This time, I want to delve deeper into 3 actions each of us can experiment with for career growth over the next 360-something days.
You might be thinking, why only 3 actions?
Simple. Many of us try to do too much. Going big or going home rarely works. Unless you want to invite burnout into your life.
Instead, you need to get specific.
The stereotypical lists of ‘20 things you want to change in x year’ are bad ideas.
I feel the anxious pressure in my muscles just thinking about trying that.
I’m not looking at 1000x growth here. I’m focusing on what you can do 10x better.
You gotta walk before you can run, after all.
I’ve spent the last two decades working with and researching high-performers.
Here are the 3 actions I notice 99% embrace.
Steal these 👇
1. Grow slowly to go far
This is a hard one for many to get their head around.
People want everything now. But, the overnight success story is BS.
The best of the best focus on decades not days. We often look at the end product, not the long journey that paved the way for the current success.
This gives the false illusion of doing big things at pace.
There are outliers to this, of course. But, for the most part, the optimal method is to build slowly.
Some have done well at pace. Whilst others have seen their empires crumble.
Often, we can attribute this to shaky foundations.
Speed can be great.
But it needs strong foundations to scale properly. You can view your career in the same way.
You miss valuable learning opportunities if you move too fast through the ranks.
Those same lessons can be the very things that stop you from performing in a role down the line.
So, don’t be mad if your journey is not going at breakneck speed.
This is not bad.
Think in decades not years, weeks or days.
Your chances of doing well in the infinite space are bigger if you tread slowly.
Good things take time and to those who work their assess off.
2. We’re playing an infinite game. Don’t play by finite rules
I’m going to say it.
You sabotage yourself with deluded expectations in finite timeframes.
If this sounds familiar, you’re using a finite strategy to play an infinite game.
Quick context. Finite = time-bound, Infinite = timeless.
We want too much too soon. Just as we discussed earlier, growth takes decades not days.
The infinite game is all about looking at the road 10, 15 or even 20 years ahead. The actions you take now are compounding towards that goal.
Sadly, too few think like this.
If they can’t get all the success, wealth and happiness in less than 6 months, they give up.
This is a classic example of finite thinking in the infinite game.
You can have all those things. Even more. Our time on this spinning rock is finite, but to reap the rewards is an infinite pursuit.
Instead, I encourage you to build micro-sprints across your time to reach your goals.
Think not just about short-term success, but long-term too.
More on setting micro-goals in next week’s edition 👀.
3. Small tweaks lead to big changes – keep compounding change
You see the big changes.
But, do you recognise all the little changes that got you there? Perhaps, not.
We all fall into this trap. Especially at this time of year.
We sit down (or you can stand, your choice) to write goals for the next year.
You get excited because you feel this time it’s different.
With pen in hand and inspiration flowing through your body, you ravish your notebook (or google doc) with the big changes you want to make in the next 12 months.
When you finish, you look down to review the words staring back at you.
This is the place where 99% of us already give up. This is why ⬇️
- The changes are too big – you’ll need years not months to achieve them.
- You have too many – you find 20 + staring back at you, when you really need the 3 most impactful.
- You’re not specific enough. Broad statements lead to ineffective goals. You want to lose weight, great – but how much? By when? And how?
Thinking big is important.
It just needs the right structure to turn your aspirations into reality.
Try this instead:
Be brutal about what you can achieve in x months
Keep your big goals, but break them down into manageable chunks.
As an example, let’s say you want to be a writer.
This is great. But your starting point is most important here. If you’ve never written a thing before, saying I’m going to write once a day every day for 365 days is stupid.
A better approach is to say I will write something 2-3 times a week and learn how to build a system to scale my writing.
I did this myself. I didn’t start writing every day all of a sudden.
I spent years breaking down the process and putting infrastructure in place so I could do this long-term.
Unrealistic expectations lead to the death of too many goals.
Prioritise value and impact
What do you think is better?
20 goals that you half-ass across 2023 and feel meh about or 3 goals that you accelerate in??
I’m going to go with the latter.
Don’t worry, this is a classic goal-setting sin. You’re in good company too.
Society has drilled in the stupid slogan of “Go big or go home”. It doesn’t work – end of story.
I’d prefer “Big things come from small moments of discipline” But that’s not very motivational, ya know!
The point is lack of prioritisation kills our performance.
We all try to do too much too soon and at the same time. The human condition you could say.
In other words, stop adding in filler and do the stuff that’s more killer (h/t to Sum 41 there).
Look at your goals with a clinical eye
Grab your pen (or mouse or trackpad or even phone screen) and rank your goals from first to last of importance in achieving your big changes.
Done that? Great. Now cross off anything outside the top 3.
I’m all for investing in the small thing to do the big things. But, we must invest in the right small things.
Get clear on the what and how
You already know the driving ‘why’ behind your own goals.
We won’t cover that in any more detail. We need to get clear on what we need to do and how we will do it in our little equation.
Here’s an example:
I want to lose weight is a bad example.
It’s vague, too broad and has no specificity.
Now let’s put it through our ‘make it better machine’.
“I want to lose 20 pounds by the 29th of June 2023. I’m going to join my local gym, seek advice on the best weight loss protocols and apply these in my day to day”.
Let’s expand on why this is better…
- It’s specific: You’re clear on what you want to do and by when.
- It’s action-oriented: You define how you’re going to do all of this with clear action steps.
Ok, let’s wrap this up, shall we?
- For explosive growth double down on less, not more.
- Grow slowly to go far.
- We’re playing an infinite game. Don’t play by finite rules.
- Small tweaks lead to big changes – keep compounding change.
Before you go… 👋
If you like my writing and think “Hey, I’d like to hear more of what this guy has to say” then you’re in luck.