“You should be working harder.”
“You should be spending more time with the family.”
“You are lazy.”
My client’s inner critic kept producing harsh judgments. “Oh,” I said, ”most successful people I know secretly think they are lazy.” He looked at me, surprised and relieved.
Is that you? Are you the one feeling guilty about being lazy? Do you feel that your success came too easy, or that you were lucky?
With all the hustle-porn going around, we are told that there are no shortcuts, only hard work.
But there are. If there weren’t, everyone starting from the same position would end up at the same place. And that’s not what we see.
When it comes to achievement, life is like a game of snakes and ladders. Some things slingshot you forward. And others drag you closer to the beginning.
It is not about competition. You are playing on a different board than anyone else. This is your journey and your pace. But, undeniably, some shortcuts make the journey easier and more fun:
1. Surrounding yourself with people who are further along than you
Your environment creates you. There is plenty of research on this. Depending on what you want to improve, whether it is your parenting or your income, you need to associate with people who are further along than you in that path.
It has never been easier to upgrade your peer group. Start with the people you work with. Join companies with great people and hire superstars. Get mentors, join masterminds and classes.
In The Big Talk Podcast by Tricia Brouk, you can listen to my 8-minute talk “The Lonely Genius Is a Myth.” I go more in-depth on why and how we can better collaborate with others to amplify our impact.
At the end, you can listen to Tricia, my speaking coach, giving me feedback on my talk.
This year, I wanted to improve my speaking. I followed my own advice, and I signed up for Tricia’s group speak coaching program to give myself the right environment for my goal. Let me know what you think of the talk I created through the program.
2. Declutter your goals
Many of us are reactive, and we follow the opportunities that come up without stopping to think about whether they are the right ones for us.
Or, we have too many goals at the same time.
Being clear on what we want helps us get there faster.
Otherwise, we either get distracted by every new shiny thing or get to climb the wrong ladder slowly and painfully, feeling crushed by the failures and empty with the successes.
I know because I have been there. I was trying to get promoted and change careers at the same time. The one pursuit was sabotaging the other.
Failure and exhaustion are often the cost of not being clear on one’s goals.
3. Focusing on your genius zone
Your genius zone is what you enjoy doing while being good at it. The client I mentioned in the beginning, said he spent years in Soho House getting a suntan while his team in the office was producing the work. He secretly felt guilty about it.
But then, when we dug deeper, we realized that he had brought millions to his company by acquiring new clients and building relationships with them while also getting a suntan at Soho House.
My client’s life felt easy because he was focusing on his genius zone, or what the Japanese call IKIGAI and that for him was business development and relationships.
Was his contribution less valuable than that of the people executing the work in the office? Not really. If it weren’t for him, these people would not have a job. Many of them would dread having the responsibility to bring on new clients, something he did with ease.
What is your genius zone? If you eliminate or delegate everything else and focus only on your ikigai, you will have quicker success and a lot more fun.
4. Create assets
An asset is something that creates value without you. Property or stocks are assets, for example.
I want to talk about the assets that capture your ideas and share them with the world without you having to do it in person. Your articles, videos, and podcasts.
Assets have been a shortcut in my career for sure. A lot of opportunities come to me through an article I wrote years ago. The article keeps reaching new people without me needing to do any extra work.
Can you record your next presentation and post it on YouTube? Can you share your next deck as a slideshare? Can you publish the next inspiring email you send to your team or a client as an article? Can you ask the mentee who emails you questions to post them on Quora so that your answer is public and you can easily share it with other people? Can you record your screen as you are doing tasks so that you can easily train other people to do them?
How can you create more assets? Ways to add value without needing to work more?