The Quest 2016 prompt today is “What can you stop doing in 2016 such that it would allow you to focus on higher payoff activities?” from marketing consultant John Jantsch.
It’s All About Perspective
Like all things, this prompt can be looked at in many ways.
The low-level business management perspective has very practical implications. What can I stop doing? What can I delegate? Can I hire a personal assistant, a bookkeeper, a tax accountant, etc. so I can delegate my schedule, the daily financial tracking, and taxes to other people? Can I leave my website in the state it is in for a year without worrying about it? And, there are a few things at that level that I could think about, but they are dull and boring and distinctly outside the realm of why I am participating in the quest.
There’s the new-agey, self-helpy perspective: I can stop letting myself be blocked by my limiting beliefs. This, of course, requires one to figure out what one’s blind spots are.
There is the personal growth perspective: I can stop questioning my inner authority. I can stop looking to gurus, mentors, and teachers for information and reassurance that I know what to do instead of just doing what needs to be done.
And there are more.
What Are Higher Payoff Activities?
In order to pick a perspective, I must first identify my goal. Without knowing the desired end state, it is impossible to guess which path leads in the right direction.
High payoff activities are activities that serve my business greatly and are aligned with my values. I can’t and don’t expect my business and work life to meet all my needs, but I know from experience that if I cannot find a perspective from which to do my work that aligns with a substantial percentage of my deepest values, I am at risk for major depression, and major depression interferes with all aspects of my life, including my business.
Higher payoff activities might be purely financial. In fact, more money coming in from my business is one of my goals for 2016.
But, there are other things my business needs to do for me.
My core values are Agency, Making, Big Scale, Connections Between People, and Beauty. I capitalize these because my version of each of these things is unique to me. In fact, when I name them for myself, I call them Oak Tree, Making, Breaking the Mould, The Space Between, and the Eye of the Hurricane.
For me, many of my core business practices are very satisfying in terms of Agency, Making, and The Space Between. But, I could make some improvements in the scale of the work I am doing.
Scale with Integrity
I am not interested in money for money’s sake. I want my business to make enough money to pay me and a small support staff a decent salary and offer powerful programs and services. Beyond that, a share for the government, and a share for charitable donations, acquisition of money does not motivate me.
Where I want scale is in the depth of some of my work and in the number of people touched. I want to impact the world in a big way.
So, I ponder, who must I be to have that impact and what must I do? And who must I not be and what must I not do?
What I have noticed is that when I show up with my full authentic self, with care and compassion for others, having for myself no agenda other than supporting their agenda, I move people deeply and effectively. I have also noticed that when I stand tall, speak with my full intelligence, and stick with the ideas that drive me, over time, people listen to me and invite others to hear me speak. This data points me along a path to the scale I crave.
Having noticed this pattern over time, I know what I must do and who I must become to reach my goals.
I must be courageous. I must create the work that speaks from the truth as I see it.
I must be reliable. I must deliver and promote my work so it moves into the world.
I must not be timid. I must not let fear of being controversial stop me from speaking up.
I must be whole. I must not hide my passion, my rigour, or my stamina.
And there is my answer to the prompt.
To focus on the higher payoff activities, I can stop letting fear of being controversial stop me from speaking up. I can stop hiding the full expression of my intense passion, my rigorous analysis and deep thinking, or my stamina.