Friday, February 24, 2012

Six Steps to being a High Achiever

STOP!  If you are happy with the way things are in your life, your work, your relationships or within yourself ...don't bother reading this.  This post is only for those of you who are ready for a change...ready to accept that progress is a key to happiness ...ready to experience more purpose in your life .... and can accept that in order to have it something has to change.  If you are that person; then read on!   
When was the last time someone called you a high achiever?  Have you ever made being a high achiever your goal?  Being a high achiever means living a life of purpose.  It also means focusing on the most productive activities to ensure you move closer to self mastery in some given area. 

Quite simply, it means doing the things that most other people don't or won't do.

What is self mastery? 
Self mastery is the possession of great knowledge, effective skills and positive and productive habits in a specific area.  Some people will try to tell you that you can achieve total self mastery in all areas of your life.  Perhaps you can, over time, however I believe the journey begins with a choice.  Choose one thing you want to work on in order to experience greater results.  It can be related to your personal, professional, spiritual or physical life or well being,  Being able to focus on one area of your life at a time will allow you to concentrate your effort to making real change and real progress without feeling overwhelmed. 

Achieving self mastery
It starts with one question.  Why?  Why is this important to you?  A deeper question to ask yourself next is; What is the big why of my life?  What is the driving force behind who I am and what I want to do, be and have?  Discovering your big why, your underlying motivation in all things is truly the key to achieving your goals.  And your big why does not have to be something that gets you on the six o'clock news!  It just has to have true meaning for you.

Once you have some clarity and you are clear on what you want and why you want it, then it's time to develop six perspectives in order to become a high achiever and develop self mastery.

1. Commitment
  • know what you want (your goals)
  • know your strengths and accept your weaknesses 
  • know how to work with both in order to reach your goals 
Before we move on, I want to cast some more light on the fact that achieving self mastery is most definitely about admitting your weaknesses!  I know that might be hard for some of you, especially for those of you who feel that you are "good" at a lot of things. But we all have a weakness or two and if we don't acknowledge it we can waste a lot of time trying to improve in the wrong areas.  See, self mastery is not about improving our weaknesses.  It is about improving our strengths. I learned a long time ago to amplify my strengths and leverage my weaknesses.

2. Live and understand the 80/20 Principle   

There is a universal truth we must come to accept and that is the pattern of predictable imbalance in life and it is called the 80/20 Principle.   The 80/20 Principle can be explained many ways; basically it is the understanding that 80% of the results we seek can come from only 20% of our efforts.  It is about understanding and focusing on your priorities (your 20%) as it relates to achieving your goals.  High achievers are committed to their 20% because they know that is the key to success.  High achievers know that in the 80% lives all distractions, interruptions, minutia and time-wasters. It is all about your behavior. 

In order to commit to the 80/20 Principle you need to be aware of your goals.  Your goals should also be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Realistic and Time Bound.  Staying focused on your 20% means you are focused on accomplishing things that are a priority.  In order to determine priority you have to evaluate the task for its value as it relates to your goals.

To help you do that you should incorporate productivity tools such as a to-do list and a calendar with time blocked on it for you to work on your 20%. 

3.  Develop Purpose

Becoming more purposeful means doing the things that don't come easy.  Sometimes it is about a little pain too.  Now I am not trying to scare you!  But I am trying to get you to face reality.  In other words, if we always do the things that come easy to us then how do we grow?  And if we do not grow then how can we make progress?  and if we are not growing and making progress then are we just dying a little each day?

Becoming more purposeful is about doing what comes unnaturally.  High achievers are always looking for a challenge in order to breakthrough their own personal ceiling of achievement.  What areas of your life have you been looking for a breakthrough?

How do you get more purposeful?  First, decide what you really really want.  Then write your SMART goals down.  Next, ask yourself, how can this be done?  It is time to develop a strategy.  In coaching my clients, I am always helping them to develop a strategy.   Thirdly, I recommend you look for a system or model to follow.  Hire a coach, attend a training, read books by authors who have proven results and identify a personal or professional mentor.  Most importantly communicate your plan to become more purposeful and ask someone to hold you accountable to it.

4.  Be a Student

High achievers are life long learners.  A learning based individual who has made the decision to use effective learning as the foundation for the actions they take are developing themselves and their life and tend to be more successful, healthier, wealthier and spiritually fulfilled. 

Now, the key to be a learning based individual is to commit to using the information you gain to make positive changes in your life.  It is never too late to learn something and put it to good use.  High achievers make the time for training and education and self development a priority. 

5.  Remove Limiting Beliefs

Remove the thoughts that are holding you back.  Our beliefs are the rules we live by.  And our beliefs shape our thoughts and our thoughts affect our actions.  If that chain reaction is fueled with anything that is negative, self destructive or limiting then the results we will see in our lives will be same.  Change your thoughts/beliefs and you will change your world.

6.  Be Accountable

Accountability can only happen between two people.  Don't fool yourself into thinking that you can hold yourself accountable!  It is too hard to do.  We let ourselves off the hook to easy!  Being accountable to someone else is the most effective way to stay on purpose.  For some of you, it may seem a little too personal or too demanding, however being accountable to someone else is actually the most freeing thing you can imagine.  It will get you what you want most, when you want it. Accountability is all about having the right attitude.  Accountability is a tool for change. 

Anna Gibbs is a Certified Life Coach, a Certified Business Coach and a proud member of the International Coach Federation.  For more information about Anna and her coaching services please visit