The Difference Between Elite Performers and Average Performers


Every day, I realize more and more the significance of one particular skill. This skill is so valuable that it will make you a standout in any area of life, no matter what kind of obstacles you may face.

Regardless of what it is you are trying to improve, if you only put in the work when you’re motivated to do work, then you’ll never build the consistency required to become elite.

The ability to show up every day, stick to the schedule, and follow through—especially when you don’t feel like it—is so valuable that it is literally the only thing you need to become better (99% of the time).

We’ve all experienced this firsthand.

When you don’t miss or skip out on your workouts, you get in the best shape of your life; when you read every day, you become a more inspired and knowledgeable individual; when you eat healthily, you have more consistent energy, a sharper mind, and better sleep.

It seems so simple and powerful. So why is it so difficult?

Forming the habit of living with a consistent routine and making tough choices is uncommon, and being uncommon can be painful.

The simple fact of the matter is that most of the time we are inconsistent.

We have goals that we would like to achieve and dreams that we would like to fulfill, but we only work toward them occasionally. When we feel inspired or motivated or when life allows us to do so. It’s just easier that way.

Average vs. Elite

I can guarantee that if you set a schedule for any task and start sticking to it, there will be days when you feel like quitting; when you start a business, there will be days when you don’t feel like showing up; when you’re at the gym, there will be sets that you don’t feel like finishing; when it’s time to make calls, there will be things you’d rather do. But stepping up when it’s inconvenient, painful, or draining is the difference between being an average performer and an elite performer.

Professionals stick to the schedule. Average performers let life get in the way. Professionals know what is important to them and work toward it with purpose. Average performers get pulled off course by the “tyranny of the urgent.”

Being an elite performer is about having the discipline to commit to what is important to you instead of merely saying something is important to you. It’s about starting when you feel like stopping; not because you want to work more, but because your goal is important enough to you to work on it even when it’s inconvenient. Becoming an elite performer is about making your priorities a reality.

Becoming an elite performer doesn’t mean you’re a workaholic. It means that you’re good at making time for what matters to you—especially when you don’t feel like it—instead of being a passive spectator and letting life simply happen to you.

Performing consistently isn’t easy, but it’s also not as complicated or difficult as you might think.

3 Steps for Consistency

1. Decide what you want to be good at and why.

It all begins with purpose. If you know what you want, then getting after it is much easier. This may sound simple, but in my experience, even people who are smart, creative, and talented rarely know exactly what it is that they are working for and why.

2. Set a schedule for your actions.

Once you know what you want, set a schedule for actually doing it.

The mistake I—and many others—have made is setting a schedule based on results. Don’t map out how much weight you want to lose each week or how much money you want to make. “Lose five pounds” is not an action you can perform, but “Go for a 30-minute bike ride” is. Set a schedule based on actions you will do, not results that you want.

3. Stick to your schedule for one week.

Stop thinking about how hard it will be to follow a schedule for a month or a year. Try to follow it for just one week. For the next seven days, don’t let distractions get in the way! Set a simple reward for yourself at the end of the week if needed—or a painful consequence.

Setting a schedule doesn’t make you an elite performer; following it does. Don’t be a reader; be reading. Don’t be a runner; be running.

For one week, do the things you want to do without letting life get in the way. And then next week, start again. What has helped you stick to a schedule? What makes it hard for you? Share your experiences and victories.

In my experience, this is something that is always a “work in progress.” However, the joy is in the progress.

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