Monday, February 28, 2005

Peak Performers Get More Done!

(Author unknown)

In the long run, performance counts. In fact, only the things we actually DO really matter. The things we DO are how our lives are measured.

Generally speaking, our intentions do not count. The road to failure is "paved with good intentions." Even our values do not matter until and unless they are ACTED upon.

In the end, only performance counts.

Genius and education do not count - we all know bright, highly educated people who have made a mess of things. Our plans and hopes do not count, and even our faith counts for very little in this world. I recall a critical comment about a well-intentioned but ineffective friend who was described as "so heavenly minded she's no earthly good."

The key to success is knowing where to focus and how to get extraordinary results from our ordinary daily efforts.

Yes, of course I believe in genius and luck and good fortune, but the winners in life have all worked very hard. Whatever genius Einstein and Edison and Dickinson and Madam Currie brought to the game of life, they also WORKED very hard!

The key to unusual success is knowing WHAT to work on, knowing WHERE your talents give you the opportunity to make a HUGE difference. The key is not just working hard - everyone does that. Nor is the key found in ambition or desire - everyone has that.

The key is leverage, focus, patience, perseverance and persistence PLUS an element of genius (we all have that, as well) and effort. Archimedes said that with sufficient leverage he "could move the world", and through his ideas, he did! There is no force on earth "as powerful as an idea whose time has come" and fortunately, we all have powerful ideas!

Here are some practical suggestions to quickly maximize your results:

1. Clarity of purpose. Whatever it takes, know your values and your priorities. Read. Keep a journal. Get organized and stay organized. Life is short - know where you are going and what you want to accomplish!

2. Eliminate the trivial. We are all tempted to do a thousand minor tasks every day. Peak performers just say no. They pay whatever it costs to delegate or avoid distractions.

3. Learn from experts. Invest in education and get a mentor and do what successful people do. As Tony Robbins says, "Success leaves clues," and if you do what successful people do, you will get similar results.

4. Stay the course. Persistence and patience pay off. We all know the saying, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again," but the winners in life modify that. They say, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try UNTIL!"

5. Hard, hard work. Every time I recommend hard work, I get emails from people who claim that success "should be effortless," and that when we do what we love, "we'll never work another day in our lives." But Edison slept in his laboratory and Betty Friedan was famous for her 18-hour days.

I believe the "good life" is about balance. Rest and play, and family and friends are important, and vacations help us renew our spirits. One of the best things I do is to read every day, but in the end, actually getting stuff DONE is essential! Work allows us to make a difference, to achieve success, and leave a legacy. Whatever it takes, get more stuff DONE!

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