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Published on December 18, 2020

Getting Ahead in Life: Top 7 Secrets of High Achievers

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Getting Ahead in Life: Top 7 Secrets of High Achievers

The year 2021 is almost here. The new year will be a chance to start over after a tumultuous 2020 and reach new heights. Starting the year on the right foot will set the tone for your personal growth and great achievements and getting ahead in life.

To help you on your personal journey in 2021, look at those who have gone before you. These 7 secrets from high achievers lay out a blueprint you can follow to chase your own goals and start getting ahead come January.

1. Organize Your Efforts

The first step to great achievement is organizing your efforts. Every high achiever has their methods to concentrate their efforts, lay out goals, and execute plans. Poor organization, on the other hand, won’t get you nearly as far.

Getting organized in the first place is typically the most challenging part. Here are a couple of organizational methods you can try to help you get started:

Time Boxing

Organizing your time is incredibly important in your quest for success. By laying out your daily schedule, you ensure that you’re dedicating enough time to tasks and responsibilities that keep your life in order and help you reach your goals.

To implement time boxing, you need a calendar or planner. Digital options are quicker to update and adjust, but using paper will also work if that’s what you prefer. For each day, lay out the tasks and assignments you have. Dedicate a box of time for each one.

For example, you can start your day with some exercise. Create a time box from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. During this time, you focus on nothing but the task at hand until the box is over. In this case, you would focus completely on exercise without giving in to distractions until the clock strikes 8.

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Do this for your entire day and you’ll be able to create an efficient schedule that’s perfectly organized for your needs, responsibilities, and personal goals. Tweak it as you go along until you find the perfect personalized formula.

Pomodoro Technique

This time management technique puts a spin on time boxing. It focuses more on how you expend your energy while still being effective. It was developed by a man named Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s and is still used frequently today.

The Pomodoro technique works similarly to time boxing, but the time slots are smaller. You take a task that needs to be completed, like a term paper for your college English course. Set a time for 25 minutes (this is the recommended time, but you can change it how you’d like). Once the timer goes off, take a five-minute break, and then start again. After four cycles or Pomodoros, take a longer (10 minutes) break.

Adding breaks in intervals helps you focus on the task in front of you for those 25 minutes without distractions or interruptions. The extra focus helps you to work more effectively while still allowing for rest that prevents you from getting burnt out.

Daily Routines

Getting into your groove each morning sets the tone for a successful day. A proper morning routine followed by a nightly routine to wind down promotes steadiness and consistency, which aid you in your achievement efforts.

For example, a morning routine can consist of a regularly set alarm, workout regimen, and structured breakfast. Your nightly routine can include a personal activity to help you relax after the day’s labor and goals to promote productivity, such as staying off your phone right before bed.

As you settle into routines, you’ll improve your productivity habits in between. Your routines act like two strong bookends that keep the rest of the day in place. Getting ahead begins as soon as your alarm goes off.

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2. Know When to Give Up

You can’t win them all, and you shouldn’t expect to. You can learn a lot from missing the mark, but the important skill here is knowing when to throw in the towel. You can exert a lot of time and energy that would be better spent doing something else.

An example can be found in the form of musicians. Songwriters go through dozens of song ideas trying to find the perfect tune. Not all of them will make the cut. If they focus for too long on a project that’s going nowhere, their productivity will hit a wall and they won’t be able to release any new music.

By knowing when to give up, you open yourself to new opportunities to move forward. You prevent yourself from falling into a rut that stops you from becoming a high achiever.

3. Focus on Strengths

Even the most successful people aren’t good at everything. Each individual has their own strengths and weaknesses to take into account. Maximizing your strengths while overcoming your weaknesses is a balancing act required for high achievers.[1]

Too many people get hung up on their weaknesses that they fail to capitalize on their strengths. Stick with what you’re good at and allow those skills and talents to lift you and help you get ahead.

Take professional athletes for example. Not every athlete can perform each facet of their sport at the highest level. Many of them became professionals because they focused on their strengths for the benefit of the team. Their teammates in turn cover their weaknesses with their own strengths, which is also what happens in families, work teams, and other organizations you’ll be a part of in life.

4. Ask for Help

You don’t have to do it all alone. You can still be labeled a high achiever even when you ask for help from others. This isn’t a sign of weakness. Asking for help is simply you recognizing that you can do more and go further with the help of others than you could on your own.

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You can ask for help in a variety of ways from a myriad of people. You can network with business professionals who can give you career advice or ask your family and friends to support you with a new business.[2] Getting ahead by yourself is unnecessarily difficult when there are people who can help you.

5. Learn the Importance of Hard Work

You can’t reach world fame simply by having a great idea or possessing incredible raw talent. Behind every genius, top-charting musician, and professional athlete is a person who spends hours each day perfecting their craft and putting in the work to succeed.

Unfortunately, you won’t wake up one day as a high achiever. Behind every success story, you’ll find countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears that led high achievers to where they stand today. To reach their level, you must be willing to put in that same effort.

Take a look at the Olympics held every four years. During these events is probably the first time you’ve seen or heard of any of the athletes competing. However, each one spent years practicing their sport to be able to perform on the largest stage of the competition.[3]

6. Take Care of Your Body

Another key to getting ahead in life is taking care of your body. You might look at high achievers and notice their net worth, brilliant minds, or trophy cases. What you might not notice immediately is that most, if not all of them, also take the time to care for their bodies.

As important as it is to pursue education, master skills, and attempt new things, none of that will matter as much if your body is falling apart. Proper diet, exercise, and sleep are all crucial for a well-maintained body.

Look at some of the greatest CEOs, and you’ll notice that many of them make sure they set aside time for daily exercise and do their best to get a good night’s sleep. Given how busy they are all the time, it should make quite a statement that they deem these things to be of utmost importance.

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Some people are born with or develop physical limitations that make it more difficult to maintain their bodies, needing medication, physical therapy, or other extra assistance than others. Don’t let this slow you down.

Look at some of these high achievers for inspiration:

  • Stephen Hawking – one of history’s most brilliant minds and world-class physicist who was confined to a wheelchair with limited mobility for most of his life
  • Stevie Wonder – a brilliant musician and performer without sight
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt – served as President of the United States despite difficulties with polio

These are just some of many motivating examples you can find of humankind becoming high achievers regardless of their limitations.

7. Make Sacrifices

You can’t reach the top without making sacrifices along the way. You have to give up those guilty pleasures every once in a while, like fast food, sleeping in, and those extra episodes of late-night binge-watching. High achievers drop these conveniences to accomplish their lofty goals.

While sacrifices will need to be made, don’t neglect yourself of life’s joys entirely. You should still maintain happiness and mental well-being on your journey to becoming a high achiever. So while you may need to cut back on some things, a few TV shows and large fries here and there can be justified.

Final Thoughts

There you have it—the 7 secrets of high-achievers. You can use these tips so you can start getting ahead in your life. Ready to achieve your highest potential? The secrets are out. Now it’s up to you to put in the effort and make your dreams a reality.

More Tips on Getting Ahead in Life

Featured photo credit: Emma Simpson via unsplash.com

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Reference

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Kimberly Zhang

Kimberly Zhang is the Chief Editor of Under30CEO and has a passion for educating the next generation of leaders to be successful.

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Published on October 14, 2021

How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome

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How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome

Do you ever worry about being exposed as a “fraud?” You’re not alone. It’s actually quite common for people to feel like imposters. In fact, approximately 70 percent of people admit to having experienced impostor syndrome[1] at some point in their lives — a Twitter poll found that 87 percent of people have experienced this.[2] Even successful and famous people like Tom Hanks, Howard Schultz, and Natalie Portman suffer from imposter syndrome.

But, what exactly is imposter syndrome. And, more importantly, how can you silence it?

Originally coined in 1978 by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance, Ph.D., ABPP, and Suzanne Imes, Ph.D., the term “impostor syndrome” describes symptoms that include being unable to internalize accomplishments and being afraid of being exposed as a fraud.

The individual may also be plagued by chronic self-doubt and believe that they’re unqualified for success despite evidence to the contrary. Inadequacies, fears of failure, and disbelief that success is a matter of luck or timing are also common.

If you don’t address this phenomenon, feeling like an impostor can prevent you from achieving ambitious goals. Moreover, those experiencing these feelings tend to over-prepare or procrastinate — which obviously hinders productivity and reaching goals. And, as if that weren’t bad enough, imposter syndrome prevents you from pursuing new challenges and opportunities.

Do you feel like you’re suffering from impostor syndrome? If so, don’t beat yourself up. After all, there are effective ways to overcome these feelings in a healthy and proactive way.

1. Don’t Hide It.

“Firstly, acknowledge it,” advises Claudine Robson,[3] the Intentional Coach. “You give strength to imposter syndrome by letting it continue to peck away at your confidence unchecked.” It can only be banished if you acknowledge it as soon as possible and break the silence.

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“Then you need to separate your feelings from facts,” Robson adds. “One thing imposter syndrome does very effectively is to mix up your perceptions of reality.”

If you can, take a step back and look at the situation objectively. “Recognize when you should — and when you should not — feel fraudulent,” she says. Appreciate and acknowledge the task, intellect, and insight that have led to your success.

You might even be able to take action by recognizing that the reason you feel fraudulent is that you’re new to a task. “That gives you a path forward; learning is growth, don’t deny yourself that.”

2. Implement the STOP Technique

In her book Cognitive Enlightenment, Melinda Fouts, Ph.D., outlines a technique to overcome imposter syndrome using what she calls the STOP technique.

“STOP is an acronym for ‘silence the oppressive player,” Fouts explains in Forbes.[4] “You need to eradicate this tape that is playing 24/7, whether you are conscious of it or not. It plays loudest when we are tired, hungry, or feeling defeated.”

Steps to implementing the STOP technique and rewiring your brain are as follows:

To replace the tape of not good enough, you need a “launch sentence.” “I’m more than good enough” would is an example of a solid launch statement.

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Put your launch sentence in prominent locations, such as your car’s dashboard or computer. How come? The reason is that as the tape plays, you won’t be able to remember your launch statement.

Continue to say “stop” until you recall your launch sentence, says Fouts.

Put your launch sentence into your own words and pontificate.

While going about your daily tasks, like while driving or exercising, practice your launch sentence so you can recall it when you need it in the future.

“I am told this sounds simple and it does,” she adds. However, this technique is challenging when your negative tape is playing. You will not want to replace the tape every day while your brain is rewiring itself. “It is these moments you can’t give up.”

3. Distinguish Humility and Fear

When it comes to hard work and accomplishments, there’s humility, and then there’s fear. In other words, having a high level of competence can lead one to discount its value occasionally. However, as Carl Richards wrote in an article for the New York Times,[5] “After spending a lot of time fine-tuning our ability, isn’t it sort of the point for our skill to look and feel natural?”

The problem is that we feel unworthy from time to time. But, as Seth Godin explained in a blog post,[6] “When you feel unworthy, any kind response, positive feedback or reward feels like a trick, a scam, the luck of the draw.”

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Feeling worthy without feeling entitled is possible. And, finding the right balance between them is critical for overcoming impostor syndrome. “Humility and worthiness have nothing at all to do with defending our territory,” Godin continues. “We don’t have to feel like a fraud to also be gracious, open, or humble.”

4. Keep a “Brag Sheet”

When you were sending out college applications, did you build yourself a “brag sheet?” If not, here’s a clean description from Shawna Newman,[7] “A brag sheet is very similar to a student resume – it highlights your accomplishments, key experiences, leadership skills, and employment throughout your secondary education.” In short, “it’s a quick reference guide with all the details and achievements for someone trying to get to know you better.”

While it may be awkward at first, you can apply the same concept when coping with imposter syndrome. Just compose a list of your accomplishments, activities, skills. That’s it. Just remember Godin’s advice and also be humble and gracious.

As an added perk, besides being an effective way to talk myself up, I’ve also found that this has helped me stop comparing myself to others. Instead of harping about other people’s milestones, I’m honing in on what I’ve done.

5. Celebrate Wins, Period

Speaking of accomplishments, they shouldn’t be categorized as small or big. After all, you feel as if you don’t belong when you have imposter syndrome. So, the more you celebrate your wins, the more confident you’ll become.

Furthermore, accept compliments without qualifying them and practice listening to praise every day. Finally, become kinder to yourself by saying at least one kind thing to yourself daily. And, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.

6. Assemble a Legion of Superheroes

“You know how corporations have a board of directors to — in theory — make them stronger, maintain checks and balances, leverage resources, and help advance the organization’s vision?” asks inspirational speaker, speaking coach, and creative consultant Tania Katan.[8] “Why not assemble your own board of directors to leverage resources to help make your career stronger, keep you in check and balanced, and advance your vision?”

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“My friend Alison Wade, president of conferences, training, and consulting at Techwell, calls her personal board of directors her “front-row” — those are the people she invites to sit spitting distance from the stage, cheer her on, challenge her, and review her performance,” Katan writes.

As for Katan, she calls hers a “legion of superheroes.” The reason? “I dig the idea of joining forces to do good in the corporate galaxy.”

It’s important to have a diverse group of individuals who will defend you. Ideally, they should be varied in all dimensions, such as cultural background, way of thinking, and skills.

Katan recommends that you meet together frequently, whether if that’s once a week or every quarter. “Share your experiences, fears, creative ideas, aspirations,” she adds. “Celebrate each other’s accomplishments.” You also need to both support and challenge each other. “Discover what you are capable of doing when you combine your powers.”

7. Visualize Success

Follow the example of a professional athlete by imagining yourself crushing that presentation or project. You’ll enjoy the relief from performance-related stress. And, more importantly, it can help you avoid focusing on the worst-case scenario.

Final Words of Advice

While there’s no single formula to cure imposter syndrome, the tips listed above are a start. After all, your success depends on your ability to fight the negative effects of it. For example, feeling unworthy over time can lead to crippling anxiety and depression if left untreated.

If you’ve tried the above, then make sure that you speak to someone about what you’re experiencing, whether it’s a mentor, peer group, or licensed professional. And, above all else, there’s a place at the table for everyone — no matter what your inner voice is telling you.

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How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Laurenz Kleinheider via unsplash.com

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