The journey of a successful leader begins with curiosity; whether in the business they lead or in the people they lead, they must have an interest. An interest that gives them questions, questions that give them sleepless nights and then the arduous work that translates into routines that eventually become habits. This comes with blood, sweat, tears and speed for tech leaders. I have found that I need to find people who have accomplished success in areas that interest me, examine their habits and traits — and copy them!
For this article, I seek inspiration from some successful entrepreneurs in the tech world. Elon Musk, Kevin O’Leary and Marc Cuban are certainly familiar names. You may know them as some of the wealthiest people in the world, but they share more than that. They each have individual routines that drive them to success. We can pick up a few traits in our pursuit of the key to success.
The following are some of the most remarkable traits and habits that these well-known leaders have. There may be some similarities, but each of these business moguls has a distinct way of doing things:
Indeed, early to bed, early to rise is the way to be healthy, wealthy and wise. A great habit shared by all three is that they start their day early. O’Leary typically wakes up between 5:00 to 5:30 a.m. and goes straight into a workout, while Cuban’s day starts a little later at 6:30 a.m. and gets straight into work.
On the other hand, Musk loves his night rest; he calls it his sweet spot and tries to get 6 to 6.5 hours of sleep. According to him, sleeping fewer hours only interferes with his productivity the next day, affecting his mental acuity and making him very grumpy. He wakes up at 7:00 a.m. and hits the shower, which he says gets his mind working. In a Reddit AMA, he admits that showering is not only a must-do habit for him but has made an immensely positive impact on his life. It sets him in the right headspace to face the challenges that await and has contributed to very many ideas.
One would expect an affluent entrepreneur to have a king’s size first meal; they can afford it. Not these three. O’Leary’s breakfast usually consists of hard-boiled eggs, which he eats as he goes through his emails at around 7:00 a.m. That way, he can dive right into work.
Cuban also eats lightly. His ideal breakfast is a nice, freshly brewed cup of coffee and low-carb, high-protein cookies from Alyssa’s Bakery — one of his investees from Shark Tank.
For Musk, no-breakfast mornings are typical. Although nutritionists term breakfast the most important meal of the day, he skips it to keep up with the morning rush. He prefers a cup of coffee and an omelet when he eats something.
Work, work and more work!
These three gentlemen do not waste time in the morning. For Shark Tank investors Cuban and O’Leary, a workday begins with a busy morning in the office checking emails. They spend an average of three hours checking and responding to emails and dealing with other high-priority stuff.
Musk has a distinctive style. Over the years, the innovator has learned to appreciate the value of quality communication rather than constant contact. In an email to his Twitter staff, he said he is “pretty responsive and tries to respond to emails within 24 hours.” He also tries to spend as few hours as possible on the phone because it gives him more time to focus. In another email to Tesla employees, Musk recommended the same by asking his staff to minimize the size and frequency of meetings, if possible, and if they must, they should keep them short. He also advised them to walk out of meetings or feel free to drop calls whenever they think that the engagement is unnecessary to avoid wasting time.
Most entrepreneurs likely work 40 to 50 hours a week. However, Musk has no bounds when it comes to his work. With five prominent companies under his wing, Musk’s 80 to 100 hours of work per week schedule makes much sense. He is genuinely dedicated to the success of all his endeavors, including companies he invests in and co-founds. It is easy to wonder how many hours this business mogul has in his day. It is safe to say that his work is his life. His workday typically ends at around 10:00 p.m.
These three titans are voracious readers. “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary is huge on research and fact-checking. He reads everything from articles to research sourced from banks and watches the news to update himself on the latest happenings and global markets. He also takes some time to read a book before he goes to bed.
Cuban also enjoys an informative read. In an interview with Finity, he admitted that reading gives him business confidence, and so he spends most of his afternoons engrossed in a book.
Musk also spends a lot of time strengthening his mental muscles despite his busy schedule. This could be one of the few traits he shares with some of the most successful people in the world. Some of his favorites include Twelve Against the Gods, Lord of the Rings and biographies of the greatest minds of all time, like Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin.
Based on the routines of these business geniuses, one thing is for sure. Commitment to healthy habits is the first step in the journey to success. Their key to success has been making the most of their time, remaining dedicated to their visions, and most importantly, holding knowledge dear.
My key to success is pushing as hard as possible to achieve my full potential and copying the habits and routines of successful people. Nevertheless, discipline is ultimately the secret of every successful leader.