Life as a Project #2 - Little things accumulate
"Excellence then, is not an act it’s a habit”
A month can go very fast but hopefully you’ve had some time to water the seeds of intent that were planted in Part 1 of Life as a Project.
It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘old’ routines – before you know it a week has passed by then a month, then a year, then…
Little things accumulate and some things have a much bigger impact and flow on effect that you would imagine. One of the keys then to the success of your project is to find these little things – find the leverage points.
Your two tasks from last month were firstly to establish a daily routine that will help you work with intention, focus and perpetual priming. Your second key task was to get clear about what it is that you actually want.
Now you need to make it clear and simple then identify the leverage points.
TASK #1 – GET CLEAR
Ideally you should now have an overall statement of Intent for the year, a ‘BEing statement’ and a ‘DOing list’ for the 5 areas of Vision. My suggestion now is to get it on to 1 page – this can either be typed up like the sample below – or get out the kids coloured pencils and draw it up with as much colour and life as you can.
Now take this piece of paper and stick it up somewhere you will see it on a regular basis – for example your wardrobe door, bathroom mirror, fridge – whatever works for you.
This piece of paper is to remind you what your intent is for the year and to bring your focus back to what is most important.
TASK #2 – FIND THE LEVERAGE POINTS
Not all effort is rewarded in the same way.
If you’ve ever played the block building game Jenga you will know that when faced with the task of pulling a block from the bottom of the tower and placing it gently on the top, some blocks hold no weight whilst others will cause the tower to tumble – the trick is to work out which is which.
Same with your Vision and the impact on your Project.
The five areas of Vision and interconnected and interdependent but they are not equal. You need to look carefully through your BEing statements and DOing lists and try to find the bits that cross over and impact on other parts.
For instance, I was working with someone the other day and their overall intent was to be calm and clear. They recognised that they were most powerful at work when they could coach and support their team in a calm considerate manner. They knew that they were most productive with clients when they were not time pressured or stressed. They knew that their intimate relationships were much better when they were able to be fully present and not caught up in work issues.
But they were financially pressured so logically they reasoned that the best way to move forward was to work a little harder so as to get to a place where they would not be so stressed and THEN they would be able to be more present, calm and clear.
The only problem with this rational solution was that the more the person worked, the more stressed and time pressured they were so the less calm and clear they were and hence the less able they were to support their team and the less present they were to their family.
I’m sure you can see the cycle here.
The key then is to find the leverage points.
In this example – the ideal state of BEing is to be calm and clear. Calm and clear leads to more productive work, better leadership and better relationships.
Priorities then need to shift in order – Calm and Clear needs to be near the top.
The key question then is – What do you need to DO to be calm and clear?
The simple answer in this case was – sleep better, get up early, go for a walk and meditate then have breakfast with the family.
The leverage point for the success of the Project occurs at 5.30 am every morning when the alarm goes off and there is a choice to be made between getting up and going for a walk or pressing the snooze button and going back to sleep.
So – identify your leverage points.
TASK #3 – CREATE HABITS THAT SUPPORT YOU
Now you know what you want and have identified some key leverage points the final task for the month is to begin creating habits that support you.
Lots of research work has been done on habits in recent times because of the recognition of how little things accumulate over time to have massive and long lasting impacts on our way of being.
A great book to read is ‘The Power of Habit – Why we do what we do and how to change’ by Charles Duhigg – see the website http://charlesduhigg.com/
There are also many many examples of extremely successful people who have lifelong habits including Nelson Mandela whose morning exercise routine was a key element in enabling him to endure what he went through.
My suggestion to you is:-
1. Identify the 1 key habit that would have the greatest leverage in your life
2. Set a goal for the month – e.g. morning walk 12 times out of 20 week days for the month
3. Establish a trigger (e.g. alarm goes off), a routine (e.g. roll out of bed, put on clothes that are already laid out, drink a glass of water, walk out the door) and a reward (e.g. cooked breakfast, fresh juice, even take the kids out for brekkie)
THE LAST BIT
3 tasks for the month
1. Get clear
2. Find the leverage points
3. Create habits that support you
Remember too that this builds on the previous month so you also need to be working with Intent and strengthening your daily practice.
1. In the morning ask ‘What’s my intent?’
2. In the evening ask ‘What did I do right today?’
And don’t forget to PLAY !
In peace and love always.