Respected and influential leaders often agree, one of the best decisions you can make is focusing on personal development. With that in mind, we have compiled advice from influential leaders on how to get ahead, thanks to Real Simple, Inc., Huffington Post and Forbes.

Tackle the Most Challenging Task First

Procrastination often get the better of us – and using smaller tasks to put off the bigger projects seems productive, but “Eat That Frog” author and strategist Brian Tracy says knocking out the looming larger task frees up mental energy that would otherwise have been squandered away with worrying about it.

It always seems impossible until it’s done.” — Nelson Mandela

Embody a Spirit of Generosity

Enthusiasm and praise are not only good for the morale of colleagues but creating relationships encouraging success inspires others. Be committed to their success, and they’ll be committed to yours.  Being a good leader means inspiring the best in others as well as achieving your own personal best.

The key to success is radical generosity.” – Agapi Stassinopolous

 Stay Focused with a Clear Mission and Incremental Goals

Taking the time to focus on project plans and working far in advance poise a leader and their team to find more success in the long run and stay on track for long-term projects. Not only will this help provide structure to what needs to be achieved, but also creates clarity for colleagues on what the goals are. Paul Silverman, recommends, “Take as much time as you need working with colleagues to get consensus and define, down to one crystal-clear line, what you are trying to accomplish.” Established, measurable benchmarks keep a team focused on their part of the overall goal.

The successful warrior is the average man with laser-like focus.” – Bruce Lee

Get Some Fresh Air

It’s important to create some mental space from work for creative and analytical thought to occur. Stanford University research says that walking leads to creative thinking. Take your next meeting out of the office and take in some fresh air and exercise to spike good thinking. Walking helps break down formalities, relaxes inhibitions and fosters camaraderie between colleagues — and less eye contact can fuel more personal conversation.

Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder

 Learn from Failures, then Move On

Take a step back and analyze what went wrong with failed projects or personal efforts instead of rehashing the problem. Make a concerted effort to make improvements on your own performance, as well as ask what can be done better next time. Building on and learning from failures is the fastest way to success.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

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