I remember back in grade school after mastering the intricacies of addition and subtraction, I finally made it to the advanced mathematical concept of multiplication! I was so excited, raised my hand and told the teacher that it looks like multiplication is addition on steroids!
When I began to study more advanced concepts in mathematics, especially that of exponentiation, I realized that an exponent is multiplication on steroids. It looks to me as if exponential growth has one purpose: to keep growing.
So how can we use this concept of exponential growth to heighten and further our business and leadership career? The answer comes in what I like to call our exponential potential.
Let me give you a personal example. Many years ago, when the bulk of my leadership training was face-to-face, I found myself in a traditional sales cycle of having to cold call on various companies to generate interest. This can be a very time-consuming process, and in January and February in Northeast Pennsylvania the term “cold call” can take on a whole new meaning.
I had to figure out a way of getting a group of prospects together to show them what I could do. I started by joining a local Chamber of Commerce, however I told the executive director that I would join only if they allowed me to do a monthly lunch and learn. I would donate my time and offer a raffle at the end of the session.
The chamber charged $10 each month and between noon and 1:30, once a month, I would have anywhere between 15 and 30 people, representing anywhere between 5 and 25 companies. I would spend the better part of an hour talking about a subject such as goal setting and personal leadership, team-building, or how to develop congruency between your vision and daily activities.
At the end of the session, I would ask everybody to pull out a business card for the raffle of the CD and right a YES on the back of their card if they were interested in learning more about what my company could do for them, or NO on the back of the business card if they simply weren’t interested.
That 90 minute chamber activity brought in anywhere between 6-18 leads per month. However, I didn’t stop there because I joined a dozen chambers and did this consistently across a wide swath of what I consider to be my territory. Within the span of several months, my cold calling activity had basically stopped.
That is what I consider the exponential potential. Multiplication of activities. I think we all have that ability in our business and personal lives. The challenge is finding where those leverage points are so that we can begin to have greater output with the same level of activity.
Here are four practical behaviors that you can use to explore your own personal exponential potential:
1. Look for aggregates
They do exist but you need to find them. In every business or personal endeavor there are ways to multiply your efforts. Business lunches are a great example, because you take care of the biological necessity of eating while discussing business. Perhaps you can meet clients at the gym or for a bike ride also.
Are there processes at work that can be made more efficient by moving individual’s physical space or by allowing individuals to work remotely? What can you delegate to free up more of your valuable cognitive resources?
“Doing more and more with less and less is one form of being generous. In fact, the easiest way to become rich is by being generous.” – Robert Kiyosaki
2. Batch goals together
If you are upwardly mobile, you probably have some very stringent business goals. You may also have some physical goals to keep your body in shape. Lastly, if you are a family person, you may also want to spend time with your significant other and children. Can you see how these goals conflict?
Consequently, we may be achieving one goal but feeling guilty because the other two are not being worked on.
This causes us to think irrationally and may open us up to harbor resentment. Try this: does the possibility exist of telling your family that if you can have 90 minutes of quiet time to work on a report after dinner, you can all go for a walk together and talk about whatever comes up in conversation? Think about it, you have taken care of your business goal of working quietly for 90 minutes, the physical goal of going for a walk, and the family goal of going for the walk together.
There is no greater multiplier of successes than an attitude of, “I will not be denied!” The difference between success and failure is quite simply, “try one more time.”
Perseverance can be made into a game by asking yourself questions such as, “Why did this particular thing happen that made me miss (or hit) my goal?” Following this, analyze your answer in a playful and curious way so that that information may be hardcoded into your personal success database.
“By perseverance the snail reached the ark.” – Charles Spurgeon
4. Enjoy the journey
In other words, be happy! Whenever you are searching for the multipliers in your life you may encounter setbacks, frustrations, and downright failures. Learn to perceive the setbacks as signposts, and opportunities to change direction. In other words, be happy with the frustrations that you meet because they are assisting you in finding the correct path for your journey.
I truly hope that you find the four behaviors listed above useful! I have used them over and over again and have spoken to clients about them many times all with excellent results. These behaviors are about you. Remember that.