If you were to dig deep and look into the personal traits of the most successful business executives, regardless of industry, age or demographic, chances are you’d find some startling similarities. Everyone has a different drive and passion. It is why some executives sit at the top of video game companies while others focus on food distribution or running hotels. Passions vary and skills differ, but it doesn’t change the fact that specific traits are found in nearly each and every successful executive. If your goal is to not only become the head of a business but to excel in your line of work, you need to uncover these habits and implement each and every one into your life. Here are the top five habits that will dictate your success in business and in life.
Wake Up Early
Sometimes there’s nothing better than rolling over in bed, knowing you don’t have to be anywhere. For many of us, slapping the sleep button a half-dozen times is a real, every morning activity. However, do you think leading executives made it to where they are today by showing up to work at 10? In fact, most high-end executives accomplish more than the vast majority of people wake up.
Successful executives understand the importance of getting an early start on the day. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, is awake by 4 a.m. and is already sending out work emails by 4:30. By the time 5 a.m. rolls around he’s already at the gym. Other executives are similar. Howard Schultz wakes up, heads out to the gym and arrives at work no later than 6 a.m. Yes, there are other executives who may not wake up this early, but there is a reason why each of these individuals run major companies. It is because they demonstrate their drive towards perfection, both inside the office and outside. By the time the average employee is waking up, these CEOs have worked out and performed several hours of work already (Entrepreneur, 2016).
Everyone has goals and dreams. However, without planning, reaching these dreams is often next to impossible. After all, you are at Point A and you need to get to Point Z. Without proper, in-depth planning, you’ll never make it. All of the most successful people in the world plan out everything. You may have a goal, in your head only, of making it to the next point, so you will need a roadmap to follow.
A good amount goes into planning. You need to map out your plan of action. What is the next step you want to reach? How will you get there? What do you need to do in order to obtain what you need to make it to the next step? On top of this, the most successful business professionals don’t just map out one plan. There are plans for nearly every possible situation. This is because nothing ever happens 100% according to plan. That is why successful individuals plan for both success and, should it happen, failure.
Stop Wasting Your Time
More now than ever before, there is a time wasting opportunity wherever you turn. The most successful professionals have found ways to cut out and avoid these time wasters. If you lose your money in an investment, you can earn it back. If something is stolen from you, you can work hard, save and purchase it again. Just about everything in life can be obtained a second time . . . except for just that: time.
Time is your most valuable asset. Time is the one thing that, once gone, you will never get back. The hour you spent watching television last night; you’ll never get that hour back. It’s gone. As you look to make yourself a better professional, you need to identify ways you’re wasting time and avoid these issues.
Think of it as training for a sporting event. In order to train, you need to strip your body of fat layers in order to expose the fit, trim muscle. To do this, you not only need to exercise, but you need to eat right. Eating right requires you to avoid empty calories and foods that are not packed with healthy vitamins, lean protein and carbs for energy to power you through your workout. The same is true with your professional life. If you want to be successful, you need to cut out what wastes your time and fill these open slots with tasks dedicated to improving your professional potential.
So what are some examples of time wasters? Watching endless hours of television is one, yet far too obvious. Think about how much time you spend on social media? Combine Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and others together and how many hours are you flushing down the drain every single day? Is there anything really worthy of your time on these websites? In reality, you could have spent five minutes sending a message or updating your business account and moved on to another task. Whether it is constantly hitting the snooze button in the morning or checking your email every five minutes, you may just be surprised as to how much time you waste throughout the day. Avoid the time wasters and you’ll begin to see just how much more you can finish throughout the day.
Don’t Ever Quit
If becoming a widely successful individual in life were easy, everyone would be widely successful. However, the fact of the matter is becoming successful takes hard work and determination. As you push forward in your career path, it doesn’t matter how much luck you strike early on, eventually, you will get to a point in your professional career where you hit a brick wall and fall. You may fall hard. At this point, you can go the way most people go and quit on your dream, or you can buckle down and push forward. Perhaps you fail again, and again, and again. The difference between successful individuals and failures (or at least people who failed on their dreams) are those who quit and those who continued to get up.
Many of the most successful business individuals failed multiple times. Henry Ford went bankrupt before he started the Ford Motor Company and brought in the idea of an assembly line to car building, revolutionizing the manufacturing business. Walt Disney went bankrupt before going on to create one of the largest entertainment empires in the world. Abraham Lincoln filed for bankruptcy twice. Donald Trump has filed for bankruptcy four times. The list can go on and on. Of course, you don’t need to agree with someone’s politics or their line of work to see the point. Most people, at some point in their life, give up on their dream. They fall, whether it is for the first time or the hundredth time, and decide to stay down. You need to be different. You need to keep on getting up.
Invest In Reading
In a survey conducted by Business Insider (2017) of 177 self-made millionaires, 88% of those surveyed said they spend at least 30 minutes a day reading, and not reading for entertainment. They read books pointed towards education. This doesn’t mean you need to go out and pick up the largest, thickest history book. No, you need something a bit more specific, but along the lines of your own passion (after all, you should still find it interesting--there is no point in force-feeding yourself a book you won’t like).
In reality, opening up any book will do you good. The purpose of reading by the most successful business executives is to educate themselves on those who have come before them. Most executives read biographies on other successful individuals and personal development. History, in all actuality, is another popular topic. Most historical books are specified towards a singular topic (such as on Henry Ford starting his company, the exploration of the new world or an event during war time). These, too, contain values that you can adopt and integrate into your own business.
Reading allows for your imagination to take over. Instead of watching television, even educational programming, where you become absorbed into the presentation, a book forces your brain to continually think. It also can take the information learned from the biographies and self-help books and implement it into your own life, visualizing you utilizing the tactics shared within the text.
For some, success just seems to fall into their lap. Whether they were born into it or just stumbled upon it by accident, these individuals just happen to succeed at whatever they do. However, for the vast majority of people, success is not something that appears after tossing a lucky penny into a wishing well. Success is earned through hard work, determination and, often times, a considerable amount of early failure. In life, nothing worth having should come easy. You’ll appreciate it that much more and understand what you need to do to maintain and continue on with business success. By taking advantage of these five habits, you’ll set yourself on the right track for eventual success in any industry you choose.
What do you think is the most important habit that will dictate your success?