Are you ready to level-up? Learn about meaningful and measurable personal growth from high achievers

We all marvel at the stories of extraordinary commitment, habits, and choices of high achievers. Tom Brady’s commitment to his diet and fitness training—after winning six super bowls. Jerry Seinfeld’s habit of writing jokes every day—after achieving fame, acclaim, and fortune. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s choice to maintain a cardio and strength-training regimen—after becoming a Supreme Court Justice and continuing into her late 80s.

These extraordinary people display personal characteristics and habits that we can all emulate, learn, and practice—(1) clarity of goals and purpose, (2) the knowledge and network to help them through their journey, (3) the personal discipline to make the right choices constantly, and (4) the fortitude and mental toughness to stick to their plan even after achieving success.

1. Clarity of Goals and Purpose motivates high achievers to grow and improve. They set goals that are clear, measurable, and meaningful to themselves and others. For example, goals that are SMART—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based—enable them to constantly evaluate their progress and toe a hard pass-fail line between reaching and failing to reach their goal. Their progress is only “good enough” when it’s clearly leading toward their goal. When it’s not, they make choices to adapt and improve to get themselves back on track.

2. Building the knowledge and network to help them in their journey is how high achievers get ahead. They are curious to understand what it takes to be the best and what lessons they can learn from people with similar goals, achievements, and aspirations. They seek practical information and experiences from those with firsthand knowledge to properly prepare themselves for the realities of what it will take to succeed. They seek the guidance, coaching, and mentorship of experts to help train them for success. They know that ignorance and arrogance will hamper their chances, so they are open, curious, and industrious in their search for practical knowledge, lessons, and experiences that will help them be a little better every day and on pace to reach their goals on schedule.

You don’t hear high achievers lamenting about doing something. They go find out how to do it, and put the time in to understand what it will take to achieve their goals. They seek knowledge, skills, and opportunities to improve and test themselves, and people who will challenge and help them get better.

3. The discipline to make the right choice constantly is the obstacle that defeats most personal growth initiatives. Our goals are clear. We have our plans, our schedules, and our choices. We start off with great energy and intention. But after an initial burst of enthusiasm, we start to wane in our commitment to the plan and fall back into our comfort zone.

Usually, these choices happen in small ways that are easy to justify: I know I was supposed to run four miles today, but I ran three because I was sore or I wanted to get ready for a meeting at work. Sometimes we undo our progress with a personal reward system: I was doing great on my diet, so I decided to eat whatever I wanted this weekend.

Discipline requires commitment to do what you say because it is important to you. It also requires consequences, so that if you don’t follow the plan, you probably won’t reach your objective. And it requires accountability that your own choices are diminishing your chances for success. Consequently, each time you make the choice to do what is necessary to keep yourself on track, you are improving your chances for success. High achievers have a higher level of discipline to make the choices necessary to succeed.

4. The resolve and mental toughness to stick with it requires fortitude to continue to put in the effort without seeing corresponding results. Transforming your habits and performance level is a process. The process can be long, arduous, frustrating—leaving you to question your efforts and commitment. This is when the highest achievers can tap into their personal reasons why they started the process and reconnect to a source of inspiration that carries them through periods of doubt and frustration.

This fortitude to drive on and drive through the dark times separates the contenders from the pretenders. They can break through their personal limitations to break out of the pack of people who wanted to be the best, but did not have what it took to do what was necessary to give themselves a chance for success. They set new personal expectations and standards and continue to look for ways to grow.

High achievers make different–better–choices to maximize their potential.

These choices of how to use their time, their energy, and their personal resources set high achievers apart in their fields and enhance their chances of success. They clarify what they want and why it is important to them. They create measurable and meaningful personal goals. They seek knowledge and a support network to position themselves for success with the right plan. They have the personal discipline to put the necessary effort into their plan. And they display the personal fortitude to push through the dark moments when others falter and quit.

These choices are evident in their success. That success is an opportunity and inspiration for all of us to think, choose, and act in a way that enables us to reach our next goal and our full potential. Are you ready to level-up?

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