I’m redrawing the ways I do business, the ways I connect with people, the ways I spend my day. It’s a process that requires a lot of thought, a lot of reconsidering, a lot of paper. It requires asking myself tough questions, and deciding whether or not I can handle the answers. It requires a lot of shutting out of the outside world, and thinking inwardly. I thought I’d write a bit about the process, because so many people asked. This has precious little to do with social media marketing, but everything to do with human business.
As With All Things, Goals First
I decided to tell myself the story of me, the story of me for the next few years. This comes from my experience with Don Miller’s book. In my efforts to determine how to conduct my business and my life, I started with goals. I won’t share the details, but I have goals for (in no order):
- New Marketing Labs.
- Books and other publications.
- Professional speaking.
- My new business (not yet announced, but maybe by end of week) and related projects like Third Tribe Marketing.
- [chrisbrogan.com] – some changes coming here.
- Work/Life balance
Those are the major buckets, at least. And I cut those down from 17 projects. I killed about 10 over the last two days. That was first: deciding what goals would yield the best rewards for me (I measured “best” by happiness, satisfaction, money, time).
By starting with my goals for those various buckets/roles, I can then ask myself every time something new comes in: “Does this contribute to the success of my goals?” Having the answer this this is golden.
I use paper when I redraw. I quite literally draw little pictures with circles or boxes, and I do lots of simple math (I really only know how to do simple math, but if I wrote just “math,” you’d think that I was doing something huge).
On paper, it’s a lot easier to see what’s working for me. For instance, I’m a believer in the mindset of having multiple revenue streams. I have a job (president of New Marketing Labs), but I also make some of my money speaking professional, through my affiliate programs, my books, and through a few other sources.
When I put down what I could make from where, it helps me understand where to focus some of my attention to achieve my revenue goals. But then, I have to overlay the “time” goals, the happiness goals, etc. With PAPER, it’s a lot easier to overlay information for my consideration. For instance, I can draw a little “$, T, H” symbol for money, time, happiness and determine which meets more of the criteria. Make sense?
This part is the hardest for me. I don’t really handle silence well (thinking about you, Alanis). But I can’t do what I’m doing to redraw, answer emails, tweet, and all that. I paused a lot of the external noise so that I could find some silence. I’m still doing it as I type this. And yet, I sneak back into my noise because that’s part of my job, and thus, at present, I have to maintain some of it.
But, if you asked, silence would be a vital element to the process, and I’ve done what I can to silence the noise when I can.
Lots of Questions
I described the process to a friend the other day like this: “You might see a chip of paint peeling on the wall and think, ‘huh, this wall needs painting.’ I look at the chip of paint and think, ‘should this wall even be here? Should *I* even be here?'”
I look at the frames through which I see things. For instance, do you see yourself as an employee or a leader? I know some people who make amazing employees, but who are horrible leaders. I’m not even the best leader (Justin can tell you that), but I’m a great operator/thinker/tinkerer. I’m the kind of person who can see something unique, noodle it into a working prototype, and then get others to weaponize it (most of the time). Knowing this about myself lets me know which types of businesses I’ll be better suited to create/operate.
What types of questions are helpful to redrawing?
- Does this make me happy?
- Who am I doing this for?
- Does this add to my primary goals?
- Where am I? Is this where I want to be?
- If I stop doing this, what really happens?
- What would be totally fun? Can I feed my family doing that?
- What would my ideal day look like?
- How many airplanes do I really want to be on in a given year?
These are somewhat from my perspective, and somewhat generic. You can make your own questions. They’re free. The answers sometimes cost money, but the questions are free.
Goals without plans are meaningless. Plans without deadlines and measurements are wishes. Thus, I have plans in place. They are very flexible plans, and they rotate on a few of my goal/measurement hinges from above, but they are clear and I will know if I achieve what I set out to do.
The thing is, I know that I won’t be successful if all I do is write out some new plans about my business. It won’t work. I learned that from reading and exercising what I learned in Switch, by Chip and Dan Heath. So, I have to build the entire frame of what I do. Here’s some of what’s included in that framing work (in no real order, and in no real system – YET):
- Put time blocks in place for correspondence. Stop checking mail 45,974 times a day.
- Set time limits on RSS reading.
- Start my day with fitness, not email.
- 2000 words a day (some days, I did 4000; others I did 0. I want to steady-state this).
- Mind everything I eat.
- Move daily.
You know, things like that. But then, I also have real live plans with numbers and dates attached to most of those. Like weight goals, fitness goals, etc. So that’s the most important part.
In this case, I mean check-ins to reconsider how I’m doing with my framing. I have mine set for every four months. That way, I can analyze a bit at a time, without tweaking it so often that I feel I’m not getting any traction. But without checking in, I don’t get the chance to see if this is all making sense and heading towards an end goal.
That’s the stuff I’ve put into it.
Your Mileage Will Vary- Try Anyway
Lots of us get stuck and stay stuck. Lots of us worry about things outside our control. Lots of times, we’re looking at that peeling chip of paint and not the wall, the house, the town, the land. But we can choose to redraw. We can choose to really look at every decision we’re actively living with, and see whether there aren’t better ways to reach our goals.
Does this make sense to you? Have you ever tried a process like this? How did it help?
How have you come to the decisions you’ve made right now, and what do they mean to you?