The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Mavericks

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle

Let’s face it, us Mavericks can be highly ambitious with big vision. We can be successful really quickly but often our route can be meandering and circuitous. That’s because we aren’t always the most organised, structured or disciplined.

However, Mavericks are responsible for some of the biggest breakthroughs in history, so how do we do it? How do we ensure that our brilliant, intuitive, creative selves hit the heights of potential that we have?

Having coached literally hundreds and hundreds here at MU, we have noticed that one critical factor for effectiveness are the habits that people adopt. While there are many habits that can lead to effectiveness, we have noticed 7 in particular which have worked especially well for Mavericks:

1. They connect with their vision every day

Almost every Maverick we know has a vision or future that they are living into. They know where they are heading and have a strong sense of why they are heading there.

However, the most effective Mavericks connect with this vision on a daily basis. This might be through visualisation and meditation, reviewing written goals and plans or keeping accountability through their organisations, followers, a buddy, mastermind group or a coach.

Whatever the process, doing this despite the daily grind with all its pressures and distractions, they are still oriented towards where they want to head. They can cut through the noise and decide what will take them towards their end goal and what are merely distraction. 

2. They are intentional with time/focus

Effective Mavericks say ’no’. A lot.

Danielle LaPorte estimates that she says no to 80% of the considerable number of requests that come at her every day. Let’s face it, who has far too much time and not enough to do? Indeed, Steve Jobs said, ”Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.”

For Mavericks, time/energy is the primary currency. You can always make more money but, even if you are Tony Robbins or Richard Branson, we all only have 24 hours in a day. So, the most effective Mavericks are great at focusing their energy on what they want to achieve and saying no to the rest.

One of our favourite ways to do that is what Michael Bungay Stanier calls the 'Strategic Question': If you're saying yes to this, what are you saying no to? If you want to say yes to finishing that killer project, what distractions do you need to say no to? If you want to lose weight, what foods do you need to say no to?

3. They ask powerful questions

The most effective Mavericks habitually ask powerful questions to challenge assumptions, foster innovation and create breakthroughs. Their questions will usually be solution-focused “what” questions rather than problem-focused “why” questions and are often: “What can I do about this?” or “What can I do differently?” rather than “Why does this keep happening to me?”.

They also know when to use “why” questions at the right time…to create motivation/enrolment (“why do I want to achieve this goal?”…think Simon Sinek’s Start with Why) and to get to the root cause of something (using techniques such as the 5 Whys…think of the 5 year old who constantly asks “Why? Why? Why?”).

4. They work to their own rhythm

The early bird catches the worm and all that. Studies seem to indicate that the most successful people get up early. Tim Cook is up at 3.45am. Michelle Obama wakes at 4.30am. That makes Richard Branson look like he is having a lay-in by waking up at 5.45am.

But the truth is that highly effective Mavericks know their own rhythm and habitually work to that. For, example, Barack Obama is a self-confessed night owl, Pharell Williams usually isn’t up until after 9am and Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian is rarely in bed before 2am so tries “to be up by 10am”.

Equally though, the most effective Mavericks now the tempo at which they work best as well. For example, it is hard to imagine Gary Vaynerchuk not being constantly on the go at 100mph. On the other hand, Einstein was well known for sitting in darkened rooms for long hours doing nothing but thinking…which led to his most famous though experiment that became the General Theory of Relativity.

5. They follow their intuition

While convention says that logic is king, most effective Mavericks have a very strong intuition and have learned to trust their gut…often over logic. Richard Branson went as far as to say, “I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics”.

That is not to say that they disregard logic and intellect, but rather have a different relationship with it. Einstein, a great Maverick responsible for many of our scientific breakthroughs is reported as saying,

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

6. They feed their mind and body

The most effective Mavericks give regular priority to personal growth, looking after their body and taking care of their mind.

For example, Elon Musk and Mark Cuban are both voracious readers. Russell Brand, Russell Simmons and Lady Gaga all meditate on a daily basis. David Lynch is such a proponent of Transcendental Meditation that he even set up a foundation to pay for tuition for people in need. Ariana Huffington is on a veritable crusade to educate and promote just how important sleep is to life and productivity.

The point is that these Mavericks know that the brain needs downtime and that habitual rest and recovery are a vital part of becoming successful and making your vision real.

7. They frequently enrol other people

Even though Mavericks may have the reputation for being lone wolves, the most effective Mavericks recognise that enrolling, inspiring and empowering others is a vital part of their success.

Where would Steve Jobs have been without Steve Wozniak and later, Tim Cook and Jony Ive?

Another great example are the Wright Brothers beat Samuel P. Langley to the first manned flight despite not having the power, funding or connections that Langley had. A huge part of this was down to the support they garnered from the people around them, not least their sister Katherine and Charlie Taylor.

 Leave a comment below and tell us which habit you need to develop to become more effective. What other habits do you have that make you more effective?