The Year of Doing More. Better.
If you’re like most people, the idea of doing more and doing better doesn’t sound like a great idea. After all, the human body and psyche just love status quo. Status quo is couch surfing instead of going out for a run. It’s eating a microwave meal instead of cooking. Status quo is just being content. It’s easy. It’s safe. Status quo is a womb that brings with it no unknowns, just comfort in its predictability.
But, you know what? The only thing predictable about status quo is that it will bring failure. And, that is why status quo sucks.
Look, it’s not our fault that status quo holds such allure for us. As humans, we are programmed to expend as little energy as possible to generate the greatest return. That’s the survival strategy we used to evolve and advance as a species: conserve resources and get as great a return as possible on those resources that we invest in doing what we do (e.g., mainly not getting eaten, while finding things to eat).
However, the smart ones among our ancestors then scratched their prehistoric craniums to come up with better ways to do what we do. Expend more energy to come up with new and better ways of dealing with the beast, elements or rivals that were hell-bent on our demise.
Fast-forward a few bajillion years and – while the stakes might be different because we’re talking about business not life or death – a simple truth remains constant. Each season, unless you get better, someone is going to eat your lunch. This risk is remarkably better than the risk of being someone’s lunch that our ancestors faced, but we still have to strive to innovate or, predictably, we will fail.
You need to do more. You must do better. Or, someone else will. And, this is the year it happens. This is not about doing more work or doing the work that you’re already doing but just doing it more efficiently. I’m talking about accomplishing more and achieving better results.
Step 1: Question everything! Look critically at the survival strategies you’re using and your objective. Are they still relevant and are they in sync? If you’re just doing the same thing over and over and not getting any closer to target, then they’re probably not.
Step 2: That includes you. Decide whether or not you have the passion to get it done. If you don’t have the internal fire anymore, then set your sights on a new target that gets you fired up. Unless you’re passionate about achieving something, you’re doomed to, well, lose your lunch.
Step 3: Work smarter, not harder. If you simply do the same stuff you did last year and try to do more of it, you’ll make yourself crazy, tired and unfulfilled. Stop doing the 20 percent of activity that you did last year that went nowhere. Simply stop. It’s wasted energy. Focus on the 80 percent and create processes to be more effective.
Step 4: Develop new tools. Put that energy into time to brainstorm and develop new approaches and strategies, and adapt and adopt new techniques that your peers are embracing. Evolve!
Look, this might sound like just another enthusiastic burst of feel-good jargon brought on by a change to a new calendar year. You can take it that way, and maybe it is. But, we both know that change is constant and right now someone somewhere is creating a new product, formulating an idea, or sparking a trend that will change what you do and how you do it. You can choose to be ready and willing to meet the challenges they’re about to send your way, or you can go to the kitchen now and start making them their lunch.