UPDATED: November 15, 2021
PUBLISHED: February 4, 2020

If the personal development leaders we follow are heroes in some way—and that’s apt enough—then it’s only fitting that they each come with an origin story, a series of events that made them who they are and introduced their drives to help others.

Few of these stories are as dramatic as Brendon Burchard’s. As a 19-year-old, Burchard found out his girlfriend was cheating on him. He was devastated and depressed. So he made an impulsive decision to take a summer job in the Dominican Republic. There he was involved in a horrific car accident. According to Burchard, in the midst of the broken glass and blood, he had a moment of extreme clarity.

“I thought, ‘Did I even matter?’” Burchard recalls.

This phrase would eventually become part of his life motto and a key piece of everything he would do in the future. As he recovered from the accident and began re-evaluating his life, he found himself asking “Did I live fully? Did I love openly? Did I make a difference?” Those questions drove him to spend his 20s researching and studying ways to do those three things. He eventually quit his job and wrote his first book, which began his meteoric rise to become one of the most famous and popular high performance coaches.

Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter? These ideas are the throughline in all of Burchard’s works. He’s written multiple New York Times best-sellers, including The Millionaire Messenger and his most recent, 2017’s research-heavy High Performance Habits. Burchard is one of the most followed personal development voices on Facebook and has a YouTube channel with more than 800,000 subscribers. His videos have been viewed more than 87,000,000 times.

Burchard’s The Charged Life podcasts are different from many podcasts in the genre in that he doesn’t interview big name guests or have long shows. Instead, episodes are short (usually less than 20 minutes) and address a certain topic.

The cover figure for SUCCESS in October 2018, Burchard has been called “one of the most successful online trainers in history” by Oprah. Larry King has said that “Brendon Burchard is one of the top motivation and marketing trainers in the world.”

He focuses most of talks, podcasts, videos, and books on the insights he’s gained from studying many high performers. He takes these insights and transforms them into easy-to-digest information that inspires his followers.

Among his most popular offerings are his online courses, which have been completed by thousands of students and promise to teach the methods that have helped Burchard and others to live, love and matter.

It’s Burchard’s focus on the idea of a life that matters that drives so much of his work. He doesn’t just want people to be successful so they can make more money, he wants people to live a life of importance for others. Mattering is more than making money, getting a promotion, or being famous.

Ultimately, all of his efforts, from the books to the podcasts to the YouTube videos to the courses, work toward pushing people to that one goal, an answer to his three major questions.

The Surprising Qualities of High Performers

While researching for his 2017 book High Performance Habits, Brendon Burchard came across some major surprises, even after more than a decade and a half teaching and coaching some of the world’s greatest achievers.

“I expected that those folks would be more stressed, that their health would be more compromised, that they would feel lonely at the top,” Burchard says. “I was wrong.”

According to Burchard’s research, high performers are:

  • Less stressed
  • Healthier
  • 40 percent more likely to exercise at least three times per week
  • Happier
  • Engaged in more positive relationships

Dealing With Stressful Situations

Three Steps for Cooling Down from Brendon Burchard

  1. Anticipate and ask for help. Ask people who have experienced this situation before and see what their advice would be. You should never go into a stressful situation without seeking out help.
  2. Plan what to do before, during, and after the stress. Make sure that the day before is planned out so you can be prepared, then plan the actual event, and always plan how you will recover from the situation. Stressful situations take a toll on our bodies.
  3. Visualize your success. This isn’t worrying about a situation, instead it’s imagining yourself being confident, capable, and doing a good job.

Meet the other New Thought Leaders:

Tom Bilyeu
Rachel Cruze

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Illustration by Hanane Kai

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Jonny Auping is a freelance writer based in Dallas.

Scott Bedgood is a freelance writer and the author of Lessons from Legends: 12 Hall of Fame Coaches on Leadership, Life, and Leaving a Legacy. He lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife Sami.

Jamie Friedlander is a freelance writer based in Chicago and the former features editor of SUCCESS magazine. Her work has been published in The Cut, VICE, Inc., The Chicago Tribune and Business Insider, among other publications. When she's not writing, she can usually be found drinking matcha tea into excess, traveling somewhere new with her husband or surfing Etsy late into the night.