The media loves to trumpet overnight success, but there is always a back story of blood, sweat and tears. The journey from amateur to professional and the path to elite performer can be daunting. How can you ensure you succeed in your quest for success? We provide six hacks you can use to gain elite performer status and become a high achiever.
1. Set a guiding principle and just start
As daunting as your quest may seem, you need to take the first step or you will never get closer to your destination. You may not have mapped out the entire journey. You may not know exactly where your quest is taking you.
But just start.
Take one small step forward, and then another.
Before you know it, you will have established something unique that the world has never seen.
As you start on your quest, ask yourself a transformational question. This will become your guiding principle.
It will kick start your passion and give you the impetus to take that first step.
For Odysseus the question was, ‘where is true home?’
What is your transformational question?
2. Aim for regular milestones, achievable annually
There are no overnight successes. Nor will the answers to your transformational question just arrive out of the blue. It will take hard work, long hours and persistence.
Your focus is on answering that big question, on achieving your goal. Yet many things can intervene and sway you off course. To ensure you remain in pursuit of your goal set some smaller milestones you can achieve each year.
Every year you want there to be two to three things you feel you’ve made progress in. This prevents you from getting stuck. Some years will be better than others. By constantly moving yourself forward you will smooth out the years. You will come to view yourself as a success. This will give you the motivation to continue on your quest.
Doing this year in, year out will lead to some big wins. That’s when you will be referred to as an overnight success. At that point smile and nod, knowing that it was the little things, the small milestones that got you there.
What is your first milestone?
3. Understand the levels of competence and timing in your industry
Each industry sets expectations of how long it takes to become an elite performer. Form an understanding of what these time lines are.
In most professions or crafts there are three levels of competence: beginner, intermediate and advanced.
What can you expect to achieve in each of these phases?
Beginner – you will be parroting the insights of your influencers. Success in this phase is being able to produce a body of work that isn’t an embarrassment.
Intermediate – you will have a clearer idea of what you are doing. You may feel you’ve changed direction and wasted time. But you are always building on your experience and adding to your skill set.
Advanced – your unique voice will emerge in this phase and you will produce work that has not been seen before.
Are you prepared for the long haul?
4. Step up from performer to elite performer
Stepping up to the ranks of elite performer requires a psychological shift. This needs to be a threefold shift in you:
1. You need to come across as being relaxed. You don’t have to prove yourself anymore and you don’t want to come across as trying too hard.
2. You need to be deliberate with the things you are saying and doing.
3. You need to belong. You need to be within a space that you own. You need to feel that you are entitled to be there.
You also need to catalyse a psychological shift amongst those you engage with. They need to see that you’re not just trying things out, but you have a reason to be there. They will then take you more seriously.
At this point you’ve achieved a foundational shift. But to truly step up you need to be developing your own material. You need to come up with your own compelling thinking. You may still rely on your old influencers, but you need to be exploring new territory.
Find your authentic and unique voice. Think of yourself as a force.
Do you aspire to be a great master, to hold the universe in your palm?
5. Avoid the ruts, never feel secure
This is a long-haul. There is a possibility that you don’t push yourself enough. If this happens you will dig a deeper and deeper rut over time. You’ll need to create a breaking point and find your raw groove again.
Keep revisiting your transformational question. Check that you remain in hot pursuit of the answer. You should not feel 100% secure. If you are not somewhat scared, you will become complacent. Your inspiration will wane.
Is the fear always there?
6. Lift your game and focus
“Nothing contributes so much to tranquillising the mind as a steady purpose – a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.” – Mary Shelley
This quote sums up the point that if you want to operate at a higher level, you need to lift your game and bring focus.
There are three ways you can do this:
1. Whittle away the things that you don’t need.
2. Create a solid core of who you are both as a person and as an elite performer.
3. Become aware of your compulsions and the rabbit holes that you could scurry down. Initially you may meet these urges. You will need to leave them behind to elevate yourself to the next level.
What do you fundamentally believe, as a person, is important?
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