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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.

Lessons Learnt

Richard Branson’s ABCs Of Business

Throughout the year, the Virgin co-founder shared what he thinks are the essential elements to success.

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If there’s one thing Richard Branson knows, it’s how to run a successful business.

Throughout last year, the Virgin founder shared what he thinks are the keys ingredients to building a successful company with each letter of the alphabet, which he slowly revealed through the 365 days.

From A for attitude to N for naivety to Z for ZZZ, check out Branson’s ABCs of success.

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Lessons Learnt

How Reflexively Apologising For Everything All The Time Undermines Your Career

How can you inspire confidence if you are constantly saying you’re sorry for doing your job?

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I’m one of those weird people who gets excited about performance reviews. I like getting feedback and understanding how I can improve. A few years ago, I sat down for my first annual review as the director of communications for the Florida secretary of state, under the governor of Florida.

I had a great relationship with my chief of staff, but I had taken on a major challenge when I accepted the job a year prior. I didn’t really know what to expect.

Youth takes charge

I was 25 at the time, and everyone on my team was in their thirties and forties. I came from Washington, D.C., and was an outsider to my southern colleagues. I was asking a lot from people who had been used to very different expectations from their supervisor.

I sat down with my chief of staff who gave me some feedback about the challenges I had tackled.

She then paused and said to me, very directly,”But you have to stop apologising. You must stop saying sorry for doing your job.”

Related: 8 Valuable And Inspirational Web Series You Should Check Out

I didn’t know what to say. My reflex was to reply sheepishly, “Umm, I’m sorry?” But instead I immediately decided to be more cognisant of how often I said I was sorry. Years later, her words have stuck with me. I have what some may consider the classic female disease of apologising. When the New York Times addressed it, five of my friends and past coworkers sent it to me.

In it, writer Sloane Crosley got to the heart of the issue:

“To me, they sound like tiny acts of revolt, expressions of frustration or anger at having to ask for what should be automatic. They are employed when a situation is so clearly not our fault that we think the apology will serve as a prompt for the person who should be apologising.”

Topic of debate

I’ve talked at length with other women trying to figure out this fine balance. The Washington PostTime, and Cosmopolitan have all tackled this topic. Some say it’s OK to apologise; others criticise those who are criticising women who apologise. Clearly, I’m not alone in dealing with this issue. In fact, I’m constantly telling the people I manage that by apologising they give up a lot of their power.

Related: Want To Feel Empowered? Check Out These 17 Quotes From Successful Entrepreneurs And Leaders

Here’s the bottom line: Don’t apologise for doing your job.

If you’re following up with a coworker about something they said they’d get to you earlier, don’t say, “Sorry to bug you!” If you want to share your thoughts in a meeting, don’t start off by saying, “Sorry, I just want to add…” If you’re doing your job, you have absolutely nothing to apologise for.

That’s what I think. And I’m not even sorry about it.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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10 Quotes On Following Your Dreams, Having Passion And Showing Hard Work From Tech Guru Michael Dell

If you’re in need of a little motivation, check out these quotes from Dell’s CEO, founder and chairman.

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There’s much to learn from one of the computer industry’s longest tenured CEOs and founders, Michael Dell. As an integral part of the computer revolution in the 1980s, Dell launched Dell Computer Corporation from his dorm room at the University of Texas. And it didn’t take Dell long before he’d launched one of the most successful computer companies. Indeed, by 1992 Dell was the youngest CEO of a fortune 500 company.

Dell’s success had been long foreshadowed. When he was 15, Dell showed great interest in technology, purchasing an early version of an Apple computer, only so he could take it apart and see how it was built. And once he got to college, Dell noticed a gap in the market for computers: There were no companies that were selling directly to consumers. So, he decided to cut out the middleman and began building and selling computers directly to his classmates. Before long, he dropped out of school officially to pursue Dell.

Fast forward to today. Dell is not only a tech genius and businessman, but a bestselling author, investor and philanthropist, with a networth of $24.7 billion. He continues his role as the CEO and chairman of Dell Technologies, making him one of the longest tenured CEOs in the computer industry.

So if you’re in need of some motivation or inspiration, take it from Dell.

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