Stop not delegating. Anytime I do a task, I ask whether or not someone else could tackle it. From managing board meetings for the next year to setting up the weekly newsletter to approving requests for donations from our Foundation, I have my trusted team work the details.
Early in starting Intertech, I read The E-Myth. It focused on the importance of consistent systems in running a business. The author, Michael Gerber, shares how Mcdonald’s with systems built a business on getting kids to do in their stores that most can’t get them to do in homes.
Watch Wampler’s Ascent, which is a documentary on a man who has severe EP but does a climb up “El Capitan.” It’s inspiring and reminding that all is achievable in life if we have the right attitude.
Stop services you may have been using but no longer need. In reviewing credit card and other statements for myself and the firm, some services and charges are no longer required. For example, for the local paper, I choose digital. Yet, The Economist has more comprehensive, in-depth articles that I like to read in print.
In The Art of Stopping Time, Pedram Shojai, the author, shares something we all know; our most treasured resource is time. So how do we leverage it? Stop it!
What we get out of time depends on mindfulness, energy, and how we focus and spend our time. For all of us, time is the great equalizer—we all have the same amount of hours in a day.
The first step is to determine how we are spending our time to begin an assessment to maximize time. Is time spent on something meaningful or pleasurable? Next, consider energy to invest in worthwhile endeavors versus low-energy tasks like doom scrolling social media. Last, Are we mindful? Are we living in the moment?
The author reminds us to cut bait on goals or activities that are no longer relevant and deserve our time. Then, use this newfound time in rewarding areas and produce results.
What’s your ROI on time? In investing, there’s a return strategy. What’s your time investment strategy? When time pops up, say an appointment cancels, or a commute is faster than planned, there’s a decision on how to use this extra time. Like investing, knowing how to “invest” this spare time is essential.
We have more power over our time than we may initially think. While some obligations are required—say, paying taxes or feeding our pets—others are at our discretion. These discretionary activities could include letting go of relationships or no longer relevant or essential activities.
For time, the “how” is as important as the “what.” Are there ways to get two things done at once? Say you want to exercise and spend time with your kid. Could you have your kiddo join you for your run or bike ride? Or, if you have a conference call and need to drop off your child for a playdate, could you drop your kid off while having your conference call? Small decisions compounded make for big-time impacts.
Our mobile phones are a double-edged sword. While they can be productive, it’s a quick way to be distracted or entertained. The next time there’s a fleeting moment, resist the temptation to grab the phone and use it to think through a current problem or reconnect with a past friend.
Be mindful. Be present. Be thankful. On vacation or at work, wherever you are, think “this is the last time I’m ever here.” If this was the case, how would you be present? Being mindful lets us live in the moment and stop time.
While no one can stop time, we can prioritize, organize and be mindful.
Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Instead, be thankful and remember it’s impossible to feel scared and grateful at the same time
Keep your power. Here are signs of losing power—others make you angry, guilty, or judged. Control your emotions and set boundaries if there are people in your life—say a boss or in-law—who makes you feel your power is fleeting
Lean into change. When change is needed, make a plan and have small attainable goals. As the saying goes, “by the yard, it’s hard. By the inch, it’s a cinch.”
Let go of things outside of your control. If within your control, focus your sphere of influence
Realize you can’t please everyone. In Adam Grant’s book, he outlines helping others, and there are Givers, Takers, and Matchers. Avoid Takers and meet Matchers in the middle
Be an intelligent risk-taker. Know the pros and cons, mitigate risks, and know when to walk away. In looking at solutions, look for “and” answers instead of either-or solutions
Let go of the past. Forgive yourself, focus on the future, and remember, “you never can ‘should have’; otherwise, you’ll ‘should’ all over yourself.
Learn from mistakes. What were the failure points when planning a goal or project that didn’t work in the past? How to mitigate the losses? To achieve the goal, ask, “In what ways can I [fill in the blank]?”
Support others’ success. Envy is never good. Life is not a zero-sum game. Look for opportunities to collaborate instead of competing
Know there will be setbacks and don’t give up. Be kind to yourself. Get knocked down? Get back up
Be O.K. being alone with your thoughts—journal, meditate, exercise
Remember entitlement replaces the expectation of success with the actual work to achieve success
Persevere with patience. Read any book about success and know from the lightbulb’s invention to organizations that dominate the world today, know time is on your side and persistence beats resistance
My thanks to my friend and CEO of AbeTech, Chris Heim, for recommending the book “The Obstacle is the Way.” Decades ago, before the release of this book, my partner, Ryan, who runs the firm, gave me a Christmas gift. It was a picture of a river with stones creating a path from one side to the other. The caption said, “Every obstacle is a stepping stone to your success.” Almost 30 years later, with this same partner at my side, all I can say is he was correct. This ideology is the book “The Obstacle is the Way.”
How does one face an obstacle? As shared in the book, a positive mindset says, “In what ways can I turn this obstacle into an advantage?” So how do we do it? Start by being objective.
Take a perspective that works to see opportunity in obstacles. An initial thought with an impediment could be confusion, anger, or despair. See the path by taking a breath and focusing on outcomes. Keep in mind a quick response based on emotion clouds judgment.
The book shares that Edison went through 6,000 filaments before finding the one that worked. As famously stated, with each failure, he said he knew one more thing that didn’t work.
So what’s the recipe for turning obstacles into a path to success? Here’s a one, two punch:
Use objective perception followed by action. See the situation for what it is and take action
Will. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Always bear in mind that your resolution to succeed is more important than anything.”