This is adapted from HBR, June 2008 Issue. The article was titled, How the Best get Better and Better". The article is based on a study done on high achievers, how they get to the top and then stay there.
Do you think you have what it takes ? Let's find out.
1) Love the pressure
Focus on your own excellence and concentrate on what you can control and forget the rest. Don't get distracted by victories of competitors. Elite performers are masters of compartmentalization, they separate different areas of their mind and do not let setbacks in one area affect the other.
Elite performers love to party but celebrating ranks ninth on their list of top 10 reasons for wanting to win.
2) Fixate on the Long term
Much of star athletes' ability to rebound from defeat comes from an intense focus on long-term goals and aspirations. At the same time they are aware that the road to long term success is paved with small achievements. Example if your long term goal is to become a senior executive in 3 years then there are several performance areas in the short term which need to be excelled
like - increasing reputation and influence among executives in other departments of the company and managing complex initiatives. To achieve that you might have to join a company wide task force and lead a complex project.
3) Use the Competition
It's common in track-and-field sports for two elite athletes from different countries to train together. Train with the people who will push you the hardest.
4) Re-invent yourself
It's hard enough getting to the top, but staying there is even harder. Have an insatiable appetite for feedback. Be hungry for advice on how to develop and progress. One word of caution, however: While it is good to feel challenged, you need to make sure that any feedback you get is constructive. If criticism doesn't seem helpful at first, probe to see if you can get useful insights about what's behind the negative feedback. Get more specifics.
5) Avoid Self-Flagellation
They do not indulge in self-flagellation. That`s not to say that they are not hard on themselves but when things go awry they dust themselves off and move on. Have an insatiable passion for honest, immediate feedback. But it must be constructive; stars don't have time for self-flagellation.
6) Celebrate the Victories
Elite performers know how to party. Reward yourself and let the rewards symbolize the hard work, commitment and dedication. Celebration is more than an emotional release. Done effectively, it involves a deep level of analysis and enhanced awareness. The most important function of affirming victory is to provide encouragement for attempts at even tougher stretch goals. Dwelling on success for too long is a distraction and, worse, leads to complacency. Celebrate - push on. At the end, getting to the next level of performance is what celebrating is about.
7) The Will to Win
Elite performers are driven by fierce desire to compete and win. Even though most of the performers in the Olympics will walk away with no medals, those with real mettle will get back into training again. That's what truly separates the elite performers from ordinary high achievers.