Based on our research, here are the habits that most great achievers seem to share.
1. Create a planning journal to:
- Identify a purpose and write affirmations
- Develop a system or strategy
- Plan and schedule events
2. Create and maintain a checklist. By identifying and tracking small, finite tasks on a regular basis, you build a record of your daily habits that you can easily review.
3. Experiment with audio and video journaling. Experimentation is always a powerful way to keep thinking and growing, and audio and video are powerful media for both expressing your ideas and seeing yourself as others see you.
- Pick an area in which you want to succeed and keep trying new approaches. For example, a video camera helps you practice the communication skills that are critical in meetings and interviews. This level of skill and confidence puts you far ahead of people who don’t take the time to prepare.
- Audio and video are ideal media for recording and sharing thoughts with a depth of detail and feeling that doesn’t always come through in the written word.
4. Assignments (even when self-assigned) help you focus on a specific goal and give you a sense of purpose to complete something.
- When team members receive the same assignment, collaboration and coordination are much easier.
- When results are routinely expected, it can improve your focus and commitment in everything you do, whether personally or as part of a team.
5. Books and other resources are critical to ongoing professional growth. Studies have proven that continued learning can be very impactful in achieving greater success.
- Keep a list of the books, websites, videos, blogs, seminars, conferences, workshops, and courses that are helping you deepen your knowledge and expand your professional horizons.
- As with any other kind of journal, a personal resource list helps you review what you’ve learned and reminds you of the direction in which you want to progress.
- Share your resource list with your team or mentor. It’s a great way to highlight your interests, demonstrate your initiative, and invite further ideas and suggestions when others share their resource lists with you.
6. Reflection is a powerful practice on the road to self-improvement. This is when you look at what you’ve accomplished and how effectively you’ve done it. While many businesses use reflection as a key element of their annual performance reviews, our research shows that it can be helpful on a more frequent and less formal basis. This is another benefit of the list-making habits we’ve already discussed.
- Reflecting on your planning journal lets you revisit your initial purpose and strategy to see if you’re still on track.
- Reflecting on your checklist shows what your daily focus has been, which tasks are taking the most time, and areas of improvement that become so obvious in hindsight.
- Reflecting on assignments provides case-by-case examples of how effectively you’ve been acting on your purpose and strategy.
- Reflecting on your personal resource list lets you review the things that you’ve made an effort to learn, and also how that growth has affected your job performance.
- It’s easy to share your well-documented reflections with mentors or team members, especially if you’re already in the habit of communicating with them regularly.
7. Conversation, especially when it’s deep and honest, can be an important part of professional growth.
- Like reflection, a good conversation focuses your thinking on goals and accomplishments.
- It strengthens your relationship with colleagues and mentors while serving as a medium for exchanging ideas, solving problems, and collaborating.
- We recommend face-to-face conversation whenever possible, but real-time telecommunication is also effective in savoring the shared humanity that makes this affirmative experience possible.
8. Build a resume as you go. Yes, professional growth can be personally rewarding, but it’s helpful to document where you’ve been as you look forward along your chosen career path.
- You can start telling your professional story from any point that you want.
- You can focus on the direction in which you want to grow and start building experience in that area.
- Stay in contact with the people that you’ve helped and impressed. Their words are worth a lot.