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How to Stop Wasting Your Time Doing What's Not Essential

If God intentionally gave each of us specific gifts and talents, why don’t more people break through to real and lasting success and impact? 
Why? Think about it…. why do so many people struggle in mediocrity or status quo in their callings, careers and even passionate endeavors? Why do they feel stuck in their work and in their lives? That question has dogged me for years. I'm now on a mission to keep good people from staying stuck in career, finances and even impact. However, I’m honing in on what many are missing and I want to offer hope! In the past month I’ve listened to no less than five trainings from top leadership and success leaders in the country (Greg McKeown, Brian Tracy, Darren Hardy, Martin Meadows, Napoleon Hill) and they’ve all had a shockingly similar message on what all top performers, achievers and breakthrough leaders do. I’ll sum it up and even save you the time to listen to their talks. They 1. Do fewer things. 2. More often 3. Get better at those things. That’s it! Basically, after studying those who are off the charts affective at what they do… they DO NOT just work harder. Instead, they have amazing clarity at what they do best… and they say an awful lot of “no’s” to what’s not them. They do fewer things. Not more! Author and Stanford professor Greg McKeown calls this the “disciplined pursuit of less… but better.” We think: “I’ll just do more stuff! Maybe things will change!” In other words, most people think that doing more makes them better. They’re wrong. 
So after hearing Greg McKeown give a keynote on this idea he calls “Essentialism” in San Diego a few weeks ago, I was incredibly challenged….and frustrated. 
Challenged to pursue my own “disciplined pursuit of less.. but better.” Challenged to realize that real growth isn’t rocket science. It’s actually a pretty simple concept. “Quit doing what you were never made to do dummy!” Instead, “Do what you were born to do!” Frustrated because in a room of almost 1000 people, I realized that practically none would have the tools and the opportunity to move toward their unique potential in any lasting way ….even having been given a key clue to HOW. Like most talks, without concrete next steps to apply these concepts, most of these powerful principles get lost or just go to waste. So, based on my challenge and my frustration, I am writing to share 4 Doable Steps to Stop Wasting Your Time Doing What’s Not Essential. Those who are ready to move forward without abandon will do these four things.

1. Clarify the top 3 things that only you can do… and do really, really well. Really well!

If you’re leading a team, as “What can only YOU do because of your gifts/and or position?” Or if you work on your own ask, “What three things can you uniquely do that will bring about the greatest possible growth in you and through you. It takes dedication and discipline to create the space to focus on these issues. McKeown recommends quarterly retreats or off sites to be able to hone in on these answers. (Even better, do this with a coach who has this in his or her top 3.

2. Cut out doing the things not in your top three.

It does take a bit of work and reflection to really get to WIN. “What’s Important Now?” But often, it means either saying “no” to what’s not in your top three and just letting them go, or finding others who can gladly take them up.

3. Invest in your training, education and coaching to become better, (much better!) in these three.

This one make such a huge difference. In fact, Brian Tracy claims that such investment produces a 3000% return over time and that we should invest at least 3% of our money annually in such personal development

Frankly, I failed at this for years and stayed stagnant in growing my business and impact. Starting last year, I began investing more than $700 a month in my personal growth and it’s reaped substantial benefits. (Actually, some months it’s much more than that!)

But don’t just get any education or coaching. Invest in what will help you grow your essential three!

4. Set Goals based on Utilizing Your Top Gifts… and quit apologizing!

Let’s face it, when we see others who are great at what they do, we admire them!

And those who set goals based on their essential top three gifts and focuses will naturally gravitate towards seeing things happen.

Lewis Carrol says, “Any road will get you there, if you don’t know where you're going.” BUT when you know the road.. and it’s your road… just watch out!

And really, importantly - write those goals down!! The simple, but profound act of placing these goals on paper or even electronically will increase their potential to be realized by 42 percent!!

Set goals around your top three.

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