What is high performance? Why should you care? And – how do you even get there?
Get answers to each of these questions in this one post. For free.
Do you have consistent, dependable, and predictable productivity throughout your calendar? Then – you might want to close this post. But – if you have chosen to read it, there is a good chance that you are not that consistent with your performance. And, that is what brings us to this whole idea of high performance.
High performance is very simple to define – performance that delivers success beyond the expected norms, every day, and continuously for a long term. If you have time and resources to explore – please read the work of Brendan Burchard – the quintessential researcher, influencer, and coach for high performance across the globe.
If you want a quick and actionable snapshot – this post would do just fine for you.
Why Should You Give a Hoot About High Performance?
Showing up to work everyday and blocking your calendar are half the battle. And, let’s face it – everyone does it. Your colleagues, customers, competition, boss, and subordinates – everyone has a calendar and tries her best to adhere to it.
High performance puts more impetus on three key attributes:
- How do you get successful outcomes that are a level or two beyond the average?
- How do you ensure these above-average outcomes are consistent – meaning you experience them every single day?
- How do you ensure that this single day of high performance becomes a repeated habit for years and decades to come?
You might be thinking about picking up Atomic Habits or Deep Work to pivot from here. The two books and their seminal authors have done outstanding work in explaining some foundational concepts that go into building high performance.
But, Hassan Bash has practiced high performance as a trainee, coach, consultant, and executive. By deploying these concepts into his personal practice, Hassan has become:
- One of the youngest and most sought-after coaches & consultants in the United States and the Middle East who work with entrepreneurs, agency owners, consultants, and business executives.
- A chosen authority in the space of executive performance coaching with work published by CBS, NBC, and USA Today.
- The preferred executive performance consultant for over 200+ businesses across the globe.
Over the next few minutes – what you will get is a free tour of the 6 foundational habits of high performance + actionable tips on how to deploy them in your life & business – for free.
Habit 1: Seek Clarity
If someone stopped you at a random cross-section of your day and office – would you be able to answer him what exactly you are doing and how it contributes to your long-term goals?
Of course – not everything you do is a stepping stone towards your long-term goals. Some work is just admin work – things you have to do to keep the machine running. But, you can never deploy your finest resources (energy, time, and people) into resources that keep the machine running – when you have to prioritize action-items that keep the lights on. Clarity ensures you stay on track when you have to choose between the two.
In the simplest possible terms – clarity is a clear understanding of three elements:
- Who are you – as a person, decision-maker, and executive?
- Where you headed – today, this week, this month, this year, and probably this decade?
- And the next steps – between where you are and where you want to be?
How to Get More Clarity?
Here are some simple strategies you can use to get more clarity:
- Define the Future: Selling is all about the gap between your current state and future state. Every product/solution you sell should help your customer go to her desired future state from her current state. For that, you have to understand what her desired future state is. The same idea applies to your high performance – define your future.
A fine-tuned F1 car cannot win the race if the track is not defined. But, a decent Ford with an accurate GPS that has the final destination fed into it can take you where you want to be. That is the power of defining your future – explain what you want.
People make the common mistake of defining materialistic outcomes – mansions, partners, cars, and vacations. Those are decent motivators. But, they are often by-products of much larger missions or a very high quality of life. Hence, try to define this quality of life on three parameters – social relationships, skill sets, and services.
Social relationships are how you treat other people. Forget about how they treat you. (Yup. That sounds like ignorance – but, the only thing you can control is how you treat others. If they continue treating you in a way that is not congruent with what you want despite you doing whatever you can to make things work – you know the truth.)
Skill bundles are all the actionable skills you have that will take you to the next step. Skill sets are not meant for your future state. They are your future state. Focus on excellence in skills and the by-products of your desired future state will show up. Define what are the skills you need and how will you acquire them/improve them.
For example – Don’t just choose “coding” as an example. Define – frontend or backend coding, how will you learn it, how will you improve, and how will you know you are improving.
Finally – define your service. What are you giving others that helps them get to their future state? Define this well-enough and you might have a business for yourself.
- Chase the Good Feel: This might sound counterintuitive – but, dig a little deeper. Do not chase immediate gratification. Chase lasting and slow-burn gratification.
For instance – immediate dopamine releasing activities are often thrilling in the short term. But, they have a short shelf life – after this, it becomes boring. But – healthy activities leave you with a good feel even after years of input. This singular practice of identifying what activity has the power to give you a good feeling over the long run can differentiate you from the entire marketplace.
Common examples are – working out, volunteering, teaching, and even sales. Understand the good feeling. Once you have done this – go back and identify when was the last time you had this good feel? What were you doing when you got the good feel?
Incorporate more of that activity in your everyday schedule. And, boom – you will notice your quality of life going up.
- Identify Your Meaning: Let’s get this out of our way – life has no inherent meaning. You have to find projects and ideas that make it meaningful. So, you have all the agency to define what is meaningful.
Once you have identified your ideal future state and the good feel you are after – it becomes easy to find what is meaningful to you. For example – if you enjoy eating out with friends, do you enjoy eating out or do you enjoy being in the company of these friends? Answer such questions and you will have a list of behaviours that look like your own value system.
Habit 2: Generate Energy
You can alleviate your understanding of your future state, get the right skills, and even develop a service around this setup. But – if you do not have the energy to deliver around the clock, none of that will work for you.
The one common thing between executives and athletes is endurance. They have to be excellent energy managers. So, you do not spend everything at the first instance of a promise and are not drawnffff out of all your energy by EOD. You have to maintain a balanced inventory of energy.
Here is how you do it:
- Get the Basics Right – Eat, Sleep, and Work Out. You can read the works of Huberman, David Goggins, or even Layne Norton. The basic protocols of getting it right are simple – sleep for 7-8 yours during the same hours every day, work out 3-5 times a week, and have a diet rich in proteins, dietary fibres, and other necessary nutrients.
By doing this – you are ensuring that your body is producing sufficient energy to take care of your daily commitments. At the same time, this ensures that any time you are tired – it is not because you did not sleep right, eat right, or are losing your physical prowess.
The longevity, focus, discipline, endorphins, and physical appearance are brownie points.
- Get Rid of Tension and Enable Intention: Throughout your day, you are going through one activity after another. Some require high cognitive processing and some are every tasks you have ingrained in your muscle memory. You cannot carry the same frame of observation to every task.
Hence, before every task – learn how to disconnect. Ensure you are not carrying lurking stress from a previous task and are instead looking forward to the next task at hand. Relax your jaw and shoulders, take a deep breath, and smile. Do this till your frame of observation is set to the next task and not the previous one.
Now – be deliberate about what you bring to the next task. Do you have to be observant, active, creative? Decide and conquer.
- Become a Rational Optimist: Understand this – people wake up every day to make their life and their surroundings a better place. This truth has helped us a civilization thrive for thousands of years.
Much like you – people want constructive solutions. If you show up, produce value, and communicate it – things will fall into place. You don’t need affirmations. You need a deep belief in this idea that things can and will work out, as far as you meet your input metrics.
This means – when you are approaching work, you are taking the first step towards reaching your future state. That is the only reality you have to deal with in that moment.
Bring rational optimism to every task.
Habit 3: Raise Necessity
If you have ADHD – you might be already aware of this idea. You will not take things seriously unless they are have interest, novelty, challenge, urgency, or passion.
People with ADHD have a form of time-blindness. They perceive the passage of time somewhat differently than neurotypicals. And, hence – they pick tasks only when there is no other option left but to pick them up.
The same applies to neurotypicals as well. How many times have you avoided a task just because you are too scared to fail or because you find it boring? Instead of trying to wait for your whims to find the interesting, novelty, challenge, urgency, or passion – learn how to raise the necessity of the task for yourself.
Why is this mission-critical – once you learn how to answer that question for yourself, you will acquire a definitive sale skill – how to raise necessity among your prospects and buyers. This one skill can help you increase the velocity of your pipeline, disqualify prospects who will never buy from you, and find your quickest way to cash.
(Want to learn what is the quickest way to cash for your business? Click here to book a call with Hassan and ask him directly!)
How to Raise Necessity?
Here are some tools you can use for yourself and your prospects to raise necessity:
- Who needs your A-Game? Let’s face it – filing taxes might never be interesting. But – you have to do it so you don’t end up tipping the IRS. The same applies to every menial task sitting on your calendar. It is neither important nor urgent. But, it is required.
The common thing among such tasks is that if you do not address them today, they will snowball into a monstrosity and come to chase you later. Have enough of these snowballs and your days will go into admin work instead of walking down the quickest way to cash.
The problem is – it is very difficult to visualize why should you do this, unless you have burnt your fingers a few times and have experienced the pain of not doing the tasks in time. If you want to avoid that mistake before making it – ask yourself – who needs my A-GAME today?
Your spouse, children, mentors, employees, clients, CPA, competitors, community, parents, family, friends, neighbours, high school crush – pick anyone you deeply care about. Find out what that person would feel if she gets to know that you are slacking on your core responsibilities and not putting your A-GAME to use. That will help you find a motivator for everything that looks menial, unimportant, and not so urgent.
- Go Back to Your Why: At this point, we have not talked about the future state for a while. So – plug that in – that is the final destination. And, now use your rational optimism – this will work. If you have seen affirmations work – this is the exact reason why they do. You have to back them with a certain vision, put in the work, and operate with rational optimism.
Add your Who needs my A-Game with your Why and you will be able to tackle the most boring tasks with great ease.
- Find Your Support Group: The reason why Alcoholics Anonymous, Mastermind Groups, and Bootcamps work is because they have pro-social assets. When you do good – the whole group is proud of you. When you revert to old practices – you let down the entire group. And, these are not people who are above or beneath you – they have journeys identical to yours.
Create your support group of colleagues, associates, and mentors who can hold you publicly accountable. They can be a part of your A-Game squad. But, this group will help you find tips & tricks, give you the validation you need, and empathize with your challenges. Sometimes, you cannot get those three from a partner or a family member – and, that is fine. They already do so much for you!
Habit 4: Increase Productivity
Work life balance is a myth in your 20s, 30s, and sometimes – even in your 40s. For some reason – people believe that 50% of time spent at work and 50% with your loved ones is great work life balance. That is hogwash dressed as well-intentioned but toxic advice.
Unless you have access to some unique resources – assume that you will not be spending 50% of your waking hours with your family. And, that is Ok. The people you care about and who care about you will always understand that the quality of time matters way more than the quantity of time.
Show up when they need you and spend quality time. There are 12 domains of life. Prioritize the ones that matter to you and allocate “quality” (not quantity) time to them:
- Intimate Relationships
- Social Life
- Education & Training
- Recreation & Fun
- Spiritual Growth
- Community Life
- Physical Self-Care
Once you know where do you want to spend quality time – it’s time to get to work.
How to Be More Productive?
Here are three things you can do to be more productive:
- Focus on Quality Input Metrics: You might have noticed – in service businesses, great sales is often a direct multiple of great outreach. Great outreach is a product of quality conversation x number of conversations. Number of conversations – hence – is a quality input metric. If sales matter to you – number of conversations matter to you and this is something you can easily measure and control.
Identify such input metrics and be ruthlessly obsessed with them. You will notice that procrastination does not stand in your way – when you focus on activities that matter to you.
- Next 5 Moves: Never have a meaningless empty block on your calendar. Take your breaks to recharge. But – do not have empty blocks for no reason. Identify your next big 5 moves. Break down each move into 5 projects. Each project into activities, deliverables, and deadlines. Focus majority of your energy on these big moves. Everything else should be outsourced.
Example : You are the owner of a new social media agency and your future state is to be in the top 1% of your niche. That would mean – having top 1% of clients every month (or having 1% revenue share every month – but that would require you to productize your service. That’s a different convo.)
Getting top 1% accounts might require you to bring in complementary services on one platform – graphic designing, SEO, copywriting, events, and social media marketing. You can bring collaborators, hire freelancers, or learn the basics to deliver the other services.
Next five projects can be – learn SEO, hire a copywriter, make a list of graphic designing freelancers, and collaborate with an events producer. Learn SEO can be broken down into key skills – on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and keyword research. Add courses, mentors, deadlines – and, you have working vertical in the next 5 moves.
- Get Insanely Good at Core Skills: As the example above shows – if you are not good at social media marketing, the other skills might not help a lot. Be an absolute killer at your core skill. Then – identify skills that complement what you do – communication, problem-solving, systems thinking, project management, team management, and negotiations. Bundle that with very specific technical skills that will help you become a specialist in your domain – industry focus, financial analysis, coding, video production, etc.
You are now on the trajectory of Progressive Mastery. Focus on having stretch goals (what you can achieve + 10% more), identify the key input factors, schedule practicing hours, and seek feedback.
Bonus: Once you have mastered at least one vertical, teach others.
Habit 5: Develop Influence:
So far, everything we have discussed focuses on one element – you. Now, we shift gears and see how you can impact others.
This does not mean the other habits do not influence others. The habits listed here have more direct influence on others.
In case you need it – influence is the ability to enable people to make mutually beneficial decisions. Yes – mutually beneficial – that is what makes it different from gaslighting and manipulation.
How to Develop Influence?
Unlike pop psychology tricks like affirmations and power poses that have been long debunked as myths, developing influence can be a simpler framework.
A framework makes you more adaptive and lets you create solutions specific to your situation, instead of throwing random words and expecting everything to move the needle.
Here is how you get started with developing influence:
- Teach People How to Think: Greatest salespeople are not selling a product. They are selling a solution. The difference is – at some point, the customer has to learn how to use the solution and this might require many changes in her existing workflow.
That is what makes great sales people sound exactly like personal advisors and consultants. They teach people how to think. This often means they have to come from the outside, conduct their research, and oppose the prospect’s thinking. If that sounds familiar – this is what The Challenger Sales model does.
Here is how you can do it too:
- Start with a problem hypothesis: Generally when we speak with Prospects, they have a problem X1 or X2. Which one do you have?
- Reframe + Challege: So – then – how do you deal with X2 without worrying about X3 and getting Y1 benefit instead? (Push their thinking away from the usual process.)
- Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt: (Use numbers and case studies to show this) How is not getting Y1 benefit/solving X2 problem creating problems for you – historically, financially, personally.
- Same Story: Provide more case studies.
- Ideal Solution: Here is what the ideal solution would look like. (List the common features of your solution.)
- Your Solution: List the unique advantages of your solution.
And – there you have a sales process that pushes the prospect to be challenged. With enough skill, you will also take control of the sales timeline, budget, and decision-making process.
- Challenge People to Grow: You can use the Challenger Sales Model to ask questions to every single person around you. Sometimes, the problem is not that they cannot see the solution. The problem is – they do not see the problem and most definitely are not motivated to solve the problem.
This can be a result of a general lack of self-awareness. You – being the rational optimist – can change this. Help people see the outside-in perspective to figure out the next steps – why they are positioned to get through?
If you can make yourself an inseparable part of their growth journey – that is just additional benefits for everyone!
- Be a Role Model: The idea of do what I say not what I do may work in theory. In applied scenarios, people look at it as hypocrisy.
So – while you push people into taking action, you have to be the one who showcases the same values to display for others. Many people never had the right role models in their lives. When you change that – you install yourself in their growth journey.
That is what makes the finest entrepreneurs so successful – they attract talent, customers, suppliers, and even investors. When people see something great in other people that they lack, they want to be closer to it.
Habit 6: Demonstrate Courage
Courage and fearless are not the same idea. Courage is action in the face of fear. You know you are scared but you choose to take step forward – that is courage.
Your greatest heroes, idols, and role models who display courage are all scared. They have learnt how to not let the courage take over their action-plan. And, in the due course of becoming a high performance executive – you have to do the same.
How to Demonstrate Courage?
Here are three skills you can develop to show courage:
- Respect the Struggle: Jonah Hill’s recent Netflix documentary Stutz lays this out for everyone – pain, constant work, and uncertainty are three constants of life. Use that to your advantage. Before you tell others, understand how to respect the process, inputs, and constant uncertainty that comes till you reach the final stages.
- Shar Your Story: The most admired art often admires the subtle imperfections in people. This is because people love to see an underdog story. The most common story arc is the Hero’s Journey – and it explains how the protagonist fights an internal/external demon to reach the final chapter. The same applies to you. People want to see your struggle, learn from it, and emulate it in their lives. So – document it and share it.
- Find Someone to Fight For: On some days, no matter how hard you try, you will not be able to get up and follow your schedule. One more time – this is where you ask – who needs my A-Game? The greatest fights are often the ones we fight for others.
The Conclusion: Checklist of High-Performance Habits
- Define the future state – the social relationships, skillsets, and services you aspire to have/offer.
- Chase the good feel (the good feeling that is sustainable.)
- Identify your meaning – what makes an action meaningful for you? This is the action that results in your good feeling.
- Get the basics right – eat, sleep, and work out.
- Get rid of tension between tasks. Channel intention when approaching a new task.
- Become a rational optimist.
- Ask – who needs my A-Game today?
- When you cannot find the energy to move – go back to your why (Future State + Good Feel + Meaning)
- Find your support group.
- Focus on quality input metrics.
- Plan your next 5 moves (1 move = 5 big projects; 1 project = deliverables + deadlines)
- Get insanely good at your core skills – communication, problem-solving, systems thinking, project management, team management, and negotiations.
- Teach people how to think.
- Challenge people to grow.
- Become a role model.
- Respect the struggle.
- Share your story.
- Find someone to fight for.
Does that sound like a tough mountain to climb for you? It is. The entire checklist is a bunch of instructions you can use to take your first step towards high performance.
But – if you are a C-Suite executive, coach, consultant, agency owner, or entrepreneur – you need a lot more than a checklist to get to high performance. You need personalized tools, accountability, and advice. That is what I deliver with my Masterminds and 1-on-1 programs.
Maybe it is for you. Maybe, it’s not. We can find out by connecting on a free call. Click here to find some time on my calendar.
My goal is to make these the most productive 45 minutes of your life. See you on the other side 😊