12 Habits of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs

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Habits shape who we are as well as our performance in life. They are the foundation on which we build our professional success and personal happiness. Success is something that most career-driven individuals seek, but not everyone manages to reach. So what makes some people successful while others aren’t?

The answer is passion, beliefs, flexibility, attitude, and habits. As a society, we like watching each other’s routines, and even more so if they happen to be successful entrepreneurs.

Have a look at some of the interesting and inspirational habits of highly successful people, and hopefully along the way you’ll learn how to improve your daily mindset and morning routine for a brighter future.

1. Wake up early

That’s right – successful entrepreneurs are morning people, with most rising not much later than 5:30am, even on weekends. The CEO of Disney wakes up every morning at 4:30am, while PepsiCo’s CEO rises at 4:00am to be in the office no later than 7:00am.

Why? Because time is an invaluable asset, and it’s no secret that your brain works better during the first few hours of the day. So the earlier you wake, the more productive hours you’ll have. It also means they have more time to do things that matter to them, such as exercising or having breakfast with the kids before work.

2. Exercise

If you take care of yourself you’ll have what it takes to take care of your business. Exercising keeps you fit, healthy, strong, happier, and energised for the new day ahead, and this is something entrepreneurs seem to know very well. Even on their busiest days they manage to make time for exercise, and even meditation, usually in the morning right after they wake.

Richard Branson swims laps every morning on his private island, followed by a kitesurf (if the wind is appropriate), and finishes it off with a tennis match. Jack Dorsey, CEO and co-founder of Twitter, wakes up early to meditate before jogging 10km, while fashion designer Tory Burch walks for 45 minutes a day.

3. Have consistent morning routines

Starting your day calm and relaxed, with a plan, is the best way to get things done. Avoid having the first hours of your day in a pace of constant change. This is key to avoiding all the stresses life throws your way (emergencies, calls, emergencies), and enjoying those first few hours to yourself.

This is why routines are helpful. They can be extremely effective in keeping you focused and feeling in control, while keeping life’s stresses at bay. Whatever your routine is – meditation, exercise, reading – make sure you maintain it.

Arianna Huffington meditates for 30 minutes a day after waking, and Mark Zuckerberg wakes up at 8:00am and wears the same t-shirt every day so as to not lose time deciding on what to wear.

4. Doing the harder task first

As our brains are sharper in the morning, it’s the best time to try and do that dreadful task we don’t really want to do; the most difficult one. Do it in the morning, and get it out of the way as quickly as possible so as to carry on a sense of success for the rest of the day. This will help you feel more motivated as you tick off the other, easier tasks on your list.

5. Schedule family time

Most entrepreneurs start their business as a way to provide for their families, and so trying to not forget that is an important way of maintaining focus on what’s really important to you. President Obama, for example, sits down for dinner with his family every night. Other business people decide to leave their phone at the door when they enter the house after work, or religiously drive their kids to school every morning and make them breakfast.

6. Encourage feedback

Successful people know they may not always be right, and that’s why to them any feedback is valuable. You may have a good idea, but perhaps someone has a way to improve on it. It’s not about who comes up with the idea, but what’s actually better for your business.

Improving communications with partners and having casual conversations where you can ask for feedback can also be beneficial in keeping the other party involved and interested in the project. Remember, you’re all working for the same goal.

7. Write a to-do list the night before

Some highly successful people write their to-do list every evening before going to bed, after reviewing what they have achieved throughout the day. This leaves them prepared and ready for new tasks, always prioritising what’s more important.

Some entrepreneurs write actions that their team needs to achieve in order to go through the to-do list more efficiently.

8. Turn obstacles into power

It’s hard to see the silver lining for an obstacle, but the truth is that good can come out of any experience if we fight hard enough to find it. After all, many of the bestselling novels, movies, and songs come from places of pain and sadness, and entrepreneurs know this too. You will face setbacks and tough times, and even on a daily basis you may face little (or big) issues that may seem threatening, but you need to keep going and remind yourself that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

9. Write a journal

Keeping a journal helps high achievers to track their progress, set goals, and learn from past experiences. You’ll find how writing the activities you did on a particular day, and what you wanted to do (but couldn’t) will help you to be better next time. It also makes it easier to reflect and capture what’s important, and allows you to experience the liberation of writing on an actual notebook with an actual pen and having a little break from technology. If Oprah, Eminem, and JK Rowling do it, it may be worth a try.

10. Eat healthy

Simon Cowell, creator and judge of X Factor, has papaya juice, tea, oatmeal, and three smoothies every morning for breakfast. Richard Branson wakes up to a fruit salad and muesli, while Justin Timberlake has protein and eggs.

We all know that eating healthy doesn’t mean starving yourself. It just means eating well, choosing more protein over high carb foods, and having a hearty breakfast that will give you energy for the day ahead.

11. Walk/work

How about a little change from the boardroom scenario? Being successful is all about efficiency and concentration, no matter what’s going on around you. To achieve that, some entrepreneurs take on ‘walking meetings’, or even ditch their comfortable chairs and work on a treadmill desk. Former Google CIO and current ZestFinance CEO Douglas Merrill practices this religiously, and ends up walking roughly 13km a day.

12. Have a rest

If you end up working 16 hour days, 7 days a week, your body will shut down. Successful people know that the key for a prosperous week is a prosperous weekend. Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter, religiously takes Saturday off, often to hike, and dedicates Sundays to reflecting, getting feedback, and planning for the new week ahead.

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