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8 Habits Of Highly Successful Leaders

Great leaders are driven by an all-consuming desire to love others and give back to their communities.

Sherrie Campbell

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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

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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 skill-set, 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.

Related: 10 Things Successful People Tell Themselves Every Day

3. Make your health a priority

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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.

Related: 15 Wise Insights From 15 Entrepreneurial Icons

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 organised 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 organised 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.

Related: The 7-Step Formula For Goal-Setting

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 realise 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.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Sherrie Campbell is a psychologist in Yorba Linda, Calif., with two decades of clinical training and experience in providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person.

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Lessons Learnt

7 Cannabis Industry Millionaires Making It Big In The Marijuana Business

These entrepreneurs have capitalised on a new market set to continue to grow rapidly as more countries legalise marijuana across the world.

Catherine Bristow

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1. Brendan Kennedy

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Brendan Kennedy worked on job sites as a carpenter to pay his way through university, with his eyes set firmly on becoming an architect, until the allure of Silicon Valley changed the course of his direction. While working at technology start-ups Kennedy began thinking about the possibilities that medical marijuana provided.

“I was really sceptical of medical cannabis,” he says. “It took a year of having conversations with patients and physicians and hearing the same story, repackaged but essentially the same, over and over and over again, where my scepticism eroded and I became a believer.”

In 2013, Kennedy and his partners applied for a licence from Health Canada and launched Lafitte Ventures, which was later renamed Tilray. Today, the company is a global leader in medical cannabis research, cultivation, processing and distribution.

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Lessons Learnt

Scaleup Learnings From Our Top Clients – What The Most Successful Entrepreneurs Do Right

So, how do our successful clients move through these constraints to scaling up? We see four key drivers of success, and they are: people, strategy, flawless execution and finance.

Louw Barnardt

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You’re out of your start-up boots, staff is increasing, your client base is growing, revenue is up and you’ve proven your case to the market. Now it’s time to scale up. The challenges of this vital growth phase are different and it’s a time that demands different mindsets and different actions. In a world littered with small business failures, it helps to be well-prepared for scaling up using a proven methodology. At Outsourced CFO, we get an inside look at the success factors of our clients who are mastering the transition.

On the one hand, scaling up is a really exciting phase; this is what moves you into real job creation and making an impactful contribution to economic growth. On the other hand, it is really hard to scale up successfully. We see three major constraints that limit companies’ transition from start-up to scale-up:

Leadership

The business has to have the leadership that can take it to the next level. When you start scaling up, especially rapidly, the founders can no longer do everything themselves. The team must grow and include new leadership talent that can take charge and execute so that the founders are working on the business instead of in the business.

Infrastructure

The processes, procedures, networks, systems and workflows of the business all need to be scalable. This is imperative when it comes to your infrastructure for the financial management of your business. You’re only ready for growth when your infrastructure can seamlessly keep pace.

Market access

Scaling up demands more innovative marketing and storytelling so that you can more easily connect and engage with the new employees, clients, network partners, investors and mentors that need to come along with you on your scale-up journey.

Businesses that build a market conversation and a compelling brand narrative during their start-up phase are better positioned to have this kind of market access when they need to scale up.

People

It is critical to have the right people on your team. Our successful entrepreneurs have what it takes to attract, inspire and retain top talent. A strong team of smart, ambitious and purpose-driven people who love the company and want to see it succeed contribute greatly to a world class company culture. They are adept at communicating a compelling vision and establishing core values that people can take on. These entrepreneurs are tuned into the aspirations of their people and focus on developing leaders in their teams who can in turn develop more leaders.

Strategy

It is planning that ensures that the right things are happening at the right times. At successful scale-ups strategies and action plans are devised to ensure that the most important thing always remains the most important thing.

Strategy includes input from all team members and setting of good priorities for the short, medium and long term. Goals are clear and everyone always knows what they are working towards. The needle is continuously moved because 90-day action plans are implemented each quarter to achieve targets and goals that are over and above people doing their daily jobs.

Flawless execution

Top entrepreneurs are not just focused on what operations need to achieve, but how the business operates. They have the right procedures, processes and tools in place so that everyone can deliver along the line on the company’s brand promise. Frequent, quick successive meetings ensure the rapid flow of effective communication. Problems are solved without drama. There is no chaos in the office environment. Everyone is empowered to execute flawlessly to an array of consistently happy clients.

Finance

Everyone knows that growth burns cash. A rapidly scaling business faces the challenge of needing a scalable financial infrastructure to keep the company healthy. Our successful entrepreneurs pay close attention to finance as the heartbeat of the business, ensuring that everything else functions. They look at the tech they are using for financial management and for the ways that their financial systems can be automated so that they can be brought rapidly to scale. The capital to grow is another vital finance issue.

The best way to finance a business is through paying clients on the shortest possible cash flow cycle. However, when you are scaling up and making heavier investments in the resources you need for growth, it is likely that you will need a workable plan for raising capital. Our scale-up clients know the value of accessing innovative financial management that provides high level services to drive their business growth.

Navigating the scale-up journey of a growing private company is one of the hardest but most rewarding of careers to pursue. Having people in your corner who have been through this journey before helps take a lot of pain out of the process. No growth journey looks the same, but there are tried and tested methods that will – if applied diligently – lead to definite success. Happy scaling!

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That Time Jeff Bezos Was The Stupidest Person In The Room

Everyone can benefit from simple advice, no matter who they are.

Gene Marks

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When you think of Jeff Bezos, a lot of things probably come to your mind.

You likely think of Amazon.com, a company he founded more than twenty years ago, that’s completely disrupted retail and online commerce as we know it. You probably also think of his entrepreneurial genius. Or the immense wealth that he’s built for himself and others. You may also think of drones, Alexa and same-day delivery. Bezos is a visionary, an entrepreneur, a cutthroat competitor and a game changer. He’s unquestionably a very, very smart man. But sometimes, he can be…well…stupid, too.

Like that time back in 1995.

That was when Amazon was just a startup operating from a 2,000 square foot basement in Seattle. During that period, Bezos and most of the handful of employees working for him had other day jobs. They gathered in the office after hours to print and pack up the orders that their fast-growing bookselling site was receiving each day from around the world. It was tough, grueling work.

The company at the time, according to a speech Bezos gave, had no real organisation or distribution. Worse yet, the process of filling orders was physically demanding.

“We were packing on our hands and knees on a hard concrete floor,” Bezos recalled. “I said to the person next to me ‘this packing is killing me! My back hurts, it’s killing my knees’ and the person said ‘yeah, I know what you mean.'”

Related: Jeff Bezos: 9 Remarkable Choices That Shaped The Richest Man In The World

Bezos, our hero, the entrepreneurial genius, the CEO of a now 600,000-employee company that’s worth around a trillion dollars and one of the richest men in the world today then came up with what he thought was a brilliant idea. “You know what we need,” he said to the employee as they packed boxes together. “What we need is…kneepads!”

The employee (Nicholas Lovejoy, who worked at Amazon for three years before founding his own philanthropic organisation financed by the millions he made from the company’s stock) looked at Bezos like he was — in Bezos’ words — the “stupidest guy in the room.”

“What we need, Jeff,” Lovejoy said, “are a few packing tables.” Duh.

So the next day Bezos – after acknowledging Lovejoy’s brilliance – bought a few inexpensive packing tables. The result? An almost immediate doubling in productivity. In his speech, Bezos said that the story is just one of many examples how Amazon built its customer-centered service culture from the company’s very early days. Perhaps that’s true. Then again, it could mean something else.

It could mean that sometimes, just sometimes, those successful, smart, wealthy and powerful people may not be as brilliant as you may think. Nor do they always have the right answers. Sometimes, just sometimes, they may actually be the stupidest guy in the room. So keep that in mind the next time you’re doing business with an intimidating customer, supplier or partner who appears to know it all. You might be the one with the brilliant idea.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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