Wow! What a great response to my last post! Your enthusiasm really got me pumped. Thanks to all of you who stepped up and shared a comment.
And congratulations on taking a first step in transforming your performance.
If you’re here reading this, you’re looking to improve your performance. And I’m here to help you.
So… Are you ready? Excited?
Well hold that thought.
Because I just spent the last couple days reading and re-reading all your comments. And we’ve got to get something straight. Before we go any further, I’ve got to put on my “hard-ass” hat, and explain some uncomfortable truths about what you’re getting into…
“Rich, seriously how do you know so much?”
I’ve been asked that question a lot over the years. It usually follows with questions like “Rich, how do you read so many books?” Or “how do you possibly stay on top of everything that’s happening in business?”
My answer to all of these questions is pretty simple.
For starters, I love reading. I love learning. I love making connections in the industry that no one has thought of yet.
But beyond that, I also have the right tools at my disposal so I can think, read, and organize information faster than most entrepreneurs think is possible.
Just to prove it to you…
A few years back, I created a list of these quick shortcuts and tools that I use in the “Rich’s Resources” document that you see below.
Inside this document, I showed clients…
Today we’re going to talk about getting clarity in your projects.
And really, it doesn’t even have to be a major project. I can be a minor project – anything you’re doing that requires several you should be looking to get clarity on.
I believe there are two questions for getting clarity on a project that we can ask.
- The first is, “Q: What does done look like?“. The big overarching question.
- The second one is, “Q: What does doing look like?“
In other words, when it’s complete, what will it look like? And, what are all the steps involved in getting it done?
Let’s look at these questions separately.
Are You Done Yet?
Q: So how do you determine what “done” looks like?
A: The way you surface the answers to that is by asking a series of questions like, “if this project was incredibly successful, how would it turn out?” “If it was everything I wanted it to be, how would I know?” “If this was a smashing success, how would it end up?”
So those are the types of questions that you ask to get extensive clarity about what does done look like. Obviously if it’s anything that is more than just a few steps, it requires that you actually spend a few minutes at the very least writing out your answer to that question so that you can have greater clarity.
Now once you understand that, the next step is to figure out what “doing” looks like. To do this you need to really start listing all the steps that will get you to “done.”
I think I’ve probably shared this before, but what I like to do to determine what “doing” looks like is to brainstorm all the steps.
I don’t try and make it linear – first step, second step, etc. – because if I do that, I box myself in too quickly. So what I try to do is just brainstorm all the steps first.
Then as I’ve kind of exhausted all the steps, then I put them in order. As I put them in order, I realize I might have forgotten certain things.
Once I get all that down, I’m able to put it into a step-by-step plan that will lead me to this outcome that I’ve already defined by determining what would this look like if it was an amazing success.
A Harder Question:
How do you know the questions to ask?
That brings up a more difficult question of how do you know what you need to know, to get clarity on anything?
To answer that, I’m going to go a little bit more global here for a second; a little bit more meta-level.
The answer is really pretty simple, but it’s not that easy to do. I’m talking about the ability for you, as an entrepreneur, to trust your instincts.
Why is it so hard to do?
Well you see, you’ve been trained ever since you were a child not to trust your instincts; that somehow your instincts were bad or wrong.
When you were a baby you wanted all your toys and your parents made you share them. When you went to school, you might have wanted to stand up and walk around; but you were forced to sit in class and pay attention. If you decided that something was interesting to you if it wasn’t necessarily interesting to your parents or your teachers you might not have been able to study it or get access to it.
You’ve been taught over time to trust outside experts to give you certain answers that ultimately you should be developing yourself.
The bottom line is, and this is just my perspective, because people don’t trust their instincts, they don’t know what it is they want or need.
They end up looking for answers without knowing what it is they need to know.
The problem with getting answers to questions you don’t know.
So they end up joining a program, they buy some books, they listen to an audio but they’re not really clear what it is they’re hoping to get out of it. So they go to wherever it is they’re going; the program, the audio, the course, the book, etc. hoping to find out what’s there and what potentially they need as opposed to walking in knowing exactly what they need and what they’re there for.
When you don’t trust your instincts you end up deferring to others to tell you more and more of what you need for the clarity. Ultimately you’re not getting your own clarity. You’re getting other people’s clarity.
Most of things that you want right now, whether you really want them or not, have been ingrained in you. Someone else has told you that you need to have it. It’s obvious what those things are. You want more money. You want a good relationship with someone who loves you. You want a good business that makes you feel like you’re making a contribution and getting the security and freedom that you desire.
So here’s another big question. Do you think you need something that you currently don’t have in order to get something you want? Do you think you need something that you don’t have right now in order to get more money; in order to have a good relationship with someone who loves you; in order to have a good business where you feel like you’re making a contribution?
And if you do feel you need something, what is it exactly? If you don’t know what it is you need to have in order to get that, how will you ever find it?
Unless you’re hoping that someone else takes responsibility for knowing what it is you need and therefore giving it to you. That is a very dangerous position to put yourself in.
I’ll share a personal story about that in the next post.
I have another simple but powerful concept I want to share with you today.
It’s something that I’ve taught for a long time. You may have heard me talk about it before. But since it’s such an important time-saving, speed-enhancing concept, and because it ties back into Tuesday’s letter about needing resources versus being resourceful as you’ll see in just a minute, I thought it would be great to share this concept one more time.
This is about information and how you learn. I’m not talking about how you absorb and process information – whether your a visual, or auditory, or kinesthetic learner. I’m talking about information and when you learn it.
You see, there’s an important distinction. It’s called “just in time” information and “just in case” information.
This distinction deals specifically with the type of information you go out in search of. Whether that information is immediately useful to you, or whether you’re just looking to amass knowledge.
When it comes to doing deep, intensive research, you should only be looking for information that relates to moving forward to the very next step you need to take in your business.
Spoiled Milk and A Sure Sign of Resource Dependency
“Just in case” information and learning is a clear sign of a dependency on resources. While “just in time” learning demonstrates your resourcefulness.
Too many people buy courses; buy products; get interested in topics for “just in case” reasons. They do this based on the belief that when they need it, they’ll have it. The problem with that belief and behavior, is that information is kind of like milk.
It tends to go bad over time.
So if you’re doing a lot of “just in case” research right now on let’s say, pay-per-click, everything you learn could change in an instant with the addition of one new feature by Google a month from now. That makes all the work you did pointless. And all the time you invested would be wasted.
You really need to approach information gathering, studying and learning as it relates to your business, in a “just in time” way.
My coaching programs, the Founders Club and BGS are sometimes considered to be “just in case” programs. But the reality is, they’re not. In fact, they’re sort of the consummate “just in time” learning because they are the essential elements to grow a successful business.
When you look at something that you might be buying or might be studying, the first question to ask yourself is “am I doing this because it’s just in case I’ll need it later” or “am I doing this because I need this to move forward right now.”
This is one of the key aspects of being strategic in your business. It allows you to do less while getting more. Of focusing on only the things that are absolutely necessary.
I think now you can see how these concepts integrate into what we talked about in the last post. Being resourceful leads you to search for the information that would be helping you solve specific issues, specific challenges, specific obstacles to getting to your goals.
If it’s something that’s being promoted right now and you’re thinking that well, I might buy that now because I’ll have it later – that’s just in case.
Putting the Car Before the Driving Lessons
Here’s an example. A while back I got a couple of questions about a content platform that was being launched. I didn’t really know whether it was a good platform or not. I could assume it would be a good platform. But it didn’t really matter. Because the questions I got were asking me if they should buy it now even though they didn’t have a customer acquisition process, they didn’t have a front-end product, etc.
My only thought was “Why would you even think about buying a content delivery platform right now when you don’t have the fundamental parts of your business in place? Delivering content is not really your problem right now. Getting customers is. And if that’s your problem, then you shouldn’t even be thinking about making an investment in anything for delivering content.”
Would you spend $50,000 on a car before you even knew how to drive?
So that’s the lesson for today. Whenever you’re thinking about spending time or money on any kind of information or product. ask yourself “am I getting this information from a just in time perspective or a just in case perspective.”
Focus on the just in time for a couple weeks and see how much faster you’ll start making progress.
Today I have 3 simple techniques for you to use to help boost your confidence.
These are important to do because when you’re operating with a healthy sense of self-confidence, it gives you an incredible edge in your business. It makes you more attractive in all your relationships. It creates a better overall feeling in your life.
So let’s dive in and get to it.
The first technique I’m going to tell you about is extremely powerful. But it takes a little persistence and work.
1: Start A ‘Victory Journal’
I want you to start what’s called a “Victory Journal.” If you’re already keeping a journal, you don’t need a separate one. Maybe put these entries in a separate color ink or different color font or note them with a highlighter so that you can spot them easily.
What do you write in your victory journal? Quite a bit.
1: Learning at the Speed of Light
Are you a reader or listener? Which do you tend to do more as far as when you’re learning something new? Do you tend to read a lot or do you tend to listen a lot or watch a lot?
Here’s an important point. When I ask people individually how do you learn best; most people have an easy answer for me. However, when I ask them if they act on that information, do they actually consider that and leverage it when they go about learning something – very few people actually answered yes.
In the last post we talked about how well you actually know yourself by examining certain motivational strategies…
Whether you move toward a much desired goal – or away from a terrible pain.
Either strategy will work as long as you have a clear end point.
By that I mean if you have a clear goal you’re trying to achieve, or a definite pain you’re trying to avoid.
The problem arises – with the move away strategy, at least – when you become comfortable with where you are. There are a couple ways you can address this.
A couple months back, I took a great trip. I was in Chicago actually participating in a – I guess for lack of a better way to describe it – a self-help type of workshop. It’s called LifeBook. The concept behind LifeBook is to really bring conscious attention and focus to your life.
You basically spend four days going through twelve areas of your life including: your health and fitness, your intellectual life, your emotional life, your parenting, your social life…
In each of those categories, you think through four areas:
Because of what I read yesterday, I finally committed to do something many mentors have been telling me to do for some time now.
Our very own Rich Schefren does it and has been preaching its benefits to me for at least 2 years. Michael Masterson of Agora recommends it and has also been a long-time fan. Even my wife has been egging me on to get started.
What am I talking about?
Daily writing in a journal.
Many high-performance entrepreneurs swear by the increased clarity they receive from daily thinking and writing within a personal journal.
Thoughts about business, AHA moments, weekly reflection, brainstorming, success reviews, and anything else that’s on your mind are all great topics or categories you can journal about.
But, if you’re at all like me, sitting down to a blank page that’s awaiting your deepest thoughts and desires can often be a bit daunting. So much so for me that I’ve chronically delayed getting started. Until yesterday, that is.
I was sitting outside by the pool at the hotel I’m staying at here in Orlando enjoying a nice robusto. I was flipping through 55-pages of personal notes Rich Schefren shared with me from his read of a very deep, very profound, and very thought-provoking book about success and psychology.
Page after page I continued to notice an enormous number of questions being posed by the author. His purpose: to help readers get deeper and deeper clarity on who they are, what they want, and where they want to go with their lives.
And that’s when it struck me…
I could just use the questions posed by this author as the jumping-off point for my journal entries. I could simply tackle one question each day… and this way… I would never have to worry about sitting down to a blank page. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do as soon as I return from my trip.
If you’d like to give it a try along with me, below are some of the first questions I’m going to tackle:
* How do I define personal success?
* How would I describe a life well-lived?
* What is my vision for my life?
* What were the most successful moments in my life?
* What were the biggest failures I’ve experienced? (Describe the lessons I learned)
* What do I really value about my life?
* If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I attempt to do?
* Who is the real me?
* What am I most grateful for?
* What am I really talented at?
* What relationships in my life do I value the most?
* How much success do I believe is possible for me?
* What are the most unhelpful, limiting beliefs holding me back?
* How do I measure success?
* How can I make today a success?
* Who do I want to be?
* What is it that makes me happy?
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Since the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us here in the States, I have a simple 3-step exercise for you that will add an exciting new dimension to your life, boost your overall health and well-being, and… flat out… make you feel good.
Recently, the University of California published a summary of results from a series of highly focused, cutting-edge studies on the nature of gratitude, its causes, and its consequences.
Below are just some of their findings:
* In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
* A related benefit was observed in the realm of personal goal attainment: Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.
* A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison (ways in which participants thought they were better off than others). There was no difference in levels of unpleasant emotions reported in the three groups.
* Participants in the daily gratitude condition were more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or having offered emotional support to another, relative to the hassles or social comparison condition.
* In a sample of adults with neuromuscular disease, a 21-day gratitude intervention resulted in greater amounts of high energy positive moods, a greater sense of feeling connected to others, more optimistic ratings of one’s life, and better sleep duration and sleep quality, relative to a control group.
* Children who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes toward school and their families (Froh, Sefick, & Emmons, 2008).
It’s clear – from studies and personal anecdotal evidence – that spending time each day reflecting on the aspects of your life your grateful for is both healthy and rewarding.
So, with the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, here’s a little 3-step exercise for you.
I call it the Entrepreneurial Gratitude Intervention:
Step #1: Spend 20 minutes thinking about and writing down all of the things in your life you’re grateful for.
Step #2: Spend 10 minutes meditating on one of the things on your Gratitude List. Think about why you’re grateful for it. How thankful you are for having it in your life. Think about what it truly means to you.
Step #3: Each day going forward, spend 10-minutes meditating on another item on your Gratitude List. As you realize you have new areas, items, or aspects of your life to be thankful for, add them to your Gratitude List and the daily meditation rotation.
As I said, engaging in this little “intervention” will add an exciting new dimension to your life, boost your overall health and well-being, and make you feel good.
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