How do top leaders find the magic in what they do with amazing inspiration and creative genius that create that special spark?

During my eleven years as a business coach and consultant I’ve interviewed many accomplished business leaders and identified seven rituals that the top leaders practice in their journey to self-discovery and transformation:

1. They Practice Strong Self-Awareness

They often start their businesses and make decisions about their businesses with significant self-knowledge, stemming from instinct or introspection. Their understanding of their own likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses are particularly insightful. They’ve gained independence from their initial pre-conceptions about life and business, ideas that may have been instilled by their parents, teachers or early childhood experiences. Rather than relying automatically on advice and direction from others, they make sure that there is a strong fit between them, their individual tastes and their chosen business. In many occasions, I’ve sensed that some top leaders have sensory acuity; an acute sensitivity that allows them to determine if they are on track or off track and to use their flexibility to adjust their course along their journey.

2. They Gravitate Toward Strengths and Rise From Weaknesses

The top leaders are able to put their egos aside and see themselves clearly enough to know what they are good at and leveraging their strengths whilst rising above their weaknesses. They aren’t afraid to develop staggering capabilities to gain a competitive advantage and out think their competition. They know that the essence of life is to be, do and have.

3. They Radiate Authenticity and Integrity

They understand that authenticity is alignment between their underlying character and their statements and actions. To them, integrity is the consistency of their words and deeds, from one day to another and across different situations. They realize that they must be in touch with themselves, and they must be themselves, because if they’re not, it will be immediately obvious to everyone around them.

4. They Are Levelheaded Decision Makers

Some of them make very rapid leadership decisions; others take much longer to navigate a key crossroads. But many rely on gut instinct — on trusting themselves and not getting overly bogged down in analyzing the pros and cons of every possible contingency. This instinct rests on strong self-knowledge.

5. They Pay Their Dues First, Conquer the World Later

When they started their entrepreneurial journeys, their egos were inflated by mystical confidence and grandiose visions. They started their ventures with detailed maps to the top. They thought about paying their dues and perhaps starting to save; they were laying the foundations of their lives, with complete knowledge of how the final blueprint would look. Many had nursed quiet but intense hopes, clear glimmers of ambition and passion as they took their business to the next level. Idleness was not an option; especially if their families weren’t affluent enough for them to spend time deciding what they wanted to be when they grew up.

6. They Cope With Insecurities and Use Them for Motivation

The top leaders do not sail through work and life without doubts. Many share stories of early uncertainties; anxieties before big decisions were made. Leaders do have their periods of doubt and insecurity but they get past them. They use their insecurities and limitations as extra motivation to spur them to action and inspire others around them.

7. They Stay in the Present

Top leaders gain the confidence to raise their sights by staying in the present moment which in turn becomes their true identity. Even with the pressures of day-to-day responsibilities and challenges top leaders don’t abandon their dreams and hopes, and thus avoid the traps of recalling past unpleasant experiences or worrying about the future. In business and in their private life, they often spot opportunities or create them for themselves and others because they are present and ready when these opportunities come.

They start every venture with the belief that they could achieve anything. What mark them for success is their ability to rise above all challenges with amazing confidence, which in turn fosters their ambition and passion.

Across the majority of my interactions with top leaders, the basic pattern was the same: They achieve small successes in local settings, then they use the knowledge, contacts and confidence from those experiences to replicate successes on a broader scale. It’s quite encouraging and extremely satisfying that, even as we speak, I still experience and witness a wonderful spark from most of the business leaders I get in touch with during the course of our daily business. Their mantra is to inspire in everything they do. They equip themselves with all the tools and skills necessary to live an inspired and inspiring life. By starting with a spark, they ignite their flame and become a true torch that changes and inspires their world.