FOCUS & PRACTICE

RULE No1

LIVE BY YOUR PERSONAL VALUES = ALWAYS MORE CLARITY

“Success is more than achieving your goals.

It’s living your values;” – Adam Grant.

You already trust and respect your choices.

You already have clarity about your personal values and the evolution of your values.

You even defined these personal values with great attention and care.

Fly like an arrow, aim for the most important goals, following your personal values and where you are in your evolution.

Clear objectives help you to get there faster.

It cannot be wrong if it is aligned with your values since you have this sense of belonging.

The greatest power you can have is knowing your core values and strengths. Clarity is the ultimate power.

Be 100% focused on WHAT and WHY you have this goal in mind. It’s much more important than the HOW

RULE No2

START NOW. THE KEY TO SUCCESS IS ACTION!

“We cannot start over, but we can begin now, and make a new beginning.”

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar.

Now! Not tomorrow, not later, not next week. Now!

The idea is that you start taking action RIGHT AWAY from the moment you set one goal!

Do, ship, test, experience, leap out & level up, practice, fail, succeed, reflect, analyse, pause (do not stop).

Learn and improve. Repeat!

Do something right now, and you feel better already! Intention + action work better than intention alone.

Call someone, write to someone, visualise your goal through your own eyes and thank yourself for what you do and for the process. We can either stay in bed where it’s comfortable and warm and there are no critics to judge us, or we can face the world and push beyond our limit.

Most of all, it takes COURAGE! Courage is a muscle that needs to be exercised every day, every week.

Will you choose COURAGE or COMFORT?

We create results through our actions. We actively pursue our goals or do nothing and let things and life happen. Each choice creates results, so we decide what results we want and ACT to achieve them.

Drop the excuses. What’s your excuse for not doing it now?

One day, you decide, and it automatically becomes DAY 1 of your project.

“The greatest lesson that I learned is that you have to start.

Start now, start here, and start small. Keep it simple.” – Jack Dorsey

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain.

RULE No3

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT ALL THE TIME?

Focus is the most important skill every successful person mentions in every interview and book. So much so that you might want to add it to your goal list, “focus better”, if you feel you need to improve this skill.

Focus is at a higher level than being more productive.

Focus means that you know exactly what you want to accomplish, and concentration requires that you dedicate yourself to doing only those things that move you forward.

Our ability to concentrate on the essential tasks, do them right, and finish them is one of the main keys to success, achievement, status, respect, and happiness.

FOCUS and all the following rules will lead you to use your time better. THAT is the ultimate luxury.

For successful people, the most common answer is that they think about their goals, how to get them and act on them most of the time. It helps create new patterns and ways to achieve them.

Warning: FOCUS is not the same as obsessing. We encourage focus.

Others think and talk about what they don’t want, don’t like, don’t need most of the time…

They usually talk about their problems and worries and who is to blame for their situation – luck, timing, x, y, or z. The following rules are guidelines for focusing on what is ahead.

“You become what you think about most of the time.

Your outer world ultimately becomes a reflection of your inner world.

Your outer world of experience mirrors back to you what you think about most of the time.

Whatever you think about continuously emerges in your reality.” – Brian Tracy 

RULE No4

REVIEW YOUR GOALS CONSISTENTLY

  • Review and re-evaluate your goals weekly or monthly.

I personally do it weekly on Sunday.

  • Take time to read them aloud – a good reminder of why you get up in the morning.
  • Give yourself qualitative feedback on your plan:
    • What you have already put in place.
    • What you forgot to put in place.
    • What worked and what did not work.
    • Measure progress and get better at improving your systems.
    • How is your time management?

Did you manage to do it in time? How long did it take you to do it…

  • You can re-prioritise your goals depending on the context you don’t control or simply because you feel like adding a short-term goal will make you feel better.

This regular practice will create a NEUROPATHWAY between where you are and where you want to go.

Some useful resources: Tim Ferriss – How to focus?

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last.

Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar.

RULE No5

PENS & PAPER

We use our telephone(s), tablet(s) and laptops all day.

A great way to build your goals is to draw, draft, and connect dots on paper with a pen.

Make it vivid, fun, and messy. Then, trash, shred and start again until it takes the most comfortable shape.

Personally, I use an A3 notebook to sketch the various steps.

It is much more visual than your typical A5 notebook, and it feels like, with all this space, the limits have vanished; you can breathe better.

Most importantly, your movements, physical and psychological are not limited by a small page or a screen.

RULE No6

DON’T FORGET RULE NO. 6

 In his book, “The Art of Possibility“, Benjamin Zanders offers pearls of wisdom.

“Rule No. 6: Don’t take yourself so damn seriously!” – Benjamin Zander.

So, what are the other rules?

No, there are no other rules!

RULE No7

SCATTERFOCUS OR HYPERFOCUS?

“Scatterfocus” is intentional mind-wandering – letting your mind roam free without any point of focus. According to Chris Bailey, the author of Hyperfocus, practising “scatterfocus” can actually help you improve your ability to focus your attention.

When you hyperfocus, you direct your attention to a cognitively demanding task that takes up most of your working memory. Bailey explains that to intentionally mind-wander, you do the opposite:

You deliberately leave a lot of room in your working memory, which causes the mind to wander. 

Let your mind deliberately wander and get bored. Boredom is moving from high stimulation to low stimulation – doing something that doesn’t take up most of our attention.

Because of where it wanders to (48% of the time towards the future, as shown by research)… the mind connects different ideas & comes up with new plans – essentially making us more effectively productive.

What are the benefits of letting your mind be in the scatterfocus state?

  • Mind-Wandering Helps You Plan for the Future
  • Mind-Wandering Increases Our Creativity
  • Mind-Wandering Lets Us Rest

            The remaining time, your mind goes blank (12%).

Hyperfocus vs. Scatterfocus: Both are crucial. Hyperfocus allows you to stay focused on one problem and execute; Scatterfocus (i.e. the “diffuse mode” from A Mind for Numbers) allows for creativity and new insights. It is worthwhile to learn how to enter both modes multiple times a day deliberately.

Some useful resources: HyperFocus – Chris Bailey

Distraction is the enemy of focus.

Overstimulation is the enemy of focus.” – Chris Bailey.

RULE No8

USEFUL ELEMENTS

WHAT ABOUT MULTI-TASKING?

Are you going back and forth between important tasks and emails? Think again!

After an interruption, it takes 17 MINUTES to shift your full attention back to your task and continue working. Therefore, people are working harder and harder and getting less and less accomplished.

They also make more mistakes, stress more and get less rest. Pointless!

THE LAW OF FORCED EFFICIENCY

“There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing”. Focus on what matters to you to get to where you want to go and, even more importantly, to enjoy the present moment!

Some useful resources: How to Get Your Brain to Focus – Chris Bailey.

ALL-OR-NOTHING MENTALITY

When you don’t do one of the tasks on your goal list, they stop entirely…

To avoid this, adopt the mantra “ALL OR SOMETHING.”.

RULE No9

FOCUS ON THE PROCESS, NOT ON THE GOAL

FOCUS ON THE ACTIVITIES, NOT ON THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Zig Ziglar.

This internal dialogue is constantly firing off thoughts filled with emotional content and pulling the individual out of the present and into the past or future. However, individuals raised in Western culture are becoming increasingly more aware of their overall sense of mental exhaustion, lack of discipline, and inability to focus on demand.

They are willing to expend the energy necessary to experience inner peace and a quiet mind waiting to follow their will’s direction. They realise that the endless struggle to fulfil the insatiable appetite for instant gratification is fruitless and tiresome at best. They are ripe for a new path in life and eager for a new set of instructions. This is the purpose of The Practicing Mind by Thomas M. Sterner. It also helps beat the need for short-term gains.

It comprehensively deals with helping the individual understand exactly what present-moment awareness is, how we are raised in a manner contradictory to this, and how we change our mindset to make this a part of our daily living. One of the keys to achieving what you want is to focus on the process of the goals.

“A goal is a specific objective that you either achieve or don’t sometime in the future. A system is something you do on a regular basis that increases your odds of happiness in the long run. If you do something every day, it’s a system. If you’re waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it’s a goal,” says Scott Adams.

I can’t entirely agree with the black-and-white approach (my choice), as his angle is extreme.

A goal does not have to be specific, and you don’t have to “wait to achieve it”. Action (his “system”) is the solution to transform a dream into an enjoyable practice.

Therefore, a clear goal (not too specific) and action (practice, system, process, etc.) will lead to enjoying the whole journey … It’s part of the PURPOSE (highest level of objectives: fulfilment).

“It’s not about achieving the goal. It’s about who you have to become in order to achieve the goal.

The juice is in the growth.” – Anthony Robbins.

 

RULE No10

BE AWARE OF NOISE & BIAS.

Noise refers to the random variability and inconsistencies in judgment, leading people to evaluate the same information differently.

It includes:

  • In-person variability occurs when the same person judges something differently under different circumstances.
  • Between-person variability occurs when different people judge the same case differently.

For example, five managers may evaluate the exact business proposal differently. The same manager may evaluate the proposal differently on different days depending on his/her mood or focus.

Biases refer to the systematic errors in thinking that consistently skew judgments in a certain direction.

For example, all five managers in a company may evaluate a business proposal too optimistically because of an optimism bias.

Both noise and bias contribute to flawed decision-making.

Yet, relatively little attention has been paid to noise compared to biases.

“Wherever there is judgment, there is noise—and more of it than you think.”

“System noise is inconsistency, and inconsistency damages the credibility of the system.”

“You are not always the same person, and you are less consistent over time than you think.”

“Confidence is no guarantee of accuracy…and many confident predictions turn out to be wrong.”

“Good judgments depend on what you know, how well you think, and how you think.”

“It might be costly to remove noise—but the cost is often worth incurring.”

Source: Noise: “A Flaw in Human Judgment” written by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass Sunstein.

RULE No11

COMMIT YOURSELF TO A “REGULAR” (*) PRACTICE

“People tend to think of focus as a thing. Yes, focus is something we have.

But focus is also something we do.” – Essentialism by Greg McKeown.

MOMENTUM PRINCIPLE

When you become action-oriented, you activate the “Momentum Principle” of success.

This principle says that although it may take tremendous amounts of energy to overcome inertia and get going initially, it takes far less energy to keep going. Voilà!

Use the “Momentum Principle of Success” by getting started toward your goal and doing something daily that moves you closer. Action orientation is essential to your success.

These rules are essential to reach your goals and to focus on the process before, during and after.

To be fair, they are essential for everything you do!

You are not missing out on things when you are busy getting your life together and working towards your goals.

Decide what you want. Write it down. Make a plan. Work on it and practice every day.

Make it about progress, not perfection.

Regular (*): There needs to be a pattern that your brain adjusts to, gets used to and even looks forward to (on top of having on your Timeline).

  • Create emotional joy; feel and hear yourself enjoying your dream.
  • Create a neuro pathway between where you are and where you want to go.

Your commitment is to yourself. If you have done all this work, it is because you realised that enough was enough and that you now have no other choice but to get what you really want since you know:

  • You deserve it.
  • You can get it.
  • It is time.]

It is NOT another New Year’s Eve resolution! (Between 81% and 92% of NYE resolutions fail).

Your brain is like a muscle.

You can learn any behaviour or skill with practice: the 3 Ds.

  • Do: First, decide that this is what you want to do.
  • Discipline: Second, Discipline and practice until it becomes automatic.
  • Drive: Back all that with Determination or Drive.

RULE No12

FOCUS ON PRIORITIES

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.” – Peter de Vries.

 What you want is to do things that matter! You don’t need to be busy; “Busy is a decision”.

 Discipline yourself to concentrate on the most important thing you can do today until it is 100% complete.

Always set priorities before you begin, and then concentrate on the most valuable use of your time.

Develop so that you have the persistence to work through problems.

Flexibility: be clear about your goal but be flexible about the process of achieving it. Be constantly open to new, better, faster, and cheaper ways to achieve the same result, and if something is not working, be willing to try a different approach. Sometimes it will work out for you; sometimes, it won’t. And you will always be able to share this experience with others.

Single handling is one of the most powerful of all time management techniques. This means that when you start with the task, you avoid all distractions and stay with that task until it is done. Once you have developed the habit of completing your tasks, you will earn two and three and even five times as much as other people.

THE 80/20 RULE (OR “PARETO PRINCIPLE”) APPLIED TO GOALS

The Theory of Constraints: There is always one limiting factor or constraint that sets the speed at which you achieve your goal. What is it for you?

  • 80% (The Trivial Many) of the reasons holding you back from achieving your goal are inside yourself.

They are the lack of a skill, a quality or a body of knowledge.

  • Only 20% (The Vital Few) of the reasons you are not achieving your goal are on the outside.

20% of the many tasks and activities you will have on your goal’s journey will help you to be 5 times or 10 times more efficient than the other 80% of activities. So, focus on this 20%. Be part of the top 20% of efficient people.

  • Resist the urge first to clear up the small things (80%) and focus on the essential (20%). Instead, select your number one, most important task for each day—set priorities on your list using the 80/20 rule.

Measure your progress: set clear benchmarks, measures, metrics and scorecards for yourself on the road to your goals. These measures help you assess how well you are doing and make necessary adjustments and corrections as you go along.

Feedback: keep in mind that feedback doesn’t have to come from other people you trust.

You can check how well you’re doing by simply measuring your own progress.

“If you don’t prioritise your life, someone else will.” – Essentialism by Greg McKeown.

 

RULE No13

FOCUS ON THE ESSENTIAL

You have already set priorities in your list of goals based on what was the most important for your now and in the future (the notion of time was important in that decision on top of the alignment with your values).

If you have two important tasks, do the most difficult one first, and ensure it is complete before moving to the next one! Take it as a personal challenge. Resist taking the most straightforward task first.

And make sure you do it fast! First thing in the morning, without thinking too long about it!

Eisenhower’s important/Urgent Principle:

  • Important and Urgent => do it first thing
  • Important but NOT urgent             => plan and act on it, so they do not become urgent
  • Not important but Urgent => see if you can reschedule or delegate
  • Not Important and not urgent => ignore and cancel as many as possible

The habit of setting priorities, overcoming procrastination and getting on with it is a mental and physical skill. This habit of starting and finishing will step by step imprint in your mind as a positive pattern by releasing endorphins in your brain, giving you a natural and pleasant feeling of achievement and success. An interesting addiction!

Now, set priorities on your list and identify the most important thing you can do daily to move rapidly toward your goal.

Select your number one, most important task for each day

  • Ask yourself this question:

“If I could only do one thing on this list, which activity is most important?” 

Whatever you answer to that question, put the number “1” next to that activity.

  • Then, ask yourself,

“If I could only do one other task on this list, which task would be the most valuable use of my time?”

Then write the number “2” next to that task.

  • Keep asking this question:

“What is the most valuable use of my time on this list?”

until you have your 5 top tasks organised by sequence and priority.

  • Here is another question you can ask:

“If I could only do one thing all day,

which activity would contribute the most value to my work and goals?”

You may already be using the Productivity Planner I recommend early in our coaching session.

It is, for me, a great tool to focus on the essential every day and check how productive you are and help you focus.

Finish your week by reviewing how much closer you got to your goal this week.

Finish your week by planning next week’s main task.

At the end of each day, review what you did and what is to be prioritised for the following day.

Throughout the day, tick off what has been done and keep pushing through!

Some useful resources: How to Prioritize Your Life and Make Time for What Matters (TM Podcast)

RULE No14

VISUALISE YOUR GOALS CONTINUALLY THROUGH YOUR OWN EYES

You have done the exercise in GOAL SETTING Step 2.

When you really want to achieve something, have you ever tried closing your eyes and imagining yourself “there”? In your mind, you can touch it, feel it, and see every detail clearly. But when you open your eyes, the image quickly fades, and it can take real effort to recreate your visualisation each time you need inspiration.

Many successful people do this: artists, businesspeople, scientists, and athletes!

Achievers are believers.

Visualisation is the second most powerful faculty, after focus, available to help you achieve your goals faster than you ever thought possible.

Important: You are looking through your own eyes, which means you do not see yourself on the screen.

Direct the movies of your mind. Your imagination is the preview of your life’s coming attractions.

Repeatedly “see” your goals as if they already existed. Your clear, exciting mental images activate all your mental powers and attract your goals into your life.

Create clear, vivid, exciting, emotional pictures of your goals as if they were already a reality.

See your goal as though it were already achieved. Imagine yourself enjoying the accomplishment of this goal.

A mental picture, or even better, a movie, combined with emotions, has an enormous impact on your subconscious and superconscious mind.

You activate your superconscious mind when you use a combination of clear goals, combined with visualisation and emotionalization. Your superconscious mind then solves every problem on the way to your goal.

IMPORTANT: Your superconscious mind activates the law of attraction and begins attracting people, circumstances, ideas and resources into your life that will help you achieve your goals even faster.

RULE No15

PERSIST, COMMIT & BE PATIENT

“Persistent people are able to visualise the idea of light at the end of the tunnel when others can’t see it.”  Seth Godin.

Ultimately, your ability to persist, commit and be patient longer than anyone else is the one quality that will guarantee great success in life (as long as it is in line with your values). Persistence is self-discipline and the accurate measure of your belief in yourself. So, establish in advance that you will never give up!

You will be amazed by what you can do when you know it does not have to be perfect.

Throughout your childhood, education, and professional life, you had to sprint; you did not have “enough time”, and still, you nailed it; you made it.

It was not perfect, but you did the work, moved on to the next level, learnt something, and levelled up!

Deadline is a dreadful term. Nobody is going to die.

On the contrary, that’s probably when you can breathe again and create something new, better, and lighter.

A goal is not a dream. A goal is a dream with action so that you can accomplish it.

Don’t quit on the core of your goal without an excellent reason.

Re-evaluate the situation and change the plan, not the destination. Unless it was not THAT important in the first place.

“FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT”

If you want to be an A+ student, start acting like one!

If you want to only travel in business class, start experiencing it.

It will create an urge! A special vibration.

RULE No. 16

BREAK THE GOAL DOWN TO FACE YOUR FEAR, GET MANY WINS

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” – Alan Lakein.

ORGANISE YOUR GOAL BY SEQUENCE AND PRIORITY

Your subconscious mind uses deadlines as “forcing systems” to drive you, consciously and unconsciously toward achieving your goal on schedule. It will help beat the Resistance we have with long-term goals.

IF YOUR GOAL IS BIG ENOUGH, SET SUB-DEADLINES (SCHEDULE/PLAN)

If you want to achieve financial independence, set a ten or 20-year goal, and then break it down, year by year, so that you know how much you have to save and invest each year.

Scheduling and planning are in line with the concept of practice.

THE “KAIZEN” APPROACH

BREAK LARGE, COMPLEX GOALS DOWN INTO SMALLER SUB-GOALS

This will stop you from feeling overwhelmed or procrastinating, making it easier to stay motivated.

Instead of making significant changes simultaneously, the Kaizen approach focuses on minor improvements over time for substantial results.

  • Create a system (process smaller daily goals).
  • Breakdown the system into its smallest form.
  • Make small improvements all the time.

However you plan your goals, the point remains the same: focus only on the goals that matter, break them into smaller steps, and start work immediately. This is a one-time exercise that isn’t about a constant organisation. You can tinker and tweak with each level as you go along but stick with the basic high-stakes structure if you really want to accomplish everything.

THERE ARE NO UNREASONABLE GOALS, ONLY UNREASONABLE DEADLINES

Set a deadline for achievement: if you don’t set a deadline for completing your goals, you will not be able to be accountable to yourself or anyone else. You will not achieve your goals if you are not accountable.

STEPS NEEDED TO GET THERE (FROM THE FINAL STEP AND WORKING BACKWARDS)

Lay out your plan visually as a series of crosses and circles on a sheet of paper, with lines and arrows showing the relationship of each task to every other task.

The MAP is available in the various steps of goal setting.

You will be impressed by how much easier the process is when you break it down like this.

To achieve the specific goal, the point of achievement must be identified and then working back from the endpoint to now creates a plan of action.

6Ps: PROPER PRIOR PLANNING PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCES

One of your priorities is to get the best return on investment of your mental, emotional, and physical energy. The 10/90 rule says that 10 minutes you spend in planning helps you save 1h30 in execution. Wow!

The best news? It is pretty easy to do! Pen and paper, sit down and plan what you need to do!

Finish your day, check what you did and did not do, learn, adapt and plan the following day.

RULE No17

GRATITUDE

REWARD YOURSELF & SAY THANK YOU

“The more you are grateful for what you have the more you will have to be grateful for.” – Zig Ziglar.

Identify ways that you can reward yourself when you make progress.

Incremental rewards for reaching specific milestones will motivate you to work through challenging tasks.

As incredible as it may sound, almost no books or methods talk about gratitude in goal setting.

Since you are aiming at something better, more fulfilling, something that will bring you growth, happiness, creativity etc … it feels normal to thank you, the universe, the Muses, your brains, and your personal history, before starting! So, as usual, don’t forget to thank YOU! And thank your Muse(s), fate, the law of attraction, and whoever & whatever you think helped you get where you are and helped you during the whole journey.

Take a moment every day to do that! When you look at the state of the world, one should remember how “lucky” we are – or rather, how good we are at writing our own story – and how much better it will get with your goals.

Ideally, every time, ANCHOR every success or intense joy as I have shown you.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.

If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey.

 

RULE No18

BEST KEPT SECRET?

This is a tricky one.

Many people want to keep their goal secret to avoid bad influence, jinxing it etc…

This is a common belief. I am one of these people. Elon Musk is not!

Is it true? I could not demonstrate it either way.

If it limits you, then telling others won’t help much …

Another option could be this.

Start by removing the toxic people around you and only share with people you trust who are here to help you grow.

We’ve pointed out before that broadcasting your goal progress in public is a great way to keep yourself on track, push yourself and make yourself accountable for what you announced.

It is useless and counterproductive if it makes you feel bad or stressed.

It’s your call, as usual.

Whatever you choose, choose an option that pushes you toward realising your goal.

It would be best if you didn’t add more obstacles.