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Over the past few weeks I’ve been introducing you to the High Performance Habits, and today we’re halfway through with the third habit, raising necessity. As Brendon Burchard says in his book, High Performance Habits, “necessity is the emotional drive that makes great performance a must, instead of a preference.” When you have an increased sense of necessity to do well, it’s easier to keep going when life gets hard, obstacles pop up, or you just don’t feel like showing up that day.
Another way to understand what raising necessity means, is to think about increasing the pressure or force surrounding your goals. Some people don’t like the idea of being under pressure, even if it’s a positive pressure, while others thrive on it; but at some point, pressure is what will drive you to succeed. So choose whatever word you like the best, (necessity, pressure, or force), and make these six ways to increase necessity work for you.
There are three internal forces that influence your performance and motivation surrounding your goals: link your goals with your identity, find obsession, and look at the big picture.
Finding clarity is the first High Performance Habit for good reason; being clear on who you are is the key to understanding and mastering each following habit. For this habit, you care about doing things well that you link with your identity.
For example, I want to be a great mom to my kids. When they were younger, I spent a lot of time in the morning making them a fresh, healthy lunch to take to school. At the time, it felt like this spoke to my identity as their mom. So even if I felt lazy about making their lunches, I would do it anyway. (Note: I’m not saying making lunches is a requirement to be a great mom.)
Now that my children are older, the actions I take as part of my “great mom” identity look different. It looks like being available when they want to talk about something. I’ll keep my son at the dinner table while everyone finishes eating because I might learn something about his life that I wouldn’t learn otherwise. Or I’ll pick him up at 10pm from a friend’s house when I’d rather be in bed at that time. I’m also perfectly happy to give him money for the burrito he really wants for lunch these days.
As another example, I have a client that’s a professional musician, and it’s part of her identity to perform with excellence. This makes her daily practice non-negotiable. So even if she may not love practicing a particular piece of music that day, she does it anyway.
The second internal force for increasing necessity is to go really deep and allow for obsession on what’s important to you. For my musician client, this could look like continuing with lessons or learning new pieces of music, even though she’s already very accomplished.
For myself, it’s being immersed in personal development. I can look back over my life and see the pattern of interest or passion in personal growth, and in the past seven or eight years I’ve really allowed myself to go deep in the subject. There are courses, books, audio books, and podcasts! If you came to my home, you’d see stacks of books that I’m currently reading, and I’m always thinking about it. I’m deeply curious about how to better myself, but I’m also thinking about how to help my clients and how to bring my knowledge to more people outside my primary sphere of influence.
Big picture planning is the third way to utilize your internal forces because it gives you a path to walk down each day. The trick to keeping the big picture in sight is to look at it daily. I do this with my ten dreams for ten years.
Once a year, I spend time envisioning how I want my life to be in ten years, down to the smallest detail. From there, I consolidate my vision into ten goals for ten years from now, which is what we do in my Design Your Decade Workshop. (It’s now an online program, so you can do it any time). Then every morning, I write these dreams down, along with five things I’m grateful for and one short-term goal I’m working on. This morning habit helps me stay connected to my goals and do what’s required to keep working toward them.
I feel that the three internal forces are the most effective at raising necessity around our goals, because they come from within. Still, using outside pressure can be really helpful, and they’re still tied to our internal desires and motivations. The external forces are: know the consequences, be of service, and socialize your goals.
We are very forward thinking, and tend to look at the result we want or get from working toward our goals. But what about the consequences of not performing with excellence, or not taking the daily steps required to get you there? The consequences can be big or small, but they exist. For example, what will happen if you don’t exercise or practice your instrument?
I’ve noticed that I really need to tap into this lately, and increase the necessity around my yoga practice. It’s now eighteen months of doing classes online rather than in person, and it’s getting harder for me to show up. Before, once I left the house or got to the studio, I’d finish the class. I certainly wouldn’t walk out halfway through! But with an online class, I’ll get caught up doing other things around the house, and I’ve even stopped mid-class because something interrupted me.
Yet when I don’t do my daily class, I inevitably feel achy or stiff and I regret it. My consequence is not feeling as good in my body. I could also go back to my identity, where I identify as someone who is consistent with their yoga practice. Keeping these things in mind makes it harder for me to not show up when I need to.
Going back to the musician, if she doesn’t practice the consequence is that she won’t feel confident in giving a flawless performance. And as a professional musician (her identity), this thought keeps her practicing every day.
Sometimes, it really helps you to push through when your actions affect more than just yourself. There’s a lot of motivation behind not wanting to let others down. In my high-performance planner, there is a question I answer every day: Who needs me on my A-game?
The answer to this varies. Sometimes, it’s a broad answer: It’s women trying to get past obstacles in their life to live an extraordinary life. Other times, it’s a friend or family member who needs support, or someone needs to see me set an example of not giving up. Can you find a place where your goals or mission intersects with helping others?
Does your art or music make people happy? Do you foster kittens to keep them out of shelters? Are you modelling something for your children? Creating connection with your spouse? The key is to take time to think about it and name it, so you can tap into this necessity when being disciplined for yourself alone isn’t doing the trick.
I love this last one, and it can take a bit of courage. It’s announcing your goals and dreams to others. Scary, right? My mentor Brendon says it best: people aren’t afraid of starting small, they are afraid of being seen starting small. That’s why you should announce your goals to people in your life that won’t hold you back or put you down. Share what you’re working on, your plan to get there, and keep them updated. It gives you accountability.
When I decided to start my podcast, I announced it in several of my networking groups and to some of my friends and my family while my excitement was high. Then as I went along, I shared how I put the pieces together. Is the podcast perfect? Is my journey perfect? No, but it’s begun, and I’ll get better as I go along. But if I hadn’t announced it, I could easily have let the project fall to the wayside when life got busy. I raised the necessity to keep going because I said I was going to.
Thinking about increasing necessity around what you do can be a little nuanced, but once you start thinking about the pieces and your own journey, you’ll find where they fit for you.
Get started with the High Performance Habits in my Design Your Decade mini program that you can do anytime on your own. And if you’re ready to be part of the community of women pursuing an extraordinary life, my next cohort of the Extraordinary Life Tribe starts soon.
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