When it comes to success, it often seems like an unsurmountable goal or unsolvable puzzle. What, exactly, does it take to attain success in a career? And what can you do to increase your chances of success? It’s often helpful to gain advice and wisdom from those in leadership positions. Bob Dickie shares his insights in the seven most important daily activities that can lead to a path to success.
1. Win the Day
While most people seek to “start the day off on the right foot,” I prefer the term “win the day”. For me, winning the day means getting up early and being in a mode where I feel like I’m in control and I’m taking proactive, actionable steps to set myself up for success.
There’s a huge difference between waking up early and taking definitive action towards a goal versus sleeping in, missing my alarm and waking up late at say 7 or 8 a.m. When I wake up late, I feel stressed out and behind. It’s like the world is already moving a million miles a minute, and I’m trying to catch up. That isn’t a good feeling. Instead, I wake up early—which for me is around 5 a.m. and I make it a routine. When I wake up at this time every day, I feel like I’m better set up from the get-go to take control of the day and “win it”.
2. Be Mindful
Whether you’re a CEO or a stay-at-home mom or dad, there are always going to be stressful times. It can be the stress of raising kids, or the stress of leading an organization. When we’re not mindful, it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day stress and lose track of our values and what’s important in life.
I like to start out my day with prayer and meditation. I’m a person of faith, so I like to read my Bible and make time for reflection. It helps me remember my values and to think about what is important and central in my life.
When you’re mindful of your values throughout the course of the day, it enables you to stay true to those values. We live in a day and age where there is so much tension in the world. When I start my day off with prayer and meditation, I find that I’m more led by my values. It allows me to have more empathy, compassion and a soft answer as opposed to a harsh answer, and be someone who is less critical of others. I don’t lose my temper as much. And these are all character traits that are extremely important in successful leadership.
3. Read The Wall Street Journal
No matter where I’m at globally, I religiously read The Wall Street Journal. I still like to get the physical paper because I like to hold it in my hand, but I also have the digital format that I read on my phone, iPad or laptop. I read it basically cover to cover and flip through and find articles that I feel are pertinent to me, my company or my industry. The articles that I feel that I want to have access to in the future I save with an app called Pocket. Through Pocket, I highlight the article and save it so when I’m flying somewhere and preparing a speech I can think back, like, “hey, there was this article on the global economy and relevant data.”
It’s helpful to constantly build this reservoir of data to have access to. Leaders today need to be well-read and well-versed not just in their own industry, but in other industries, and know what is going on around the world. For me, it’s important that I’m able to carry on conversations on a wide range of topics, and I find reading to be helpful. This is something I picked up when I was in high school. I started getting a global newspaper that had names of places and leaders and discussed policies and economic surveys. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it at first, but I stuck with it and muscled through it until I began to understand. Now that I’ve been doing this for 20 years, it’s enabled me to have a good grasp on what’s going on around the world. It helps me as a leader.
4. Have a Thirst for Knowledge
I’m an avid reader outside The Wall Street Journal, so I’m always reading a book for continuing education. I typically read in the morning and evening, and as I read, I take notes. I like to use Evernote so I can have those notes with me wherever I go.
Since in the evenings I like to come home and just relax and decompress, reading at night is a helpful way to shut down for the day before bed. And in the mornings, I use reading for study and preparation.
5. Organize Your Day
It’s helpful to start the day with a plan and to feel like I can execute that plan. I like to know what my meetings are, so I check my calendar and view my meetings—I even plan out when I’ll take lunch. It gives me a game plan for the day. For instance, is it going to be a long day? Do I have meetings that run late into the evening? It allows me to start mentally preparing. I see where my blocks of time are.
I also find lists beneficial so I know what to get accomplished and start checking them off. My three-ring binder or notebook always has action items at the top and I like to number them out and check them off throughout the course of the day. I prioritize my number one items for the week. It can be very easy to get into a day and be busy and be running here and there, but at the end of the day realize the one big priority did not get done. So that’s where I’ll go through and prioritize what I absolutely have to get done and then anything else is just icing on the cake.
6. Take Care of Your Body
As an athlete at the University of Tennessee in track and cross-country, and then competing as an athlete with the Air Force, I understood how important it was to properly fuel my body to attain optimal performance. A proper diet is critical. This isn’t just true for athletes to be successful, it’s true for business leaders and executives. Leaders are in a high-paced, high-stress environment and must be all-star performers.
While athletes need stamina in their muscles and bodies to perform, business leaders need to think quickly and clearly, be focused and solve difficult problems. Your mind actually burns more calories than any muscle in your body. So, if you don’t fuel your body properly, guess what? You’re not going to be able to operate at peak performance.
At Bonvera, we have a proprietary line of pharmaceutical-grade nutrition products with premium ingredients called Phyzix MD. It includes vitamins, supplements and protein powders. So, every morning, I start my day off right with a handful of vitamins and good, nutritious food. Not only does it keep me energized and focused, but the right nutrition also helps prevent disease and illness. As a leader, an illness can derail you, so it’s important to take care of your body from the inside out.
And don’t forget exercise. It’s a great way to burn off stress after a long day. And like nutrition, it’s an important part of overall health. Before I get home from work, I like to lift weights and try to do 30-45 minutes of cardio. It’s a way to destress so that when I walk in the door at home, I’m ready to fully focus on my family.
7. Be Self-Aware
In order to stay productive, focused and driven, it’s helpful to be self-aware and know what energizes you and what drains your energy. Sometimes it’s important to just take 30 minutes to an hour to be alone and decompress. By taking a break, it enables me to buckle down for the remainder of the day and be as productive as possible. Being self-aware also means knowing what to say yes to. You can’t do everything and make everybody happy. Sometimes you have to pick and choose and prioritize.
By following these seven tips, your life can be in a proactive mode instead of reactive, with better control, improved self-awareness and boosted productivity. You can’t roll out of bed in the morning without a plan and without dedication and be successful. It requires a clear path and taking hold of each day and making the most of it.
Here at Bonvera, we are proud to equip and build up leaders and entrepreneurs all over the nation. To date, we’ve helped over 20,000 people become entrepreneurs with our “business in a box” opportunity and proven education system. To learn more, talk to your Bonvera entrepreneur today or get connected to one by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.