How was your year?
I hope it was FANTASTIC, and if not, I wish you strength, luck, and momentum to charge forwards into 2017 and beyond.
I want you to know that, in 2017, you can do less and make more.
How the heck can you do less and make more?
That’s what I want to outline for you here today, because that actually was my plan in 2016 and it turned out spectacularly well, so I’m going to be repeating it again in 2017.
Here’s how this post came about:
Just last week we flew in our two executive assistants; Summer, who helps me run my business, and Carrie, who helps my wife, Amy, run our charity.
What Summer, Carrie, Amy and I did was we mapped out all of 2017. In fact, we even mapped out some of 2018.
I HIGHLY recommend you do the same, if you haven’t already. I’ll give you some tips about how to do this efficiently.
Planning an entire year can be overwhelming, so when you are planning your year, I want you to break it down into three areas of focus:
Number one, you’ve got to get clear on your PRIORITIES.
I know that that sounds obvious, but it’s SO important.
This means getting clear on people and projects that are most important to you, as well as getting clear on the LIFESTYLE you want to live.
For me, obviously my amazing wife, my incredible kids, my team, my sister, my parents, my friends and business partners – they are all a huge priority to me.
What can I say? I’m a people person!
I bring this to your attention because, when people are a priority to you, you’ve got to be INTENTIONAL about incorporating them into your planning process.
Next, it’s extremely important to decide which projects are your highest priority.
For example, last year I had just one project that was the highest priority for me. This allowed me to engineer the entire year around that one project, which allowed me to be uber creative.
After people and projects comes lifestyle. Outside of your business, what aspirations do you have?
For example, in 2017 I really want to exercise my creativity in some new and different ways.
Playing guitar is one. Doodling is another – I know it kind of sounds funny and weird – but doodling and calligraphy is another thing that I really want to do.
I’d also like to learn Swahili, because in Kenya where our charity operates, the kids speak Swahili, and I want to be able to interact and engage with them. I want to be fluid so when kids are talking back and forth, I can just jump into the conversation and blow their minds.
Number two, get clear on your PRIMARY FOCUS.
You’ve got to have a primary focus. Everything else you do falls around this one thing.
This relates to prioritizing your projects in step #1.
Your primary focus combines the project you chose as a top priority, and the outcome you’d like to see from that project. It’s your guiding light throughout the year.
Here’s an example: one of my clients, Mastin Kip, is an incredible speaker and author.
His primary focus is releasing his new book in the fall of 2017, so we are engineering the entire year around that focus.
Other things are going to come up, of course, but the primary focus is getting that book to top of the New York Times Bestseller list.
Let your primary focus be the most important, most ambitious accomplishment you’d like to achieve, and then give it the attention and resources it needs to come true.
Number three is to identify your BIG ROCKS
And start mapping them out on the calendar.
That’s exactly what I did with Summer, Carrie, and Amy when we planned our year. We first started with our big rocks.
What are our big rocks? When you’re mapping out your calendar, these are the most important events and deadlines in your year.
Some are deadlines that you set for yourself, and others aren’t so flexible, but they are all important.
For example, last year my family vacations got tacked onto business or charity trips. If I was going to speak at a conference, I would take the family, and we would spend a few days after the conference exploring that location.
This year we decided to let family trips be family trips, so those were the first big rocks we added to our calendar.
The next big rocks we added were dates that are already set.
For example, next year we’ve got a big trip for our charity where we’re taking 50-60 of our top donors over to Kenya to see the schools they helped build.
There’s also conferences that I’ve committed to speak at, mastermind groups that I’m a part of, and so on.
It’s important that your big rocks get laid out on the calendar. Because too often as entrepreneurs, we end up taking on more than we can handle because we get so excited about opportunities.
You and I have to concentrate our efforts, because if we try to do too much in 2017, we’re going to do a whole bunch of things in a half-assed way.
But if we focus on a few big rocks, and we pour all of our creative energy into those things, we will experience a lot more success.
When I talk about the big rocks, here’s what I would encourage you to do:
Think about one big promotion that you’re able to do every quarter. One big promotion every four months. Everything else gets filtered around those four promotions.
And if you can do less than four, that’s even better.
For you and I to make 2017 a spectacular year, here’s what I recommend:
Number one, get clear on your PRIORITIES. When I say priorities, I’m talking about people, projects, and lifestyle.
Second, get clear on your PRIMARY FOCUS and engineer your entire year around that.
Number three, map out your big rocks. What I recommend for my clients is four big promos per year, one per quarter. Everything else gets filtered around those big rocks.
Your turn: What are you going to do to make 2017 your best year ever?