There are a million articles on this cursed internet that will advise you of infinite ways to be better at your job, and while they aren’t all a total waste of time (hey, we have plenty of them here too), most of them are geared at merely getting through the workday more successfully. But what about going beyond simply “getting through” to “catapulting ahead?” We should be talking more about that because – let’s be honest – very few of small business owners start their own companies with the intention of being content with mediocrity. Most want to be the best. And – as you might’ve suspected – there are certain habits and qualities that the most effective business leaders share. We’ve pinpointed a few:
1. Evaluate long-term goals
As important as it is to keep your mind primarily focused on the tasks at hand on any given day, the most successful people are the ones who are constantly viewing those small to-dos in the context of bigger goals. Beyond that, professional trajectories are never static – always revisiting your overall direction will give you a chance to tweak your plans and expectations according to the most up-to-date information and your most relevant needs.
2. Examine short-term methods
Having a routine works for most people – and that’s awesome. Having a routine and training your brain to stick to it puts you in a great position to maximize your mental power every day. That said, don’t get too set in your ways in terms of how you perform certain functions. Whether it’s where you work, or when, what vendors or contractors you use, or any of a million other details that make your business run – stay open at all times to identifying things that could work better, and boldly branch out to try new solutions.
3. They work more – a lot more
There’s no hidden meaning here. The most motivated business leaders are leaders largely because they simply put in more hours than everyone else. There are rarely shortcuts or magic tricks to getting ahead. You just have to want it – and love it – more than anyone else. Behind every accomplished person lies a trail of many, many late nights, early mornings, and meals eaten at their desk. And they’ll all tell you it was totally worth it.
4. They think about their mistakes
Ego is a tricky thing in the business world – it can be the thing that gives you the confidence and hunger to pull ahead of the pack, but it can just as easily be the thing that prevents you from acknowledging your mistakes. The truth: Being actually confident (in the genuine way that makes people highly effectual) means accepting and embracing your fallibility. It’s about knowing that making mistakes doesn’t make you less intelligent, capable, or successful. In fact, it’s the people who love their mistakes, and examine them carefully to find the lessons and learn better for the future, who tend to go the furthest.
5. They tune out the world
It’s one thing to be aware of trends, but quite another to actually follow them, or worse still, become a slave to them. With all the noise and constant deluge of chatter and news online, sometimes the best thing you can do is unplug, check out, keep your head down and work with your ideas, not from the whims of the rest of the business crowds. It’s not that you shouldn’t keep yourself abreast of all the latest goings on of the business world – especially your industry – but don’t stay too piped in for too much of the day. Running with the crowd is no way to get ahead of them.
6. They think of the end to find the beginning
Figuring out where to start – whether it’s in a big picture sense or concerning a specific task – is sometimes tricky work. The most on-their-game individuals develop a plan by thinking about where the end is, and figuring out the most direct way to get there. Once you do that, your first move is often readily apparent, and is much more likely to put you in the actual direction you want to go.