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Let High-Achievers Tell You How These 10 Rituals Shorten Your Distance To Success

Let High-Achievers Tell You How These 10 Rituals Shorten Your Distance To Success

Success doesn’t just come to anyone. It has to be attained through hard work, dedication, and relentless drive. The most successful people in the world are often more than happy to share the methods to their madness, and it’s no coincidence that many of them practice the same methods on a daily basis. Staying disciplined and regimented is a large part of why certain people are able to transcend the masses, and rise to the level of success they’ve attained throughout their lives. The most successful people in the world:

1. Make a daily to-do list

Many people make a to-do list; that’s nothing new. However, the way in which successful people approach their to-do lists is much different than the way others do. While many people (myself included) make a to-do list that is relatively underwhelming, successful people tend to overload their to-do list, giving them too much to do. This doesn’t mean they actually finish everything on their list; it just means they always have something to do. The most successful people always have something productive to do, and make it so they are always improving upon their former self. CEO of Omada Health Sean Duffy actually utilizes a “running” to-do list which spans not just the following day, but lists goals he wants to tackle within the next couple of weeks.

2. Schedule their time

Benjamin Franklin was famous for not only creating a daily to-do list, but also for scheduling his time by the hour. Doing so helps in a variety of ways. First of all, it gives you an idea of how much time you’ll have to spend on specific activities or projects. Secondly, while scheduling your day, you’ll actively visualize yourself completing the tasks, and finishing them becomes much more likely. To-do lists can be incredibly intimidating, as you run the risk of thinking “there’s just not enough time in the day.” When you schedule your day out completely, you’ll realize you have all the time you need. Furthermore, you won’t waste time scrolling through your phone or watching TV if you’ve set deadlines for yourself.

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3. Quantify their time

It may sound unbelievable, but Jeff Margolis, chairman and CEO of Welltok, claims he knows “exactly how many (hours) I have spent working, with family, exercising, or on community activities.”

Along with making a to-do list and scheduling their time, successful people add up time spent on various projects, analyze them, and manage their schedule accordingly. For example, if you gave yourself two hours to complete a task, but it actually took three, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, when a similar project comes along in the future, you’ll know better how to schedule your time. Conversely, if you schedule two hours of your day to do a task that only takes one, you’ll have an hour of time left over that isn’t being utilized to your advantage. Not only that, but successful people understand that if they check their phone 10 times a day “just for 5 minutes,” they’ve wasted almost an hour of their day.

4. Wake up earlier

Ben Franklin was also never short on words of wisdom, such as the famous proverb, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Successful people wake up much earlier in the morning than most others. While some of us hit the snooze button at least twice every morning, most wealthy people wake up at least two or three hours before they need to get down to business. Doing so allows them to take advantage of the body’s natural energy cycle. The mind is most productive a couple hours after waking. This explains why many of us need that cup of coffee every morning to jolt ourselves awake, and why others seem to be ready and raring to go by 8:30 a.m. every day. We might see early birds as “morning people,” but the reason they’re up and moving so early is because they’ve been awake for more than fifteen minutes, and wiped the sleep from their eyes hours ago.

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5. Prepare for their day before working

Successful people don’t just wake up early and stare at the wall until their body and mind is ready to work. Neha Sampat, CEO of Built.io, says she always gets one major task out of the way before 8 a.m., even on weekends. By waking up early (around 5 a.m.) on a daily basis, she’s ready to get moving by 7 a.m. at the latest. Early morning is also a good time to get other things done, such as exercise that you won’t want to do after a long day’s work, or reading up on news that you won’t have time for throughout the day. Most people (especially college-aged) use the phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” as an excuse to stay up late partying with friends; successful people use it as an excuse to forgo sleeping in late in favor of getting things done.

6. Avoid getting in ruts

Rodney Williams, co-founder and CEO of LISNR, reports that he avoids habits that eventually lead to ruts. This advice might seem like it gibes with the previous sections discussing to-do lists and schedules, but since you’re in control of your own schedule, don’t be afraid to change it up. Think of high school: How boring was it to go through the same progression of classes day after day? It made everything so monotonous, and by the end of the day you were completely fried. Take control of your life! If you find yourself getting bored with your schedule, start going to the gym before work instead of after, or take a different route to work. Even the smallest changes can refresh your perspective, and make the rest of your day just a bit more exciting.

7. Pay attention to relationships

Novelist George A. Moore once said, “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.” Being successful isn’t all about money, fame, and fortune. It’s about what you can do for your loved ones after attaining those three things. When putting your daily schedule together, make sure you include time to spend with your family. And don’t schedule this in pencil; make sure you never cancel on a date with your daughter, and always find time to pick your son up from soccer practice. After all, your family is the reason you work so hard in the first place. Don’t lose sight of that while you’re busy checking business-related tasks off your list.

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8. Communicate with colleagues

Vikram Aggarwal, CEO of EnergySage, believes it’s incredibly important to be transparent with your employees, colleagues, and bosses. You should never find yourself being “just a colleague,” but should work to forge a relationship that goes beyond the walls of your office building. Be a teammate and a friend, and treat your co-workers as family. Doing so will open doors of communication when working on difficult projects that require input from a variety of specialists, and will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and has a common goal. When your team succeeds, you can feel a sense of accomplishment knowing you helped them get there.

9. Exercise

Jason van den Brand, co-founder and CEO of Lenda, finds time to exercise his body at least five times a week. By now it should go without saying that this time is usually before he gets to the office, around 6 a.m. on a daily basis. And he switches it up, too: Sometimes he’ll hit the gym, and other times he’ll take his bike out for an hour spin. Not only does exercising early in the morning start your day with an adrenaline rush, but it also starts your day with another task checked off your list. With one less thing to do before you even start your work day, your head will be clear to focus on other obligations.

10. Meditate

Ernie Capobianco, CEO of Sq1, meditates on daily basis, sometimes twice a day. You might be thinking “I thought successful people didn’t spend any time sitting around.” This is a complete misunderstanding of what goes on in the mind when meditating. Sitting quietly and preparing for the day in the morning or reflecting on the day’s events in the evening helps you gain perspective and insight that you can’t possibly have when you’re engrossed in a project. Spending time meditating is the best way to come to realizations that will lead to breakthroughs in your work, especially if you’ve recently hit a roadblock. If you’re going to spend your time doing nothing, do so mindfully.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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