We seem to have got it all wrong.
I spent last week in the company of an exclusive set of MDs of growing businesses. While the agenda was specifically around growth, profit and sales, the real issue was around prioritising, decision-making and quality of life.
In the words of one of this group of highly successful entrepreneurs, “If I am brutally honest with myself then I have to confess that business success and wealth doesn’t really seem to have made me happier.” An honest man. And after a rather expensive meal with rather expensive wine everyone opened up and confessed that things weren’t as rosy as they appeared.
In the cold light of day, hangover and all, the group were up for confronting these issues head on.
A no-nonsense approach was required. If they can design, set up and grow these great businesses then shouldn’t it be possible to do the same for their personal lives?
How complicated can it be? Be clear about what you want… Where are you now?
Where are you going? Where do you want to be? How are you going to get there? Stop p***ing about! Take massive bloody action. End of.
A Shock To The System: Your Funeral
“If you were to die right now what would people say about you at your funeral?” What they say (good, bad, indifferent) is simply a consequence of how you have been living your life. So, to figure out how you would really like to live your life, write down what it is that you would want people (your partner, children, friends, work colleagues) to say about you… at your funeral.
A Simple Exercise
Write down where you would like to be in three years’ time. Take a blank A4 sheet of paper and create a three-by-three matrix where the columns represent ‘your business’, ‘your career’ and ‘your private life’. The rows are titled “In three years”, “In one year” and “Right now”. In each of the nine boxes, write down, say, five clearly defined and measurable goals for where you want to be in your business/career/private life (in three years, one year and right now).
Making It Happen
Most of us ‘get away with murder’ in our business and private lives; we aren’t accountable to anyone. We can choose goals and ignore them at will.
So, take an hour out of your busy (fool) schedule. Sit down with a blank sheet of paper and do the hard work. Sort out what is really important in your life. As I say, the principle is simple: look at where you are now and make the tough decisions (= trade-offs). Decide your goals and be prepared to pay the price.
Next, take massive action. You will be measured by your actions. Be clear about what is most important to you. Focus on it. What is your over-arching goal for the next week? And for the next month?
Look for the most appropriate way to make this happen. Depending on your preference, you can go for the DIY option or get yourself a coach/mentor or sign up to a mastermind group.
Whatever you go for make sure that you are accountable for your actions to someone; this will help you take the necessary steps.
Stop messing about. You never know when the funeral speeches will be required.