I was speaking to my home loan broker this week. I’m purchasing an investment property and he helps organize the loans to make it all happen.
My broker is good at what he does, but like many small business owners there’s a lot of latency in his operations. He was explaining to me how he had a huge database of people who had showed interest in getting finance, but he had no system for communicating with these people automatically.
I suggested he set-up an automatic follow-up email sequence, using educational content to help turn some of the prospects on the list into clients, without needing to manually follow-up.
As a result of this discussion we turned to what I do for a living and I showed him my blog, the courses I created to teach people how to make money online, my email newsletter, free reports, etc, that make up my online business.
During the discussion I mentioned how despite having so many customers go through my courses, very few have the consistency to put what they learn to use and make money.
I explained, as with most things in life worth striving for, very few people manage to achieve a result. We mentioned words like consistency, focus, willpower, motivation – a lack of all these things – that stop people from climbing the hill to the top.
My broker, who was once ranked 8th in the country for total loan transactions done in a year by brokers – so definitely an overachiever – made an interesting comment. He said:
The challenge when running a business is not completing the 80% of tasks you do enjoy, it’s waking up and getting the job done for the 20% of things that you don’t enjoy, which have to be done, which separates the successful from the not.
Taking action when you just don’t feel like it is hard. Finding a way to transform the task from something you hate to something you enjoy because it helps you experience a result you want (thus the emotional gratification that comes with it), is the trick. You need to restructure your conditioned response to the task, to anchor it to a desirable emotion that helps motivate you to get it done.
Clarity, Focus and Specificity
Years ago, I was helping my mum with a project. She was feeling extra motivated to grow her counseling business. She wanted me to list all the things she could do to realize this goal, so she could learn how to do it and then make it happen.
I started by asking my mum what she wanted. She explained she wanted more clients, she wanted to teach workshops and start selling an ebook she had an idea for.
As we talked I had to repeatedly ask her “why” and to “get more specific”. I also consistently asked her to explain to me what is the problem people have that she wants her product or service to solve.
Eventually, we reached a conclusion that she wanted to build her base to at least 10 hours of client work per week. This is a good short-term goal, one that met her most pressing need, cash flow stability.
It took at least half an hour to drill down to this specific outcome. In order to meet the goal of at least 10 hours of booked private counseling sessions every week, she needed to set up new marketing channels to bring in the clients.
I won’t go into detail about what my mother was going to do. The point is that she needed coaching to reach a clear and specific target and see what options she had to get there. Her goals before that were general and centered too much on abstract things she wanted to do without tying them into specific marketplace needs. She needed clarity, focus, and specificity.
I’ve written countless times before on the need for clarity and focus on what you are trying to achieve and how to get there. I honestly believe it’s about figuring out specifically what you want, what tasks take you there, what order they should be done in, and what tools and knowledge you need to complete the tasks. Goal setting and chunking, in other words.
Discipline And Conditioning
Although people who fail to achieve their business goals are quick to blame the system or the market or the niche or the business model or countless other things, in all cases I believe it stems from issues of mindset.
The reality is that all the things that might be wrong with a business that could stop it from succeeding are changeable. It’s the people who are making the decisions and taking action (or perhaps NOT taking action), that lead to the result, even if it’s through trial and error.
That’s a somewhat scary thought on some level, but if you really think about it, it’s true. There is no magic pill, and even with good education, proven systems, and the right steps, you are still “running a test” whenever you do something yourself for the first time.
All experience begins as a trial, and in almost all cases when you do something you haven’t done before, you make errors. Therefore success is the result of trial and error, and if you don’t have the mindset to carry you through the ambiguity, you will give up before you have the chance to make the right decision. You probably won’t even start in the first place.
Consistency always wins.
You need to ask yourself a question and be really honest about the answer:
Have you ever committed to one specific goal, which you are clear about how to achieve (you either know how to do it or know what education you need to learn how to do it), and then stuck with it for a long time, adjusting as you need to?
Have you ever really done all the tasks that are supposed to lead to the result?
Sadly most people know what to do, they just don’t do it. The reason is a lack of belief and confidence. That stems from ambiguity of purpose. If you know what you really want, and that desire is based on passion, and you can chunk that outcome into steps and you’re willing to change when things aren’t working, you have the necessary ingredients.
If you anchor passion to daily activities that lead to a goal, you can’t help but do it. It actually causes you pain and frustration if you don’t. That’s the kind of motivation that leads to outcomes.
If you don’t inherently feel a connection to what I am saying now, then you need to have a good hard look at what you are doing and why you are doing it. Ask yourself those questions above, and see if you are truly committed on all levels to your goals. You can’t have too much clarity and focus about what you are doing, especially when it comes to the emotional drive behind your actions.
Here’s to you finding true purpose born from true passion.