Generate Your Own Success (High Performance Academy Day 1 Review)

“A power plant does not have energy, it generates it.”

Brendon Burchard

This concept is central to Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Academy. A few months back, I went to his 3-day event on the topic of high performance. Through intensive research into high performers, Brendon has defined the traits that are in high performers; he has found that the high performers are those who go and ‘just do it’. It’s not about being tired or energetic or motivated. For those who achieve things, they made them happen; they generate their own success, like a power plant.

_____ is something that you must generate. Enthusiasm, peace, happiness, success are all things that you must generate yourself. If you wait for opportunity to knock you could be waiting a very long time.

High Performance requires Desire & Discipline as well as Mindset & Methodology.

“Desire without Discipline is just Hope.”

Brendon Burchard

High Performance

“High Performance is heightened and sustained levels of clarity, energy, courage, productivity and influence.”

Brendon Burchard

Or you can reword this to say, High performers generate heightened and sustained levels of clarity, energy, courage, productivity and influence.

Clarity – Your vision. Define it and then generate it.
Energy – Don’t let it dwindle. You must generate your own energy.
Courage – Be bold and make decisions. Don’t take too long to make decisions as you could miss out on opportunities.
Productivity – Get stuff done, but make sure it is the right things that you are getting done.
Influence – High performers have a different level of influence on the people they interact with. They influence people, society and the world.

Some interesting take-aways from the first day of his 3-day event include:

  • You don’t know what you need, or else you would already have it/be there. (Remember, you generate what you want so you must know what you want first to be able to get it.)
  • Nothing will change unless you change it.
  • If your efforts are not working then you just need more training.
  • If you want it, create it. For example, If you want more meaningful moments with loved ones, create them.

Generating Change

One other factor to keep in mind is that internal motivation is often not enough. You need to have something to fight for, a greater cause for those you care about.

Steps to Become A High Performer

To raise your levels of performance you need to be tracking yourself and studying your metrics. Brendon recommends taking a daily measure of your score and a weekly review of your high performance scores.

Each day, you should stop and take account of your current energy on each of these areas. Then ask why or how you can change them.

Each week, record these scores on a scale of 1-10 and also track the reason why.

Clarity (1-10)
Energy (1-10)
Courage (1-10)
Productivity (1-10)
Influence (1-10)

Why these numbers? Why not higher? What can I do to improve my score?

A fellow High Performance Academy attendee created an easy to use Weekly Evaluation Spreadsheet. Visit his website to download the file.

This is just part one of a several part series on this High Performance Academy. Next post: Productivity.

Getting More Done with Less Stress – Increasing Your Willpower in Business and in Life

Guest blog by Sunil Bhaskaran, Chief Innovative Strategist,

Willpower – a Problem and an Opportunity for You

One of the top things that people report as a personal weakness is their lack of self control i.e. their ability to withstand distractions or impulses.  This has become ever more critical today with the vast and almost endless series of distractions.  One study [1] showed people (men and women) spending a quarter of their waking hours resisting desires.  The most commonly resisted desires included the urge for leisure and playing instead of doing a piece of work.  The urge for sex was interestingly found to be just a little ahead of other distractions like checking email, social networking sites, website checking, watching TV etc!   When people tried to resist a desire, they succeeded only 50 percent of the time.

You can begin to imagine the impacts of lost time, productivity, money.. hopes, goals and dreams due to a lack of self control.

But there is hope!

If there is a problem or challenge, there is usually a corresponding opportunity – the opportunity may be for you to increase willpower for both yourself and for your business teams and hence elevate your competitive edge in business.

Solution Part One

The solution begins with awareness and understanding.

The research of Dr. Roy Baumeister (one of the world’s most cited psychologists/researchers) has shown that willpower is biologically limited and has to do with glucose in your bloodstream. The food that you eat gets converted into glucose that is carried around the body via your bloodstream.

Here are two things to understand about glucose and the brain:

  1. Glucose in your blood stream gets used up every-time you make a decision or switch from one task to another i.e. the level of glucose in your blood stream drops every time you decide something or switch from one task (e.g. checking an email) to another (e.g. getting your sales presentation complete for this afternoon).
    1. Glucose is used by your entire body: your brain uses up about 20 percent of the caloric input of food.
    2. The brain monitors the level of glucose in your blood stream. If it drops too fast, it shuts down parts of the brain that are used for decision making, control of impulsive actions, task switching, memorizing, recalling memories and understanding.
  2. NOTE: it is not the lack of glucose that shuts these parts or functions down – rather the brain detects a lowering of the glucose level. So restoring glucose levels by eating more can only help to a certain extent and of course is subject to other risks: overeating, diabetes etc.  The solution is thus certainly not merely to eat more to restore brain function.

A couple of conclusions here:

  1. If you spend a lot of time, moving from one menial or unimportant task or project to another – making decisions, switching tasks furiously, recalling and storing memories, trying to understand the issues: then you are burning up precious available resources for projects that are unimportant – resources that could be diverted to more important and critical projects.
  2. One of the important functions of the brain that gets reduced when the brain detects a lowering of glucose levels is the function of resisting impulses (e.g. distractions to work).
  3. So if you are spending a lot of time resisting doing something or switching from one menial task to another, you are burning up precious resources that can be diverted to more important tasks and projects: tasks and projects that can put even more money.. and satisfaction back into your pocket.. but also you are reducing your ability and function to resist impulses or distractions.

Steps to resolve this and increase willpower:

  1. New Awareness

    Just like an Olympic athlete builds muscles and better performance with better awareness of their biology,  your awareness of the biological limitations of willpower over different time frames (hours, days, weeks months and years) will help frame an understanding of what it really takes to make a goal or dream come true for you and for your team.  Building a system of journaling and tracking what you do over a day for several days for 1 – 2 months builds up this awareness.  The awareness builds up the case in your mind for the adoption of new habits.  Building this awareness together with someone else e.g. a boss, a mentor, a coach, a team member – helps considerably towards building new and more effective habits.

  2. New Habits

    Based on observations done in the author’s consulting business, it is easier to create new habits than to change old existing ones.  The brain is extremely plastic (a neurological term meaning that the brain is very quick to learn new things and to make new connections pertaining to new ideas and concepts).  Some of the latest research indicates that it takes about 90 days or slightly more of consistent practice to learn a new habit and have strong new connections in the brain that represent this new habit.   These new habits include

    1. Prioritizing doing what are the most important projects i.e. the projects that put the most money and satisfaction back in your pocket and
    2. Putting the other projects and activities lower in priority

    This may involve scheduling higher priority activities at your peak brain performance times (typically but not always early morning or late evening).  The trick is to schedule these activities so that you are more likely to get these done rather than the distracting lower priority items and the other distracters like social media, watching emails, watching videos on the internet, etc.

  3. Upward Spiral 

    From our observations of our clients over the last 10 years, we have seen that when people have a long to do list (over four items), they typically (on an average) get none of these done.  But if they have less than four, they get about 50 to 75 percent done on their projects by 2 pm in the afternoon (assuming that they start their work at about 9 am).  The interesting thing is that this success gives a ‘shot in the arm’ and gets people motivated even more to get more done for the day; leading to what we call an upward spiral in energy, peace of mind and deep satisfaction.

    One important sub point in this is that the clarity of purpose by identifying clear, do-able, non-conflicting, win-able specific and finite outcomes, gives people an additional chance of success for the day; the identification of goals with a collaborator (e.g. your team or a coach) on a daily basis accelerates this process tremendously.

  4. Getting into the Flow 

    Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a world renowned researcher into performance and what is referred to as the flow state has indicated that the right combinations of challenge and skill lead to people operating at a high or flow state. Some people refer to this state as ‘The Zone’.  When you are in ‘the zone’, you are energized or centered and indirectly more able to resist distractions etc.Working with limiting your tasks and projects typically lowers the challenge level to a level matching your skills.  As you observe daily your challenge levels for your tasks and projects, you can begin to gauge where your skill and challenge meet just right; as you gradually over each day increase your skill and challenge just right, you are more likely to get to the flow state.  The practice is to debrief daily with your team or coach or manager on where your skill and challenge are for that day in each of your projects.  The analogy is like someone training to be an Olympic athlete – when you first start training, you must start at your current abilities and then gradually but surely increase the challenge and your skill periodically.

  5. Breakthrough as a Lifestyle

    In our observations of our clients, as we work with them daily, we observe that as they increase their skill and challenge over time, their willpower increases, their abilities to resist distractions goes up and there is greater satisfaction and greater results over time.  This is not an overnight phenomenon – it takes practice over time and patience with yourself.  This is indeed the biggest obstacle for most clients – their need to be perfect quickly – an impatience for quick success.  The biggest gift to yourself is patience – patience for your own success gives you the patience to train others – crucial for a sustainable and vibrant business.


Sunil Bhaskaran

Mentor, Coach, Author & Speaker

Having owned and run several businesses himself, Sunil speaks, trains and mentors from his own real-life experiences. Sunil began coaching and training people in 1989; and he has been in high demand as a mentor, private coach and keynote speaker for more than 20 years. His “Brain Performance Program” has made a profound difference in the bottom-line of thousands of business people worldwide. Additionally, Sunil has designed leadership, diversity, and accountability trainings for the corporate world at companies like Cisco, Comerica Bank, Compass Cares, to name a few.  For more information on his programs utilizing brain science, please go to

[1] Research by Dr. Roy Baumeister: German Beeper Study

Focus on Gratitude For A Better Life & Greater Productivity

Balance in business and in life is very important. Therefore, while this is a business-focused blog, I intend to cover topics of all areas of life as they relate to business and being a business owner. Part of maintaining balance and happiness in your life is through gratitude.

This topic is important with many high performance coaches, life coaches and motivational speakers. Two of our bi-weekly networking group members recently went to a Tony Robbins event (where they walked on fire!) and came back with this powerful topic of Gratitude.

Essentially gratitude is about putting everything into proper perspective. Your day may have been bad, but things could have been worse. Gratitude is not about minimizing your pain, fear, loss or troubles but about understanding and accepting what you have, and then moving forward in spite of it; look at the silver lining.

Gratitude is about putting things in perspective so that you can move beyond obstacles to lead a more productive and fulfilling life.

Gratitude has many different forms or ways to view it, including:

  • Celebrating your achievements
  • Appreciating others, being appreciated and feeling like you matter
  • Being present when with others by giving them your full attention

Celebrate Your Achievements

Each day is a struggle for a bigger goal, but if you don’t stop to appreciate what you have achieved and accomplished you will just burn yourself out. If you always push forward without taking the time to stop and celebrate what you have done, you are not celebrating yourself or showing gratitude towards yourself.

Appreciate Others

This is a topic covered in-depth by Dale Carnegie, Steven Covey, Guy Kawasaki, Tony Schwartz and more.

Whatever else each of us derives from our work, there may be nothing more precious than the feeling that we truly matter — that we contribute unique value to the whole, and that we’re recognized for it.

The single highest driver of engagement, according to a worldwide study conducted by Towers Watson, is whether or not workers feel their managers are genuinely interested in their wellbeing. Less than 40 percent of workers felt so engaged.

Why Appreciation Matters So Much

Be Present

Brendon Burchard is a strong advocate for being present and in the moment to ensure that you have a full life that is shared completely with others.

The greatest gift is to be present.

I don’t mean being half-present, but fully focused on the other person with your whole body and mind as if there was nobody else in the whole world. I’m sure we are all guilty of being half – or even quarter-present.

How to Be Present For Others

Carrying on a conversation without being fully present leaves the other people feeling unappreciated, unimportant and upset. By engaging fully and taking the time to appreciate your time with this person, you will not only engage them on a deeper level but also feel better.

How Can You Show Gratitude?

To address this, we answered these questions in two stages.

  1. What is stressing you out? What are you grateful for about it? (What is the silver lining?)
  2. What do you do in your daily life to show gratitude?
How do you show gratitude in your daily life? Or what could you do to show gratitude daily?
  • Write in a gratitude journal – It helps put each day in perspective, even if the only things you can write are basic things, “I woke up”, “The sun is shining”, “It is a warm day”.
  • Show affection – Let others know that you care by taking the time to be with them.
  • Keep in mind the other point of view – Don’t make judgements about other people. They may be having a bad day and acting out of character when they cut you off in traffic or shove in front of you at line.
  • Spend time with others – Have a ‘no electronics night’ where you spend the evening just playing board games, talking and spending time in the company of others. It’s not what you do, it’s who you do it with. (This is my personal motto in life.)
  • Don’t assume – Other people have things going on as well and may be dealing with personal problems or trauma that you know nothing about. Don’t assume you know their perspective or current frame of mind.
  • Focus on the things you can control – You cannot control other people’s actions so don’t waste your energy or time trying. Focus on what you can control and have a more productive day.
  • You are what you do – What you think, what you do, what you say are all a reflection of who you are. You become what you focus your time on so be sure to focus on the positive and what you are grateful for.
  • Breathe, align, let go.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff – Stop worrying about the little things when they are unimportant. Don’t wait for a traumatic life changing even to bring around this change either.

Business Ideas from 4-Hour Work Week


I first read 4-Hour Work Week while I was on a “vacation” in Mexico. I put the quotations around that because I spent several hours a day still working and for the hours that I was on the beach, I was reading business related books like this one. However, it was one of my best vacations ever.

My view on it is this. I’d rather be traveling to a different location and working part of the time rather than staying home and working. Some people see it as working on vacation but I see it as a chance to take more vacations because I’m still accomplishing work!

I also love learning and love what I do, so it is never a chore.

Well back to my initial thought. The 4-Hour Work Week has some amazing concepts (many that I had started to realize on my own) and I have since signed up to his blog. His blog posts are amazingly long so I never get around to reading them (maybe I should try his tactics for speed reading…) but this article I did read. It’s  a list of some inventive ways that people have begun businesses.

Six-Figure Businesses Built for Less Than $100: 17 Lessons Learned

I’ve included some of my favorites in here.

Turn a Hobby into a Business

Latch on to a popular service, then simplify it for others. 
Self-described “professional nerd” Brett Kelly wrote Evernote Essentials, the first English-language manual for the popular Evernote software. Brett was hoping for a $10,000 payday over the course of a few months—enough to pay off some bills. Instead, he received $10,000 in two days… and then the sales kept coming.

Originally conceived as a hobby that Brett worked on during nights and weekends, Evernote Essentials now earns more than $160,000 a year in net income. Here’s what Brett says about the results: “The unreal success of this project has not only freed our family from a decade of debt and financial instability, but has also given us the freedom to pursue the kind of life we want.”

Lesson: Simplify things and cash in. Brett developed a comprehensive resource with lots of screenshots and detailed, highly actionable tips. More than 10,000 customers later, it’s still going strong.

Use a Polarizing Argument or Concept

A trend or controversial idea can also reveal a business opportunity. 
Jason Glaspey was a follower of Paleo, the controversial diet that is both loved and ridiculed. Jason noticed a common problem among fellow devotees: because of the requirement for regular shopping and planning, Paleo was hard to follow on a regular basis.

Jason created Paleo Plan, a membership site that offers shopping lists and ongoing guidance. The goal of Paleo Plan is to keep its customers on track, with detailed shopping lists and ongoing recommendations. The project now brings in more than $5,000 a month.

Lesson: When large groups of people love and hate something, it’s a good sign there’s a business model hiding in plain sight. Get paid by making things easy for the people who love it.