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How to Overcome Entrepreneur “Shiny Object Syndrome” In 4 Simple Steps

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Entrepreneur Ideas

In Alice in Wonderland, Alice tells the Queen, “One can’t believe impossible things” and the Queen confidently replies, “I daresay you haven’t had much practice. When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Without a doubt, the Queen must be an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs are like idea machines. Churning out ideas like candy coming from the Willy Wonka factory. We are creators. Innovators. But there’s a problem that most entrepreneurs face somewhere down the line—having too many ideas.

At first, it seems like having a constant influx of great ideas isn’t a terrible thing, but when you have tons of new ideas flooding into your brain day after day, you can run into two problems:

1. You become stalled. You never take action on any of your ideas because you don’t know how to get started or even what to start.

2. You get easily side-tracked. You’re always chasing the white rabbit. You start project after project and you’re always onto the next thing before you’ve even completed the first.

The latter is what I like to call “Entrepreneur Shiny Object Syndrome”—always chasing that next “shiny” idea. Many of the entrepreneurs that I know (including myself) suffer from this “disorder”. If you’re one of these people, sometimes having only 6 impossible ideas would feel like a relief.

The issue with having Shiny Object Syndrome is that you run the risk of not using your time wisely and not being able to operate your business efficiently. Since your time and energy is money (especially if you’re a solopreneur who’s in charge of everything), your business’s bottom line will undoubtedly suffer if you can’t stay focused.

As a business owner, you need to get really good, really fast, at effectively filtering through your fishing net of ideas and only selecting the right ones to work on.

Below is a helpful 4-step process that you can use to get a handle on this “disorder” and continue to stay on track and focused every time a new idea arises…

 

Step 1: Create a running list of all your ideas

Write down every business/marketing/blogging/etc idea that you have throughout the day by keeping a running list in a journal or on your Smartphone. When something new pops into your head, jot it down and then immediately go back to whatever you were doing.

Keep in mind that just because this certain idea magically occurred to you in the moment does not mean that…

1. It is top priority
2. It needs your full attention
3. It needs to be implemented straight away

When you write everything down, you can come back and build on an idea later without worrying about forgetting it. Try scheduling 30 minutes a day for “idea time” to think through some of your recent ideas. This way, you won’t get distracted from your current tasks, but you’ll still give the necessary attention to your innovative thoughts.

 

Step 2: Pause before you start anything

This is a lesson that I find myself having to learn over and over again. When you have a new idea, take a pause. Don’t execute it right away. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small idea like “I should send a Twitter message to so-and-so” or a big idea like “I need to do a complete overhaul on my business website”—both ideas can wait.

Decide on a specific delay time between your idea conception and execution. For example, every time a “big idea” for my business occurs to me, I let it sit and think about it for 7 days before giving myself permission to consider implementing it. If in 1 week, I’m still excited about the idea and certain that it will help my business, I will make a plan to execute it. If not, then the idea falls onto the backburner and I don’t have to worry about it.

Find delay times that work best for you and do your best to stick with them.

 

Step 3: View your new ideas through the lens of your long-term goal(s)

After you’ve written all your ideas down and given them a little space, it’s time to figure out if a specific idea is worth implementing.

To do this, you have to look at your new ideas through the lens of your long-term goals. With every idea, ask yourself the question: “Does this idea take me closer to reaching my ultimate business goals?” If it does, go for it. If it doesn’t, let it sit on your idea list a little longer.

Some ideas might need to stay on your business’s backburner until you get more important things accomplished. In the meantime, if something does seem urgent (maybe you really really hate your website design), try outsourcing the task and continue to spend your time working towards your ultimate goals.

 

Step 4: Don’t make crucial business decisions every day

If you attempt to make important decisions about the long-term objectives of your business on a daily basis, you run the risk of falling off track every time you have a new killer idea (or something bad happens like a revenue dip or you receive negative feedback). Instead of making these important decisions on the fly, have a 6-month or yearly plan that spells out the direction that you want to take your business.

Think about it this way—say, for instance, you want to drive away from Los Angeles and be on the road for 2 days. Well, you have two options:

1. You could choose which way to turn each time you encountered a stop light, on-ramp or fork in the road
2. You could choose your destination to be New York City in advance which would influence every directional decision you make along the way

With the first option, you could end up anywhere in the country, or even back where you started. When you make business decisions based on the specific circumstances that you face each day—this is unlikely to lead you to your final (desired) destination. With the second option, you will arrive at your destination in 1 day and 16 hours and find yourself exactly where you want to be.

Writing out the overall plans and ultimate goals for your business will help you stay steadfast and focused in the long-term.

In the end, in order to overcome Entrepreneur Shiny Object Syndrome, you should always be filtering your ideas through these 4 steps to keep yourself and your business moving towards your ultimate goals and on target for success.

Laurel Staples runs a popular blog & podcast called Go Fire Yourself that gives you the insider secrets to successfully escape your day job, grow your own business and live life on your terms. Connect with Laurel and download her free ebook: Income Switch: How to Replace Your 9-to-5 Income by Building a Profitable (& Unstoppable) Online Platform by visiting her website: www.gofireyourself.com

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Wendie Kause

    Nov 23, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Great article, great steps that I will apply, starting right now. But do you know what I like most about it? Knowing that this syndrome is not mine alone. It’s as if there’s a little gremlin in my brain, clicking on all these ideas all the time. I thought perhaps I was alone with these little guys! It’s good to know there are others!

    Thanks much!

  2. Pat Royston

    Jan 1, 2016 at 1:14 am

    Such good information. You pegged me!

  3. Michael Levanduski

    Feb 22, 2014 at 2:35 am

    Excellent post. This is a very big problem for anyone working online! These are great tips for everyone, especially those just starting out.

  4. Janine Gilmour (@JanineGilmour1)

    Jan 11, 2014 at 12:08 am

    I’m thinking “all that glitters isn’t gold” … and knowing I gravitate to my own shiny objects when I’m doing something difficult. Nice to know I’m in good company. Better still to working with a process that staves off starting 50 things and not finishing many. Thanks for the perspective on how to see my big goals over the finish line. Thanks!

  5. Curt

    Jan 6, 2014 at 3:47 am

    I am so glad you wrote this article, Laurel. My friends have described me as a serial entrepreneur…I thought they were just being nice. I seem to come up with a new idea with each breath I take. I own several successful small businesses. I am blessed with good employees to run each business. I have list upon list of additional projects that I am working on that are not related to my businesses: titles of nearly thirty books to be written, a producer has ask me to develop two of my ideas for TV programs, my multiple real estate projects that are in various states of completion and valued from $240K to $29M, and a list of twenty-two additional ideas that I would love to develop. To say the least, I am spread thin. The best thing I have done recently is to start working with a business coach that helped me to focus. I now write thoughts on my list and revisit the list every 30 days. Since starting this, I have not started one new project…and I have been able to finish, or make subtancial headway, on several of my pending high-priority projects. I don’t know if everyone will have the same success, but for me, I now prioritize, focus and accomplish. Without my business coach helping me to understand how I think/work, I would still feel like I had severe ADHD. I sincerely appreciate reading that others face these same hyperactive idea issues, and appreciate your efforts to assist us. Your writings are spot-on!

  6. Goodtogo

    Dec 29, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    I’m cleared, thanks Laurel.

  7. Diana Schneidman

    Nov 29, 2013 at 5:38 am

    Laurel,

    I heartily endorse Step 1, maintaining a running list.

    I keep a list in Word every time I come across another idea for marketing my business. Sometimes I simply list a website to revisit; other times it’s a big concept.

    Once I have captured an idea, I free myself up to go on to the day’s work, comforted that the new, shiny idea won’t be lost.

    I rarely look at the list, but I know where to find all my ideas when I want them.

    -Diana

  8. Micah

    Nov 28, 2013 at 2:55 am

    Great article. I love the idea of a running list. I often have to remind myself to focus on what I need to focus on right then… And spend time researching all of my “great” ideas later.

  9. Laurel Staples

    Nov 28, 2013 at 2:28 am

    Thanks! So glad you enjoyed it!

  10. Ahmed Muse

    Nov 28, 2013 at 1:36 am

    Very useful tips here. Thanks!

  11. Margaux Dela Cruz (@Margaux_Dela)

    Nov 26, 2013 at 11:54 am

    These are practical suggestions to help entrepreneurs stay focused on the more important things. True, once ideas come running in, there’s no way to stop entrepreneurs. But another thing I learned to help me focused on the priorities is segmenting. It would help if entrepreneurs learn to visualize their business on a map. By adding data by category, they can analyze each category individually and identify which is the most important. Then, they can analyze the connections between each data set – another simple and practical way to ignite more ideas but this time, in a more systematic way.

    • Laurel Staples

      Nov 28, 2013 at 2:26 am

      Thanks for your awesome tip! That’s a really great way to stay focused on your objectives. I’ve known many entrepreneurs who do that it say it works wonders.

  12. Abe Stone

    Nov 25, 2013 at 7:00 am

    Excellent… It really helps to acknowledge the issues and then create an understanding of how to fix it… So many times we don’t want to admit that some of our ways of living are problems and they never go away.. I think coaching helps in this too.
    Having someone who can objectively help you question the ideas and ask new questions you may not be thinking of…

    • Laurel Staples

      Nov 28, 2013 at 2:23 am

      Great points Abe! I think in business, we get too close to our own situation and it’s hard to see things from an objective point of view. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Jodi Barthold

    Nov 25, 2013 at 5:46 am

    Great article – I’m going to memorize these and use them.

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Success Advice

Are You Really a Leader? 3 Questions That Will Help You Find the Answer

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leadership
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Being a leader is a lot of responsibility. People look to you to make decisions, direct them, provide support, and get results. A true leader is an amazing presence: a humble yet confident person who inspires those around them.

Unfortunately, a lot of people think they’re leaders, but really aren’t. In fact, according to talent scientist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, 80% of people believe they are better-than-average leaders, which is objectively impossible. I see people claiming to be leaders all the time, but they’re all talk and no substance.

What is Leadership?

A lot of the people I talk to seem to think that you become a leader just by having a job managing people. That’s simply not true. Leadership is a balancing act that would make a master juggler impressed.

True leadership involves making sure that there is a happy balance between employees’ needs and the company’s needs. If only the employees’ needs are prioritized, the company won’t be profitable. Likewise, if only the company’s needs are considered, employees will leave.

True leaders have the self-awareness and strategic skills to understand this delicate balance and understand their role in creating those key compromises.

“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” – Ken Blanchard

Can You Be a True Leader?

Although there are a number of different leadership styles and theories out there, leadership boils down to a few essentials. Leaders need the emotional intelligence to navigate difficult and uncomfortable situations while being able to inspire others to take action. There’s a big difference between saying you’re a leader and acting like one.

If you want to increase your self-awareness and find out if you’re a leader others can rely on, start by asking yourself these three questions:

1. Do you want to be a leader?

It may seem unfair, but in my experience, the people who make the best leaders don’t necessarily want to be. You only want what you don’t have, and same rings true here. If you want to be a leader then you probably aren’t focusing on the right aspects of leadership.

True leaders are natural trail-blazers, but they don’t set out to lead anyone. People just happen to take note of their talents and confidence and look to the person for advice and guidance.

2. Do you have an original vision, or are you just power-hungry?

Why do you want to be a leader? Is it so you have the final say, or do you have actual goals you want to accomplish with a team? True leaders don’t feel threatened by others—they’re too busy getting stuff done. Leaders typically don’t need to test or confirm their power.

If you think good leaders give directions and just want others to listen, you’ve got it wrong. The best leaders often don’t need to speak a whole lot—they listen and observe, they think deeply, and when they do speak, it’s meaningful.

A true leader acts and others follow those actions because they trust and respect the leader. It isn’t about a power battle or an ego trip. Leaders have a true vision.  

3. Are you willing to do the dirty work?

You don’t get to be a leader if all you do is sit around, give orders, and let other people do the dirty work. Real leaders are humble, and no work is “beneath” them.

They want to know what’s going on at the ground level, and they want to help their people when they’re struggling. If you’re not willing to talk to a customer or back your employee up in a bad situation, you don’t get to call yourself a leader.

“Leadership is a choice, not a position.” – Stephen Covey

Becoming a Self-Aware Leader

How did you do? Maybe you’re not cut out to be a leader. Maybe you are. Maybe you need to work on a few things first.

Real talk: being a good leader isn’t easy. However, becoming a true leader benefits everyone around you and can be extremely fulfilling. If you’re more determined than ever to become the best, most self-aware leader you can be, that’s great news: we need more leaders out there.

What are the characteristics of a great leader in your opinion? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

Capitalize on the 80% of Business That You Are Missing Out on Right Now With This Method

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Most of us are aware of Pareto’s Principle, the 80/20 rule. This principle states that 20% of the input gives us 80% of the output. The top 20% of your salespeople account for 80% of your business. The top 20% skills you have, account for 80% of your success. The top 20% of our customers will give us 80% of business. When we use this principle it allows us to narrow in and focus on the most important clients who are in our target market.

You’ll find that most people tell you to focus on your top 20%. Here’s the big question: What do you do with the other 80% of people who you do not work with?

Most of us let this 80% of potential business fall to the wayside because they are not our target market and we have no system set up to still do some form of business with them. However, this is not the case for Tim Johnson.

Just last year, he generated $11 million dollars from REFERRALS! He is the master of building a referral based business. By sending clients that he cannot work with to his friends and referral partners, he is able to receive commission for the introduction and new business.

Imagine having the potential to make money from EVERY business conversation! Tim speaks to about 3,000 people per year, and if he cannot help them personally, he knows someone in his Global Renegade network who can.

The thing is, we can all do this if we are intentional about it. As Tim puts it, “We need to date our referral partners. We put so much time and effort into people that do nothing for our business, yet we do not build strong relationships and invest time into our referral partners.”

Tim is a speaker, author, real estate developer, and business coach who is well known around the world. He starts each business conversation by saying, “Is it okay with you that if at anytime during this conversation I realize that I am not the right fit for you, I introduce you to someone in my network who is?”

Each time he is met with a resounding YES! Who would say no to this offer? This strong referral network has built Tim a net worth of over $4 million dollars. Tim uses a framework called SOLD and if you use this framework you can build a strong referral network as well.

Below, is the exact SOLD framework Tim uses:

Strategy

According to Tim, everything is mathematical. He approaches each conversation looking to learn and serve. When you approach conversations in this way, you focus on relationship building instead of feeling like you have an agenda to do business.

Ask great questions here and give the person you’re speaking with an opportunity to share their situation and what they are going through. Tim always asks, “What do you need and how can I serve you?” This is a powerful question that most people neglect and it’s the reason they are not experiencing as much sales success as Tim.

“Here is a powerful yet simple rule. Always give people more than they expect to get.” – Nelson Boswell

Objections = Opportunities

As the old wise quote states, “We were given two ears and one mouth for a reason.” This means we need to speak less and listen more.

Too often, people pitch and become salesy instead of being human and having a conversation where they are listening to the person they are sitting with. When you are listening, you give yourself the opportunity to learn their problems, obstacles, and needs in order to identify new opportunities.

Leverage referral partners

As you are gathering information you will identify if you are able to provide the solution that your prospect needs. If you cannot, it is time to leverage your referral partners and make the introduction.

By starting out the conversation saying, “Is it okay with you that if at anytime during our conversation I realize that I am not the right fit that I introduce you to someone who is?” you have already pre-framed yourself appropriately to leverage your referral network if you cannot provide a solution that is needed.

Your prospect will be very appreciative for your honesty and will trust your judgement. You get a lot of brownie points when you have the integrity to say that you are not the right fit, but let me introduce you to someone who is.

“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.” – Mark Zuckerberg

Duplicate

Rinse and repeat this process. Having conversations in this way will enable you to work with the top 20% of people you speak with, and still provide value to the other 80%. In this way, every conversation opens up the opportunity for new business.

SOLD is business growth through asking great questions, active listening, and leveraging referral partners. Start to capitalize on the 80% of business that you are missing out on by referring these people to other service providers in your network.

If you think about providing value in service of others first, then you can leverage the SOLD framework for increased revenue in your business by simply being a connector and receiving commissions of 10%-25%.

Do you have referral partners in your business? Would love to hear your experience in the comment section below!

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Success Advice

A 5 Step Morning Routine That Leads to Explosive Growth and Success

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Have you ever noticed that how your day starts can dictate how the rest of your day goes? If you start your day on a positive and productive note, you feel a sense of excitement, pride, and accomplishment. And then those feelings power you through the rest of your day. You knock things off your to do list and find yourself in a great mood. Yet, when you wake up later than you were planning on, it can throw your entire day off. So make a decision to take control of your mornings and come up with a routine that will set you up for success.

When trying to construct a morning routine that fits your life, one thing to take into consideration is how important the night before is. Most people with winning morning routines, also take nighttime rituals into consideration. Before going to bed each night, plan your next day out in a journal, so you know exactly what you’re getting into. Nothing is worse than going into a day without a plan, and that’s a great way to lose control of the day.

Here’s a list of some of the most important things you can start each morning with to get off to a good start:

Step 1: Hydration: The elixir of life

One of the most important things you can do each morning is start your day off by drinking at least one glass of water. After 6-8 hours without any water, it’s essential to hydrate your body when you wake up and get it ready for the day. Your body is composed of mostly water and a lot of times, the importance of water is overlooked. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and headaches, so starting the day with water can help prevent dehydration. Because of that, staying hydrated means more energy and a lot of times, clearer thinking. There are a lot of health benefits to staying hydrated.

“Your day is pretty much formed by how you spend your first hour. Check your thoughts, attitude and heart.”

Step 2: Priming: The key to self transformation

Anthony (Tony) Robbins, one of the biggest motivational speakers, always talks about the importance of starting your day with priming. His priming exercise combines two important elements; gratitude and visualization. The priming exercise is about 15 minutes and the purpose is to get you into a good mental and physical state before you start your day. First, Tony asks you to think about 3 things that you are grateful for, and to step into those memories like you are there.

Next, he asks you to think of three things that you want to accomplish (short or long term). The purpose of these exercises is simple; start your day with gratitude and visualizing yourself accomplishing what you want to accomplish, whether it’s a short term goal or a long term goal.

If you don’t want to do that exact exercise, you can also do a combination of meditation and visualization. There are a lot of guided audios that you can use to help you get the most out of meditation and visualization.

Step 3: Exercise/Movement – Jumpstart your brain and your body

Exercise has massive benefits, both physical and mental. Starting your day with even 30 minutes of movement can give you increased energy and endorphins. It’s also a great way to start your day on a positive note. Think of how amazing you feel after you finish a good workout.

Step 4: Journaling – Create your future and write your goals into existence

Everyone has their own way of journaling; you need to find what works best for you. Some things you can do while journaling are making a list of 3-5 things you are grateful for, writing your goals down (daily or long term goals), or setting your intention for the day. Journaling can make you more productive as well as remind you what your goals/ targets are so that you stay focused on what you need to get done.

“Your morning routine generates a 10x return for good or for bad. Make it good.” – Todd Stocker

Step 5: Attack the day- conquer your biggest task that you have to do first thing

A lot of people tend to procrastinate on their most important task of the day. They’ll find any excuse to push it off. “Later” becomes “tomorrow.” And then somehow, the end of the week rolls around and the task still isn’t complete. However, if you prioritize your most important task and get it accomplished first thing in the morning, it gives you a sense of discipline and accomplishment.

Starting your morning with a routine can help transform your day. It can help you build new habits but even if you start with 2 or 3 of these, you will begin to see a big difference in how your days go. If you already have a morning routine but you are missing some of these steps, test them out and see what kind of an impact they have on your days.

What is your morning routine like? Comment below!

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Success Advice

Here’s Why Goals Are for Losers

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If you enter the word “goals” into your browser, more than 1.6 BILLION search results pop up. Safe to say, there’s no shortage of goal setting advice as a stepping-stone on your path to success. Yet, there’s a contrarian willing to risk criticism, challenge the status quo, and debunk goals at face value.

In his book “How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big,” Scott Adams is an author, cartoonist and Periscope streamer, who sees goals differently than most everyone else. Adams observes that if you study people who succeed, you’ll see most of them follow systems, not goals.

Goals vs. Systems

Adams defines goals as “reach it and be done objectives.” Whereas systems, is what you do on a regular basis with an expectation that you’ll build on and improve your chances of success.

In Adams book, he says he didn’t have a goal to write it by a specific date. He had a “process” that included blogging daily (for practice) believing this consistency would lead him down a path to where he wanted to be.

Other examples:

  • dieting to lose 10 lbs. is a goal. Learning to eat right, and doing so on a regular basis, is a system.
  • making a million dollars is a goal. Being a serial entrepreneur, is system.
  • running a marathon in under 3 hours is a goal. Exercising daily, is a system (forming a habit).

Could goals create tunnel vision? The problem with goals, says Adams, is that they’re laser-focused and could block awareness of other opportunities around you. If you have your head down pursuing a goal, you may miss better opportunities that could potentially advance you, perhaps even faster.

In contrast, says Adams, systems are flexible, leaving you wide open for new and better ways of doing things. “A system, performed daily, is moving you from a place with low odds to a place with better odds.”

Adams concedes, goals aren’t completely off the table. Goals are useful in “simple” situations that are “narrow, simplistic and have predictable pursuits.” They’re ok for short tasks with a clear purpose.

Two examples of different goals would be an “ok goal,” which would be entering a contest, while a “great goal” is to win. “It’s simple, it’s near term, it’s manageable.” Nonetheless, for success, goals are terrible for long-term endeavors like personal health and career success goals.

So are goals for losers? Adams says goals are psychological. If you haven’t reached your goal, you could be in a perpetual state of frustration and disappointment, possibly feeling like a failure.

Goals proceed with blinders on, expecting certain results at the end of weeks, months or years. Then once you’ve achieved that goal, what are you prepared for? Whereas systems are skill-based that add up, and can serve you on future projects.

“Never settle for average.” – Steve Jobs

Talent Stacking for Success

Talent stacking is the process of increasing your personal value by “layering together several mediocre skills” until you have something unique.

Although Adams says most of his undertakings can be considered failures from the standpoint of goals, they’re actually successes from the standpoint of systems. Gaining transferable skills has allowed him to achieve success in the long run.

In a Wall Street Journal interview, Adams shares how he stacked his talents of “mediocre artist, an ok writer, somewhat humorous, and some business knowledge” to create the wildly successful comic strip Dilbert (seen online in 2,000 newspapers, 65 countries in 25 languages) and substantial economic value.

Previously we outlined the four principles of success. Here, we add talent stacking, allowing you to capitalize on the array of opportunities that come your way. Adams recommends choosing to acquire ‘talents’ that build assets you can apply to future projects.

The assets you build will lead you down the path of eventual success over time. In today’s fast-paced world, Adams feels we’d all benefit from adding t­he following skills to your main talent:

  • public speaking
  • persuasion (to understand psychology)
  • some business sense
  • some technology sense

Adams recommends to not worry about the end result. Focus on daily execution and over time, there will be a payday.

Passion will follow

Ask a billionaire what’s the most important element to success and he’ll likely say “passion.” Adams disagrees. He says someone’s passion may not be realistic. In addition, he feels you can develop passion with success.

Adams’ observation is that people who have a good business plan probably do well. As things start working, and you start making money, suddenly passion appears!

The crossroads of luck

Adams believes the flexibility of systems increases your odds of luck finding you. By adding to your talent stack, more opportunities cross your path, with success following close behind.

There are many kids today with better programming skills than Bill Gates had. Yet, Gates was born in a time in history where he had access to computers when other people didn’t, and that luck has made him billions and billions of dollars. Adams says go where the luck is, tune yourself into the vibration of luck and increase the chances you’ll get it.

“Success is luck multiplied by the skills you obtain” – Scott Adams

So there you have it, systems are better if you have a complicated situation and a long time frame. Goals are fine if you have a simple situation and a short time frame.

The thread that ties this highly recommended book together is that if you develop good systems and follow them daily, then your efforts eventually overlap with luck.

What do you think about goals now? Looking forward to hearing from you in the comments area below.

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Entrepreneurs

4 Ways to Overcome Entrepreneurial Anxiety

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It’s natural to feel nervous about your business when you’ve poured everything into it, including time, money, and other resources. Your nerves, however, can escalate into crippling anxiety if not managed effectively. (more…)

Sania Khiljee is a serial entrepreneur and social media expert that has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, Huffington Post, and more. Sania is the co-owner of a private school Kids R Kids in Katy, TX and is the founder of a subscription box called Bumble Brain Box, which she sold in 2017. She also owns Losers to Legends, which is a social media agency and training company. Losers to Legends started as a motivational movement on social media and has grown to over 1.4 million followers. Her blog saniakhiljee.com also covers topics such as motivation, entrepreneurship, and social media.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Wendie Kause

    Nov 23, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Great article, great steps that I will apply, starting right now. But do you know what I like most about it? Knowing that this syndrome is not mine alone. It’s as if there’s a little gremlin in my brain, clicking on all these ideas all the time. I thought perhaps I was alone with these little guys! It’s good to know there are others!

    Thanks much!

  2. Pat Royston

    Jan 1, 2016 at 1:14 am

    Such good information. You pegged me!

  3. Michael Levanduski

    Feb 22, 2014 at 2:35 am

    Excellent post. This is a very big problem for anyone working online! These are great tips for everyone, especially those just starting out.

  4. Janine Gilmour (@JanineGilmour1)

    Jan 11, 2014 at 12:08 am

    I’m thinking “all that glitters isn’t gold” … and knowing I gravitate to my own shiny objects when I’m doing something difficult. Nice to know I’m in good company. Better still to working with a process that staves off starting 50 things and not finishing many. Thanks for the perspective on how to see my big goals over the finish line. Thanks!

  5. Curt

    Jan 6, 2014 at 3:47 am

    I am so glad you wrote this article, Laurel. My friends have described me as a serial entrepreneur…I thought they were just being nice. I seem to come up with a new idea with each breath I take. I own several successful small businesses. I am blessed with good employees to run each business. I have list upon list of additional projects that I am working on that are not related to my businesses: titles of nearly thirty books to be written, a producer has ask me to develop two of my ideas for TV programs, my multiple real estate projects that are in various states of completion and valued from $240K to $29M, and a list of twenty-two additional ideas that I would love to develop. To say the least, I am spread thin. The best thing I have done recently is to start working with a business coach that helped me to focus. I now write thoughts on my list and revisit the list every 30 days. Since starting this, I have not started one new project…and I have been able to finish, or make subtancial headway, on several of my pending high-priority projects. I don’t know if everyone will have the same success, but for me, I now prioritize, focus and accomplish. Without my business coach helping me to understand how I think/work, I would still feel like I had severe ADHD. I sincerely appreciate reading that others face these same hyperactive idea issues, and appreciate your efforts to assist us. Your writings are spot-on!

  6. Goodtogo

    Dec 29, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    I’m cleared, thanks Laurel.

  7. Diana Schneidman

    Nov 29, 2013 at 5:38 am

    Laurel,

    I heartily endorse Step 1, maintaining a running list.

    I keep a list in Word every time I come across another idea for marketing my business. Sometimes I simply list a website to revisit; other times it’s a big concept.

    Once I have captured an idea, I free myself up to go on to the day’s work, comforted that the new, shiny idea won’t be lost.

    I rarely look at the list, but I know where to find all my ideas when I want them.

    -Diana

  8. Micah

    Nov 28, 2013 at 2:55 am

    Great article. I love the idea of a running list. I often have to remind myself to focus on what I need to focus on right then… And spend time researching all of my “great” ideas later.

  9. Laurel Staples

    Nov 28, 2013 at 2:28 am

    Thanks! So glad you enjoyed it!

  10. Ahmed Muse

    Nov 28, 2013 at 1:36 am

    Very useful tips here. Thanks!

  11. Margaux Dela Cruz (@Margaux_Dela)

    Nov 26, 2013 at 11:54 am

    These are practical suggestions to help entrepreneurs stay focused on the more important things. True, once ideas come running in, there’s no way to stop entrepreneurs. But another thing I learned to help me focused on the priorities is segmenting. It would help if entrepreneurs learn to visualize their business on a map. By adding data by category, they can analyze each category individually and identify which is the most important. Then, they can analyze the connections between each data set – another simple and practical way to ignite more ideas but this time, in a more systematic way.

    • Laurel Staples

      Nov 28, 2013 at 2:26 am

      Thanks for your awesome tip! That’s a really great way to stay focused on your objectives. I’ve known many entrepreneurs who do that it say it works wonders.

  12. Abe Stone

    Nov 25, 2013 at 7:00 am

    Excellent… It really helps to acknowledge the issues and then create an understanding of how to fix it… So many times we don’t want to admit that some of our ways of living are problems and they never go away.. I think coaching helps in this too.
    Having someone who can objectively help you question the ideas and ask new questions you may not be thinking of…

    • Laurel Staples

      Nov 28, 2013 at 2:23 am

      Great points Abe! I think in business, we get too close to our own situation and it’s hard to see things from an objective point of view. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Jodi Barthold

    Nov 25, 2013 at 5:46 am

    Great article – I’m going to memorize these and use them.

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Success Advice

Are You Really a Leader? 3 Questions That Will Help You Find the Answer

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Being a leader is a lot of responsibility. People look to you to make decisions, direct them, provide support, and get results. A true leader is an amazing presence: a humble yet confident person who inspires those around them.

Unfortunately, a lot of people think they’re leaders, but really aren’t. In fact, according to talent scientist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, 80% of people believe they are better-than-average leaders, which is objectively impossible. I see people claiming to be leaders all the time, but they’re all talk and no substance.

What is Leadership?

A lot of the people I talk to seem to think that you become a leader just by having a job managing people. That’s simply not true. Leadership is a balancing act that would make a master juggler impressed.

True leadership involves making sure that there is a happy balance between employees’ needs and the company’s needs. If only the employees’ needs are prioritized, the company won’t be profitable. Likewise, if only the company’s needs are considered, employees will leave.

True leaders have the self-awareness and strategic skills to understand this delicate balance and understand their role in creating those key compromises.

“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” – Ken Blanchard

Can You Be a True Leader?

Although there are a number of different leadership styles and theories out there, leadership boils down to a few essentials. Leaders need the emotional intelligence to navigate difficult and uncomfortable situations while being able to inspire others to take action. There’s a big difference between saying you’re a leader and acting like one.

If you want to increase your self-awareness and find out if you’re a leader others can rely on, start by asking yourself these three questions:

1. Do you want to be a leader?

It may seem unfair, but in my experience, the people who make the best leaders don’t necessarily want to be. You only want what you don’t have, and same rings true here. If you want to be a leader then you probably aren’t focusing on the right aspects of leadership.

True leaders are natural trail-blazers, but they don’t set out to lead anyone. People just happen to take note of their talents and confidence and look to the person for advice and guidance.

2. Do you have an original vision, or are you just power-hungry?

Why do you want to be a leader? Is it so you have the final say, or do you have actual goals you want to accomplish with a team? True leaders don’t feel threatened by others—they’re too busy getting stuff done. Leaders typically don’t need to test or confirm their power.

If you think good leaders give directions and just want others to listen, you’ve got it wrong. The best leaders often don’t need to speak a whole lot—they listen and observe, they think deeply, and when they do speak, it’s meaningful.

A true leader acts and others follow those actions because they trust and respect the leader. It isn’t about a power battle or an ego trip. Leaders have a true vision.  

3. Are you willing to do the dirty work?

You don’t get to be a leader if all you do is sit around, give orders, and let other people do the dirty work. Real leaders are humble, and no work is “beneath” them.

They want to know what’s going on at the ground level, and they want to help their people when they’re struggling. If you’re not willing to talk to a customer or back your employee up in a bad situation, you don’t get to call yourself a leader.

“Leadership is a choice, not a position.” – Stephen Covey

Becoming a Self-Aware Leader

How did you do? Maybe you’re not cut out to be a leader. Maybe you are. Maybe you need to work on a few things first.

Real talk: being a good leader isn’t easy. However, becoming a true leader benefits everyone around you and can be extremely fulfilling. If you’re more determined than ever to become the best, most self-aware leader you can be, that’s great news: we need more leaders out there.

What are the characteristics of a great leader in your opinion? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

Capitalize on the 80% of Business That You Are Missing Out on Right Now With This Method

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Most of us are aware of Pareto’s Principle, the 80/20 rule. This principle states that 20% of the input gives us 80% of the output. The top 20% of your salespeople account for 80% of your business. The top 20% skills you have, account for 80% of your success. The top 20% of our customers will give us 80% of business. When we use this principle it allows us to narrow in and focus on the most important clients who are in our target market.

You’ll find that most people tell you to focus on your top 20%. Here’s the big question: What do you do with the other 80% of people who you do not work with?

Most of us let this 80% of potential business fall to the wayside because they are not our target market and we have no system set up to still do some form of business with them. However, this is not the case for Tim Johnson.

Just last year, he generated $11 million dollars from REFERRALS! He is the master of building a referral based business. By sending clients that he cannot work with to his friends and referral partners, he is able to receive commission for the introduction and new business.

Imagine having the potential to make money from EVERY business conversation! Tim speaks to about 3,000 people per year, and if he cannot help them personally, he knows someone in his Global Renegade network who can.

The thing is, we can all do this if we are intentional about it. As Tim puts it, “We need to date our referral partners. We put so much time and effort into people that do nothing for our business, yet we do not build strong relationships and invest time into our referral partners.”

Tim is a speaker, author, real estate developer, and business coach who is well known around the world. He starts each business conversation by saying, “Is it okay with you that if at anytime during this conversation I realize that I am not the right fit for you, I introduce you to someone in my network who is?”

Each time he is met with a resounding YES! Who would say no to this offer? This strong referral network has built Tim a net worth of over $4 million dollars. Tim uses a framework called SOLD and if you use this framework you can build a strong referral network as well.

Below, is the exact SOLD framework Tim uses:

Strategy

According to Tim, everything is mathematical. He approaches each conversation looking to learn and serve. When you approach conversations in this way, you focus on relationship building instead of feeling like you have an agenda to do business.

Ask great questions here and give the person you’re speaking with an opportunity to share their situation and what they are going through. Tim always asks, “What do you need and how can I serve you?” This is a powerful question that most people neglect and it’s the reason they are not experiencing as much sales success as Tim.

“Here is a powerful yet simple rule. Always give people more than they expect to get.” – Nelson Boswell

Objections = Opportunities

As the old wise quote states, “We were given two ears and one mouth for a reason.” This means we need to speak less and listen more.

Too often, people pitch and become salesy instead of being human and having a conversation where they are listening to the person they are sitting with. When you are listening, you give yourself the opportunity to learn their problems, obstacles, and needs in order to identify new opportunities.

Leverage referral partners

As you are gathering information you will identify if you are able to provide the solution that your prospect needs. If you cannot, it is time to leverage your referral partners and make the introduction.

By starting out the conversation saying, “Is it okay with you that if at anytime during our conversation I realize that I am not the right fit that I introduce you to someone who is?” you have already pre-framed yourself appropriately to leverage your referral network if you cannot provide a solution that is needed.

Your prospect will be very appreciative for your honesty and will trust your judgement. You get a lot of brownie points when you have the integrity to say that you are not the right fit, but let me introduce you to someone who is.

“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.” – Mark Zuckerberg

Duplicate

Rinse and repeat this process. Having conversations in this way will enable you to work with the top 20% of people you speak with, and still provide value to the other 80%. In this way, every conversation opens up the opportunity for new business.

SOLD is business growth through asking great questions, active listening, and leveraging referral partners. Start to capitalize on the 80% of business that you are missing out on by referring these people to other service providers in your network.

If you think about providing value in service of others first, then you can leverage the SOLD framework for increased revenue in your business by simply being a connector and receiving commissions of 10%-25%.

Do you have referral partners in your business? Would love to hear your experience in the comment section below!

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Success Advice

A 5 Step Morning Routine That Leads to Explosive Growth and Success

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Have you ever noticed that how your day starts can dictate how the rest of your day goes? If you start your day on a positive and productive note, you feel a sense of excitement, pride, and accomplishment. And then those feelings power you through the rest of your day. You knock things off your to do list and find yourself in a great mood. Yet, when you wake up later than you were planning on, it can throw your entire day off. So make a decision to take control of your mornings and come up with a routine that will set you up for success.

When trying to construct a morning routine that fits your life, one thing to take into consideration is how important the night before is. Most people with winning morning routines, also take nighttime rituals into consideration. Before going to bed each night, plan your next day out in a journal, so you know exactly what you’re getting into. Nothing is worse than going into a day without a plan, and that’s a great way to lose control of the day.

Here’s a list of some of the most important things you can start each morning with to get off to a good start:

Step 1: Hydration: The elixir of life

One of the most important things you can do each morning is start your day off by drinking at least one glass of water. After 6-8 hours without any water, it’s essential to hydrate your body when you wake up and get it ready for the day. Your body is composed of mostly water and a lot of times, the importance of water is overlooked. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and headaches, so starting the day with water can help prevent dehydration. Because of that, staying hydrated means more energy and a lot of times, clearer thinking. There are a lot of health benefits to staying hydrated.

“Your day is pretty much formed by how you spend your first hour. Check your thoughts, attitude and heart.”

Step 2: Priming: The key to self transformation

Anthony (Tony) Robbins, one of the biggest motivational speakers, always talks about the importance of starting your day with priming. His priming exercise combines two important elements; gratitude and visualization. The priming exercise is about 15 minutes and the purpose is to get you into a good mental and physical state before you start your day. First, Tony asks you to think about 3 things that you are grateful for, and to step into those memories like you are there.

Next, he asks you to think of three things that you want to accomplish (short or long term). The purpose of these exercises is simple; start your day with gratitude and visualizing yourself accomplishing what you want to accomplish, whether it’s a short term goal or a long term goal.

If you don’t want to do that exact exercise, you can also do a combination of meditation and visualization. There are a lot of guided audios that you can use to help you get the most out of meditation and visualization.

Step 3: Exercise/Movement – Jumpstart your brain and your body

Exercise has massive benefits, both physical and mental. Starting your day with even 30 minutes of movement can give you increased energy and endorphins. It’s also a great way to start your day on a positive note. Think of how amazing you feel after you finish a good workout.

Step 4: Journaling – Create your future and write your goals into existence

Everyone has their own way of journaling; you need to find what works best for you. Some things you can do while journaling are making a list of 3-5 things you are grateful for, writing your goals down (daily or long term goals), or setting your intention for the day. Journaling can make you more productive as well as remind you what your goals/ targets are so that you stay focused on what you need to get done.

“Your morning routine generates a 10x return for good or for bad. Make it good.” – Todd Stocker

Step 5: Attack the day- conquer your biggest task that you have to do first thing

A lot of people tend to procrastinate on their most important task of the day. They’ll find any excuse to push it off. “Later” becomes “tomorrow.” And then somehow, the end of the week rolls around and the task still isn’t complete. However, if you prioritize your most important task and get it accomplished first thing in the morning, it gives you a sense of discipline and accomplishment.

Starting your morning with a routine can help transform your day. It can help you build new habits but even if you start with 2 or 3 of these, you will begin to see a big difference in how your days go. If you already have a morning routine but you are missing some of these steps, test them out and see what kind of an impact they have on your days.

What is your morning routine like? Comment below!

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Success Advice

Here’s Why Goals Are for Losers

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If you enter the word “goals” into your browser, more than 1.6 BILLION search results pop up. Safe to say, there’s no shortage of goal setting advice as a stepping-stone on your path to success. Yet, there’s a contrarian willing to risk criticism, challenge the status quo, and debunk goals at face value.

In his book “How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big,” Scott Adams is an author, cartoonist and Periscope streamer, who sees goals differently than most everyone else. Adams observes that if you study people who succeed, you’ll see most of them follow systems, not goals.

Goals vs. Systems

Adams defines goals as “reach it and be done objectives.” Whereas systems, is what you do on a regular basis with an expectation that you’ll build on and improve your chances of success.

In Adams book, he says he didn’t have a goal to write it by a specific date. He had a “process” that included blogging daily (for practice) believing this consistency would lead him down a path to where he wanted to be.

Other examples:

  • dieting to lose 10 lbs. is a goal. Learning to eat right, and doing so on a regular basis, is a system.
  • making a million dollars is a goal. Being a serial entrepreneur, is system.
  • running a marathon in under 3 hours is a goal. Exercising daily, is a system (forming a habit).

Could goals create tunnel vision? The problem with goals, says Adams, is that they’re laser-focused and could block awareness of other opportunities around you. If you have your head down pursuing a goal, you may miss better opportunities that could potentially advance you, perhaps even faster.

In contrast, says Adams, systems are flexible, leaving you wide open for new and better ways of doing things. “A system, performed daily, is moving you from a place with low odds to a place with better odds.”

Adams concedes, goals aren’t completely off the table. Goals are useful in “simple” situations that are “narrow, simplistic and have predictable pursuits.” They’re ok for short tasks with a clear purpose.

Two examples of different goals would be an “ok goal,” which would be entering a contest, while a “great goal” is to win. “It’s simple, it’s near term, it’s manageable.” Nonetheless, for success, goals are terrible for long-term endeavors like personal health and career success goals.

So are goals for losers? Adams says goals are psychological. If you haven’t reached your goal, you could be in a perpetual state of frustration and disappointment, possibly feeling like a failure.

Goals proceed with blinders on, expecting certain results at the end of weeks, months or years. Then once you’ve achieved that goal, what are you prepared for? Whereas systems are skill-based that add up, and can serve you on future projects.

“Never settle for average.” – Steve Jobs

Talent Stacking for Success

Talent stacking is the process of increasing your personal value by “layering together several mediocre skills” until you have something unique.

Although Adams says most of his undertakings can be considered failures from the standpoint of goals, they’re actually successes from the standpoint of systems. Gaining transferable skills has allowed him to achieve success in the long run.

In a Wall Street Journal interview, Adams shares how he stacked his talents of “mediocre artist, an ok writer, somewhat humorous, and some business knowledge” to create the wildly successful comic strip Dilbert (seen online in 2,000 newspapers, 65 countries in 25 languages) and substantial economic value.

Previously we outlined the four principles of success. Here, we add talent stacking, allowing you to capitalize on the array of opportunities that come your way. Adams recommends choosing to acquire ‘talents’ that build assets you can apply to future projects.

The assets you build will lead you down the path of eventual success over time. In today’s fast-paced world, Adams feels we’d all benefit from adding t­he following skills to your main talent:

  • public speaking
  • persuasion (to understand psychology)
  • some business sense
  • some technology sense

Adams recommends to not worry about the end result. Focus on daily execution and over time, there will be a payday.

Passion will follow

Ask a billionaire what’s the most important element to success and he’ll likely say “passion.” Adams disagrees. He says someone’s passion may not be realistic. In addition, he feels you can develop passion with success.

Adams’ observation is that people who have a good business plan probably do well. As things start working, and you start making money, suddenly passion appears!

The crossroads of luck

Adams believes the flexibility of systems increases your odds of luck finding you. By adding to your talent stack, more opportunities cross your path, with success following close behind.

There are many kids today with better programming skills than Bill Gates had. Yet, Gates was born in a time in history where he had access to computers when other people didn’t, and that luck has made him billions and billions of dollars. Adams says go where the luck is, tune yourself into the vibration of luck and increase the chances you’ll get it.

“Success is luck multiplied by the skills you obtain” – Scott Adams

So there you have it, systems are better if you have a complicated situation and a long time frame. Goals are fine if you have a simple situation and a short time frame.

The thread that ties this highly recommended book together is that if you develop good systems and follow them daily, then your efforts eventually overlap with luck.

What do you think about goals now? Looking forward to hearing from you in the comments area below.

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