April 20 2018

A Book A Day #2: High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard

I came across this book from listening to a “girl boss” podcast. Brendon Burchard is a #1 New York Times best-selling author and “the world’s leading high performance coach.” His latest book, High Performance Habits, was a Wall Street Journal best-seller and named by Amazon as one of its top three best business and leadership books of 2017. So was it good? Well, I can tell you that it was long! I actually started reading this a few weeks ago, I was halfway through it so I only had to read the other half in one day. Still that took me a few solid hours. However, because it was so motivational, it felt like the time just flew by.

Brief Synopsis: High Performance Habits is the culmination of Brendon Burchard’s two decades of studying extraordinary people. “What made them succeed?,” he wondered. He dug deep and decided to write a book about six habits you need to become a high performer. Here it is: you must seek clarity, generate energy, raise necessity, increase productivity, develop influence, and demonstrate courage. (There, now you don’t need to buy the book. Kidding!)

Top 5 Quotes:

“You simply can’t beat the norms if you’ve driven yourself into the ground. As it turns out, high performers’ sustained success is due in large part to their healthy approach to living. It’s not just about achievement in a profession or in just one area of interest. It’a about creating a high performance life, in which you experience an ongoing feeling of full engagement, joy, and confidence that comes from being your best self.”

“High performers love challenges and are more confident that they will achieve their goals despite adversity.”

“Demonstrate courage by expressing your ideas, taking bold action, and standing up for yourself and others, even in the face of fear, uncertainty, threat or changing conditions. Courage is not an occasional act, but a trait of choice and will.”

“Clarity on who you are is associated with overall self-esteem. This means that how positive you feel about yourself is tied to how well you know yourself…That’s why self-awareness is so key to initial success. You have to know who you are, what you value, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and where you want to go. This kind of knowledge makes you feel better about yourself and about life.”

“Next, you need to have unambiguous and challenging goals. Decades of research show that having specific and difficult goals increases performance, whether those goals are created by you or assigned to you. Clear ‘stretch’ goals energize us and lead to great enjoyment, productivity, profitability, and satisfaction in our work.”

Adding a 6th Quote (because it’s just that good):

“The fundamentals of becoming more productive are setting goals, and maintaining energy and focus. No goals, no focus, no energy – and you’re dead in the water.”

A Good Story: Backstage at a conference that gathered 15,000 people, a girl named Aurora, an Olympics medal winner, asked Burchard,” Are you always this on?” She meant energized and happy. He asked, “Why?” She went on, “But aren’t you nervous? I feel like I’m going to be sick. I can’t keep my thoughts in order. You look so relaxed. How do you get so confident?” To which Burchard replied,”I definitely wouldn’t say I’m calm! I feel plenty of nerves, too, but I’m not really thinking about it. I’ll worry about the 15,000 when I get to them. I was just enjoying my conversation with you.” He coaches her, “You’re a champion. Now, how does this champion sitting right here in front of me want to connect with her people today?” She says, “I want to love on them. I want them to know I got a medal because of their support.” Finally, he says, “Then go love on them. Let that be your emotion. Let that be your message.” She kisses him on the cheek. “You’re right, Brendon” she says, “I’m a hundred pounds of love. Let’s go love up on these people.”

Statistics or Research:

People who set goals and regularly self-monitor them are almost two and a half times more likely to attain their goals!

Studies have shows that having a specific plan to your goal can more than double the likelihood of achieving it. (Got to plan, baby!)

We spend over 28% of our workweek managing emails and on other worthless activities, things that have nothing to do with real productivity.

Did you know that the average American watches four to five hours of television a day!?

Takeaway Tips:

Burchard talks about honoring the struggle. He sees struggle as part of growing our character. Struggles will either destroy us or develop us and ultimately that’s our choice. View struggles as stepping-stones to strength and high performance.

Live a life that’s yours. Don’t seek the approval of doubters. Express your own truth and pursue your own dreams.

Slow down, say no often and be more strategic.

Who is This Book For?:

People who are want to be the best person they can be whether that means being an Olympic athlete or a CEO.

Entrepreneurs who are trying to figure out what can make them successful.

My Biggest Takeaway: After having clarity on who you are, you must think about what you want or what your specific goals are. Then, you create a clear plan. As I was eating dinner with a friend and telling her about my business, Skylar Yoo, she asked me, “So, what’s your goal?” I was dumbstruck. Why didn’t I have goals written down? With no goals, I had no plans, which meant I just aimlessly went about my day, answering emails and trying to manage advertising campaigns. This book and that conversation made me realize that it all starts with goals. Write them down, share them with your employees, and then create plans to achieve them. As Burchard writes, “Productivity starts with goals.”

Do I Recommend This Book?: Absolutely! A lot of this book is common sense but the author makes you believe that anyone can be a high performer, you don’t have to be superhuman. You just have to develop strong habits like thinking more before acting and planning everything out, from your workouts and your meetings to your vacation time. If anything, you’ll be inspired to be the best version of yourself!


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