01 Aug SUCCESS AT A HIGHER LEVEL: THE CONUNDRUM OF HARD WORK
Have you ever heard of ‘The Law of Diminishing Returns”? It’s an economic law that states that output decreases, as input increases. Or rather, rapid initial gains are followed by slow improvements despite a greater input of effort. Think back, for example, to a time when you went on a diet. The first few months of dieting produced incredible results – the weight seemed to fall off! But, then, it got harder, and harder still until you had to put in immense amounts of effort to realise the smallest of benefits.
This law is one of the reasons why so many people ‘quit’ their goals at around week six. They see the benefits dwindling and they use that as a reason to stop: “it’s not working anyway”, or “it’s just too hard”, or “I’ve come as far as I can”.
I’m going to introduce a notion to you in this article that I want you to carry with you, and apply to the next goal you set. It’s the notion of ‘resolve’.
Now we all know what the word means – it’s a firm determination to do something – but I’m going to take it a step further. When I talk about resolve, I’m not just talking about ‘firm determination’, I’m talking about an approach to action that has no alternative, I’m talking about a decision that is final and without compromise, I’m talking about guts or glory approach to achieving your goals.
When you resolve to achieve something with us, you’re not fantasizing and you’re not hoping – you’re resolving to make it a reality: whatever it takes and when the returns start decreasing (as the law predicts) your effort, input and determination will increase. This is ‘success at a higher level’ and it’s this ability to push through the final frontier of effort (for diminishing returns) that separates those who have it all, with those who want it all.
I call this the conundrum of hard work because it’s easy to reach ‘good’ and stop short of ‘great’. After all, if it takes 20 minutes to do something to 70% (that’s a return of 3.5% per minute), is it really worth it spending another 40 minutes (on a return of 0.75% per minute) to get it to 100%?
This is a question you must answer for yourself. What does 70% of your dream life or business look like vs. 100%? What is the 30% you’d be willing to give up for that fleeting bit of comfort at the end? Are you truly willing to cheat yourself out of that final 30% because it’s going to get hard at the end?
In the Navy, there is a saying: “Under pressure, you don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training. That’s why we train so hard.”
This is your opportunity to train hard now, in the beginning, so that form carries you through to the end for a strong finish.
So, define the life you’ve always wanted, one that gives you that burning feeling in the pit of your stomach, and write it all down on a piece of paper. This is your outcome; your end result. This is what you are going to have. Next, put a deadline on it all, each element, and make sure they’re realistic.
To prepare for this endeavor (to realise this new life), I want you to answer the following questions, in order.
- What will I have, see, feel, think once I’ve achieved this goal? (Determine what makes it truly worth the effort.)
- What will I have to give up to achieve this goal? (Determine the price you’re willing to pay to make it a reality.)
- What obstacles must I overcome to achieve this goal, and how will I tackle each one? (Write down everything and everyone who can stand in your way and make plans now to tackle this now.)
- When the going gets tough, what one thing will keep me moving forward? (Dig deep and find something that will push you forward when you want to quit.)
- What will increase your likelihood of success? (List what / who you need around you to succeed and put it all in place.)
I imagine right now you’re feeling pretty pumped. If you’ve taken the time to write down the answers to those questions (which only a small percentage of readers will do), the adrenalin will be starting to build as you realise your future self has just become more of a reality.
Right now, before you do anything else, do one thing that will bring you closer to your goal and feel proud that you’ve done something today that so few people do: you’ve taken a step towards your destiny and when you get back, start to formalize your plans using the following steps:
Step 1 – Metrics
This is a technique we use for helping business owners to deliver on business goals, specifically, but it works for all types goal setting. Take your ‘big goal’, and break it down into a series of mini success points. For example, let’s say you want to have £1m in the bank in five years time…how much would you need in the bank in four year, three years, two years, one year, six months, one month etc. Fill it all in on a table (can be on Excel, Word, or written down on paper).
Step 2 – Strategy
Now that you know what goals you must hit in the first time period (could be weeks, months or years), determine the broad approach you will take to make this a reality. For example, using the £1m goal again, you might choose to triple the revenue in your business, cut costs by 20% and find ways to increase the return on your capital.
Step 3 – Execution
Next, write down the specific actions you will take for each element of the strategy. For example, for “find ways to increase the return on your capital”, you might resolve to finding a new financial advisor and taking their advise in the next 10 days. Assign owners, dates, deadlines and expected outcomes to each task and make sure each one happens. This is about commitment. Don’t write it down if you’re not going to do it!
Step 4 – Review and Adjust
Agree a period for reviewing progress against goals. You might do this weekly, monthly or quarterly but make sure you do it, objectively. If you fall behind, take action to get back on track. The goal should never change, the actions should.
Remember: not everyone will do this, only a small proportion of the population, and that is why only a small proportion of people ever truly step into their dream lives.
Now is the time to work like it means everything when it means nothing, so that you can work like it means nothing when it means everything.
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- Give you an overview of coaching and how it works;
- Discuss goals you have and how you can make them a reality through coaching; and,
- Allow you to experience coaching first hand so you can decide if it is right for you.
Fill in the form and we’ll contact you to arrange the complimentary session.