If work feels like a grind, it is time to step back and reevaluate.
Are you on the right track? Being in flow with our work is possible and a sign that things are working.
That sweet spot where you do not feel over or under-challenged. You are in the zone. Even though you are doing the work, it feels…effortless.
Here are three insights that allowed me and my clients to be more effortless.
1. Compound on what you are already doing.
When we do not see the results within the timeframe we want, we feel the urge to do more things. Throw more items to the wall to see what sticks.
I have learned to resist that urge as much as possible. I have found that doing what you are already doing longer or a little better impacts the results way more than starting a new thing. And requires a lot less effort.
One of the miracles of the world is compounding. Doubling a penny everyday will give you more than five million in a month. But, the first week, you still only have pennies.
The compounding effect can be magical for your business and career too. You just need to be patient when you are not seeing the miraculous impact yet. Stick with your penny doubling business instead of deciding it’s not working and starting five more hustles.
Stanford’s BJ Fogg found that the secret to making a habit stick is not the number of days you do it. The number of days is correlated to the habit formation but does not cause it.
What causes the habit to develop is the emotion you have while you are doing the activity. If you enjoy exercising, for example, you will make it a habit.
If consistency in doing a few things is the secret to success, then what becomes essential is choosing the things that are fun for you and sticking with them. Adding more stuff is unlikely to help and it might as well hinder your progress.
I built my business doing just a handful of things. Writing this newsletter, posting on LinkedIn, and sometimes on Instagram. I often feel the urge to do more stuff. Maybe start a podcast or do advertising. Maybe add Twitter or Facebook? I keep pulling myself back and choose to go deeper in the things I am already doing. And trust that they are compounding.
2. Only add when you are playing with the house’s money.
Adding more things on your plate you do not feel like doing in an effort to have results, rarely works.
But, if you want to try new things because they feel like fun, go ahead.
One of my recent breakthroughs was that when I do something because I want to do it, it does not matter whether it will work. If I enjoy doing it, I am winning either way.
It is like playing at a casino with the money of the house. You cannot lose.
That’s what happened with my ParentPath masterclass. It was something I wanted to do. I felt the urge to share what I knew about parenting, and I did. From idea to execution, it took two weeks.
I did not get stressed about how many people would attend. I did not go into analysis paralysis about whether it made sense from a strategic point of view.
What is it that you want to do anyway? Do it without worrying about whether you win. You cannot lose.
3. Subtract by listening to your inner voice
My coach Michael Neill told me a story about a guy who went to prison after shooting his school principal. He is now a public speaker and he said that as he was going with the gun to the principal’s office, there was this inner voice that was telling him not to do it. To turn around. Maybe just go in and shout instead of using the gun. Unfortunately, he did not listen to the voice. He spent the rest of his life regretting it.
I believe we all have this inner wisdom telling us what to do and especially what not to do. But we often do not listen to it.
We think that our rational analysis is more intelligent. Unfortunately, our brain is terrible at making good decisions, as Nobelist Daniel Kahneman has proven in his book Thinking Fast and Slow.
I felt pulled to limit my 1:1 coaching clients to a maximum of five people. That meant that I would need to stop coaching 1:1 for INSEAD business school. I resisted this voice for ages. As an alum, I loved working with the school.
Finally, I decided to listen to that intuition. I told INSEAD that I am limiting my 1:1 work but doubling down on my group programs.
As a result, I stopped coaching 1:1 for them and we are launching a group coaching program on Life Vision for 60 INSEAD alums instead. The program got booked out within the first week, and we are starting in September.
What does your inner voice tell you you should stop doing? What stops you from listening?
Which one of the three ideas resonated the most? Comment and let me know.