at which they’re accustomed to performing. To sustain your success, be aware of the three traps that often cause high performers to fail: feeling superior, being unsatisfied, and neglecting important things.

Trap #1: Feeling Superior

When you become a high performer, it’s easy to feel superior without realizing it. Because you’re at the top of your game, you may subconsciously look down on people who haven’t achieved as much as you have. People who feel superior believe:

  • They're better than the people around them.
  • They deserve admiration.
  • People just don’t “understand them.”
  • They don’t need feedback.

While you may not actively show your superiority, these thoughts often lead to condescension and dismissal. People won’t want to work with you if you demean or ignore them. While your colleagues may put up with you for a while, you’ll eventually lose the support of the people around you regardless of how strong your ideas are.

How to Avoid Feeling Superior

Humility is the antidote to feelings of superiority. It keeps you from demeaning the people around you...

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Table of Contents

  • 1-Page Summary
  • Introduction
  • Habit #1: Search for Clarity
  • Exercise: Identify Your Feelings
  • Exercise: Determine What’s Purposeful
  • Habit #2: Improve Your Health
  • Exercise: Master Transitions
  • Exercise: Improve Your Physical Health
  • Habit #3: Find Your Drive
  • Exercise: Find Who Needs You and Get in the Flow
  • Exercise: Surround Yourself With the Best
  • Habit #4: Increase Your Efficiency
  • Exercise: Plan Your Five Moves
  • Exercise: Master Important Skills
  • Habit #5: Generate Influence
  • Exercise: Show Others How to Think
  • Exercise: Challenge People to Raise the Bar
  • Habit #6: Be Courageous
  • Exercise: Appreciate Hardship
  • Exercise: Fight for Someone or Something
  • Maintaining High Performance