Yesterday my client said to me, “I really love this time after Labor Day.”
For him it’s an energizing sprint into the holidays, where he seeks to consolidate his year.
Over the next few months he’s focused on driving home those things he’s been working on all year, as well as laying the piping for next year.
The last two weeks in August he takes time to slow it down, but this weekend he was in full swing, winding it up to finish the year.
So much of getting what you want comes from building momentum.
Just like hitting the gym once a year on January 1, success doesn’t come from what you do one day a year, but from what you wake up and do every day.
Showing up his best my client knows that he drives his best results, but it’s also through building this momentum every day that he feels his best.
This is the case for most of us.
We can get our knickers in a knot thinking too much about what we want to get done, but we feel our greatest when we just dive into doing it.
It’s for this reason that over the last couple of weeks we’ve been taking the thinking out of it, and laying out two systems for my client to get back in the swing.
Systematically Use Your Day
As I constantly rant about, all things get better through a systematic approach.
You could wake up tomorrow and try to get dressed by wading through a massive pile of clothes that you keep stacked up in your closet, or you can dress easily when you systematically organize your clothes. (e.g. keep socks together)
Each and every part of your day can work the same.
You can wake up in the morning and allow your mind to run into the hundreds of things that may or may not matter to your day, or you can wake up and direct your mind into your systematic approach for your day.
How do you best get organized to crush your day?
How do you not only manage your time, but your focus, energy, and, ultimately your mind?
As I laid out in this article, you can get all wild and crazy and heavily systematize your entire day, or you can just lay out some broad strokes that enable you to focus in the right ways.
However you do it, in the end, this is all success comes down to.
It’s not about the many things that must come together, but what specific things you wake up and bring together each and every day.
That’s the first system we focused on for him—tightening the screws so he can be even more systematic about his day.
Then, we got clear on, what specifically is he systematically focused on?
Much of what I’ve spent time with my client on in the last couple of weeks is reworking his system for winning.
He’s already highly systematic which makes this much easier—as we have plenty of data on what is and isn’t working well—but the trick is how you use it.
An online retailer might know that Amazon is eating their lunch, but how they systematically adapt to compete is what matters.
In my client’s case, we’re not focused on “winning more,” but making the systematic tweaks that enable him to keep improving his game.
We do this through my 5 step System for Winning.
Step 1: Define It
Define It means, define your goals.
In my client’s case, this means drilling into his end of year goals.
“What do I want the end of the year to look like?” my client said to me. “I’ll tell you what I want. I want to get to the end of the year and feel like I did my best.”
I said, “Great. How must your days, weeks, months look for you to feel this way?”
From there we clearly defined the processes that would lead him to feel like he is doing his best this year.
What are your goals? How do you best define them? Do you see that no matter what your goals are, it’s the process of your goals that matters to getting there?
Step 2: 80/20 Winning
When I talk getting what you want with people, this is where it tends to get tricky.
That’s because, in this step of the system, you’re asking yourself a tricky question—How specifically do you win?
Not generally. Not “by working harder.” But, in this step you must specifically identify, with as much mastery as you can, what leads you to win.
You don’t win at exams by “being smart,” but by using memory techniques to load up a lot of information, and writing fast.
A boxer wins by being better at taking a punch and landing one on their opponent. 80/20 Winning is knowing how specifically they plan to beat that specific opponent.
Elon Musk is building world changing companies. 80/20 Winning is filtering through the hundreds of things he could do every day, to knowing those things that principally drive success.
Usain Bolt wins by being the fastest man in the world. 80/20 Winning for Usain is getting clear on those 20% of activities that drive 80% of improvements in speed.
That might involve “training harder,” but more likely it involves honing in on a specific part of his practice that gives him the most leverage in winning. (e.g. getting off the blocks)
In my client’s case, this is an easy step because week in, week out, we are focused on how he wins, and what he can do to win better and more.
Hence, when he woke up today for Go Time, he knew what he was going to do.
What about you? How clear are you on what leads you to win? How can you identify those key moves that make the most difference, and hone in on doing them?
Step 3: Plan It
If it’s not written down, it’s not a plan.
And if it’s too written down, it’s a plan that will fail…
As General Patton put it, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
In planning the rest of your year, you want to plan just as much as you need to keep taking powerful actions.
It’s irrelevant what actions you think you might be taking 7 weeks from now. What matters is that you are very clear on the actions you are taking this week to keep building your momentum through week 7 and beyond…
Plan and execute as you go. That’s step 4 too.
Step 4: Execute It
Plan. Execute. Iterate.
Moment-to-moment. Daily. Weekly. Monthly. Yearly.
In my client’s case, just like I illustrate in my books, his plan is simple—a few boxes on a page, like a decision tree, simply laying out the work streams that drive his success.
The backup for his plan is a highly curated list of actions, prioritized according to highest value, that he begins with today… and keeps working and reworking every tomorrow.
It is very simple because you want to remove every barrier to taking great actions.
This is where your daily routines come in handy. They are the way that you organize your day so you can float from task to task, loving staying in the flow.
Step 5: Getting Skills
This step is where nearly all of us fail.
It’s easy to just keep doing what we’re doing. It’s easy to pick up a task and just “do our best.”
But, the unfortunately truth is—Often in life, our best simply isn’t good enough.
I am the worst dancer. That’s good enough, considering I do my best to avoid dancing, but if my girlfriend forced me to marry her and I had to dance, I’d need to do better.
Each and every day, many of us fail to achieve the results we want simply because we lack the skills.
An investment banker might do a ton of work laying out an amazing idea for a client, but because they lack skills to actually sell, most that effort is wasted.
A CEO might have the grandest goals for himself and his firm, but because he lacks the skills to communicate his vision and lead, he’ll never rally his team.
A top investor might have laid out tight goals, gotten clear on exactly how she wins, but because she’s failed to learn the skills to harness her mind, she lets herself down on those hard trades.
And, each and every day, all of us, because we lack the skill and discipline to manage our time, because we fail to master our day, we fail to make our days, weeks, years, and lives what we dream them to be.
My clients and me included…
Which is why we started with the skill of systematizing your day!
Honestly, if you read all that and you’re still reading, then it tells me you’re already committed.
And if you want to take your game a notch higher, like my clients are I are constantly doing, you want to have a really strong why.
You want to know why this really matters to you.
What are you looking to get from it?
What do you get from this hard-core focus on getting what you want?
How does it help you achieve your goals?
How does it make you feel now and in the future?
Why does being so damn good and achieving such great results matter so much to you?
Keep reminding yourself why. Keep stretching your boundaries. And keep taking powerful action.