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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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Here’s What Jeff Bezos Prefers To Work-Life Balance And Why You Should Live By It

Work-life balance naively suggests working and non-working hours should be evenly apportioned.

John Boitnott

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Amazon is known for building a culture that values hard work. So much so that the organisation has received criticism from current and former employees for having to work on Thanksgiving, or even when ill.

When asked about Amazon’s work-life balance, Jeff Bezos remarked that he ascribed to the phrase “work-life harmony” instead.

Here’s how hard-charging businesspeople can maintain energy at home and at work without burning out by finding work-life harmony in place of work-life balance.

Measure work and home focus as a matter of energy instead of time

It isn’t about how many hours you spend at home or at work; it’s about the energy you bring to both parts of your life. If you enjoy working long hours, and that helps you to feel present while at home, then by all means continue.

This is a fundamental principle in Bezos’s theory of dividing one’s time between work and life. Because Bezos loves what he does, he finds energy from accomplishing his work in a manner that works well with his notoriously high standards.

As many can attest, our emotions bleed into all areas of our life. When you can gain energy from doing good work, it can help to propel you to be more successful in your life outside of work. Conversely, when things aren’t right at home, it can be difficult to find the energy to do your best work in the office. A central precept of work-life harmony is living such that both the professional and personal aspects of our life energise us to be our best at home and in the office.

This does not necessarily mean that we should spend our time in a balanced way, as the phrase “work-life balance” implies. Rather, we should spend our time in such a way that we are our best selves. In so doing, we will be better people on the whole.

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

Build a flexible work-life schedule

Just as different people will amass different levels of energy from work and life outside of work, different people will find they are most productive at different times of the day. The 9-5 work culture that has existed for decades is really shifting now. Most modern offices allow some form of flexible work, which means you have the ability to set your own hours to some degree.

Experiment with working at different times of the day to find the schedule the helps you to be most productive. In so doing, you’ll have more time to do your best work, and more energy to spend with loved ones as a result of increased productivity.

Know when to say “no”

We tend to think that taking on as many projects as possible is a sign of a good professional. But being busy is not the same as making an impact. To do your best work, you’ll need to prioritise projects that you know you can add value to.

Spinning your wheels is demoralising. Look for projects in which you can easily enter a “flow state” where hours melt away. This is the environment in which you are doing your best work, and are happy to be doing the work itself. It is in moments of flow that we often feel most productive, and even fulfilled. Therefore, it is after moments of flow that we tend to feel guilt-free about enjoying quality time with loved ones while unplugging from work.

Related: Jeff Bezos Reveals 3 Strategies for Amazon’s Success

Communicate commitments

If you’re approaching a time-consuming work project, communicate that to the important people in your life. Otherwise, they may think you are avoiding them due to a more insidious reason.

Providing those you love with a glimpse into your professional commitments can also help them to help you. If a good friend knows it will be difficult for you to communicate for a few weeks, they will know to pause conversations so as not to burden you with having to reply to texts or emails.

Similarly, a partner who knows that you are responsible for delivering an important project may be able to rearrange their schedule in order to better support you in the short term.

Conversely, if family commitments will prevent you from working at full capacity for a certain period of time, set the right expectations with colleagues. A good workplace is one that is flexible to the realities of employees’ personal lives. Managers who care about the well-being of their people are usually willing to help employees take care of personal commitments.

Adapting to a changing work life

Work no longer happens between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM, Monday to Friday. Work happens Saturday mornings, and late Friday nights. It happens on vacation, and during graduations. The idea of work-life balance suggests that there should be an even split between working and non-working hours.

Related: Why It Pays To Be A Jerk Like Jeff Bezos

In reality, those who have undertaken ambitious careers should aim for work-life harmony, a lifestyle in which both aspects of life give you the energy to be your best self as frequently as possible.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Give Your Business The Best Chance Of Success

For that to happen an entrepreneur must distil the business’s reason for being and then doggedly pursue that vision.

Gil Sperling

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In my capacity as a business owner and venture capitalist, one of the questions I get asked most often by entrepreneurs is, “how do I ensure my business succeeds?” While there’s no straightforward answer, there are important elements that I believe every entrepreneur must consider to ensure the greatest probability of success.

Firstly, no business will succeed if it doesn’t solve a unique pain point or problem for modern consumers or businesses. However, even if a business is able to carve out that niche, there’s no guarantee that growth will follow. For that to happen an entrepreneur must distil the business’s reason for being and then doggedly pursue that vision.

North Star metric

This principle of having a clear business vision guides all my decisions. Whenever I need to validate a choice or a change in strategic direction, or if I’m trying to determine what to focus on, I always refer back to my vision. If the two are incongruent, then I know I need to change tack.

Elon Musk is a great example of a successful entrepreneur who is guided by his grand vision. Everything he does, from Tesla to SpaceX, pertains to sustainability, both for the planet and the human race. It might be hard to make the connection when you consider his various businesses out of context, but everything he creates fits into a broader ecosystem that in some way moves the needle towards his ultimate objective. Developing Tesla cars that run on renewable energy is but a small, short-term plan that feeds into his grand vision, yet it’s also been the catalyst for the evolution of the motoring industry.

Related: The Popimedia (Mega) Success Story

Be clear, concise

In the same way, every decision an entrepreneur makes should in some way take them a step closer to realising their vision. In this regard, it is also vital that your vision is crystal clear – a murky or undefined vision will divert you off your path to success.

That’s because you’ll tend to focus on the wrong things, especially when scaling rapidly, or when running bigger organisations, because there are many tasks to complete every day. A lack of clarity also leads to poor decision-making, or, worse, decision paralysis, and that’s business suicide – I’d rather make a bad decision than no decision at all, because it prompts action. However, with a clear vision, more often than not, those decisions will be correct.

Defining your vision

So, how do you know if your vision is clear and, more importantly, relevant and consequential? The way I stress test my vision is to evaluate it every day against the decisions I take, and the direction of the business. This daily process helps to sharpen my decisions over time.

The other step is to remain open-minded enough to accept and acknowledge criticism, and take on board advice from trusted confidants and impartial experts. This is important, because you need to craft your vision based on as much information as possible, including valid criticism.

Ultimately, though, your vision for the business should align with your purpose. Forget about money and turnover as points of departure when defining your vision. These are merely metrics that can determine the strength and effectiveness of your business strategy.

For each of my several business interests, be it VC funding or ad-tech innovation, I have different visions. Each are meaningful to me, but in every instance, I don’t wake up every day with the sole ambition of making money.

While I need to make money to grow these businesses, or build something new, having purpose and vision are the ways I pull through those inevitable challenging situations. Having your vision front of mind in everything you do helps you make better decisions, and makes the hardships easier to endure. It helps you see through the turmoil, because you know where the process will lead, and you always know where the ultimate objective lies.

Read next: A Comprehensive List Of Angel Investors That Fund South African Start-Ups

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Jimmy Choo’s Co-Founder Explains Why There Are No Small Jobs

Tamara Mellon shares the strategy that has helped her find new opportunities throughout her career.

Nina Zipkin

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The co-founder of Jimmy Choo, Tamara Mellon, believes that you can find inspiration and opportunity anywhere. All it takes is determination to keep going and a keen eye for observation.

Mellon began her career in the early 1990s working as an accessories editor for British Vogue. Always on the hunt for up-and-coming designers, she came across Jimmy Choo, a cobbler working in London’s East End.

She would commission him to create shoes for fashion shoots. They were so well received by readers that the pair realised they could expand beyond one-of-kind pieces for the pages of the magazine.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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