How to reach the 2 percent and become extraordinary

Eric Partaker is an EO London member, a certified high-performance coach, award-winning entrepreneur, motivational speaker and author of The 3 Alarms. Eric will lead a masterclass at the 2021 Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, on 3 November titled Improve work-life balance, productivity and leadership.

Do you want to achieve work-life balance, become a better leader and improve productivity?

To do so, you must reach your full potential. The problem, however, is that only 2 percent of people are estimated to operate at their fullest capabilities. This leaves many ambitious entrepreneurs and leaders feeling overwhelmed, stuck or out of balance. But it doesn’t have to be this way—and with the right training, everyone can break free from the 98 percent and become extraordinary.

We asked Eric about his upcoming masterclass at the 2021 Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, titled Improve work-life balance, productivity and leadership. Here’s what he shared:

In your personal experience, what are the negative impacts of overwhelm/feeling stuck for entrepreneurs?

Burn out. Low stress tolerance. Poor health. Poor relationships. Poor results. Low energy and motivation.

What tips will you offer entrepreneurs who are feeling overwhelmed, stuck or out of balance?

Focus on IPA—not the beer, but rather Identity, Productivity and Antifragility.

  1. Get your identity right. Behavior follows identity. As children, we assumed various identities all the time. After becoming superman or wonder woman, we simply behaved like that character. We didn’t need to enroll in superhero behavior training. This ability to choose an identity and step into it instantaneously exists in all of us and must simply be reinvigorated. Define what best looks like in the three domains that matter most: your health, your wealth and your relationships. Give that identity a name, define how it behaves, and do one thing daily that evidences the champion version of you in each of those areas. Whether that’s showing up for the gym session you often ignore, having that difficult conversation at work you’ve been putting off, or simply writing a simple note to a friend, partner or family member.
  2. Design productivity into your days. Stop chasing productivity. Design for it instead, using three powerful routines. An evening routine comes first as a productive day never begins the day of, but the night before, with a good night’s sleep. Set a digital sunset in your home. All devices and bright lights off an hour before bed so you maximize the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin, within your brain. This will help you get the rest your body and brain need. A morning routine comes next. Don’t overcomplicate this. Stick with the mantra of being creative before reactive. Work on your most important task for the first hour of the day rather than checking your email, social media or the news. Focus on outputs, not inputs. A workday routine comes last. The average person loses 28 percent of their workday by inefficiently jumping around from one task to the next. That daily 28 percent extrapolated across the workweeks in a year is a loss of 13 weeks. That’s an entire calendar quarter! Reclaim those 13 weeks by focusing on time-blocking and single-tasking. Block out chunks of time in your calendar to complete your work and focus only on one task at a time within those blocks.
  3. Build your antifragility. Stress builds strength. No matter the extent of our planning or strength of execution, things will still not go to plan. Handling setbacks is a natural part of life and work and resilience has topped the charts as a buzzword in recent times. But to reach your full potential, you need something more than resilience—you need antifragility. My life changed when I read Antifragile by Nassim Taleb. Antifragility represents the realm beyond resilience. Resilient people survive stress and stay the same, while antifragile people thrive specifically because of the stress. They don’t stay the same; they come out stronger. We need to reframe stress in a positive way. With this in mind, I like to envision life as one big mental gym. Every moment of adversity, unexpected event, or thing that doesn’t go our way can suddenly become an exercise in the gym of life. You don’t become physically stronger by going to the gym one time. You have to go regularly and get your reps in. So it is with antifragility. Every challenge can become an opportunity for growth if you choose to see it that way. The problem isn’t stress. It’s you.

Why do you recommend that entrepreneurs attend your session?

I think of the business as the hardware. If we want the hardware to operate correctly, then the software needs to be coded correctly.

The entrepreneur is the software. Scale the entrepreneur, and you’ll have a better shot at scaling the business.

My session focuses on doing exactly that—helping entrepreneurs scale not just their companies, but also themselves, so that they’re operating at their fullest potential.

Why do you feel it’s important to give back to the entrepreneurial community by hosting this session?

Entrepreneurs drive the world’s economies, creating opportunities and jobs for so many people. By helping them succeed, I help the world succeed.

If Web Summit attendees take away one important concept from your session, what would it be?

Abraham Maslow estimated that only 2 percent of people operate to their fullest potential. I believe everyone can become extraordinary, break free from the 98 percent, and join the 2 percent—and that it’s never too late to start.

For more insights and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out EO on Inc. and more articles from the EO blog

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