I want to tell you a story of how I learned the difference between being effective and being busy.
Now, I’m the kind of guy who’d rather earn 1% of 100 people’s efforts than 100% of 1 person’s actions. That’s allowed me to scale my income and reduce my workload. As I was able to grow and scale my business, things became more and more complex. There were more rules I had to follow, more taxes I had to pay, and more systems I had to put in place. There were more jobs I had to sell; it went on and on and on.
It dawned on me one day that the only thing that we actually get paid to do is to take that paintbrush and put paint on the wall. The more color we took from the bucket and put on the wall, the faster we were paid.
Now, over the last 15 or 20 years, I’ve become more adept at what that means to me taking “paint from the bucket and putting it on the wall.” I’ve learned highly successful people are still busy, but WHAT they choose to be engaged with is much different from the average person.
They don’t allow distractions in, and they don’t let needless conversations to take place. They don’t repeat themselves often, and they don’t end up allowing other people to waste their time.
It made me start to consider where I was in life.
Where I allowed conversations that were supposed to be 30 minutes long go on for 3 hours.
Where I allowed other people’s drama to take over my entire schedule.
Where I allowed other people to exert control over me AND hold me accountable to my integrity.
I’ve realized from very successful people that they have a schedule, and they stick to it.
Most people are extremely busy at what they do too…
But they’re still not getting what they want.
One of the most significant differentiators is successful people take time to think about what they really want.
I’ve made it a habit of investing time thinking about what I actually want in life and where I want to go.
It’s become a barometer for every decision that I make throughout the day. I’ve found that the real answers come to me when I don’t think I have anything left to think…but I persist anyway. I commit my thoughts to paper, and I’ve found it’s a way to stay focused, especially when my mind struggles to remain focused.
It really changes the dynamic of how I interact with my day and who I’m willing to have a conversation with. How long I’m willing to have a conversation, and for what purpose.
It’s important to let people tell you what they think, but there comes the point where people are telling you about the labor and not much about “the birth.” I don’t have time to spend nine months with you exploring each day of that labor. Let’s talk about what happened once the baby came.
What can I do to serve you?
How can I help you?
How is this information relevant, and why are you building this story?
I share that with you because I imagine that you have goals and things that you’re trying to accomplish in life. Yet we allow other people to dominate our time and dictate to us what our day looks like. In essence, we end up not being in control of anything. We allow other people to control everything except the one thing that’s MOST important, our responsibilities and commitments.
As a consumer or an employer, you make promises to pay people money, and on the lowest level, you are responsible for making that happen. If money isn’t the commitment, you’ve made promises of equal value nonetheless.
Yet we’re letting other people dictate our time to make those things happen. Then we throw our hands up, and we tell the people that we owe “money” to that we can’t pay them. The people that dictated our time aren’t being blamed for it…we are.
I would suggest to you that it’s not the people that are wasting your time that is out of integrity, it’s you.
When you have a dream that is so big, when you have something that you’re going for that is so far outside of what you know how to do, it becomes all-consuming to figure out how to accomplish that thing.
You’re going to have to invest time away from the distractions and lean on a power greater than you to really understand what it takes to get what you want.
Many of us fall into victim mode because things happen, and the results that we desire don’t occur for us in our lives.
We end up blaming a situation outside of ourselves, and that takes all of our power away to control it. Instead, if we would focus our time on what we truly want and what we want for our lives to look like, we’d begin to look for ways to make that happen.
It’s all about you…it’s all inside of you. Yet you give it away to everyone else. Then you start buying whatever silver bullet somebody is willing to offer, and you get angry at them because it didn’t get you the result you wanted.
See, you have all the power that you need in this world to accomplish everything that you want to achieve.
The problem is for most of us is we don’t know what we want.
If you don’t know what you really want, how on earth can you ask somebody else to help you get it? On top of that, how will you know what conversations or what actions to take to get you there? So spend some time genuinely thinking about what it is you want in life.
This is your life. This is the chance that you have to receive it and experience it. This is your chance to produce the most beautiful painting of your life because nobody else will do it for you.
See, you being busy isn’t very impressive to me.
You being effective and efficient is.
Making a mistake doesn’t bother me.
Continuing to make the same mistake over and over again really does bother me.
I’m not going to invest my time with people who have to learn their lesson 18,000 different ways to get the first result. Not because I don’t love people, not because I don’t want you to get the result. Instead, you’re not committed yet to what it is you want.
So, the next time you find yourself being busy, ask yourself a simple question.
“How’s being busy making me feel?”
Is being busy making you feel afraid?
Is being busy making you feel in your solar plexus that you’re just not getting “it” done?
Is being busy making you feel like you’re spiraling out of control or somehow that you’re just not getting there?
If that’s indeed the case, then all you have to do is a simple exercise.
Stop, take a few deep breaths, and focus on what it is you want to accomplish. From there, you can create a little elementary list of, “I need to do this today.” I would suggest doing the most challenging thing first and getting it out of the way.
After that, as your energy wanes for the rest of the day, you’ll be able to focus on more manageable and more comfortable things. From there, as you accomplish those A’s and B’s, you’ll find that the C’s and the D’s might not ever come up, and you’ll find that you’re moving closer and closer to your goal all the time.
We’re all gonna die… The question is, are we ever really going to live?
Are you ever really going to have a life of your design?
The only person that can give you that freedom is you.