I had a very interesting coaching conversation yesterday with one of my fellow entrepreneurs at PRO. And, in this conversation the question came up, “Jay, what should I be focusing on? I feel so distracted and unclear what I should be focused on when I sit down to build my business!”
I could hear the stress and overwhelm in her voice. I could tell that she was in over her head and the sound of desperation was evident. The following exercise seemed to help her tremendously and by the end of our brief chat, she sounded like a different person.
Here are the simple steps I have learned to gain clarity and stay focused on the right things daily, dramatically improving my results.
PARADIGM SHIFT: Your first thought is never your BEST thought. In fact, trying to “think” your way through a challenge (scratching your brain) is oftentimes the most ineffective way possible. The reason being, the most powerful part of your brain, the 99% NOT normally accessed or used on a daily basis is NOT the part of your brain that does the thinking.
DO THIS: Think about a time when you had a problem and simply could not resolve it no matter how hard you tried. Then all of a sudden you wake up one day with the solution in hand. Or, without even thinking about it, you have a light bulb moment in the shower.
REALIZATION: Your conscious mind, the one that you have a dialogue with every day is not YOU. You are NOT your thoughts. This goes back to the paradigm shift I mention above. Just realize that most of your thoughts and reactions are automatic brain patterns that fire with or without your control. In fact some research suggests that our reactions are already underway up to 1 second before we even have the conscious decision.
DO THIS: Notice how certain things cause a reaction from you. You open your bills and your stomach sinks. Someone crosses you or hits one of your hot buttons (pet peeve) and you light up like a Christmas tree. Just be aware of this and don’t try to change anything about yourself. Just notice.
Put your challenges in the back of your mind, and let things rest over night. Some people find it helpful to pray, meditate, do yoga, etc. to calm their mind. Only when your conscious mind stops thrashing around trying to solve every problem, will the answer and solution become apparent in due time.
URGENCY: If you were to make a “to do” list right now, what would be on it? Stop reading here and try the exercise below.
DO THIS: Make a “to do” list of everything you have to get done today, this week, this month, etc. This list should be exhaustive and you will likely fill two sheets of paper.
IMPORTANCE: The constant sense of urgency we live in robs us of productivity. Important things are rarely urgent and tend to be pushed off for another day. Procrastination is what is standing between you and the future you really want.
DO THIS: Go through your list and separate the items into two buckets. A) Items that will move you closer to your business goals (call these income producing activities) and B) Items that need to get done, but really have no immediate impact on quality of life. (Paying your taxes, cleaning your garage, getting your new puppy neutered, these sorts of things)
PRODUCTIVITY: Productivity is the most elusive state of being. Our internal thermostats keep us stuck by making us feel like we are busy, doing a lot of things that are urgent. Research shows that most people are only productive a tiny fraction of their day. One hour a day of productivity (MIGHT Time) is all that is standing between you and the life of your dreams.
DO THIS: Make a list of 100 things that you KNOW you could do to move your life and business forward and write them down. Commit to completing 10 a week.
First thing in the morning, before you check your email, voicemail, Facebook, or anything else that would distract you and get your mind off track, complete three things on your IMPORTANT list. Eliminate all distractions and focus on your MIGHT time. Do this three times a week. (Listen to the archived MIGHT Time calls with Patrick Combs to learn this discipline.)
START WITH THE END IN MIND: Organize your day and your activities with the end in mind.
DO THIS: Before you spend any effort, time or money on anything—ask yourself: Is this going to move me closer to my goals? Is this in alignment with where I am going as a person and an entrepreneur?
RESULTS MATTER: Once you are taking action daily on your goals and actually logging some seriously productive MIGHT time, you will notice a compounding effect of these small, deliberate and daily actions.
DO THIS: Reward yourself for results. Results are the only thing you should be measuring your success by. You will immediately notice how many “talkers” there are out there compared to just a few “doers.” Also notice how many teachers are out there… those who can’t “do,” teach. Beware of the teachers and start following the DOERS.
FIND A MENTOR: Every hero started with a mentor. Every successful entrepreneur started with a mentor. Coming very soon you will see how you can mentor with not only myself but a variety of leading business leaders. This new system is called MIGHT Mentorship and will be unveiled Jan 1, 2012.
DO THIS: Join MIGHT when the opportunity presents itself.
NEVER QUIT: Winners never, ever, ever, ever, ever quit. Fall 10 times, get up 11, fall down 100 times, get up 101 times. Edison said, “Before I invented the light bulb, I invented 1000 that didn’t work.
DO THIS: Find a mirror, look at yourself in the eye, grit your teeth, and say this to yourself every day. “I WILL NEVER QUIT.”