I was onstage recently with Brian Clark and we were talking about how we manage time. He had a really great point about how he manages the many ideas and offers that come his way. This morning, I was on Bernie Borges‘s podcast, and he asked me how I did everything that I do. This afternoon, I had lunch with Peter Shankman, and we had a variation on the conversation about how we get everything we’re doing done. To me, it comes down to knowing how to grow.
Different Types of Growth
First, there are different ways to think about growth. Am I growing my business, or growing my customer base? Am I growing my potential product set, or am I growing my existing product’s capabilities? Am I growing revenue or am I growing capacity? It’s going to be up to you to decide which growth you mean, because if you just look at what I’ve written above this line, you already see that it’s a whole different set of plans depending on which strategy you’re taking.
Ecosystems, Owners, Kings
Every year, on January 1, I talk about my 3 words that I choose to follow for the year. This year, my words were “ecosystems, owners, and kings.” The idea is this: ecosystems means to pay attention to building things that have a whole lot of space to grow; owners means give every project an owner, or I’ll be stuck doing it all; kings means spend more time with kings and practice being kingly myself.
I didn’t know it on January 1st, but I’d actually come up with the process by which I’d learn to grow. Human Business Works is an ecosystem play. Rob Hatch is my COO, and he’s the first of my owners. Estrella Rosenberg is my owner for 501 Mission Place. Estrella and others mingle with the kings and queens of their spaces, just as I seek to spend my time with the kings of mine.
That, in a really abstract way, is how I’ve learned to grow. Some more obvious and salient points will follow.
Brian Clark’s Advice
Onstage, Brian said that he evaluates the opportunities he receives by asking whether or not they’ll best serve his current community. If the answer is no, he doesn’t invest time in it. By doing this, Brian shrinks the vast ocean of possibilities, and keeps his focus on growing out Copyblogger Media. It’s sound advice, and when I look at some of the new projects I’m considering, they neither help New Marketing Labs nor Human Business Works, and so I now know I shouldn’t take them on.
Ask yourself: is this project part of the ecosystem I’m creating?
Peter Shankman’s Question
Peter asked me how I got so much writing done. I said that I did it in big clumps, and then scheduled it out. I do this with lots of my projects. It’s a way to grow by using time when you get it, versus trying to keep things all level and even. In life, we often find ourselves with surpluses and droughts of time. Use your time when you find it. Try not to put things off.
Similarly, stop when you should. Peter is training for an Ironman that he’ll run in a few weeks. He’s going to bed at 7 and getting up at 4:30 to get in his miles and laps and whatever. There will always be more work waiting for you. Go to bed when you can. Don’t put off things just because you’re worried that it’s not finished. Cramming is a self-replicating experience. If you do it once, you’ll do it all the time. Break that habit by making your hours the ruler of the roost.
Hire (or Partner) with Owners
Right now, things run for me because I’ve built them to run with owners in place. Colin and Dave and Tony and Justin and the team at New Marketing Labs and The Pulse Network all appreciate my ideas and guidance, but they RUN the place. I’ve done my best to make them owners.
At Human Business Works, Rob and Liz and John and Josh and Merlene all know what they own. The more I can give people ownership, the more that I can grow. It’s been the best possible thing I’ve learned out of this year.
As for Kings
I’m going to write about kings on your second favorite blog. I’ve got some real concrete thoughts about it that I’ll share there. Suffice to say that this has helped my growth over 2010 immensely as well.
I’m learning how to pay for services that help me focus on the details. My development team is 9seeds. There are things I pay them to do that I could do, if I wanted to sit around and build websites, but John and Todd and Shayne and team are much faster and better at it than me. I pay someone to wash and fold my family’s laundry. Given how precious my family time is, I’ve decided that it’s worth the extra money to have someone else play with my socks while I throw my boy up into the air. As you learn how to grow, you learn which things don’t belong in your hands any more.
Beyond that, let’s make it a conversation in the comments. Any questions about growth?
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