Less Success, More Successful

In 2011, I’ve made changes that are likely to cut my business income by 25%.  Why?

I made the changes to feel more successful.  Time will tell if I actually am more successful.

As I wrote last week, personal freedom is essential to me.  However, I’m searching for more than the freedom to do what I choose.  To create a sense of well-being, I’ve noticed that I need:

  • A couple hours of daily exercise;
  • Connection to a community; and
  • A sense that I am spending my time effectively.

Workingmerely to buy more stuff, being busy, multitasking… when I find myself caught up in those goals, I am stressed.  That said, creating space so that I can sit around in a coffee shop all day, doesn’t leave me satisfied.  I need a mission that I can do well.  It’s why I am suited to endurance athletics and project based consulting.

  • Have a mission
  • Experience social connection
  • Do it well

In my life, exercise is my meditation – it integrates my thoughts with my body; let’s me release stress/noise and stimulates my brain.  When I listen to others talk about prayer, it sounds a lot like how I feel about my training.  That’s a lot way of saying that exercise might not be for everyone but having a way to integrate/process thoughts seems essential.


I struggle with outside forces (family illness, financial problems, relationship struggles) getting in the way of my goals. I lose focus on my fitness, business, and financial objectives, I avoid my personal problems, and I disengage socially when I encounter too much personal stress. I can be incredibly focused, disciplined and logical when things are going well. So I can use some advice – how do you stay focused? I refuse to accept that this is just the way I am wired. I know I just need to approach life differently in a consistent manner.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The first tip that I’ll offer is a question I ask myself every-single-day. How would I live my life if I knew that I was going to die? As I think about that (trick) question, I remind myself:

Acceptance – I will not be able to get everything done in my life.  That’s OK, I’ve acknowledged that being busy works against my personal goals.

Choose – Because I won’t be able to get to everything, it is wise to make choices.  Given that “doing well” is important for my sense of well being, I’m going to identify the #1 goal that I can do well.  Given that setbacks are inevitable, I’m going to pick a defensive goal as well.  Some examples:

  • Learn Finance — Accumulate Capital 
  • Learn Athletics — Preserve Income/Expense Ratio 
  • Build Fitness — Create A Successful Marriage 

Priorities will change and shift over time.  What’s useful for me is: limiting focus; being clear about what I am seeking to achieve; and what’s requried to achieve it.

Say No — we are lousy at saying “no” – to ourselves and to our communities. That’s why the first two steps are so important – realize that you can’t (and don’t want to) do everything then choose what you want to do. Then create a habit of saying “no” to attractive opportunites that distract you from your mission. My main strategies are avoidance and routine. Around my wife, I build myself up as being able to make the tough decisions. The equivalent in my blogs is hammering on about the need to be fit for leadership. My public life is a game to put social pressure on myself to have backbone, when required.

Most of our friends, clients and competition, will not be able to pull off what I outlined and that is OK.  However, when you come across people that can pull it off then keep them in your life — they are valuable additions to your peer group. Likewise, when it’s clear that someone isn’t fully aligned with your mission then you’ll want to phase them out — with compassion, as we never know where life will take us.

Don’t try to be perfect, just keep chipping away towards your goals.  When I find myself stressed out, I back off, rest a bit and remember my mortality.