Move the Needle!

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Too much to do, and too little time! 

That seems to be a universal challenge. Acute among “successful people”, and it's also a key ingredient in what I call partial success. When I ask people about the things they want less of in their lives, too much to do, stress, pace, intensity, demands, and the like are always high up on the list. All of those should be in that “I need to do something about this” category. And, for good reason. What are some of the costs of always having too much on your plate?

  • Stress itself costs everything from quality of life to quality of relationships to health.

  • What about all those things you aren’t getting to at all? For anyone running lights out all the time, in your business for example, it is virtually guaranteed there are high-value opportunities waiting for you.

  • What’s the cost of burnout, frustration, and personal exhaustion?

  • What’s the cost of sub-optimized performance and decision-making?

When I ask a CEO

If we could create another 20% or 30% of you, for you to do nothing but focus on those areas that would grow your company, make it run better, and make it more valuable, what would that mean to you? If we could find a big chunk of time for you to use to relax, take better care of yourself, better care of your relationships, and do things that are fun and rewarding, what would that be worth? They almost get tears in their eyes, and sometimes do! They are a lot like I once was. When I looked up one day, after a few decades of charging the hill, and said almost out loud “this is no way to live my life”.

The Iceberg

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Consider this metaphor. The water line represents the surface of life. Up above is all the more visible activity. The activity of the ego. Hiring, firing, accountants, lawyers, activities, etc. This is where people go to problem solve. I meet people who have been overwhelmed for 10 or 20 years. They are still occasionally trying to figure out how they are going to change. Or, they have given up. Or, they may be thinking about how to exit and do something else. But mostly they just keep running fast. Doing what they have always done. They are trying to solve the problems on the top part of the iceberg.

The answers lie below. The people I work with are creators. They have created businesses, careers, and more. Big stuff. Yet, they can’t figure out how to work a little less, get a little stress out of their life, and focus on those things that will really move the needle for them. There are a lot of reasons they can’t get out of their own way. They are too close to it. They can’t see how. It’s easier to just keep doing what they’ve always done.

It’s about changing the conversation you’re having with yourself. As we start to really examine that conversation, including all the conversations under the conversations, a lot is revealed. You believe you have to chase that hard. You may not believe you deserve peace and grace. We don’t need to try to guess at your particular conversation right this minute. Nor can we really try to fix it with this blog. I just wanted to give you something to think about.

Whatever you have going on in your outside world is a direct reflection of what you have going on in your inside world.

Change comes from the inside. Once you get that headed in the right direction. That is your beliefs and patterns of thought. The outside solutions seem to magically rise from obscurity.

A Little Tool for You

Using the iceberg metaphor, I tell clients we’ll typically work about 70% beneath the surface, and 30% above. The attached “Move the Needle Daily Plan” is nothing all that new. Something that dropped in on me a few days ago. It came to me as an idea for organizing my own priorities. I really don’t think of myself as busy, and certainly not as stressed. And I want to keep it that way!

Being thoughtful about those things I most want to get done is therefore critically important. When I printed it out and then dropped in my to do list, it felt right to me. It felt like I had found some clarity that will be valuable to me and those I serve.

Next, I started thinking about two or three particular clients whom I felt this would really fit. From there, I concluded I should just “pretty it up a little”, write a blog, and send it out to everyone.

Summary

This little tool may or may not make a difference for you. I imagine that depends in large part on what you are doing already. 

Think about the concepts I describe where I talk about work beneath the surface. That is, examining the conversation you are having with yourself that has created excessive, perpetual, busyness and stress. Make no mistake, work there can be life changing!