My "secret weapon" for managing myself and boosting effectiveness by Dan Perry
The real challenge of growing a business - which is staying motivated, focused, and simply putting in the work. In short, mastering your own behavior.
Today, I want to overwhelm you with a bunch of tips to solve this challenge that would be impossible for anybody to implement - essentially forcing you to give up and just say f*$k it.
Just kidding. I'm not going to do that.
Instead, I want to tell you my secret strategy for managing myself and getting myself to do anything. I want to tell you how I'm able to remain focused, motivated, and productive - despite working from home in a house with a four-year-old son, a one-year-old daughter, and no boss holding me accountable.
I've been using this method for the last five years, and it really is my secret weapon for mastering my behavior so I can grow my business and actually enjoy my life.
And don't worry, this isn't about trying to be a better person or attempting to fix your flaws.
In fact, it's the exact opposite.
I've found that it's far more effective to simply accept all of my flawed tendencies and biases.
Instead of trying to fix myself or convince myself to "be better," I just acknowledge that I have flaws that probably aren't going away.
- I know that I tend to lose motivation soon after starting a new project. I'm usually super motivated at the beginning, but that motivation never lasts.
- I also know that fear is going to creep in and some how get me to convince myself that I'm not good enough.
- I know new ideas and distractions are going to pop up and steal my focus, causing me to jump from one thing to another without making real progress on anything.
- I know I have the tendency to over-analyze and struggle to make decisions about what to do - which causes me to waste time and miss out on opportunities.
Basically, I know that my default behavior is just plain ineffective - and I fully accept that fact.But I also know that being ineffective leads to more work, more stress, less time, and a lot less fun. And perhaps even worse, these things lead to more ineffective behavior, which creates a vicious cycle.
So, despite accepting my flaws, I still want to address them. I still want to make sure they don't control my behavior.
How to be effective despite your flaws
When I started my first business in 2011, it was the first time I had to figure out how to deal with these flaws.
Before that, I always had a boss, teacher, parent, or coach holding me accountable. Someone else was always there slapping my hand if I got distracted, pushing me to be better, and providing me with a real consequence if I didn't "do the work."
I was plugged into a system that did a good job of not only setting clear goals for me, but keeping me on track.
But when I set out on my own, and as I gained more freedom, the wheels started to fall off the wagon.
I immediately recognized that struggle, and was always on the lookout for ways to be more effective.
Over time, I picked up some tricks that helped me at least fumble my way through life and somehow grow two successful businesses.
I learned things like...
- The importance of setting goals
- The power of accountability
- And how habits and routines control much of our behavior.
My drive to master my behavior created a deep interest in psychology - driving me to read dozens of books to learn what makes humans tick.
And what I learned certainly helped, but as I gained more freedom, I noticed that despite having all of these tools, tricks, and knowledge, I was struggling even more to control my behavior.
I was finding it harder than ever to maintain motivation, focus, and self-discipline. And not only did this slow my progress with my business, it made me anxious, overwhelmed, and stressed.
About five years ago, I finally reached my breaking point.
I finally got to a point where I couldn't take it anymore. I was tired of feeling aimless, getting sucked into meaningless distractions, struggling to make tough decisions, and feeling like I was wasting my life.
So I decided to focus my energy on solving that problem.
Long story short, I ended up creating a system for myself to help manage my own behavior - so I could get myself to do the things I knew I needed to do in order to accomplish my goals and enjoy my life.
I took all of the knowledge about human behavior I had gained over the years and put it into a simple and actionable checklist of questions and exercises.
Each question or exercise addressed a specific flaw in my behavior, so I made sure to cover my bases and avoid falling victim to past behaviors.
Basically, I created the only reliable way to produce a predictable result - a system.
I wanted a system that would help me...
- Identify my biggest opportunities so I had clarity on where to focus my limited time.
- Create an effective strategy for going after them.
- And then master my behavior so I actually followed through long enough to get results.
I also wanted it to be quick and easy to use, or knew I wouldn't use it.
And after some effort, that's exactly what I created.
I created what I call an "effectiveness system."
That system is what I still use to set goals and then master my behavior. It helps me refine my thinking, gain clarity, and then remember to do things like implement accountability so that I actually follow through.
I use it about every 3 months, and it has changed the game for me. Not only has it allowed me to grow my business with less effort, less stress, and less time, it has made my life far more enjoyable.
Instead of constantly feeling like I have unfinished business and feeling overwhelmed, most days I just get my work done, and then enjoy the rest of my day.
It has helped me live a truly unusual life.
I'm not going to pretend like it solved all of my problems, but it certainly helped me become more effective at solving them.
I originally created that system 5 years ago. And I've continued to refine and use it to this day.
And for the first time ever, I'm going to make my "secret weapon" available to the public - so you can use it to effectively grow your business as well.
I've been quietly working on this for the last year, and I'm very excited to unleash it on the world.
Keep a look out for that on Monday.
Until then, have an effective rest of the week, and a great weekend.