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The “How” of the Wins

Mar 23, 2022 | Business

This past year was packed and wonderful, with six breakout companies, multiple books, and foundations.

But success is like an iceberg: 90% lies beneath the surface. Too few people show only the wins in public. But I want to break down the “how” so that others can understand my process and maybe benefit from it. 

First, a key, overarching theme. This year, I learned an invaluable lesson, perhaps the most valuable one of all:  Everything starts with self. Improve your inner world, and the outer world will follow.

But onto more nuts and bolts and unpacking the how.

1/ Face the tough problems head-on

Hard problems are easy to ignore. Who wants to address them head on? That’s uncomfortable, and we do everything we can to avoid it. Well, here’s the truth: Kick the can down the road, and sign up for a world of hurt. Big problems don’t age well, and they don’t get better if you don’t take action and face them head on. 

2/ Make unpopular decisions

Committee culture ruins everything. When organizations become fear-based, leaders stop owning decisions. And when ownership about a decision resides with a group, there is no one to take accountability and responsibility. Good leaders don’t hide—they lead. Which includes making tough choices that won’t make everyone happy.

3/ Work hyper-consciously

Work can easily become unconscious: Unconscious meetings, unconsciously checking off task lists. That’s how work becomes lazy, exhausting, and ultimately, useless.

Make one slight shift: Measure every action for impact. Not just for yourself, but for the whole team. You’ll be surprised how much more conscious work becomes when you’re accounting for impact.

4/ Start putting pen to paper

There’s no better way to cement learnings than writing them down. Can a good leader also write books and Tweet? Absolutely. Done right, it will make them better, because it will clarify and publicize their thinking. If you can write clearly, you can think clearly—and you can bring that clarity into everything else.

5/ Make every day count

Everyone knows that success is compounding. Take advantage of this lesson by treating every day as if it were the most important. If you do this day in and day out, you’ll pick your head up in a month and be astonished at your progress.  

6/ Focus on the inputs

Bill Walsh has a great quip: “The score takes care of itself.” Too many people focus on the score, and if you focus on the score, you’re not focused on the game. But if you focus on the game, then the score has a way of taking care of itself. 

7/ Think bigger

It’s easy to tell yourself why it’s unreasonable to do X or Y. In doing that, we become our own worst critics. This is going sound trite, but you have to get out there and own your power. You have to believe in yourself when no one else will. Because if you don’t, who will?

8/ Get serious about health

It sounds obvious, but health is everything. That includes diet, exercise, mental health, and physical health. In order to be all-in at work, be all-in on your health, as it’s the prerequisite to doing anything long-term.

9/ Dance through life’s problems

Every day I dance for 20 minutes. I promise you: It’s the ultimate life hack! We have the answer to all our problems, but just sometimes our minds get stuck. Dance is a way of getting un-stuck, and you’d be surprised at how many problems you can dance your way through. 

10/ Start impact work

When people learn I do non-profit work, I’ve often had them say: “Isn’t it too early in your career to do nonprofits?” My answer: Absolutely not. I poured my all into The Movement & Conscious Culture Foundation. Taking action on causes you care about is so fulfilling. This work motivates me through the darkest days, and I’d urge you to find a cause you can champion.

The big takeaway: The businesses, books, and foundations are a byproduct. The real “product” is you, and it’s inner work that is the gift that keeps on giving. Do the work, and you’ll have the power of it for a lifetime. Over the last year, all I did was take this insight to heart. When I did, everything clicked. I hope it clicks for you, too.

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