The 1 skill you need to be a top performer

  Photo by  Miguel Salgado  on  Unsplash

Do you know the most requested topic from the 220 Community for 2018?

The psychology of top performers.

This got me excited because it's something Joseph and I think about, talk about, consume and teach all day long.

I'm starting off the topic by addressing the most consistent skill we've found among top performers:

You need the courage to lean into fear

"Everything you want is on the other side of fear." -Jack Canfield

I know this because in addition to my 12+ years of research, experience has taught me that:

1. In situations when I confronted my fears and took action, the outcome was extremely positive.

Whether it was in school, networking, entrepreneurship or asking a girl out, even if the result was a "failure," that led to knowledge or experience that made me successful later on.

Can you think of some your defining moments? Most likely, you had to overcome fear to take action.

I still remember how scared I was as a college freshman pitching my leadership camp to a principal I'd never met.

Or how nervous I was when I told my bosses I was leaving banking to start 220.

But I went through with them. And they changed my life forever.

The truth is, and you know this [FIRST NAME GOES HERE], nothing extraordinary ever comes from backing down in these moments. Nothing life-changing happens from passively sitting on the sidelines, hoping for some opportunity to present itself.

So accordingly...

2. My greatest regrets are when I backed down or didn't act.

I consider these missed opportunities. I didn't do everything in my power to produce the desired or potential outcome. Now I'll never know what could have been.

It's not easy to lean into fear, but that's why it's the most common trait among top performers.

Think about every well-known entrepreneur, athlete, artist, actor, celebrity or inventor.

At some point, they had to take a huge risk by showing their stuff.

  • They had to pitch their idea
  • They had to make a controversial business decision
  • They had to play in front of a scout or prestigious coach
  • They had to sing in a competition
  • They had to showcase their art or invention
  • They had to audition for a role

And most of them failed. Multiple times.

But it either forced them to get better, or led to another opportunity that eventually helped them achieve their goals.

The 5 steps that help me improve my courage

  1. Improve your awareness of these fears. I started journaling about and tangibly identifying my fears. It's humbling and a powerful first step to actually name your fears. I also started practicing mindfulness when the fear is present so I can recognize and get more comfortable with the feeling.
  2. Recognize the other side of fear isn't that bad. When I actually lay out the worst possible scenarios, I always realize that the outcome I fear is way worse in my head than it is in reality. More than that, I can probably decrease the likelihood of it happening or prevent it altogether.
  3. Seek out opportunities to attack your fears. If I'm not, I've realized I'm probably not doing anything impactful. This encourages me not to wait for opportunities to be bold, but to actually create them.
  4. Be bold. When I create those opportunities, I force myself to be bold. To take a chance on myself. I tell myself I'm worth it, and I owe it to the world.
  5. Repeat. Repetition has stretched my abilities so that I can keep challenging myself and consistently achieve new levels of success.
"No matter how successful we are as human beings, there's always another level. And to get there, we have to be honest with ourselves about our unconscious fears." -Tony Robbins

P.S. If there is one thing we've learned about success, it's that living your ultimate life is about overcoming obstacles. If you haven't already, check out our 7-Day Challenge. 7 emails to help you overcome the 7 most challenging obstacles faced by young professionals.