How to be a Top Performer at whatever you do

In my experience I have observed that top performers, regardless of the industry, share the following in common:


1. Hyper focus on their craft


2. Long hours, think about their goals and ways to improve way beyond the 9 to 5. Just no way around this.


3. Demand the best of themselves


4. Constantly tweak their skills for even better results


5. Have a general optimistic view of their life and future


6. They know when to actually relax. Take the time for them only that has nothing to do with work.


7. They never give up–persistence, persistence, and persistence.


8. Listen and learn from others who know more than they. They are sponges–take in all the info they can and apply it to make themselves better.


BUT they also:


1. Know how to take set backs


2. They are not perfectionists


3. Emotionally they get hit when something negative happens but they let it wash over them as quickly as possible and then they re-focus. They rarely let the negative emotions take over because acting on them will always result in poor performance–this is especially true in sports. This is why the best athletes are so relaxed-looking despite their intensity. eg., Roger Federer, Wayne Gretzky


4. Are very brave. This is perhaps the MOST important quality. Top performers are risk takers by definition. What I mean is that being at the top or near the top is scary.  Falling down from a curve is safer than a mountain. Top performers have to get comfortable with their place at the top and manage their fear of failure. They must feel in control of their world even when there are temporary disruptions.


In our immigration business, when something bad happens such as refund requests from clients, negative reviews (very rare I might add :)), slow week at sales, HR issues etc., a Top Performer knows that this is part of the mix and will always be. But these negative things are just road bumps that can be managed with good driving; they are not road blocks.


An average performer will get distracted by this stuff and never get to their destination.
Top performers see negative events as secondary, annoyances, things to manage but never road blocks to their goals. They tackle the challenges in creative ways and turn them into positive opportunities to make them even better.


Remember when we have a challenge, so do our competitors. That means if we solve it first and better, that challenge becomes an asset for two reasons:


 1. it distances us from the competition because we solved it and they didnt (they are still stuck in the mud) 2. In solving it, it automatically improves our business regardless.


That is how top performers look at challenges. They turn them around.


The VAST majority of people are average performers. eg. lots of Indians and very little Chiefs. And you don’t have to be the owner or CEO etc to be a top performer. Milos Raonic is the top Canadian tennis player but doesn’t own Tennis Canada. You can be a Top Performer in your own space and leave the other stuff to performers in other areas.


Point is that in order to stay on top, there is a special mentality that has to be nurtured, improved upon and become second nature in order to stay on top. Pure skill just isnt enough. There are lots of people with talent that never gets realized and once realized they don’t have to character to sustain themselves.


So in summary:


The formula is: talent + a winners mentality = success.


Whatever your craft, your profession, you can be a top performer if you do your homework.


This is dedicated to a “Top Performer” I have personally had the privilege to see grow
Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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