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A successful leader’s journey begins with curiosity. Both in the business they lead and in the people they lead, they must be interested. The passion that gives them questions, the questions that give them sleepless nights, and then the drudgery that turns into routines that eventually become habits. It comes with blood, sweat, tears and speed for tech leaders. I’ve found that I need to find people who have achieved success in my fields of interest, study their habits and traits – and copy them!
For this article, I look to some successful entrepreneurs in the tech world for inspiration. Elon Musk, Kevin O’Leary and Mark Cuban are certainly familiar names. You may know them as some of the richest people in the world, but they share more than that. Each has individual routines that lead them to success. We can choose several characteristics in our search for the key to success.
Below are some of the most notable traits and habits of these well-known leaders. There may be similarities, but each of these business giants has a distinct way of doing things:
Related: I Ran My Day Like Elon Musk—And Here’s What Happened
In fact, going to bed early and waking up early is the way to be healthy, wealthy and wise. One great habit that all three have in common is starting their day early. O’Leary usually wakes up between 5:00 and 5:30 a.m. and goes straight to practice, while Cuba’s day starts a little later than 6:30 a.m. and goes straight to work.
Musk, on the other hand, loves his night’s 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, affects his mental strength and makes him very grumpy. He wakes up at 7 a.m. and takes a shower, which he says gets his mind working. In a Reddit AMA, she admitted that showering is not only an essential habit for her, but it has had a very positive impact on her life. It puts him in a good position to face the challenges that lie ahead and has contributed to many ideas.
A prosperous entrepreneur can be expected to eat his first meal as much as a king. They can afford it. Not all three O’Leary’s breakfasts usually consist of hard-boiled eggs, which he eats around 7 a.m. while checking his emails.
Cubans also eat light. Her ideal breakfast is a cup of good, freshly brewed coffee and low-carb, high-protein cookies from Alyssa’s Bakery—one of her investors from shark tank.
For Musk, mornings without breakfast are typical. Although nutritionists consider breakfast to be the most important meal of the day, she skips it to accommodate the morning rush. When he eats, he prefers a cup of coffee and an omelette.
Related: What Successful Entrepreneurs Eat for Breakfast
Work, work and more work!
These three gentlemen do not waste time in the morning. To shark tank Investors Cuban and O’Leary, a work day starts with a busy morning in the office checking emails. They spend an average of three hours checking and responding to emails and handling other priority items.
Musk has a distinctive style. Over the years, the innovator has learned to appreciate the value of quality communication over constant contact. In an email to his Twitter staff, he said he is “very responsive and tries to answer emails within 24 hours.” He also tries to spend as few hours on the phone as possible, as it gives him more time to focus. In another email to Tesla employees, Musk advised the same, asking his staff to minimize the size and number of meetings if possible and to keep them short if necessary. He also advised them to walk out of meetings or feel free to call whenever they think engagement is unnecessary to avoid wasting time.
Most entrepreneurs probably work 40-50 hours a week. However, Musk has no limits when it comes to his work. With five prominent companies under his watch, Musk’s 80-100 hour work week schedule makes a lot of sense. He is truly dedicated to the success of all his endeavors, including the companies he invests in and is involved with. It’s easy to wonder how many hours a day this business giant has. It is safe to say that his work is his life. His working day usually ends around 10:00 pm
These three titans are avid readers. “Mr. Wonder” O’Leary is big on fact-finding. He reads everything from articles to research from banks and watches the news to update himself on the latest happenings and global markets. He also spends some time reading a book before going to bed.
Kuban also enjoys informative reading. In an interview with Finity, she admitted that reading gives her confidence and thus she spends most of her afternoons engrossed in books.
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 world’s most successful people. Some of his favorites include Twelve Against the Gods, Lord of the Rings and biographies of the greatest minds of all time, such as Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin.
Related: Motivational Morning Routines of 4 Successful Sharks
Based on the routine of these business geniuses, one thing is certain. Committing to healthy habits is the first step to success. The secret to their success has been making the most of their time, staying dedicated to their visions, and most importantly, cherishing knowledge.
The key to my success is to try as hard as possible to reach my full potential and copy the habits and routines of successful people. However, discipline is ultimately the secret of any successful leader.