We're all searching for that sweet work life balance in our careers.
Look, forget about little hacks that don't do much. If you want true work-life balance -- set your ownworking hours, work from home when you want to, take a last-minute vacation -- without ever having to beg your boss, or quit your job...
Start becoming a top performer. That's my 80/20 recommendation. In fact, this Europe-wide study says the same: top performers are far more likely to get control over their own work schedules. The researcher analyzed schedule policy data from 27 European countries, and found out that skilled, experienced employees were a lot more likely to have schedule control.
Let me explain. Here's how it all works as you become a top performer:
The more you improve your mindset and skills, the better results you create at work. You get more things done in less time. You see things that other people miss and come up with better solutions. Your boss picks up on that, and gives you higher-level responsibilities. You feel more confident with that vote of trust, and that feeds right back to your productivity.
Over time, you build a great work reputation, which gives you leverage to have the optimal work life balance. And with work-life balance, you are naturally going to be more relaxed, productive, and successful.
It's a freaking virtuous cycle, baby!
Now, all this sounds obvious right? But most people won't think about working towards becoming top performers. Nor they want to admit this simple, fundamental truth. Why? It's not an easy solution by any means. Becoming a superstar takes months if not years of sweat and tears.
But if you want to be a top performer, there are some shortcuts. Being the owner of a company with over 200 employees, I've spent a lot of time looking for the traits that make an employee a top performer. Here's what I found and how you can use it to become a top performer yourself:
1. They are competitive nice people.
I always say to people that I can teach skills, but I can't teach attitude. Well, you can actually learn on your own to have a better mindset. Pay attention to two things: be competitive, and be likable. The more competitive you are, the more challenges you will take on, the faster you will learn. At the same time, being a people person is also important. If you can't click well with your team and network with the right people, it'll be hard for you to become a top performer.
My best employees face challenges all the time. But they never fail to blow me away, because they find every single legal and ethical way to exceed their expected results each time. For example, delivering world-class customer service that gets the customer coming back again and again, closing a big sales deal with months of research, and so on. Now, that's what I call "stacking the deck" to win.
You don't have to go 100 extra miles right away. Start by observing what others are doing at work. Then, do one small thing better than them, say calling your customers one day after you delivered your service to check if they are happy with the outcome.
2. They specialize like a boss.
You can be good at a lot of things, but if you want to be no. 1, you have to pick and choose what skills to work on. How can you do this? Dig deep and understand what you're truly great at. When you pick a field that plays to your strengths, you can get ten times more work done than your colleague without even breaking a sweat.
My best employees are all great team players, but are also amazing specialists. Each one of them have deep expertise in an area or two, which makes them irreplaceable. That's how they become my go-to people when I think about certain problems, because I know no one else can do it better than them. To start becoming a top expert, ask yourself a simple question: "Is there one thing that people always come to me asking for advice/help?"
3. They can sell a bagel to a Parisian.
Look, you don't need to learn a thousand skills. If you can learn a few key skills, you're set for life. Selling, for example, is a skill that everyone should master. The better you are at selling, the more you'll be able to bend life to your will. Asking someone out on a date? You're selling them the idea that going out with you would be a good way to spend their time.
My best salespeople know even the hardest customer objections are overcomeable, if you know just how to address them timely in your pitch. To say the right thing at the right time, do a proper diagnosis of your customer's problem before even sending over a price quote. By the time you figured out the root cause of their issue, you will have 100 percent confidence to make the sale.
So, now you know the truth: the secret to work life balance isn't about to-do lists, nor is it about your 10-minute lunch break meditation. So, get to work: becoming a top performer won't be easy, but once you get there you will thank me for it.