High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way

High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way
Category: Success
Genre: Self-Help
Publishers: Hay House, Inc.
Published: 9/19/2017
After extensive original research and a decade as the world’s highest-paid performance coach, Brendon Burchard finally reveals the most effective habits for reaching long-term success. Based on one of the largest surveys ever conducted on high performers, it turns out that just six habits move the needle the most in helping you succeed. Adopt these six habits, and you win. Neglect them, and life is a never-ending struggle.

Book Summary - High-Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard

Key Insights

Everyone knows a high performer, even if they don’t know them personally. They are the people at work whose performance outshines everyone else. Their positive energy and success make them stand out from the crowd. In short, everyone wants to be them.

Fortunately, becoming a high performer is an achievable goal. It is all about your habits. There are six key habits that help you transform your performance.

The six key habits are:


  • Exercise more to raise your energy level
  • Define your goals and what you want to achieve
  • Gain courage and take more risks
  • Stay focused and increase productivity
  • Build connections and be a positive influence on others
  • Raise the stakes and increase your performance levels


Making these habits a natural part of your daily routine can be hard. You have to commit to putting in the work and effort. But if you do, you can make the transition from ordinary to extraordinary.

Key Points

Build habits that support physical and mental health.

Becoming an extraordinary version of you requires work, both mental and physical. Maintaining overall wellness means exercising regularly and taking care of yourself.

People who are classed as high performers generally have a higher amount of energy. They also have a positive outlook that allows them to approach goals and obstacles with a belief in their own ability to succeed. Positivity and energy come from a healthy lifestyle.

There are lots of benefits to regular exercise. Obviously, you can get physically fitter. But your energy levels also go up and your stress levels go down. This enables you to have a more positive outlook.

Exercising also provides a good time to think. Studies have shown that exercise helps your mind to focus and improves your memory recall. If you want to be a high performer, like the CEO of a dynamic company, you need your mind to be in peak shape.

Whether you are going for a brisk morning walk or working out at a gym, incorporating exercise into your day is one of the most important habits for a high performer. Apart from the boost in mental clarity, exercise also serves as an energizing boost for your day. This energy helps you be more productive.

The other two components of good health are diet and sleep. Eating the right foods helps keep you energized and focused. Junk food can make you sluggish and affect your mental state.

Not getting enough rest each night is bad for your health, even with daily exercise. To have the ability to stay focused and working at a high level, resting is as important as exercising.

The best way to ensure you get enough rest each night is by reducing your caffeine intake and keeping to a regular bedtime routine. This will allow you to decompress at the end of the day and be fully rested for the next day’s challenges.

You need clarity about what you want in life.

You know you want to be successful. You have cut down on the caffeine and started exercising so why do you not feel like an extraordinary human yet? The simple answer is purpose. You cannot have a high performing, successful life if you’re not sure about what you want to achieve.

If you want to improve your performance you need to have clarity. This may seem obvious but having a clear sense of purpose is the first important step. After all, if you don’t know what you want to do, then how can you figure out how to do it?

There are four parts to gaining clarity. The first part is knowing what your goal is. If you know what you’re aiming for, then a well-structured plan will give you the drive to get there. The plan also helps you stay accountable if you feel yourself veering away from your goal.

Once you have a clear path, you can implement a set of rules to keep yourself goal-oriented. This could be something as simple as setting an early morning alarm for the same time every day, allowing yourself time in the morning to prepare properly for the day. By developing a structure to your days you are giving yourself the opportunity to focus on your long-term goals.

The second part is improving your social interactions. Throughout the day, everything you do should have a purpose. Whether you are meeting a friend or having a business meeting, there is an opportunity to make each interaction as productive an experience as possible. Strong connections help you build a robust professional network as well as a personal support system.

The third part of clarity is devoting time for developing skills and increasing your knowledge. Improving your skill set is an ongoing effort that never stops. But you also want to make sure you have the expertise to fulfill your goals. For example, if you want to be a professional musician then scheduling practice time is an integral part of achieving that goal.

The final part is helping others reach their goals. Giving to others can be energizing. When you help someone else reach their goal, it can motivate you and help you to focus on your own goals. Serving others can support your own clarity.

Get comfortable with taking risks.

In an ideal world, you could probably achieve success and stay safe in your comfort zone. There would be no risks and everything would come together with minimal fuss.

But, alas, risks are usually required for rewards. The high performing people you admire likely had to step outside of their comfort zone to achieve what they want. Becoming a high performer requires comfort with taking risks on a regular basis.

If this doesn’t sound like you don’t worry. Most high performers do not automatically become ultra-confident risk-takers overnight. The reality is that it takes practice. You may never love risk, but you’ll become better at making those career-defining decisions. Being able to take risks with confidence will become a habit.

Most people tend to avoid risk and choose to stay in their comfort zone. Just taking a few steps out of that zone makes you more extraordinary. And you’ll see the rewards as you develop this habit. Things you perceived as obstacles will now be seen as potential opportunities to learn something.

Risk-taking also makes you more open about what you are trying to achieve. Sure, this may bring in some people to criticize you. But your courage and candor may also attract people who will want to be a part of what you’re doing.

Use your time wisely by planning, avoiding distractions, and setting deadlines.

Staying focused on your goals can be tough. Throughout your day there are a number of less important tasks that demand your time. There will always be television and parties and other fun things. These all take attention away from your big priorities.

Because of these distractions, there are probably times when it’s the end of the workday and your to-do list seems just as long (or longer). To be more productive, you have to prioritize the things that matter to you before everything else.

You may be tempted to take on easy or meaningless tasks to cross things off the list. But this gives you a false sense of accomplishment. It causes you to waste time and energy with little return. Consider how much more productive you can be when you focus that energy on higher priority tasks.

To perform at a higher level, you have to become really good at planning out your time. Part of the habit of planning is eliminating unnecessary distractions. You will easily increase your productive time by doing this.

Another good habit to get into is to implement hard deadlines. Soft deadlines encourage you to underachieve. But working towards a fixed deadline helps you to stay focused and driven. As a result, you will be far more productive and perform at a higher level than without deadlines.

Goal-setting also means having realistic timeframes. If you set an unattainable timeframe, you’ll likely feel discouraged. Something that seems impossible to achieve is hard to motivate yourself to work for.

Build your influence by helping others first.

One of the biggest misconceptions about becoming a high performer is that it’s all about what you can achieve on your own. In truth, the connections you make are integral to your success. If you really want to be an extraordinary person you need to realize it's not always about you.

If you’re a high performer, you’re already brimming with confidence and positivity. How about using those abilities to influence others? If you ask people for help, you are showing that you value their abilities and believe in them. This alone can help to forge solid connections.

One of the six key habits to develop is giving your time to help others. Aiding others and praising their abilities creates a cycle of positivity. By giving other people the credit they deserve, they in turn will appreciate the things you do.

Forging strong relationships is crucial to your own success. After all, you never know when you might need coworkers to help with something that’s important to you. By helping others first, you foster relationships with people who will be more willing to help you.

Raising the stakes to be extraordinary.

When you are working towards your goal what’s your motivation? Are you striving for personal success or wealth and status? Or is there something else that’s driving you?

High performers are successful because they are not just seeking personal gain. For example, they’re doing it to help others that depend on them or are trying to reach a goal that will help a charity they support. This is known as raising the stakes. It’s an excellent habit that helps you stay motivated.

If you want to be extraordinary, simply wanting to be successful is not always enough. Whenever there is an obligation beyond your own success, you are more likely to work harder to reach your goals.

Like other high performers, you need to hold yourself to a higher standard. By committing to external obligations you are making sure you are maintaining those high standards. Because, now, you’re not the only one relying on your success.

The Main Take-away

High performers consistently have high energy and positivity. They often experience a great deal more success in their endeavors than the average person but also know how to use their abilities to benefit others.

The key to their success is the implementation of six habits in their daily routine. The six key habits are:


  • Exercise more to raise your energy level
  • Define your goals and what you want to achieve
  • Gain courage and take more risks
  • Stay focused and increase productivity
  • Build connections and be a positive influence on others
  • Raise the stakes and increase your performance levels


Unlike other self-help techniques, these habits are not instant life hacks. They take time and effort but once mastered, they guarantee a level of achievement that can be sustained.

Becoming a high performer is not impossible. If you are willing to put in the work so these habits become second nature, then you are likely to succeed in achieving your goals.

About the Author

Brendon Burchard is an author and performance coach. After surviving an accident at age 19, he became focused on living a full life. He set out to help others on the same quest as a performance coach after a career as a consultant at Accenture.

Burchard is the founder of the High-Performance Academy and the Experts Academy, which are seminars directed at entrepreneurs. He has a self-help series on YouTube and a podcast.

Burchard is considered an authority on human motivation and business marketing. He is a board member of the XPRIZE Foundation and is a member of Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul 100 group of most influential teachers.


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