The 14 Imperatives of a High Performance Life


It’s time to get more into the nuts and bolts of crafting a high performance lifestyle. I personally believe that one of the keys to true life fulfillment is high level success in all aspects of your life.

So what are the different aspects of a high performance life?

It starts with two broad areas: Growth and Lifestyle Imperatives

Growth imperatives are ones that help move you forward past barriers in life. Lifestyle imperatives are ones that lead to an increased quality of life. Without the growth imperatives, your lifestyle will not grow as fast. And without the Lifestyle imperatives, you will have a poor quality of life. Phrased differently, if you focus 100% on your personal finances but neglect your relationships, you may end up with all the money in the world but no friends or a mate to share the experiences with – Not the most ideal situation. I believe that all of the following areas are critical in achieving that goal. But please take the liberty to add or subtract certain areas as you see fit.

So what are the 14 imperatives?

The following are the ones in the Growth spectrum:

1. Career: The purpose of this area is guide yourself to your life aspirations and mission statement. It’s the engine moving you towards your purpose. For example, if your goal is to move your community towards carbon neutrality, then the career imperative is how you go about that day-to-day. That may take the form of a job in which you are actively working towards your life’s purpose or by starting your own company that seeks to fulfill this goal.

2. Finances: This area is meant to launch you forward on your financial goals. That may be to first get out of debt, or earn a passive income, earn your first million or whatever. The purpose of this imperative is to determine how you will reach those goals and manage your progress on them over time.

3. Time: This area is equally important as your finances in my opinion. All high performance achievers value their time more than money. They know that in the end, time is limited, and not wealth. The goal in this imperative is to manage your personal time, reduce inefficiencies and move towards a complete freedom of your time.

4. Education: The purpose of this area is to move yourself forward on the pursuit of knowledge. Learning new skills and attributes does not end when you finish college, instead it is only the beginning. All wise high performers know that in order to succeed in life, they need to focus on constantly learning and developing themselves. This area focuses also on formal education, if its desired, and in personal education by reading books, attending seminars and educational conferences.

5. Branding: This area of life is on the front end personification of yourself to the world. Without a strong personal brand, you will appear as a nobody and be lost in the crowds. If you want to be known, as someone that lived true to him or herself and your mission in life, a strong personal brand is how you achieve it. A personal brand can also act as a platform for you to teach and inspire others through a podcast, blog, video series or a book.

6. Altruism: This is the final growth imperative of life. The goal here is to help others. I believe that when you seek to help others, and expect nothing in return, it will create a better world to live in. I believe strongly, if everyone did one or two good deeds daily, then many of the world’s problems will disappear. I know this sounds idealistic but it’s true. Example goals for this area could be volunteering for a cause, donating to charities, or starting a non-profit.

Next up is the Lifestyle spectrum:

7. Health: Personal health is a unique imperative. It’s in the centerpiece of the lifestyle imperatives because of its critical importance to your high performance life. Contrary to popular belief, your most important asset is not your bank account or your house, it’s your physical health. Neglecting it will decrease your levels of success across the board in all the other imperatives. Example goals could range from completing a marathon, hiking a 8,000 ft mountain or just flossing your teeth everyday – just focus on continuous improvement.

8. Travel: This area focuses on seeing the world as a whole. This could be whichever interests you. Maybe it’s to visit all the major cities in the world, backpack through Europe, visit all the national parks in America or go to space. Dream big for this one and plan goals around it.

9. Setting: The purpose of the setting imperative is to manage your personal environment, as in where you spend your time primarily. This could be your personal residence or apartment, your car, your office or even the hotels you spend time in. At the end of the day, you really are the product of your environment. So if your environment sucks I encourage you to figure out what exactly would inspire you. Then work towards those goals.

10. Relationships: This imperative covers everything from your family and friend relationships to your love relationship at home. I find this area important because even if you have all the success in the world, if you go home and fight with your family or your wife then it’ll be tough to achieve complete life fulfillment.

11. Fun: The purpose of this area is to have fun! Really. If you’re not having fun on a consistent basis then the quality of your life will start to decline. However, don’t get pressured to match your fun activities with those that your friends like. It’s important to do some introspection and really think what you find to be fun and relaxing. Then, plan big goals around those topics.

12. Sustainability: This area focuses on your personal carbon footprint and overall environmental impact. I find this a personal touch point to my mission statement and one that I believe highly in encouraging in others. Especially if your passion is about the environment, then you should follow the advice of Gandhi and “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. For me this means measuring my carbon footprint and taking steps to reduce it over time until I reach carbon neutrality.

13. Creativity: This imperative engages with the creative side of the brain and could take the form of painting, drawing, writing, singing or whatever you enjoy that stimulates creativity. Often, once we get busy doing the urgent tasks in our life, creative pursuits tend to take back stage. That’s okay when it happens sometimes but I will try to take some hours out of each month to draw a picture or work on a personal creative project. I would encourage the same to you as well.

14. Spirituality: The final imperative focuses on the area that I label as spirituality. I know some of us are not into religion and that’s okay. This area is really anything you feel deeply about. This may take the form of personal spirituality, a formal religion or meditation. If you’re not too sure about this one, consider doing some more introspection or just remove it from your list.

The next post will talk more about the science of goal setting in these areas and give more examples of long term goals and yearly goals. Stay tuned!

Bill Womeldorf is an energy efficiency consultant and real estate entrepreneur in Boston, MA. He’s typically the one with the reusable water bottle in business meetings. When we all work together, he believes, it’s possible to solve the climate crisis. You can follow Bill on twitter @BillWomeldorf and read more about self-improvement and sustainability on his blog.


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1 thought on “The 14 Imperatives of a High Performance Life

  • Been impressed with you since day one, Bill. Glad you’re taking the time to share the things that are elevating you in your life. THAT makes a difference. I appreciate you.

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