High Performance Habits

“Study high performers and you will see that they have systems built into their days that drive their success.”

- High Performance Habits, page xiv

How would your life change if you could say “I now know exactly how to be consistently at my best”? What if you had a field-tested and science-backed path to improve your life? That’s what Brendon Burchard offers in High Performance Habits.

This book answers three questions Burchard has been researching for the last twenty years:

  1. Why do some individuals and teams succeed more quickly than others, and sustain that success over the long term?
  2. Of those who pull it off, why are some miserable and others happy on their journey?
  3. What motivates people to reach for higher levels of success in the first place, and what kinds of habits, training, and support help them improve faster?

Burchard’s high performance studies led him to interview, coach, and train many of the world’s most successful and happiest people, from CEO,’s to high-level entrepreneurs, to entertainers, to 1.6 million students from 195 countries.

He has proven that with the right habits, anyone can dramatically increase results and become a high performer in almost any field. High performance is not achieved by a particular type of person, but rather by a specific set of practices, which he calls high performance habits. He lines them up, explains them, illustrates them, and promises that whether you are a student, entrepreneur, manager, CEO, athlete, or stay-at-home parent, these habits will help you reach your next level. What are you waiting for?

The Big Idea

The Big Idea: The biggest takeaway from the book

6 High Performance Habits

"We can all achieve and enjoy long-term success. It just takes the right habits."
- High Performance Habits, back jacket

These six habits and three practices to strengthen each habit have been proven to help you achieve an extraordinary level of performance. It is our option, Brendon says, to wake up each day and choose to practice these habits or not. What are they?

  1. Seek Clarity
    1. Envision the future four—self, social, skills, service
    2. Determine the feeling you’re after
    3. Define what’s meaningful
  2. Generate Energy
    1. Release tension, set intention
    2. Bring the joy
    3. Optimize health
  3. Raise necessity
    1. Know who needs your A game
    2. Affirm the why
    3. Level up your squad
  4. Increase productivity
    1. Increase the outputs that matter
    2. Chart your five moves
    3. Get insanely good at key skills (progressive mastery)
  5. Develop influence
    1. Teach people how to think
    2. Challenge people to grow
    3. Role model the way
  6. Demonstrate courage
    1. Honor the struggle
    2. Share your truth and ambitions
    3. Find someone to fight for

Of course, it’s not enough to just know what the habits are. You need continual reminders and practice with feedback. Before every meeting, every phone call, and before you start a new project, revisit these habits. You can also assess yourself using Burchard’s High Performance Indicator test.

Insight #1

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Telltale Signs Of A High Performer

"If you leave your growth to randomness, you’ll always live in a land of mediocrity."
- High Performance Habits, page 74

If you were to look in someone’s agenda, what telltale sign would you see that would indicate it belongs to a high performer? It turns out that executives who score higher on the high performance habits tend to have more blocks of time scheduled for learning than their peers with lower scores. They have a high internal curiosity and drive to build a deep competence in their field of interest.

They’ve built a curriculum for themselves in that primary field of interest and are actively engaged in learning. So, ask yourself “What three skills are you currently working to develop so you’ll be more successful next year?”

The loud and clear message is that no matter your current level of performance, you must clarify your primary field of interest and the skills you will need to master for your next level of success. This must be a priority.

More telltale signs of high achievers? Here is a baker’s dozen:

  1. They spend more time doing things that they find meaningful and this makes them happy
  2. They give more thought to “What do those I serve want?” instead of “What do I want?”
  3. They think “How can I serve in unique ways?” instead of “Why don’t people see my unique strengths?”
  4. They don’t wait for joy to land on them, they bring the joy!
  5. They reflect regularly on all they are grateful for
  6. They seek to insert appreciation, surprise, wonder and challenge into their day
  7. They are optimistic and believe their actions will be rewarded
  8. They think about how they want to feel and work to generate those feelings.
  9. They prioritize proper sleep, nutrition, exercise, energy breaks
  10. They set goals and monitor progress
  11. They are happier and have less stress
  12. They feel that they are making a difference and being rewarded for it
  13. Their identify and enjoyment in life are tied to growth

There are plenty more. Can you picture yourself or someone you admire in the list above? Do you see any areas you could improve?

Insight #2

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Develop Your Influence

"Influence is strongly correlated with feeling like you’re making a difference."
- High Performance Habits, page 220

High performers have influence in part due to their giving mindset. They enter situations looking for ways to help others.

I work with pharmaceutical sales people helping them learn how to be more engaging and create better patient outcomes. The top performers don’t need to be taught this—they are already doing it. Their number one focus is on how to help the physician help the patient. They don’t sell. They serve. And they have influence.

They aren’t “asking for the business,” they are asking the doctors what they are paying attention to, how they approach xyz, what would happen if…, what if you thought of it this way, etc.—all with a focus on helping improve patient outcomes. And as a result, they are doing meaningful work that makes a difference. They are more engaged and more engaging!

We could go through life and in the end say “I never knew how to be a high performer.” But now that Burchard has done the research for us, and laid it out so succinctly, what will be your excuse? You might as well pick up a copy and read it again and again as you practice and improve all the way to your best life!

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Jill Donahue

ABOUT Jill Donahue

Everything I do is focused on improving patient outcomes. I do that by being a student and teacher of ethical, effective influence. I teach pharma people and health care professionals how to improve their ability to influence others...
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