We DO too much.
We all know it’s true. Yet we continue to sign up for the ‘go-go-go, work-work-work, more-more-more’ pseudo game of life with little questioning anyway. And even when we’re not on the go, striving to mark things off of the endless to do list, training, shuffling kids, or working, we’re often stressing or worrying about what we aren't getting done, wish we could have or longing for a moment of down time!
It’s gotten kinda crazy and out of hand, hasn't it?
Or maybe insanely out of hand!
Here's what’s totally cool though. You can DO less and BE more successful. I coach people who love to ‘buck’ the system. You know, the people who are really intelligent, innovative, high-achieving go-getters who, quite frankly, are ready to be done with the craziness and struggle! There is a growing number of Americans who deeply desire greater success and a whole lot more Zen.
For over 16 years, I’ve been teaching executives, athletes and business owners to ‘re-arrange’ and intentionally design life and business to be what she CHOOSES. And with all the success and fulfillment a person could hope for.
For example, Jennifer Pete’, co-Founder of Zifty & SlingShop, and one of the Forbes top women owned businesses of 2016, Alexis Underwood, GP executive and Professional Distance Swimmer, Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards, Owner of the fast growing, Precision Performance Atlanta, are in this ‘DO less, Succeed more club!
These women are among the many who have rebelled against 10-hour business days, training until their bodies are wrecked, or being frantically busy simply because they have created a bad habit of being TOO busy! Instead, they have applied the 80/20 to their training and life, they have released the endless obligations and to do lists and embraced strategic focus, while trading busyness for what is authentically valuable!
Seriously, you’re too busy and stressed anyway, right? Wouldn’t YOU love to be a rebel for a cause? That cause being learning to add a lil’ lazy to your life, more success and freedom, and a whole lot more Zen and inspiration.
Let’s look at 6 ways to DO LESS, and at the same time, be MORE successful and happier!
1) Put Away the Perfection
It’s time to move from perfectionist to recovering perfectionist!! OR, to an excellence drive lifestyle to be precise!
I’ve become a part of this cool-kitten club excellence club, my clients have as well, and now the invitation is being extended to you.
This action is pivotal in any journey to greater happiness and over all calm living. I know, you just can’t seem to help yourself in the realm of ‘striving for perfection’ and a go-go-go attitude. You go the extra mile… and then 5 more. You want a perfect 10.0 score on the ‘test of life’. You just love adding things to your OCD lists, just for the satisfaction of checking things off! You’re more than tempted to multi-task, though we all know that multi-tasking is just an invitation to do several things poorly all at once and with little focus!
Uh oh! Did I push a hot button? It is true, multi tasking is never favorable. But, but… Shawn… never. There is an ass ton of research that supports single minded focus to always be superior. Would you try to run, swim or bike while reading a book or writing your grocery list? Then why would it seem useful to check email while having six other applications open to split your focus?
Ok, this isn’t about multi tasking, but the perfectionists of the world LOVE multi tasking and cling to it like their last breath of air!! Time to let go… of multi tasking and all of the other perfection-driving forces that make you an overly busy, people pleasing machine.
Eventually, perfectionism drives your brain, body, and spirit into a fried, tapped out, strung out, fatigued, exhausted state! Where things like depression, anxiety, tapped out endocrine systems, and so on force us to come to a screeching halt.
The differences between perfectionism and an excellence drive lifestyle are not in any way subtle. The shackles of perfectionism can include any or all of the following:
Pleasing, pleasing, pleasing
Egg shell walking
Fearing disappointment or disapproval of others
Being busy for the sake of ‘being busy’ or ‘manic’ because you can’t seem to relax (psst, you can learn to be Zen!)
Attempting to accomplish a hundred tasks just so your list can be complete, regardless of the impact or lack of impact said tasks have on your life / training / career … if you’ve even given yourself time to gage and qualify impact
Feeling false fear, guilt and shame
Saying yes when you want to say no
A feeling of performing / being ‘on’ (this can be very exhausting)
Feeling like you’re never ‘quite enough’ (thin enough, fast enough, successful enough, wife or husband enough, etc.)
Fear of being truly seen by others, even loved ones
Fear of being deeply authentic, connected, and transparent
Feeling stressed, anxious, discontent and frustrated
Feigning happiness, while slowly dying on the inside
An excellence drive lifestyle on the other hand is fantastically inspiring and energizing and involves:
Effortless singular focus and clarity of purpose and action
An absence of busy work / fruitless endeavors
Completion of tasks that are genuinely important, and aligned with your life, training and business success
Living your values as a lifestyle (this is amazing!)
Saying no when want to
Plenty of free time
Calm, joy, engagement, confidence
Strong, positive leadership
Lightness of spirit, gentleness in living, gorgeous empowerment
Loads of inspiration, energy, passion, time, love, giving and receiving
Which would you like to experience? Excellence? Great choice! Next stop, systematically replace perfection-driven thinking, behaving and choosing with excellence driven living.
As you can see, living as a perfectionist is very time consuming and exhausting. You will save a great deal of time as you release perfection-driving living
I realize that emotionally, you’re probably very attached to the idea of ‘perfectionism’, but I promise, you will be MUCH better off without it. It’s time to say goodbye to this old ‘companion’.
If you’d like help navigating how to move from ‘perfectionism to excellence’, give me a jingle!
2) Eliminate the Misery
Ask yourself, ‘What are the top three tasks, problems or people who make me feel most upset, frustrated or stressed (and/or create extra work/drama for me)?’ Go ahead and jot them down. Your list may be longer as you write initially, but wheedle it down to the top three before reading on...
Once you have these three ideas on paper, create a plan to systematically eliminate, systematize or delegate each one.
Seriously. Calm, happy living almost always begins with elimination. Just like eliminating perfection-driven drama living and trading it for calm, inspiring excellence living. One requires exceedingly less time, effort and energy. Thus, you are left with and abundance of time, energy and effort. It’s similar to the way you prefer your bank account to work! Draining it into the negative is never a useful function!
You may feel that I am simplifying this idea. But truly, eliminating that which is harmful to your body, mind or spirit is literally THE EASIEST choice.
… But, the choices associated with elimination might be emotional. Be sure not to confuse emotionally taxing choices for difficult choices. Leaving a job or lover can be very emotional, but tactically, only a few steps need to be in place.
Now… make a plan to eliminate your top 3 within 30 days. Yep, right know, while you feel inspired to do.
For example, perhaps running day-to-day operations is the bane of your existence? Look into automating parts and delegating pieces. Hire a Virtual Assistant (inexpensive and can be used for as little as 1 hour per week) or general manager to lighten your load if needed.
Even if your greatest source of pain, drama or problem is a person or loved on, a shift must be made in order for your life to be the precious creation you desire.
Like ALL problem situations, there are many options available within the elimination phase. You might need some assistance in re-creating or healing your love relationship or business partnership, you may need to fire and replace an employee or give her a different set of responsibilities. Maybe full marathons just are not that fun anymore, and shifting to halves will be energizing and joyful! Or, the best producer in the company might also create an inordinate amount of drama among the staff, which outweighs her contribution, and therefore needs to be replaced.
Don’t be tempted to skip this step. The top layer of amazingly happy and fulfilled high-achievers are practiced at elimination, systematization, and delegation in order to let life flow and thrive.
All challenges, even seemingly insurmountable or overwhelming challenges can be remedied with far more ease than you might imagine!
Pssst, we, life & business design coaches here at Liberate My Life, are happy to walk you through any part of this process if you like. Click here to learn more!
3) No Habla Obligations
Strong, high-achieving, empowered, HAPPY peeps do not believe in obligations.
Don’t panic yet! I hear you saying, ‘but Shawn, everybody has obligations don’t they? And if you don’t, aren’t you just selfish?’
This is your inner fear, critic and pleaser talking! NOT the beautiful, self-honoring, authentic YOU.
Here’s the thing… I’m not sure about you, but personally, I don’t want anyone’s time, help or effort if they do not want to give it with a full and open heart, or do so begrudgingly or resentfully. The idea of some one doing something for me out of guilt or shame, which obligation absolutely is, and then feeling aggravated, annoyed or resentful because of it, makes me cringe! Thanks, but no thanks!
And I certainly don’t want to feel like this myself either.
Obligations are time-stealing, energy draining succubus’s which have no place in a fabulous inspiring life.
In order to DO less, and feel happier, while increasing your level of success and energy… Practice saying NO. Set better boundaries. Or, reframe SOME situations as to view them as joy-filled expressions of genuine care. And get used to your calendar having more open space as you begin being a ‘no obligation zone.’
Eliminating obligations, or mentally shifting some tasks into a giving space (instead of obligatory), does take practice, but well worth the gifts of energy, time, and SANITY.
4) Practice the 80/20 Principle Like It’s Your New Religion
I completely LOVE the 80/20 principle. In fact, it has revolutionized my life and business. If you’re not familiar with this idea, read, ‘Living The 80/20 Way,’ by Richard Koch. (Not to be confused with Koch Industries). It is amazing!
You can use the 80/20 on all areas of your life, from sales and strategy to love and friendships, and from free time and training to thinking and food selection. It’s a truly an excellent strategy. If you’re wondering what the 80/20 principle is…
The basic 80/20 gist is this: Only 20 percent of anything accounts for 80 percent of ALL enjoyment or misery!
Here are a few examples: 20% of your friends account for 80% of your fun. 20% of your marketing and sales efforts account for 80% of your revenue (hint, find this 20% and focus on it). 20% of your leadership efforts account for 80% of the impact. 20% of your training is responsible for 80% of your results. 20% of your stressors account for 80% of your pain and frustration (hence the top 3 eliminations from the previous action).
Get the picture?
The point is, find the 20 percent of greatness in all things and capitalize on it. While at the same time identifying the 20 percent of your dread, irritation and stress and remove it. If you’re anything like me, and completely go bananas over kick-ass results, 80/20-ing your business and life will become your new ‘religion’!
5) Scale Up Your Passion & Significance
What are you completely, amazingly and whole-heartedly passionate about that also makes you feel significant? Take your time answering this one…
Journal for a few minutes…
You got your answer?
I, for example, LOVE coaching and training with my clients and / or their teams (this is my heart’s calling and passion). And the emotional rewards of helping others become happier, bolder, emotionally calmer, more confident and self-assured, better in their sport, and have greater business and relationship success (and so much more) allows me to feel like a queen and a champion all in one (significance).
Because of the passion and significance associated with my coaching company, I spend about 80 percent of my work time doing this (or writing about it)! Here is the key:
In order to feel inspired on a sustainable basis and to feel deeply connected to others, the world as a whole, you MUST spend about 80 percent of your work / training time on the tasks that elicit PASSION AND SIGNIFICANCE.
This is non-negotiable. And a deal-breaker in the game of happy-living if out of balance for too long.
Without this 80 percent of dedicated time to passion and significance, (you) will feel and express some combination of resentment, frantic-scheduling, lack of focus, stress, upset, anger, feelings of isolation, and overwhelm.
So… as you can see this passion and significance thing is a no brainer! You can adjust your life if you’re willing. And if you need help, help is available.
Ok, get to work!
We, life & business design coaches here at Liberate My Life, are happy to walk you through any part of this process as it applies to sport, career, love, and/or life fulfillment. Click here to learn more!
Reach out if you'd like support along your journey!
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Cheers to Liberate Living! Shawn