Finding the Time

Changing your life. That’s what we’re here for, right? That’s a big deal. We’re talking about making YOU successful, and still somehow finding the time to help pass that success on to others. Finding others to pass it on to. Teaching and sharing. It’s going to be pretty hard to find the time to do that, right?

Except… it shouldn’t be.

When I I’ve my full-day “Be the Master” workshop, we spend a lot of time discussing this. Thing is, for MOST people, “finding your success and teaching others” doesn’t mean abandoning your career, starting a new one, and also being a college professor in your spare time. It’s kind of like all those studies that say a glass of red wine can be healthy for you — the first thing half the readers do is rush out and drink a case of the stuff. It’s all about MODERATION, and that’s true with “Be the Master” as well.

If you sit a six-year old down and say, “I want you to become a United States Senator!” They might smile and say, “sure!” But they can’t really grasp what that MEANS. What will be INVOLVED. It’s too big; to them, you just maybe apply for the job one day and either get it or not. Well, that’s true with big, far-reaching life goals, too: they’re usually too big to grasp. Intellectually, you and I as adults could break it down, though. To be a Senator, you usually need to start as a lawyer someplace. That means law school — three years of education — as well as an internship as well as some working experience. You could probably take those things and break them down further: law school means first passing the LSAT, and it means first having a 4-year degree. You could keep going, breaking each requirement down into single steps, all the way down to “Pass English 101 in Freshman year” and so on.

That’s what you need to do with your path to mastery. BREAK IT DOWN. Even if you are defining your success to require a new career and a professorship, BREAK THAT DOWN. On a WEEKLY basis, you can only accomplish small, incremental things, so you need to break it down into those small, incremental steps. And no, there’s no point in charting out a ten-year plan in 520 weekly steps! No plan will survive that long, anyway. So it’s great to have that 10-year goal in mind, if you can think of one, but you need to have something a lot closer to focus on.

That’s why I don’t advocate for detailed 10-year plans, or really (if your’e paying attention) ANY kind of time-based plan. I’ve never asked you to think about where you’ll be in 5 years, right? I’ve asked you to define your success. That’s not time-based; it’s simply who you see yourself being, and what you see yourself doing. Maybe you can make it happen in a year, maybe not. The point is to have that “North Star” always in mind, and then take weekly actions that make sense FOR THAT WEEK, and that still, as much as possible, align you to that goal.

Keep the forest in mind, in other words, but focus on the trees.

It’s a bit like navigating a car. Sure, you know the destination most of the time. But you’re not focused on just heading straight for it. Instead, you focus (hopefully) on the moment-to-moment decisions. Maybe there’s too much traffic on one road, and so you deal with that in the moment. You change your path, but you’re still keeping that long-term goal in mind. You’re not choosing random roads, but you’re also not trying to stick with a detailed, long-term plan that isn’t working for you. You simply make each decision — to turn or not to turn — based on whether it’s helping line up to that long-term goal (this is actually not far off from how computer navigation software works internally).

As you move into the next week, start focusing on weekly to-do lists that you know are practical. Maybe you won’t get them all done — it’s fine to be a little ambitious and push yourself — but they need to appear practical. The goal of “Be the Master” isn’t to set grandiose schemes that you’ll never meet; it’s simply to start making decisions about what to do, and making sure those decisions line up to what you want from life.

Good luck!