We are told not to confuse the two – effort and results. It is not that they are opposed to each other. One is process. The other is outcome. Results depend on effort. Effort drives results.
In the thick of your daily work, there is likely a lot of waste. It’s the noise from the world and the overwhelming demands on our attention. We have to respond many times. It’s part of our work also. It’s not ok to leave a customer lacking or our families without help. It all takes effort.
The hard part is keeping on course with the things that matter and differentiating the things that will push things forward in a general sense. I think leadership is much more about having an internal compass which points north and knowing our journey gets throttled and jostled at times. Perhaps you feel this. It’s hard to figure out whether a day was just meaningless or worthwhile. Here are some things that help me to stay on course:
- Do the one thing. There is one thing that translates into growth. For me, I write. The more I write, the more good things happen. My writing positions my brand, connects with potential and current clients and helps to make a difference. Yours may be something else. Get clear on the main activity that is the cornerstone of what you do.
- Do the one thing first. If the one thing has not gotten done for the day, put it at the beginning, before all the distractions. I like to write first before I react to everything. Get up earlier. Let the important precede the urgent. It is amazing how it sets the tone for the rest of your day. It frees you to react with freedom knowing you did the important thing for yourself and business already.
- Do the one thing daily. Make your most important task a ritual. It aligns your work. Your body of work will show up over time. I have years of writing behind me that clarifies my thinking and allows me to serve with a high level of engagement.
- Align the one thing. Your work can be strategic or scattered depending how you organize it. Be sure it builds something, is organized and is presented in a way that is a true asset. This makes it build compound interest. It can be a performance, a blog or a book. Make it shine in some kind of packaging. Make it have meaning. If it doesn’t then find another thing that is strategic.
My observation is that those who are building worthwhile businesses move forward because they do these things. There is a habit which adds up to a result. Being scattershot and merely feeling busy is what keeps everyone else chasing after something elusive or vague.
How would you describe your own efforts? Are they moving towards something you can see clearly?