“If it is not an easy yes, then it is an easy no.”— Brad Gerstner
Essentialism. Another term for it is: Non-negotiable. The inspiration for this topic has been several coaching sessions with clients that dealt with this subject.
Covid-19 is an ongoing massive disruption, to lives and routines, with no clear end in sight. One of the major things I have observed in my clients lives is more difficulty, or friction, in maintaining their daily routines that drive performance improvement and peace of mind.
I imagine, and have begun describing to clients, that the friction of confusion and uncertainty operates very much like sailing. If you have ever been sailing in a smaller boat…you know how easy it is to get ‘off course’. Sailing, in my mind, perfectly encapsulates the successful strategy for dealing with challenges to routine and focus.
If you are too focused on the goal and not on the moment, you miss the course corrections along the way and thus, miss the destination…or take much, much longer to get there.
None of my clients decided or desired to get less focused and out of their routines. However, as the wind and currents of the current situation pushed them off course, many of them didn’t notice (fatigue and stress primarily) until they were noticeably off course. The great thing is this: they did notice and we have started to get them back on line with their destinations.
My favorite way to begin talking about staying on track with anyone that will listen is to figure out what is most important. Enter one of my favorite books: Essentialism by Greg McKeown. Here is the amazon link (no affiliate fee):
The subtitle is “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” and it is the pathway for you if you desire to improve performance consistently and without unnecessary regret. Discipline in the pursuit of doing primarily only what is essential is how you ‘course correct’ on your ‘navigation’ to improved performance and success.
Let me put it this way: One of the key reasons you aren’t more successful is that you aren’t saying NO enough! When you are focused on discerning what is most essential…the process of being able to know what to say Yes to becomes easy…and knowing what to say NO to very, very clear.
I say No to lots of good things because they aren’t essential to me….rather they are essential to someone else. Don’t drown in the good if you want to perform with excellence.
By taking the time (maybe with a coach or mentor) to reflect and journal about what is truly essential for you, the ability to discern what isn’t essential is begun to be developed. Right now, we suffer from too much information and options and that has bred a new type of lower performance based on confusion and distractions.
When you know what your Values are, what your Purpose is and what is Essential to get you performing at your most significant and powerful levels…WHAT to do becomes much, much simpler and exciting.
Enough description of the problem…here is some work for you to start designing your solution. Essentialism begins with your morning routine. Design the morning and your chances for doing what really counts the rest of the day go up massively.
1. Buy the book and prioritize reading it. Yes, I know you are busy and I don’t care. You either recognize the problem, or, you want to maintain the status quo so you can keep complaining.
2. Start working on your Daily Non-Negotiable List. For example, mine is coffee, Pause App, thinking, writing, reading, exercise, family and clients. No matter what, I am going to hit all of those things each and every day. For example, I am writing this Saturday and while I won’t be directly talking to clients today, I am still going to touch them through this email and through the reading I will use to prepare for next week working with them.
3. Compile your 5 minute flow: This is your ’emergency’ mindset tool. What are the things that you can get accomplished in 5 minutes no matter what is going on. For me: Pause App and review calendar to set essential priorities for the day. 5 minute flow is for the days when you don’t have time/resources to do you normal/preferred morning routine. Examples: No sleep the night before, Out of town without all your normal creature comforts, much earlier appointments than usual, etc..
To sum it up, you are going to get pushed off course while navigating your life. Life is filled with storms and beautiful moments…in between we need to be focused on a daily discipline of ensuring we course correct back to a life and business of designed significance.
I have friends that are able to do this on their own. I am not one of them. I, like many of you, need help with course correction. In all humility, a coach that has ‘sailed’ through some storms of their own can be of tremendous help in course corrections that make a difference.
Every one of my coaching and consulting engagements starts with a conversation…if you are ‘off course’ let’s have a call to see what getting back on track would mean for you.
As always, I appreciate you reading and hope that something today was of value to you. If it was, please share this with others like you…folks that you want to help navigate the future in such a way that they can impact other people beneficially.
Think critically. Train to get stronger. Practice compassion and empathy with others. Rest and recover so that you can do all the above better tomorrow.