What Moves the Needle?

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Most of the people I know are in a daze. Life is simply overwhelming. Sure, we have revolutionary technology that increases our productivity. However, are we really more productive?

We can push more information and work around like never before. But much of what is being pushed around is noise. It often doesn’t have much to do with the goal.

I’ve often stated that most things don’t matter. If you start with that premise, your mind can focus. You can cut through the onslaught of demands and unimportant projects that can suck your energy, time and attention. You can redirect your mind and work to what does matter. And my guess is that this is a very short list of items.

You have to honestly ask, “What moves the needle?”

For this, you have to figure out what your goal is. What do you want to exist that is not reality today? That goal has to stay front and center. Let’s say you have a business and want to make money. Here would be some things that don’t matter:

  • Coffees with people that cannot say, “Yes.”
  • Reading endless newsletters and emails that don’t change you
  • Traveling all over and making no deals
  • Working endlessly on your website look and layout
  • Organizing your office supplies

These are simply busy activities without a relationship to the goal. While we can be blinded by activities and effort, it does not move the needle. Wastefulness happens often because of our ability to rationalize and delude ourselves. Richard Feynman said it best,

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

I think it’s fine to do all sorts of fun activities. However, if you want to move the needle, then there are likely a few things that matter above all others and those are the activities that must be considered as top priority. With the goal of money-making for a business owners, it could look like:

  • Thinking specifically and creatively about creating value for customers
  • Spending time with the best customers
  • Talking to ten people a day that can say, “Yes.”
  • Developing ideas to help solve problems for people that can say, “Yes.”
  • Making selling a process that is repeatable and specific for a team

Those are examples that could focus your thinking and schedule so you don’t fool yourself. It’s an input/output approach to money-making. Do things that matter and move the needle.

It sounds simple, but we have to think about where we put our attention these days, lest the pull of things that simply don’t matter sucks all the hours out of our day and energy from our souls.

Consider making a short list of what moves the needle. Can you identify 3 things you need to do that moves the needle in your pursuits that have to be done above all else consistently?

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