Even if you’ve reached one of the highest and most coveted positions in your industry, it’s hard to avoid judging your accomplishments based on the accomplishments of your peers. While measuring self-worth through merit isn’t always healthy for your self-esteem, and can hamper forward momentum, taking time to examine the habits of successful professionals can be incredibly useful when setting personal goals.
To help you refine your daily habits and cultivate new ones, we’ve put together five things we know successful business leaders do daily to continue their climb to the top (and stay there).
1. They Get Enough Sleep
Getting adequate sleep and exercise are the cornerstone of a productive day. Arianna Huffington, who has an extensive bedtime routine, is an unwavering advocate of the doctor’s recommended eight hours of sleep per night. While it can be tempting to crack open your laptop and handle “just a few more emails” before bed, the improved mental clarity, memory and creativity you’ll enjoy from a good night’s rest is much more valuable.
2. They Commit to Personal Fitness
Sleep isn’t the only thing that will boost mental clarity and help you become more efficient, though. Exercise offers those same benefits, plus it boosts immune function and floods your brain with a daily dose of feel-good endorphins. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who walks away from the gym regretting exercise. And while there is no wrong time of day to get that run in, morning exercise can help give you the energy boost you need to power through the first half of your day.
Whether you prefer yoga, Pilates, CrossFit or a nice jog, just 20 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day can have a major impact on your effectiveness as a professional.
3. They are Flexible
How do palm trees manage to survive a hurricane? They bend. For top leaders, honing the ability to be flexible and pivot is critical. Whether it’s a business deal that’s not turning out as expected, a canceled flight or something as simple as a cafe running out of their favorite muffins, the best leaders know dissolving into fits of rage when something doesn’t work out isn’t productive. Instead, you must be ready to seek alternative ways to achieve your goals — and always consider other outcomes.
4. They Automate and Delegate
While it might be hard to believe, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has the same 24 hours as you. While it might seem like top business leaders have discovered a way to add twice as many hours to their day, in most cases they’ve simply found a way to work smarter. The tools they use are automation and delegation. In other words, investing in the technology that can replace menial tasks and instead using your best and brightest people in places where their talents are better suited. For example, by investing in IWMS software, you can free up your facilities management team to be more proactive about maintenance and strive toward creating more effective workspace.
5. They Know Risk = Reward
Mark Zuckerberg once told an audience of entrepreneurs, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that's changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
Successful leaders know risk is essential to moving forward in today’s business world. But they also know preparedness and sustainability are necessary counterbalances to their risks. Taking the first step off the beaten path is never easy, and tough decisions are part of leadership, but taking risks is what makes professionals into industry leaders.
Above all, the best leaders know it’s important to listen to the wisdom of others, like their employees, and to never stop learning. With knowledge comes confidence, and with confidence comes success. Those currently in the highest positions know better than to become complacent — after all, long term success requires daily attention.
Being a great leader means staying at the helm of change. Learn more in our free guide, 4 Ways Innovative Leaders Stay Ahead of the Technology Curve.