How to Do More of What Matters

Written by on 27 Oct 2015

This week is the 4th week in our series on getting stuff done.


Not just any stuff.


Meaningful, life-changing, important shit.




In case you missed the last couple weeks, I’d strongly encourage you to go back to the beginning and start there. That’s what beginnings are for, after all.


My friend (and now mentor) Will reached out to me a few weeks ago with a metaphor to beat all metaphors. One metaphor to rule them all. The Big Daddy of Metaphors.


And over the last couple weeks, we’ve been breaking down that metaphor into actionable steps you can take to accomplish your most important shit. Because, as Will says, "that's what this game is all about."


These steps can be summed up by the following:


  1. Know the needle you want to move.
  2. Know why you intend to move that needle.
  3. Know where you want the needle to go.
  4. Know how to move that dang needle.


And most importantly…


  1. Do the things that move that dang needle!


Once we took the metaphors away, we came up with this wonderful little process:


  1. Choose a goal.
  2. Define your “why”.
  3. Determine what “winning” looks like.
  4. Figure out what you need to do to move closer to that goal.


And of course, most importantly…




So far, we’ve covered Steps 1 and 2 and 3: choosing a goal, defining your “why,” and determining what winning looks like.


Last week, we talked specifically about winning, but not just any kind of winning.


We talked about what winning looks like for you. Not for anyone else. Just for you.


Defining what winning looks like for yourself, and making it concrete, measurable, and manageable is vital to getting anywhere in life. After all, if we don’t have a target, we can't ever tell if we’ve gotten there or not. And we certainly can’t take meaningful steps to get there, because there is no "there."


There's just this ambiguous goal/vision world that we live in because it's safe.


After all, it doesn't require any risk to dream.


So last week, I challenged you to define the finish line for yourself and make it as clear as possible.


If you haven’t taken the time to get really clear on your “win” just take a look back to that post from last week. There are a few examples and ideas at the end of the post that are meant to inspire you and lead you through the (sometimes difficult) process of self-reflection, because hey, this just ain't easy. Once you have your “win,” then you’ll be ready to join us here for Step 4.


Step 4 in this method of madness to accomplish anything you want in life could almost be a mini-version of Step 3.


Step 4 is figuring out what moves the needle.


What gets you closer to your “win?”

What activities get fueled by your “why?”

What daily items are going to show you that the needle is actually moving?


Aka, how do we move that dang needle?!


When Will called me and left this audio message, this was the part of the metaphor that made me laugh the hardest. It was such a simple idea, but he was so, incredibly passionate about it.


I remember him saying,


Tracy… now what is going to make that needle MOVE?


I’m trying to move that dang needle every... single... day.


If the needle doesn’t budge after a week, that’s ok. After two weeks, I get it. After three weeks, the needle’s gotta start moving


That needle. Has got. To move.


So what is it that causes that needle to move?


And how do we know that by the end of Week One? What activities are going to tell us by the end of Day One that the needle isn’t going to move by the end of Week One, because we are doing activities that don’t move the needle?


What are my key indicators?!


What are the things that move that needle?!


That’s all I’m asking.


And then I can help you.


Can you believe that? That’s ALL he was asking.


And I really didn’t get it until I thought about it a little harder.


Have you ever wondered why you don’t get places you want to go? Accomplish goals you want to accomplish? Achieve dreams you want to achieve?


It’s not because you lacked vision. It’s not because you lacked passion. It’s not because you lacked a clear goal.


You didn’t get there because you didn’t do what you needed to do to get there.


"Do" being the operative word here.


You didn’t figure out the key indicators that would lead you to your place, your goal, or your dream.


You fumbled around, lost your way, got stuck, and gave up.


How do I know that?


Because I’ve done the exact same thing.


When I first started writing, I was completely going through the motions. And worst of all, I was doing the things that made me feel busy, rather than the things that would actually move my business forward.


I was spending hours studying up on other blogs or trying to figure out the optimal post for the time of year. I was researching various methods of growing a business and agonizing over which method was the best. I was writing to-do lists and scratching “writing a to-do” list off of my to-do list.


Yes, that really happened.


It’s funny the things you’ll do to make yourself feel like you’re moving the needle forward, when in reality, you’re just afraid to get started.


And maybe that wasn’t necessarily your fault. Maybe you just never sat down and figured out what you needed to be doing—hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, annually—to get to that goal. Maybe no one ever told you or the answer wasn't readily available.


But sometimes, rather than jumping into the deep end, we hang out in the shallow end of the kiddy pool because we know that the chances of drowning are lower and we have zero chance of getting splashed in the face.


Well guess what, I’m the mean, older kid with a water gun, and I’m comin’ for ya.


You have got to get crystal clear on the activities that are actually going to move you closer to the goal, do those activities, and most importantly, forsake all others.


Yes, friends, as Marie Forleo says, it’s time to get a “first class ticket on the No Train.” Start saying "heck, no" to the things that aren't going to move your life, relationship, business, animal farm forward, so you can start saying "hell, yes" to the things that will.


Don’t watch another hour of Parks and Rec thinking you’ll get inspired.


Just walk outside and brainstorm.


Don’t research how crowded the online business market is.


Just spend time working on your own, unique brand.


Don’t have the same inane conversations again and again without taking action.


Just. Get. Started. Building. Something.


What are your key indicators?


Without knowing your situation and what you’re trying to do, it will be hard for me to come up with these for you, but you don’t have to do this alone. Ask a friend. Ask a family member. Ask a community forum. Ask your cat who speaks to you in purrs and face-pets.


Get it out there so you can get some feedback.


Share your goal, share your intention, share your vision for winning, and ask someone (preferably someone who's already "there"):


What would you do?


I’m telling you now in case no one will be honest enough with you to tell you later:


You have to know what daily, weekly, and monthly activities will move you closer to your goal, or you will never get there.


No amount of vision, intention, or goal-setting will make up for well-defined activities that will actually move the needle forward.


And once you have those things-- those key indicators--we will be able to move on to Step 5: taking some dang action.



What activities are going to move you closer to your goal?

Are you ready to start doing the things that matter instead of the things that just feel meaningful?

Leave your thoughts in a comment below!


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