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Pursue passions

11 Military Productivity Hacks For Entrepreneurs

How many times have you said “there aren’t enough hours in the day?”

Frankly, I’d be surprised if I found out everyone hadn’t said this at some stage. Most people have an ever-replenishing to-do list – and that’s before life away from your desk.
Applying your unique combination of skill, experience and knowledge isn’t something that you can outsource – and that reason makes time an entrepreneur’s most valuable asset.
The good news is, you’re not making the most of your time.
I can say this with confidence because 99.9% of people are in exactly the same boat – and this is the very reason 99.9% of people aren’t living the life they dream about.

What do I know?

Being a business mentor doesn’t automatically make me understand the intricacies of productivity – but I’m lucky enough to have worked with some extremely talented individuals who do – many of whom are armed forces veterans.
Here’s the thing:
Productivity isn’t something you’re born with; it’s an art that must be practiced, a muscle that needs to be exercised.
The instilled discipline and drilled efficiency that the armed forces inspire in people is unmatched in virtually any other walk of life. Working with veterans opens your eyes to new levels of productivity and can teach anyone an important lesson:
There are enough hours in the day; you’ve just got to know how to access them.
The following 11 hacks will help you to run your business and your life with a military level of productivity…

#1: NET (no extra time)

We do hundreds of things every day on auto-pilot.
Walking, driving, shaving, making the bed, running, cooking dinner – to name just a few.
We’re unconsciously competent at these tasks; we change gear without thinking and boil pasta without reading the instructions.
Since our brain isn’t engaged while we take part in these tasks, it gives us an opportunity to engage our thoughts elsewhere, hence ‘no extra time’ is added to your day – and what better place to use this untapped time than for learning?
Audio books are ideal for this, what’s more, you can adjust the playback rate on most apps so that you can take them in at 1.5/2.0x the speed they’re read at. The average commute is 25 minutes, cooking dinner probably takes another 20. Turn this into learning time and you’ll consume 20 or more books and the knowledge within every year – choose those books wisely and your entrepreneurial skillset will expand rapidly…

#2: Get your sleep right

Everyone’s sleep requirements are slightly different, but generally 7-8 hours each night sees us at our peak mental performance the following day.
The perfect combination of sleep and productivity comes when you understand exactly what’s right for you. Evenings can be enormous blackholes for time – with a little TV and some social media interaction it’s 11pm before you know it - and 12am before you’re asleep.
If you can, there’s a huge amount of productivity to be had if you adjust your bedtime backwards and start the next day earlier.
Try to avoid screens for 2 hours before you sleep. Our phone’s apps are designed to stimulate your brain and keep you engaged – not ideal for winding down. Reading, prepping tomorrow’s food, tidying and planning are all good alternatives that come with their own benefits.
Waking up early is no mean feat though, so I recommend the following:
Understand your natural sleep pattern.
Using an app like Sleep Cycle can help you to understand what’s happening when you’re in asleep and has an extremely effective alarm function that will wake you when your sleep is at its lightest point – helping you to feel switched on and alert right through the day.

#3: Harness the morning

If you can master your sleep and get up 2 hours earlier than you ordinarily would every working day you effectively give yourself an extra day each week.
What’s more, because you’re making that ‘extra day’ anywhere between 5am-9am (depending on your sleep requirements and chosen bedtime) that becomes one of those magical days where no one calls and interrupts, no one urgently emails and there are fewer notifications stealing your attention.
The maths is actually jaw dropping:
Add 2 productive hours to every working day and you add 520 hours to your year. Even with a hefty 50 hour work week that’s the equivalent of over 10 extra weeks of productivity every year – a sure fire way to get a lot more done, or at least feel a lot less guilty about taking a week or two absorbing some sunshine on a foreign beach.

#4: Make your own energy

It’s no coincidence that extremely high levels of productivity in military personal follows physical training each morning.
The good news is – science tells us this doesn’t have to mean running a marathon every day, in fact, a minimum of 12 minutes at an elevated heart rate is enough to produce hormones that increase awareness and mental agility for the rest of the day.
The great news is, it’s not just how switched on we are that’s bolstered when we exercise in the morning; our body’s ‘feel good’ hormones are kick-started too, leading to a more positive mood through the day.
Not only will exercise help tweak your brain’s performance every morning – it’ll also keep you healthy too, supporting your immune system to fight off illness. Want to turbo-charge your results? Get a double hit of those awareness and feel good hormones by jumping in a cold shower after you’re done, boosting circulation even further.
As productivity hacks go, engaging in some physical exercise is one that will have the greatest impact most quickly – there really is no downside.

#5: Take regular breaks

Our brains aren’t designed for being focused on just one task permanently – so if you want to maximise the time you’re spending with your mind at full throttle it makes a lot of sense to rest it frequently.
If you’re at your desk all day, get up, go and get some fresh air, stimulate the visual parts of your brain in different ways.
If possible, find somewhere you can be completely free of thought, even just for a few minutes.
Some people refer to this as ‘meditation’ – other call it ‘mindfulness’, whereas some prefer just ‘clearing your head’. Whatever you choose to call it, thinking of nothing, or focusing just on your breathing can help to slow your thoughts and internal monologue – and a slower thought process general leads to more rational and considered decisions.

#6: Use the right fuel

We can all occasionally lose sight of the fact that our bodies are biological machines, with the right fuel required to see a positive energy output.
Our brain is very much part of that machine – and it’s extremely sensitive to the conditions food creates in our body. Heavy lunches that comprise of sugar and simple carbohydrates require a lot of energy to digest – and can also cause our blood sugar levels to spike, leading to drowsiness and lack of focus in the mid-afternoon.
Just as making use of hidden hours can add up in our favour, losing hours to drowsiness and low energy can see that time disappear again.
If possible, try to avoid the following lunch time usual suspects:
White bread
White rice
White pasta
Crisps
Refined sugar (chocolate, sweets, hidden sugar in sauces/dressings, etc)
Instead, try to create lunches around:
Lean protein (beef, chicken, turkey, salmon, mackerel, etc)
Pulses and beans
Salad leaves and vegetables
Good fats (olive oil, avocados, unsalted nuts and nut butters)
These things might need a little prep the night before – and might not have the same immediate appeal as something sugary or salty, but let me assure you, your workload will thank you for it while others around you are yawning at 2:30pm…

#7: Don’t multi-task

This next hack is a simple one – but can take some adjusting to for those of us with short attention spans.
Don’t multi-task.
You might think that doing three things at once is smart use of your time – but actually, you’re far more likely to make mistakes and elongate the time needed to finish each job.
Where possible, minimise your email inbox, switch your phone to silent and dedicate your focus to the task at hand. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you work when your blinkers are on.

#8: Focus on what you’re good at

If you wake up every morning knowing you’ve got a day of your least favourite task ahead of you it can be very difficult to get started.
On the other hand, knowing you’re got a day of something you love lined up is likely to have you out of bed and in the shower ahead of your alarm. Don’t underestimate the power that your brain has on your desire to be productive – and as such, try to create days that you want to meet head on.
Consider making a list of everything your day will entail – run a highlighter through the things you like the least.
Now consider outsourcing those tasks.
There’s someone online who will do these for you – check sites like UpWork, Fiverr and PeoplePerHour and you’ll find everything from general assistants and book keeping support to advanced programmers and social media experts.
If funds are tight, consider exchanging skills, money isn’t the only way to pay.

#9: Prioritise and execute

Plenty of people will tell you to make a to-do list – fewer people will tell you how to use one properly.
As you approach your day you’ll be aware of one, two or more priority tasks. For most people, a priority represents a task that is vital to the next part of the business process – whether that’s establishing a key part of infrastructure, honing your service, creating a sales proposal – or so forth.
Understand what’s needed in the day to drive your business forward – these become your priorities.
Now decide which order these priorities should be tackled. Mark number 1 and number 2 on your list. Now focus on number 1 until it’s complete. Don’t be tempted to jump to number 2 or get distracted by something that’s a much lower priority.
Every time you flit to another less-important task, you create a transition – a small period of time is consumed, your focus drops and you lose productivity. Be methodical – and if required, ignore everything else going on around you.
Now, we all know your to-do list grows through the day – so when tasks 1 and 2 are complete, reassess and mark your next two most important tasks – then watch your productivity go through the roof as your tick them off.

#10: Have a quick decision making process

A quick decision making process is an absolute must for those who have served in the armed forces. Whether or not you are ever deployed in an active war zone, training acknowledges that an enemy will never ease off to give you time to create a ‘pros and cons list’ as you take cover behind a wall or vehicle.
For entrepreneurs, every decision you make has an ‘energy tax’ – the longer you spend mulling it over, the more time and energy is sapped away.
That said, rash decisions aren’t always reliable – so where possible, quickly consider the facts relating to the situation along with the risks that you foresee; then move swiftly based on this.
The likelihood of your swift decision being correct is boosted enormously here if you’re in the habit of following hack number 5 on this list – as the more cool and collected your thoughts are under pressure, the more you’ll be able to tune out the ‘noise’ and focus on what matters.

#11: Understand the ‘Pareto’ principle

Productivity and efficiency are closely related – but until you put both under the microscope you can’t be sure that you’re honing either skill.
A Pareto analysis is an ideal way of considering if you’re being productive and efficient as an entrepreneur. The principle suggests that 80% of a person or business’s success comes from 20% of the action input. Therefore 80% of the action is incredibly low yield – offering just 20% of the result.
To ascertain where your energy is going, you’ll need to start recording what your days look like. A simple way to begin is setting a chime for every 30 minutes on your phone or watch. When you hear that chime, make a record in your diary or notepad what that 30 minutes has comprised of – even if it’s just a simple tally chart.
Don’t worry – this isn’t something you’ll keep up forever, it’s just to give you an accurate picture of what your day looks like. It’s important to be honest with your recording – it’s the only way you’re going to be able to make the absolute most of your day.
When you’ve created a picture of an average day (perhaps after a week or so of recording) you can start to consider the time you take on each task alongside the money that you or the business brings in as a result.
You’ll start to see patterns, perhaps in your own work, perhaps in the time invested in employees, clients or particular tasks. Your business is unique – so I’m not going to make suggestions that are specific to you here – just ask yourself if your effort is commensurate with your reward – and ask yourself if you could do more of the high yield tasks if you dropped a few that ate up your time for little reward.
It’s one thing to work hard – it’s quite another to work smart. When the way that you work so directly relates to your ability to achieve your goal and stay alive in the process, it’s no surprise that veterans aren’t just productive – but extremely efficient in their actions too.

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Productivity - Side Hustle

Side Hustling And The Importance of Productivity

 

Trying to juggle a business and full time job all at once? Productivity is key to maximising your time, energy and money.

My pal Nic Woodhams is a man with a rich background in the field of productivity. With one of his previous businesses pitching successfully on Dragon's Den, plus a career in the military under his belt, Nic is well placed to provide tips on how best to make the most of your time under stressful situations.

Join us whilst we wade through puddles and wander through fields in Cornwall discussing the perils of spreading yourself thinly and the benefits of focused, deep-work.

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Find my purpose

Untamed Interview 5 – Purpose with Mark Boyns

Do you have a clear purpose? Are you striving towards a particular goal or mission?

In this Untamed Interview, I discuss this topic of purpose with Founder and Co-Director of the unique and brilliant 'Opening Up Cricket', Mark Boyns.

Despite a drunk cameraman and some wet dogs Mark shares some fascinating insights into what drives his social enterprise and the positive effect this mission has has had on his life!

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Veteran Podcast

My Interview – The Veteran’s Network Podcast

I am a big fan of UK based Veteran's Network.  They go great work supporting vets during their transition into civi street and promote veteran owned businesses all over the country.

I was therefore delighted when co-founder Jamie Kennedy asked me to feature as a guest on his podcast.

During this 30 minute chat we cover:

- THE MOST influential factor in transitioning into entrepreneurship

- The steps you should take on the journey to starting your own business

- Qualities that link military personnel with Untamed Entrepreneurs 🙂

...and loads more.

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Start a small business

Untamed Interview – Art Green

Join me as I chat to Arthur Green: entrepreneur, adventure-lover, athlete, celebrity and all round good bloke.  We chinwag whilst kayaking the waters of the Southern Pacific Ocean in New Zealand.

We discuss the importance of pursuing your passions; how to align your life with your goals; the best wrist watch on the market and many other riveting things...

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Escape the rat race

The Modern Way Of Working – Part II

6 Ways To Reduce Work/Life Misalignment

The way I see it, the reason any of us feel dissatisfied, bored, demotivated or unfulfilled in our work is down to a misalignment.  A misalignment between what you’re good at, what you consider enjoyable, worthwhile and purposeful; and what you're actually engaged in/paid to do. 

The bigger the gap between the two, the more dissatisfied you’ll be.

Thank fully, there are many different ways one can make changes in their life to align their work more closely with their strengths and passions.

In fact I have identified 6, listed here in order of risk and reward:

  1. Adjust current role - ‘Job Crafting’
  2. Change roles within current company
  3. Change companies
  4. Become freelance
  5. Start your own company using existing concept
  6. Create a concept

As you can see, of these 6, some are simple requiring only minor tweaks to your existing situation.  As we move down the list however, more and more commitment and effort is required for successful execution.

It is number 6 I will be discussing here.  The riskiest but most rewarding of all: ‘create a concept’.

Wipe the Slate Clean

This idea centres on effectively wiping the slate clean and designing your work-life from based around you.    

Ask any sculptor whether they would rather create a masterpiece out of someone else’s half-finished creation, or a fresh lump of clay and we all know the answer.

Working a role who's job description was written by someone else, alongside colleagues recruited by someone else and for clients amassed by someone else, is the vocational equivalent of being handed a half finished statue and told to ‘work with what you’ve got’.

When working within a system designed by someone else, long before they even met you, what are the chances that it will closely align with your personality and abilities?  Slim.

Even the most flexible of working systems will ignore some of your greatest abilities and demand focus on your weaknesses.

Now imagine being given a fresh lump of clay, a nice clean slate, a blank canvas, or any other artistic metaphors you can think of.  Now imagine crafting a role based entirely around you, your gifts, your passions and your interests.

Imagine never having to pretend to be someone you're not.  Imagine realizing that what you thought were your biggest weaknesses, were actually your biggest strengths and that you could become the author of your own narrative? 

Find Your Flow

Think back to times when you were in your element -or ‘the zone’ if you're American -and remember how good that felt.  How quickly the time passed and how energized you felt afterwards.  Now imagine being in this state most of the time.

All this is possible if you take the leap and design your work life around you!  I know because I did it.

From dispassionately managing an engineering company, I wiped the slate clean and started afresh.  I critically analyzed my strengths, interests and passions and, over time, designed a whole new business around them.  A business that would make full use of my unique make-up and allow me to fulfil my potential.

To give you a quick idea of what I’m talking about I have listed these below and described how I am now engaging with them on a daily basis.

Passions and Interests

Current Engagement

Desire to help people

Coaching/mentoring on a daily basis

Love of all things entrepreneurial

Mentoring those who wish to become entrepreneurs

Craving for freedom and variety

Every client, every session and every day is different.

Travelling and working on our own agenda

Love of travel and adventure

Living a nomadic lifetsyle with my partner Kim, moving between the most spectacular places in the world

Love of talking

I now get paid for it

Strengths

Current Engagement

Communicating/interacting with people

My role is based on this

Helping people

My role is based on this

Self awareness

Understanding who I am enables me to know who I am able to help

Seeing the big picture

Analyzing my own journey that led to this point

I could go on but won't for fear of sounding sanctimonious.  I do hope you get my point though.

The point is, my previous role, however much autonomy I thought I had, wasn’t very aligned with the left-hand column above.  The longer this situation continued, the more disengaged, unhappy and unfulfilled I would become.

The same could be happening to you but without taking a long hard look at the situation, it is often hard to see. 

There’s Room For Everyone

The biggest obstacle preventing most of you from turning your current situation on it’s head and designing your own work life is in fact, your limiting beliefs. 

In my experience, these limiting beliefs stem from the idea that there is no value in your story or the skills you bring to the table.  That you are simply one of the herd and no more special than the next person.

Without turning this into a motivational rant, I am here to tell you that this is simply not true and that everyone has the potential to add their unique value to the marketplace.  It’s merely a matter of finding the right place in the market and the best vehicle to deliver it.

This statement has never more been more true than right now.  The world is changing rapidly and it’s dragging the workplace with it.

No Time Like The Present

An aging population, new technologies and environmental crises are all having impacts on the job market.

Industries that didn’t even exist 10 years ago now employ millions of people worldwide. 

App devlepers, driverless car engineers, drone pilots and professional e-sports players are just a few examples of entirely new ways to make money.

This rapid rise in new forms of income is only just beginning.  According to The World Economic Forum, 65% of children entering primary school now, will ultimately end up working in jobs that are yet to be created!


The trick is to look past the stagnant mainstream labour markets listed on sites like Monster, Indeed and LinkedIn.  If you limit yourself to the mainstream, you’ll end up being mainstream.  Think new and think niche.

For every product that’s invented, macro trend that’s established or industry that’s disrupted, there is a myriad of opportunities created off their back. 

Traditional work sector dividing lines are becoming blurred meaning unique hybrid businesses and skill sets are not just accepted, but welcomed. 

Allied to this, the barriers to entry into this dynamic new market are lower than ever.  New technologies, crowd funding, access to information and availability of valuable resources mean it has never been easier to create, test, market and deliver a new concept.

Last night I chatted to a gentleman who had grown tired of the rigid structure imposed by the ad agency he worked for back in his native Poland.

His previous company had pigeon holed him into repetitive graphic design projects affording him minimal creative license.  He realized that his craving for variety coupled with his strong personal interest in marketing provided a foundation on which a unique concept could be crafted.

He carved his own niche and now spends his life travelling the world designing bespoke branding and complete marketing strategies for businesses.  He engages in both the hands on graphic design work, the strategic thinking and the implementation of his clients marketing concepts. 

A unique work-life design that built entirely around him and his story.

An Open Invite

The fundamental concept behind creating your own concept is to take two  our morepreviously separated sectors and create your own new one, most aligned with your skills and interests.  It’s as simple as that. 

The common mistake most people make is to hear stories about what people like Richard Branson or Elon Musk have done and assume you need to be some sort of modern day superhero to play the game.

Whilst admiring what these amazing people have done and seeking inspiration and guidance from their achievements is a recommended strategy, it often leads to a sense of worthlessness by comparison.

Making these comparisons is dangerous.  It can single handedly quash any dreams you may be cultivating, and is to avoided at all costs.

The fact of the matter is, with a small amount of money; some creative thinking; a dose of confidence in your own abilities and good old fashioned work ethic, the dream of fulfilling your potential and living your passions and purpose is available to many.

Life is too short to pass the time, unfulfilled in a role that doesn’t make full use of our talents.

Look around and realize the opportunities that are out there.  Analyse your situation. 

If your talents are being restricted by a pre-determined structure, designed by someone else and misaligned with your strengths and passions, now is the time to take the first steps to designing your own life and write your own story.

Sources

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Escape 9-5

The Modern Way Of Working – Part I

Part I

Preface:

Before I get into this Ramble I’d like to clarify something. The below theories are generic and applied in wide brush strokes to inherently complex subjects.
Discussions around macro topics such as generational differences will always disregard countless exceptions and no doubt as you read this, you will know of many. I certainly do.
For brevities sake however, I had to take a big picture view and keep the details light on! I hope you enjoy.

Maslow Was Onto Something

The idea of pursuing a life of purpose and meaning is one which has grown some serious legs in recent years. As millennials -us lot born between 1980-2000- begin to dominate the workplace, the old notions of what a ‘J-O-B’ represents, are being ushered out and replaced by a fresh new set of beliefs.

“Works work” and “work is not meant to be fun”, were both central pillars of the Baby boomers and, to a lesser extent Gen X’s thinking for over 50 years.

However, as any psychologist -or parent for that matter- will tell you, the more one gets, the more one wants. 50 years ago, kids were delighted to be given a jam sandwich for Christmas, nowadays an Xbox with only one controller is taken as some kind of punishment.

Spoilt gits aside, the concept of never being satisfied can be applied to anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time.
Let’s look at Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs to help illustrate my point.

Work with purpose
Image: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Whilst his theory was designed to be applied to human motivations as a whole, employment plays such a significant role in our overall motivations, that it can be taken in isolation and still be a relevant analysis.

The Evolution of Employment

As recently as the 1960’s, a job was generally excepted only to provide the basic human needs of food, water and shelter. If it put bread on the table, it was good enough, regardless of the hours, duties, monotony or health implications.

Fast forward a couple of decades. With those demands met, psychological needs came into the equation. People began turning to the workplace to provide relationships and a sense of belonging. The job title, or description were yet to come into play but people wanted more than just any old job.

Then came the 1980’s and the Yuppies. As the world transitioned from an industrial economy to a information economy, it changed the employment landscape and gave rise to a new breed of worker, hungry for more.

Suddenly it was all about the pursuit of prestige and personal achievement. Flash suits, a company car and a posh title represented success and a job well done. Often, the credibility of the job was as important as the work itself.

Of course this was not the first time humans had expressed a desire to be recognized or feel a sense of accomplishment but it was the first time that it was an achievable goal for the masses.

Our Own Office Is No Longer Enough

And now we find ourselves on the cusp of the next level of Maslow’s human needs, self-actualisation.

A pay cheque, healthy relationships, company laptop and the word ‘manager’ in our title, are no longer enough to satisfy us. We’re now on the hunt for something deeper and more meaningful.

A Little Aside
A desire to seek purpose and fulfilment through work is limited not just to millennials. As Bill Burnett from Stanford University points out, baby boomers all over the world are now searching for what he calls an “encore career” to provide them with the sense of purpose that eluded them throughout their working lives.

Where was I? Ah yes, millennials have been raised on the idea that we can make of ourselves what we want. That the world is our lobster and we need only tap into our talents, to achieve amazing things.

As is hopefully quite apparent from previous Ramblings, I am firmly in this camp. In fact I live by it…literally.

The Search Is Getting Harder

I do however realize the implications this self-confidence and expectation has on our job satisfaction. It has essentially raised the bar of what we consider a ‘good job’ and made our quest for happiness in the workplace that much harder.

Think about it. Back when i-phone was still a verb, any old job was enough. How else can the clamouring for work down the carbon-monoxide-rich mines in 1960’s Britain be explained?

Nowadays, it’s a different story of course. For a company to truly appeal to many in the modern workforce it must serve a greater purpose, provide opportunities for personal growth, allow freedom of expression and imbue it’s employees with a sense of self-worth.

And rightly so in my view. We work for around 80,000 hours in our lifetime -a figure that is increasing rapidly as we live longer and save less. That’s way too much time to spend feeling unfulfilled or pretending to be someone you’re not.

Whether you agree with me or not, millions of people do and are finding it increasingly hard to achieve true happiness in their jobs.

You’re Looking In the Wrong Place

The main reason for this? You’re looking in the wrong place!

The way the modern workforce view their working life may be changing fast, but the marketplace as a whole is not.

Pioneering companies like Google, Facebook and Airbnb aside, the majority of organizations simply cannot keep pace with the rapidly evolving expectations of it’s workers.

Institutions, governments and large non-tech corporations are the biggest culprits but they're by no means alone. For now, employers who pay genuine attention to the emotional needs of their staff and put measures in place to ensure they’re addressed, are the exception, not the rule.

With this in mind, if you're conducting your search in such places, you will likely be left bitterly disappointed.

The Solution

Fear not young cohorts, I am here yet again to offer a suggestion.

But first, a caveat if I may.

This suggestion will only provide value to those who:

  • Feel unfulfilled in their current situation
  • Firmly believe they have more to give
  • Want to tailor their work around their passions and strengths
  • Can tolerate a bit if risk
  • Are ready to commit to making drastic changes in order to make it happen

If the above criteria apply to you and you REALLY ARE ready to make the necessary changes in order to pursue your purpose and fulfil your potential, then please read Part II of this Ramble.

Sources

https://www.google.co.th/search?q=maslow%27s+hierarchy+of+needs&espv=2&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiCmfeC8bnTAhXFp48KHZUBCx8Q_AUIBigB&biw=1440&bih=775#imgrc=YekJpXlxRIRUuM:

About

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Reaching Your Goals

The Single Biggest Factor In Reaching Your Goals

I have been asked many times, “what is the single most important step I can take in the pursuit of my goals?”.  For me, the answer is always the same: change your environment.

What is ‘My Environment?’

Your environment is the world you inhabit.  It is unique to you.  It is made up of hundreds of aspects of your daily life: things you see, things you hear, things you experience and things you feel.  

Some are obvious and self explanatory, such as your family or partner. Some, such as the Facebook groups you belong to or the radio you listen to, fly under the radar.

In one way or another however, they all combine to create you: your thoughts, feelings, beliefs and ultimately your actions.

Here is a snazzy graphic to help you remember the process.   

      THOUGHTS                                     FEELINGS                   ⇒                    BELIEFS                                                 ACTIONS

This Ramble however will focus on only one aspect of our environment.  The aspect I believe to have the single greatest influence on our ability to accomplish our goals!

You’re the Average of the 5 People You Spend The Most Time With

What then -above all else- determines whether we succeed or fail in achieving our goals?  Drum roll please…it is PEOPLE.

Your friends, your colleagues, your clients, your family, your partner, your teammates, your mentor, your favourite singer or even Mrs Jasper from number 23.

These people all have their own sets of beliefs and values and all, to one degree or another will impose them on you. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, ‘you are what you eat’?  I’m sure less of you will have heard its Buddhist counterpart ‘what you think, you become’.

Even the most stubborn amongst us are swayed by the people around us, especially those with whom we spend the most time.  Don’t believe me?  Ask yourself this.

Have you ever:

  • Gone on holiday to a place because friends recommended it?
  • Changed your opinion on someone in line with the views of your peers?
  • Noticed how your usually unfashionable Dad went through a phase of trying to talk or dress more like you and your friends when you were 16 years old?  No?  Just mine then…

Idle Chit Chat or a Deadly Virus?

Whilst the above may be overt and trivial examples, they illustrate the power of our conversations and our instinctive desire to fit in with those who immediately surround us. 

If idle chit chat can influence our opinions on the sports we follow or the shoes we wear, what’s stopping them impact our wider held beliefs on society and our role within it?  What’s stopping them influence our views on wealth; on our career path; or our willingness to stick our neck out and pursue our goals and dreams? 

The answer?  Nothing.  They can and they do…more than most of us ever realise.

The Evidence

Multiple studies have been conducted in recent times that illustrate in a powerful way, the influence people closest to us have on multiple facets of our lives.

Here's a couple of headlines to demonstrate the point:

  • Health - If you have an obese friend your 57% more likely to become obese 
  • Habits - Smokers are more than twice as likely as nonsmokers to have friends or family who smoke 
  • Relationships - If a close acquaintance gets divorced, it increases your likelihood of getting divorced by 75%  

Shocked?  I imagine so.

A Quick Goal Alignment Test

Do you want to have financial freedom and live by your own agenda?  Do you want to spend everyday doing what you love with the people you love, in the places you love?

My guess is, yes.  If so, here’s a quick test -have a think what this goal looks like and share this vision with your 5 closest friends…go on.

What was their response?  If they laughed -and this is going to sound brutal- they are not the friends you should take with you on your path to success and happiness.

Find Those Who Share Your Ambition

The laughter you heard is a reflection of their own limiting beliefs.  They’re own environment has manufactured this belief so consistently it has become their reality.  Why else would such a suggestion be laughable? 

If you REALLY want to make that dream a reality, hang around with those who are on the same path as you.  Who share your enthusiasm for success and are not afraid to think big. 

I'm not expecting you to rush out and immediately make friends with millionaires -although this would be very useful.  No, start simple.  There are plenty of people out there of a similar age, social background and net worth as you who think differently.

Find this lot first.  I guarantee if you had the same conversation with these people, you would get a very different response.  Rather than mockery and derision, you will be greeted with respect, reinforcement and most importantly, support.

How Do I Find Them?

Finding them is easier than you think.  Why?  Because of the very reason this article was written.  They understand the value of their environment and as a result, have sought out each other and created a network that provides support, ideas and accountability.

A little like rats: find one and there will always be 10 more just around the corner.  Unlike rats however, they will be more than happy to introduce you to their network over a beer 🙂

Popular Hunting Grounds

Here are some places most often frequented by such visionaries:

  • Online Entrepreneurs groups
  • Events
  • Seminars/Conferences/Webinars
  • Courses on: leadership, management, finance, sales/marketing
  • Entrepreneurial meet ups
  • Co-working spaces
  • Podcasts, audiobooks and books - e-mail them and ask for a meeting, you’ll be surprised

Now put your money where your mouth is, go out and find them.  Change the inputs and reap the benefits of the outputs, and remember…

       THOUGHTS                                     FEELINGS                   ⇒                    BELIEFS                                                 ACTIONS

BONUS MATERIAL

A Final Tale

I couldn't finish this Ramble without including a story about someone who demonstrates better than anyone, the power of environment.  If my argument so far hasn't been enough to convince you, this will.

My Godfather turns 81 this year.  For as long as he can remember he has hung around with people many years his junior. 

He has done this deliberately.  Why?  He dislikes the thought of being old, finds ‘old people’ boring, believes age to be a state of mind and makes no bones of the fact that he is -as he puts it- ‘growing old disgracefully.’

The results of this life choice?  He ski’s twice a year; works out 4 times a week; is still learning foreign languages; works 3 days a week in a business he still owns shares in; and travels all over the world -he recently visited me in Australia and matched me on an 12 hour drinking session. 

Most staggeringly of all however, he recently featured on UK television where he planked for 25 minutes!!  If you're not familiar with planking, Google it and give it a go.   If you get over 5 minutes first time round, e-mail me!

If this is not the perfect real-life demonstration of the power of your friendship group, I don't know what is!!

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